Category Archives: Religion

Effort to Cultivate Inclusion begins this Sunday afternoon

935395_470495526367003_211583941_nSunday afternoon will see United Methodists from throughout North Central Alabama gather on the campus of Birmingham Southern College for their annual conference. This year’s session takes place through June 4. Shortly after the opening service concludes at approximately 3:30 p.m., many are asking folks to take part in a public group prayer on campus between the Bill Battle Coliseum and the Kennedy Art Center/Azar Art Studios in order to draw attention to growing efforts to seeking greater inclusion in the church.

The following explanation of the event was taken from its press release:

There is a growing concern among some clergy in the UMC that their ability to be pastors to LGBTQ persons, their friends, and their families is compromised by church rules which forbid our officiating at same-sex marriages and which gag prayers of blessing for them.

The rule against the ordination of “self-avowed, practicing” homosexual persons is essentially a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for clergy. It is believed that the church will continue to alienate young people and damage their evangelistic witness by continuing to support anti-gay policies which do not represent the best scholarship, biblical interpretation or missional outreach of the United Methodist Church.

One of the organizers of the effort, Stephanie Arnold, sat down for an interview with WBRC Fox 6 that aired on May 29. Organizers have created a fan page on Facebook and already created a follow-up event to take place downtown at First Church Birmingham on July 22. The rain location for the June 2 group prayer is the college’s library. Its event listing on Facebook providing a little more detail as to the schedule for the afternoon.

First Church’s doors are open

First United Methodist Church in downtown Birmingham’s got a busy week on tap.

First, they’re celebrating as Open House, their new mid-week service of “prayer, meditation and music,” begins this evening at 5 p.m., with the church’s historic entryway on 19th Street North opening at 4:30 p.m. The ability to enjoy some quiet reflection is something that all of us seek at one time or another regardless of religious affiliation.

We’ve also learned that this Sunday U.S. Congressman Artur Davis will be speaking in the church’s dining hall between 9:45 – 10:45 a.m. The man who seconded the Democratic presidential candidate’s nomination been told he can talk about whatever he wishes, though he’s been asked to make comments about the role of communities of faith in urban settings.

Boutwell’s the tipping point tonight

This morning’s Birmingham News points out the frequency that days of prayer are held in the city (as Mayor Langford prepares for one this evening officially announced earlier this week) well as the rumblings about legal action that may be taken if it’s found to be an official government event. The event has definitely drawn some criticism, even locally. We even have our own veiled opinion, though from a slightly different angle.

We’ve gotten a few responses to our current Magic City Question; as we get ready to change it later on today, we’d welcome anyone else that wants to lend their voices to the conversation.

Comparisons of biblical proportion today in City Hall

There are days when you just want to curl up and hide; unfortunately that was one of those days for me, so I was not in attendance at the weekly city council meeting when Mayor Larry Langford drew comparisons between The Magic City and the City of Nineveh in the language used for his proclamation announcing “a day of prayer in sackcloth and ashes”. Like we said earlier, today was a busy day for the city’s chief executive.

Check out the Birmingham Weekly for a PDF of the proclamation and some video to go along with it.

You may want to let us know what you think about it… preferably over on Magic City Question.

Random Shots: What are you thankful for?

Sixteenth Street/ First Church joint dinner

Photo credit: André  Natta

That was the question being asked by congregates of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and First United Methodist Church earlier this evening. The two church families gathered at Sixteenth Street for a joint Thanksgiving service.

This was the third year that the two downtown houses of worship gathered together. The congregations take turns visiting each other’s facilities, with the minister from the other church delivering the sermon. This year Rev. John Rutland of First United Methodist Church had the honors.

The image above was taken during the joint Thanksgiving dinner held after the service.

Birmingham Startup creates a CrossConneXion

CrossConnexion screenshot

Screen capture of

The result of two weekends worth of hard work and gallons of coffee is up on the World Wide Web this morning. CrossConneXion is the product resulting from the first ever Birmingham Startup session. The blog tells a great story about the highs and lows associated with this type of event, including just what some others are thinking about it.

The Birmingham Business Journal posted a great wrap-up of the activities surrounding the creation of the site, the brain child of Jim Sutton, youth pastor at First Church Worship Center in Tarrant.

Birmingham’s got a new Catholic bishop

Baker portraitOr at least he will be officially late this afternoon. Robert Baker will be installed as the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham  during a 3 p.m. service at St. Paul’s Cathedral downtown. There will be a procession leading into the church including several dignitaries that are mentioned in this brief over on the Decatur Daily website.

The installation service will also be broadcast live over the EWTN Network who will be airing a rebroadcast of the event on Wednesday evening beginning at 11 p.m. for those that are not able to see it today. Or you could just click here and watch it live on your computer screen.
Click here to see a previous post about Bishop Baker here on The Terminal.