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 http://bit.ly/TCGives.

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 bit.ly/TCGives. 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.

Rejoice!

Kelley+

WINTER BREAK SCHEDULE

Tuesday

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

Sunday

  • 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 Week – 11/23/20

This Week.

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”  Luke 17:11-19 

Martin Luther was once asked to describe the nature of true worship. His answer: the tenth leper turning back. This passage from Luke is the gospel reading assigned for Thanksgiving Day, and it points us to the importance of giving thanks. There are also some other details in this story that speak to our Thanksgiving Day experiences.

Jesus, on his way to Jerusalem, finds himself in an in-between place where Jews and Samaritans meet. There was long-standing conflict between Jews and Samaritans. Samaritans are the other, the enemy. But yet in the Gospel of Luke, Samaritans are the exemplar of loving our neighbors and of giving thanks. By using Samaritans in this way, Luke invites us to see that the Samaritans are not the enemy, but instead are our neighbors that we can learn something from.

Family gatherings can be in-between places, where folks with lots of history and baggage come together. In 2020, our Thanksgiving Day should look quite different. We will be spread out in backyards or joining by Zoom, and there will likely be points of disagreement and tension. When you are fed up with wearing a mask, I hope you give thanks that you have the chance to protect those around you by leaving your mask on. And when someone says something you disagree with, or someone can’t work Zoom right, I hope that you give thanks that you can gather with friends or family even with COVID-19 precautions. 

If we focus on giving thanks, we will spend less time being frustrated with the weirdness of Thanksgiving Day 2020.

– Kelley

SCHEDULE

Tuesday

  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break.

Sunday

  • 6 p.m. Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Holy Eucharist in the chapel. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Week – 11/16/20

This Week.

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The collect for this past Sunday instructs us that God “caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning.” This means the passages that comfort us like Psalm 123:3 “So our eyes look to the Lord our God, * until he show us his mercy.” This means the passages that challenge us like Matthew 15:30: “throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” It also means the Scriptures that we have just forgotten about, like the entirety of the Book of Judges.

This Sunday we heard seven verses from Chapter 4 of the Book of Judges. This is the only time in the three year lectionary cycle that we hear anything from this book. Judges is a collection of stories of the cyclical leadership of Israel. The cycle was generally Israel would fall into sin, bad things happen, a judge would be lifted up, Israel would repent, things would get better, and then the slide back into sin. There were six judges in all. The brief passage introduces us to Deborah, the only judge that was a woman. Deborah is also the only judge that was viewed as uniformly positive and identified as the “mother in Israel.”

You might be surprised by the stories told in judges. This is the book where the story of Samson and Delilah is told. It includes military battles and intrigue to rival Game of Thrones. But more importantly, when we read the whole book, in the context of the larger story of God, we see again and again that God is faithful, even when we are not. 

Maybe this week you can take a moment and turn to a part of the Bible you have not read before, you might be surprised what you find there. I hope you join us at BSC for our last Holy Eucharist of the semester at 11:45 am today, or drop by the Trinity Commons this afternoon. 

– Kelley

SCHEDULE

Tuesday

  • 11:45 a.m. Worship at BSC
    I will be on campus at 10 am, come by and say hello. Then join us IN THE CHAPEL for a short service of Holy Eucharist.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break.

Sunday

  • 6 p.m. Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Holy Eucharist in the chapel. We will again welcome the Rev. Emily Collette as our preacher. Sunday Supper following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Week – 11/09/20

This Week.

Thank you to all the folks that were present, joined virtually, or offered well wishes and prayers for my ordination on Saturday. It was a beautiful and joy-filled service. If you were not able to join live, the service is available here

It’s hard to believe that we are already near the end of this semester. I must admit at the beginning of the semester I expected that we would have another shutdown. But all y’all kept vigilant with COVID precautions, and we have been able to continue to gather. 

In the reading from Matthew this week, Jesus tells a parable about 10 bridesmaids, 5 of which are deemed wise and 5 foolish. All 10 were excited for the bridegroom to arrive and were dressed and lamps lit. All 10 fell asleep when the bridegroom did not arrive on time. The 5 that are found to be wise were those that brought extra oil. They came ready, filled with hope, but knowing that things may not go as planned or as they would like it. Because of their preparation, they were able to refill their lamps and to join the bridegroom at the celebration.

Very little about 2020 has gone as planned or hoped for. Be we are still called to be ready. To be ready to seek and serve Christ in all persons. To be ready to work for justice and peace. That means saying our prayers, wearing masks and physically distancing, and keep washing our hands. We may be tired of all this, but we have got to keep vigilant and be ready.

I hope you join us on campus at BSC for Holy Eucharist at 11:45 am today, or drop by the Trinity Commons. Also, another reason to be ready is that the bishop is coming! Bishop Kee Sloan and the Ven. Lou Thibodaux will be with us on Sunday for Holy Eucharist and supper. 

– Kelley

SCHEDULE

Tuesday

  • 11:45 a.m. Worship at BSC
    I will be on campus at 10 am, come by and say hello. Then join us IN THE CHAPEL for a short service of Holy Eucharist.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break.

Sunday

  • 6 p.m. Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Holy Eucharist in the chapel. Bishop Sloan will be with us. To join us in person signup hereSunday Supper following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Week – 11/02/20

This Week.

“So whatever your politics, however you have or will cast your vote, however this election unfolds, wherever the course of racial reckoning and pandemic take us, whether we are in the valley or the mountaintop, hold on to the hope of America. Hold on hope grounded in our shared values and ideals. Hold on to God’s dream. Hold on and struggle and walk and pray for our nation.” – Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, November 1, 2020

Last week, on Tuesday, October 27, I clicked on the video of the Birmingham City Council meeting. One of the first things they did that day was honor Martha Mae Ophelia Moon Tucker (pictured above in 1963). Ms. Tucker will retire as the chief inspector of her polling place tomorrow, after serving as a poll worker for 57 years. 

When she registered to vote in 1963 the first question that was asked of her was if she could spell her name. That was just the first of the ridiculous questions that she had to answer. But she stayed the course, answered them all, and registered to vote. She then signed up to be a poll worker and has worked every election since then. She has also voted in every election since 1963 too.

Yesterday, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry gave a wonderful sermon. It is 27 minutes long, and worth every minute. You can listen to it here. As he concluded, he reminded us that we are to hold on to God’s dream “and struggle and walk and pray for our nation.” 

Tomorrow is the day that many of us have been waiting for and dreading. I hope you vote tomorrow. If you have already voted, I hope you remind someone else to vote. Even if you think the whole system is broken, I want you to vote. I want you to vote because Martha Mae Ophelia Moon Tucker knows that voting matters, and she struggled and worked for 57 years so that everyone can vote. 

And I want you to pray. We can’t hold on to God’s dream if we aren’t listening to what God has to tell us. Below you will find this week’s schedule and the opportunities that we have to gather for prayer. 

I also want you to take care of yourself. Between the election and the pandemic, there is plenty to be anxious about. So wash your hands, wear your mask, and be kind to yourself.

I hope to see you on campus or at the student center this week. Come by and say your prayers or just have a chat.

– Kelley

SCHEDULE

Tuesday

  • 11:45 a.m. Worship at BSC
    I will be on campus at 10 am, come by and say hello. Then join us IN THE CHAPEL for a short service of prayers, scripture, and Holy Communion.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break.
  • 6:30 p.m. Election Day Evensong
    Join us at St. Andrew’s (or on Facebook) for a special service of prayers for our country. More info

Saturday

  • 11 a.m. Kelley’s Ordination to the Priesthood at St. Andrew’s
    While in-person attendance will be limited, the service will be live-streamed. More info

Sunday

  • 6 p.m. Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Church in the chapel. Sunday Supper following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Week – 10/26/20

This Week.

Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

The Sermon on the Mount begins with the pronouncement of blessings on the disciples of Jesus, but as the sermon continues, it becomes clear that what Jesus is asking for is not easy. As the sermon comes to a close, Jesus makes it clear that what his disciples are called to is the hard road and the narrow gate. But those who stay on the path, those who are poor in spirit, those who fast and pray and give alms, those who do not give in to worry, they will find life.

When the road gets difficult, we can rely on our blessedness. When we feel alone, we can rely on the fact that we are children of God, brothers and sisters in Christ. Our journey on the hard road is not one that we take alone. 

We are in a stressful time in our country. There is lots of anxiety and uncertainty for folks, but we are not alone. I invite you to pray for our communities, our country, and our elected officials. For those that might find it helpful, you can use this litany and prayers for each day.

I hope to see you on campus or at the student center this week. Join us as we say or prayers or just come by for a chat.

– Kelley

Upcoming Special Events

Tues, Nov. 3 at 6:30 pm
Election Day Evensong
Join us for a special service of prayers for our country.
More info


Sat. Nov. 7 at 11 am
Kelley’s Ordination
to the Priesthood

While in-person attendance will be limited, the service will be live streamed.
More info


Sun. Nov. 15 at 6 pm
Bishop Sloan’s Visitation
We will welcome Bishop Sloan for worship and dinner. To join us in person signup here.
You can also join us on Zoom.


ICYMI
Here are the links to the Sermon on the Mount Series:
The Beatitudes
Taking Torah Seriously
You are salt and light
Pray then in this way
Do not worry

SCHEDULE

Tuesday

  • 11:45 a.m. Worship at BSC
    I will be on campus at 10 am, come by and say hello. Then join us IN THE CHAPEL as we say our prayers and continue our reflections on the Sermon on the Mount.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break.

Sunday

  • 6 pm Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Church in the chapel. Sunday Supper following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Week – 10/19/2020

This Week.

Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? … But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:25-26, 33-34

During the shutdown, my neighbor hung a bird feeder. There was the initial frustration of squirrels raiding the feeder, but after trying out some tricks the squirrels were deterred. That meant that we got to spend the summer watching the familiar cardinals and brown thrashers at the feeders, as well as new additions of house finches, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and other small birds.

At some point, my neighbor said she was worried that the birds were becoming dependent on the feeder and maybe her feeding them was affecting their ability to forage for food. I laughed a bit and said that I didn’t think that was how birds worked.

Do not worry. Jesus points to the birds and their reliance on God to provide for them to demonstrate why we shouldn’t worry. Birds don’t have to worry as long as they are being birds–eating at feeders, building nests, flying. Jesus’ call to us to not worry is a call to be who we are created to be–made in God’s image, beloved, and faithful. I don’t think Jesus expects that we will just stop worrying, but he does call for us to not get so caught up in worrying that we lose sight of God. When our priorities are in order–striving first for the Kingdom of God–we can stay focus on what matters.

What are you worrying about? What can you do today to stay focused and not let worry overtake you?

This week’s schedule is below. BSC folks take note that we are moving to Yielding Chapel for our Tuesday worship. I hope to see you soon on campus or at Trinity Commons.

-Kelley

SCHEDULE

Tuesday
  • 11:45 a.m. Worship at BSC
    I will be on campus at 10 am, come by and say hello. Then join us IN THE CHAPEL as we say our prayers and continue our reflections on the Sermon on the Mount.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break.
Sunday
  • 6 pm Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Church in the chapel. Sunday Supper following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Week – 10/12/2020

This Week.

Jesus said, “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:9-15

We say the Lord’s Prayer so often, that it is easy to forget that it is part of the Sermon on the Mount. This is a prayer that most of us can recite by memory. It is a prayer that we often go to in times of stress or need. While this prayer is thoroughly associated with the Christian faith, it is rooted in the faith and prayers of Israel. Which makes sense since Jesus was Jewish, as were the first disciples.

While the whole prayer is powerful, it is perhaps the opening line that is the most transformative. “Our Father.” When we pray in this way we are claiming our kinship to God, and because we are children of God we are part of a new family with countless siblings.

Maybe this is why this is the go-to prayer in times of distress. It reminds us that we are never alone. We are always God’s children, and we are always brothers and sisters in God.

What does the Lord’s Prayer mean to you? In all the craziness of 2020, how connected do you feel to God right now? How connected do you feel to others?

Check out the schedule below for times that we can connect through prayer and fellowship. I hope to see you soon on campus or at Trinity Commons.

-Kelley

SCHEDULE

Tuesday
  • 11:45 a.m. Worship at BSC
    I will be on campus at 10 am, come by and say hello. Then join us in Norton 121 as we say our prayers and continue our reflections on the Sermon on the Mount.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break. You can also drop in on Zoom.
Sunday
  • 6 pm Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Church in the chapel. The Rev. Emily Collette will preach. Sunday Supper to-go following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Week – 10/05/2020

This Week.

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16

We are back to our usual schedule this week, so I hope to see you on campus or at Trinity Commons. This past Sunday we had a wonderful supper after our service thanks to the folks at Black Dog BBQ. So remember, Sunday suppers are back!

For the past couple of weeks, we have been looking at The Sermon on the Mount. We have reflected on the Beatitudes and on Jesus’ call to take the Torah seriously.  In the passage for this week, Jesus declares that his disciples are salt and light.

I have always found this a bit curious. Salt and light are both very useful, but they are not my go-to comparisons to use for encouragement. Salt certainly makes food taste better and can preserve food. Light definitely makes life easier. But salt and light can be too much. If you have ever eaten an over-salted meal or stepped into the bright sunlight from a dark room, you know how too much of either of these can be an unpleasant or painful experience.

What do you think Jesus wants the disciples to learn by being “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”? What is he encouraging? And what is he warning against? What does it mean to be salt and light in 2020?

-Kelley

SCHEDULE

Tuesday
  • 11:45 a.m. Worship at BSC
    I will be on campus at 10 am, come by and say hello. Then join us in Norton 121 as we say our prayers and continue our reflections on the Sermon on the Mount.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break. You can also drop in on Zoom.
Sunday
  • 6 pm Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Church in the chapel. Sunday Supper to-go following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.

This Week – 09/28/2020

This Week.

Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.  For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18

Some folks read the Sermon on the Mount as a correction to the Torah. Pointing to Matthew 5:17 through 6:4, they describe Jesus as providing antitheses to the shortcomings of the Jewish law. Scholar Amy-Jill Levine writes that these are not antitheses but extensions of the law. Jesus is not correcting the law, but is instead challenging us to protect the law and take it more seriously. Jesus places a “fence around the Torah,” and by doing so the Torah is protected because is harder to get yourself in a situation where you would break the law.

Putting a fence around something can be an important tool. If we are trying to quit a bad habit, the first thing to do is remove the temptation. If we are trying to develop a healthy discipline, sometimes we have to make space and remove distractions. When we do this, we are showing our commitment and how important the thing is that we are trying to change.

How can you protect what is important when there is so much competition and distraction? In this day of information overload, are there things you need to put a fence around? Do you need to protect a relationship with family or a friend? Time for rest? Time for joy? What are the temptations or distractions that you need to clear out to make room for God?

I hope you join us this week, either at BSC or Trinity Commons. Don’t forget to register for Fall College Retreat at Camp McDowell by October 1.

Also, GOOD NEWS, this Sunday we will offer Sunday Supper to-go following our worship service. So, come and say your prays and share a meal!

-Kelley

SCHEDULE

Tuesday
  • 11:45 a.m. Worship at BSC
    Join us in Norton 121 as we begin our look at the Sermon on the Mount during a short service of prayers and scripture.
  • 3-6 p.m. Drop-in Hours at Trinity Commons
    Come by for a chat or just to take a break. And if you are interested, you can even grab a popsicle or ice cream cone. You can also drop in on Zoom.
Sunday
  • 6 pm Worship at Trinity Commons & Zoom
    Join us for Church in the chapel. Sunday Supper to-go following the service. Wear a mask and invite a friend. You can also join us via Zoom.