Almost a new year!

It’s almost a new year.

In a few short hours, 2020 will be gone. Perhaps you are making your list of New Year’s resolutions, or maybe you are looking back on what you have done in 2020. This year caused a lot of us to change our plans, so maybe it is helpful as the year closes to remember this prayer: “what has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.” (New Zealand Prayerbook).

The new year also begins a new chapter for Trinity Commons. I will be signing off, and the Rev. Emily Collette will begin her tenure as Chaplain. I am grateful for my time at Trinity Commons. College ministry is about walking with folks through a transformative time in life. It has been my privilege to walk with you, and to have you as companions on my own journey in ministry. 

As I prepared to be ordained a priest, I started thinking about what blessing I would use. The Book of Common Prayer does not prescribe the priestly blessing at the end of the Rite II Eucharist. It’s a place that the prayerbook allows some individualism and creativity. I came across a blessing by the Rev. William Sloan Coffin, a powerful preacher and social justice activist, that seemed to be relevant to the turbulent times of 2020. It was the first blessing I offered as a priest, and it seems a fitting way to close out my time at Trinity Commons and the year 2020:

May God give you the grace never to sell yourself short;
Grace to risk something big for something good; and
Grace to remember the world is now
too dangerous for anything but the truth and
too small for anything but love;
and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be
with you, and remain with you always.


Our worship will take a short break.
There will be no worship services on January 3 or 10.

Christmas is 12 days.

Tonight we begin the celebration of Christ’s birth. If you are looking for a way to pause for prayer, click the video below and join Brother Juniper and me for Compline for Christmas Eve.

Then join us on Zoom on Sunday, December 27, at 6 p.m. for Evening Prayers (bulletin) as we continue to celebrate Christmas. This will be my final worship service, so I would love to see as many folks as can join us. 

I hope wherever you are, you have a safe and happy Christmas!


Click here to download the bulletin.

This Sunday – 4th Sunday of Advent

This Sunday.

O come, thou Dayspring from on high
and cheer us by they drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night, 
and death’s dark shadow put to flight.
O come, Desire of nations, 
bind in one the hearts of all mankind; 
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace.
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Hymn 56, Verses 6-8

For me, the hymn “O Come O Come Emmanuel” is the Advent hymn. In fact, it might be one of my favorite hymns from our hymnal. The minor key and simple melody is one that sticks in my head.

One of my favorite memories of this hymn is singing it with a group of pilgrims in the Church of St. Anne in Jerusalem. This church is located near the Pools of Bethesda, where Jesus healed a sick man (Jn. 5:2-9) The church is dedicated to Mary the mother of Jesus, and tradition holds that it marks her birthplace. The church is known for its acoustics, and I remember how our group’s voices echoed in the space as we sang the words “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

The antiphons that make up this hymn are often used at the beginning and end of the Magnificat when it is prayed during evening prayers leading up to Christmas. Using the antiphons in this way, allows the powerful words of justice of Mary’s song to expound on the names and attributes of God.

This year the final verses of Hymn 56 seem particularly appropriate– “death’s dark shadow put to flight” and “our sad divisions cease.” These lines sum up my prayers for most of 2020.

While I love the traditional version of the hymn, I have included below a contemporary version that someone shared on Facebook that I enjoyed.

This Sunday we will hear the story of the Annunciation, and listen to Mary’s song of justice. I hope you will join us for Evening Worship this Sunday at 6 pm on Zoom (bulletin).

– Kelley

An announcement from Kelley

An announcement from Kelley

The year 2020 has been one of a lot of changes. We have had to learn how to do many things in new ways. We said goodbye to Thomas as he began his new ministry in Auburn. I was ordained a priest. Through all these changes, the community of Trinity Commons has continued to welcome students and grow in faith.

My time with Trinity Commons will conclude on December 31, 2020. I came to Trinity Commons in August 2018 to serve as the deacon. With your support and prayers, I discerned a call to the priesthood. I have enjoyed my time spent in worship on campus and at the student center. I have enjoyed cooking, sharing meals, and all the conversations. I will always be grateful for my time in this community.

Bishop Glenda has appointed the Rev. Emily Collette to serve at Trinity Commons beginning January 2021. Emily is likely a familiar face to some of you. When she was a student at UAB, she was very active at Trinity Commons and was a resident. She joined the Advisory Board in Fall 2020 and has joined us for worship recently. I know that the ministry of Trinity Commons is in good hands, and am excited to see how this vital ministry will continue and take shape in 2021.

I will continue my work with the diocese as the communications coordinator. Thank you for your support in my time at Trinity Commons. You will continue to be in my prayers.

With love,

This Sunday – 3rd Sunday of Advent

This Sunday.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.         
1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

The third Sunday of Advent is often referred to as Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. This is a reference to the opening line of the reading from 1 Thessalonians: “Rejoice always…” It serves as a reprieve from the penitential aspect of Advent. Under more normal circumstances, it is also the Sunday when I give in and bring out the Christmas decorations.

As you can guess 2020 is not a normal year. I must confess that the Christmas decorations made their way into my home right after Thanksgiving. In all that has happened this year, I needed the joy of a Christmas tree and lights on the front of the house sooner rather than later.

Now as we are nearing the darkest part of the winter, and as the COVID-19 numbers increase every day, we need the reminder from scripture that we are called to rejoice, to pray, and to give thanks.

We also are called to hold fast to what is good.

At this moment, the good that we need to remember most is the love of our neighbor. At this moment, this love is not abstract. We need to love our neighbor through concrete actions: wearing masks, remaining physically distant, washing our hands, staying home, and avoiding gatherings (especially inside). By practicing these acts of love, more of our neighbors will be able to rejoice in the future. The end is in sight, but we need to hold fast to what is good, to love.

We will gather on Zoom for worship (bulletin) at 6 p.m. Sunday. There will be no in-person worship at Trinity Commons. I hope you will join us as we rejoice, say our prayers, and give thanks.

– Kelley

This Week – 12/08/20

This Week.

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Mark 1:4

Advent is the season of John the Baptist, showing up in the readings for two Sundays. John appears in all four gospels and is the forerunner of Jesus. John is an important figure in Christianity, Islam, and Bahai. In addition to “the Baptist,” John is often called “the Forerunner.” In looking at how John is depicted in religious art, we should and “the Pointer” as an option. 

In art John is often depicted as pointing to Jesus, or if John is alone pointing up to heaven. John’s pointing is a visual reminder that he is not the message. No matter how many people come out to see John, his message is “one who is more powerful than I is coming after me.” 

While the liturgical season of Advent is four weeks, the Church lives in a perpetual state of Advent. We are all living in hopeful expectation for Christ’s return in glory. And in our waiting, we are called to be like John the forerunner. We are called to point beyond ourselves to Christ in the world and the Kingdom of God that is already but not yet. 

Where do you see Jesus in the world? And how can you point others towards Christ? 

For those of you finishing finals, I pray that you are calm, rested, and that the answers come easily. For those of you that may be traveling home, I pray that you arrive safely.

Over the winter break, we won’t have hang out hours at Trinity Commons, but you can reach me by email anytime. In December, our worship will be at 6 pm on Sundays on Zoom.

– Kelley

This Sunday – 2nd Sunday of Advent

This Sunday.

A voice cries out:
     “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
     make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
          Isaiah 40:3

It seems like we have been waiting in the wilderness since March. Then we were in the wilderness of Lent and now, in Advent, we find are still in the wilderness on the banks of the Jordan River with John the Baptist. Mark’s gospel has no nativity story. Instead we are introduced to a grown Jesus through John the Baptist. For Mark, the first coming of Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophets, and we are to understand Jesus through the lens of the Prophet Isaiah and through John’s prophetic ministry. 

Isaiah and John both expected immediate fulfillment. That God would come and that God would act. But what about us? We have been waiting 2,000 years for Christ’s second coming. We have been waiting months for God to offer relief in this pandemic. 

What can we learn from prophets, wilderness, and waiting in this time of pandemic and isolation?

I will be at Camp McDowell tomorrow to livestream the virtual celebration of Bishop Sloan. So our worship tomorrow will be a recorded service available on YouTube and Facebook.

If you are eager to jump to Advent 2, you can watch the service now on our YouTube Channel here. If you prefer to wait and say your prayers at our usual time, you can watch the premiere at 6 p.m. on Sunday on our Facebook page here. The bulletin is available here

For the rest of December, our worship will be online only via Zoom. So please enjoy the recorded service for tomorrow, and then join us next week on Zoom

– Kelley

This Week – 11/30/20

Thank you for all you have done to support Trinity Commons in this year. 
I invite you to make a financial gift to support the ongoing ministry of Trinity Commons.

You can give now at

This Week.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.”Philippians 4:4

Scholars believe that the Apostle Paul wrote these words to the church in Philippi while he was imprisoned. Paul writes to the church to thank them for their gifts and support of his ministry, and reports that his imprisonment has not been a hinderance, but rather has helped him spread the gospel. So, from his confinement, he rejoices and invites the Philippians to do the same.

The year 2020 has brought many challenges. In March, we thought that the school closures would be temporary and that our students would be back after spring break. But as COVID-19 took hold, we realized that would not be possible. We grieved the cancellation of in-person worship and our Tuesday gatherings. Our students faced the disappointments of cancelled graduations, trips, and the loss of jobs. But even in the time of COVID-19, we are called to “rejoice in the Lord always.”

With this calling in mind, we gathered on Zoom for fellowship and worship, and rejoiced that we could stay connected and that new people, students and faculty, were able to join us. Our current and past students joined us to offer a virtual Easter Vigil, and while it was not what we were used to, we rejoiced that we could remain connected.

We rejoice and give thanks that through your financial support we have been able to continue our ministry online and on campus. Your gifts have allowed us to provide financial assistance to students that lost employment during the shutdown, to return safely to in-person worship while maintaining a virtual presence, and to gather again, physically distanced, to eat supper on Sunday nights. While boxed Sunday suppers and spaced-out seating are not what we are used to, we rejoice that we can gather for fellowship and to share a meal.

As we look to 2021, it seems certain that the world, the church, and college ministry will look different when the pandemic passes. I invite you to join us in our ministry by making a financial gift to support Birmingham Episcopal Campus Ministries. You can make a one-time or recurring gift online at With your financial support, we will continue, in new and creative ways, to seek and serve Christ in all persons and to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the students, faculty, and staff on college campuses in Birmingham.





  • 2-5 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break.


  • 6 p.m. Worship on Facebook or YouTube
    We invite you to join our worship online on Facebook or YouTube. This week’s worship is a recorded service because Kelley will be at Camp McDowell broadcasting Bishop Sloan’s Virtual Celebration.

This Sunday – 1st Sunday of Advent

This Sunday.

“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.” Mark 13:32-37

Advent is a season full of prophets: Isaiah, John the Baptist, Mary, Jesus to name a few.

The reading from Mark gives us the apocalyptic vision of the return of the Son of Man. It points to the anxiety of waiting when the day and hour is unknown. The year 2020 has taught us a lot about waiting. We have waited for 10 months for our lives to return to normal, and we continue to wait. Jesus instructs us that while we are waiting we should keep alert and keep awake. 

This Advent, we need to hear the words of the prophets so that we can be alert and awake. Frank A. Thomas describes the work of the prophet as “calling all people to be transformed by the renewal of their minds. Prophetic imagination introduces something beyond the available options…A way out of no way.” It is the prophets that challenge us to look at the world through the lens of hope.

As we begin our year again, as we keep alert and keep awake for the signs of hope around us, join us this Sunday for Holy Eucharist at 6 pm.  Remember to wear a mask. You can join us at Trinity Commons or on Zoom (bulletin).

– Kelley