What a joy it is to welcome you to Gadsden Street United Methodist Church! I celebrate our opportunity to connect through the internet. Gadsden Street UMC is a community of faith rooted and grounded in God’s love. Our ongoing response to God’s love is expressed through prayer and worship, growing together in studying and seeking to live out God’s word, and as we serve locally and globally the least, the last and the lost. We are pleased to share our facilities on the corner of Ninth and Gadsden Street, with a Korean Methodist congregation, Lighthouse Private Christian Academy, the Pensacola United Methodist District offices and weekly AA meetings. We also celebrate the opportunity to be active partners in many excellent and effective ministries throughout our community.
On this webpage you’ll find brief descriptions of some of our ongoing ministries. Located across from Granada Square we celebrate every opportunity to connect with our neighbors and our community. In responding to God’s plans and purposes we are continually in the process of cultivating new opportunities to grow in grace and to serve faithfully.
No matter where you may find yourself along the journey of faith, we invite you to come grow with us!
“For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” (II Peter 1: 5-7)
Have you ever messed up? Have you ever done something and ended up with less than perfect results? (I won’t bore you with my own long, long list that fits this category!) Have you ever tried to learn something new? When you try something new, something challenging, do you master it the first time? With most things that matter in life there is a learning curve, whether it is batting a ball, baking a cake, playing an instrument, learning a new skill- we begin as novices and grow through plenty of failed attempts. A joke that’s been around for a long, long time poses the question: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The answer: “Practice, practice, practice.”
I am thankful for the blessing of modern media allowing me to see pictures and videos of our grandchildren almost every day, and to be able to talk with them face-to-face wherever we are and wherever they might be. This week we received a video of 6-year-old Jude learning to ride his bike. Do you remember when you first learned to ride a bike? Part of the process involves getting your balance and losing your balance, riding and falling, and then getting back up and trying again. This week Jude learned to ride his bike for the first time without training wheels.
You’ve heard the old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” This may surprise you, but this is just plain not true! We usually say that kids are better at learning new things--that they're brains are more "elastic," but recent research actually shows that elasticity doesn't change at all over time. The only difference between kids and adults in learning is that adults become very failure averse. Adults just don't like to be bad at something, anything, but in order to learn something new thing, you have to be willing to be bad at it for quite some time.
In a chapter our Leaders Journey team recently read together, the authors say, “anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” This may sound a bit strange, but it’s offered as encouragement to try new things, learn new things, experiment with spiritual disciplines that stretch us and grow us, and to be willing to cultivate a spirit of playfulness that isn’t squashed by whether we get it right the first time. The authors remind us: “(The spiritual disciplines invite) us into the unfamiliar… to help us relinquish control to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.” Choosing to grow closer to God may take us on new paths. Following God into the world for mission and ministry will often invite us into unfamiliar territory. God has been at work through more than 100 years of ministry at Gadsden Street UMC, and God will continue guiding us into God’s emerging future for our faith family, often with the invitation to learn and try something new as we seek to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
As we celebrate God’s gift of the ongoing ability to learn new things, I offer a prayer from Guerrillas of Grace (Ted Loder): “Gentle me, Holy One, into an unclenched moment, a deep breath, a letting go of heavy expectancies, of shriveling anxieties, of dead certainties, that, softened by the silence, surrounded by the light, and open to the mystery, I may be found by wholeness, upheld by the unfathomable, entranced by the simple, and filled with the joy that is You.”