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!
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Sometimes I read stuff I’ve just got to share with all of you. This is a story I’ve received now in a couple of different ways, through a book I was given and through an e-mail I received. It’s the story from the International Justice Mission. You might never have heard of them, but they are a group of “high-performing professionals in Washington, D.C. and in offices across the developing world, faced with the task of fighting slavery, human trafficking, police abuse, and other forms of violent oppression.”
Their Founder and CEO is Gary Haugen, a former human rights attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. Every day they work to “rescue victims of violent injustice in the most desperate places of suffering in our world… by working directly with local law enforcement and government officials to prove that justice for the poor is possible.”
In a time of incredible growth and amazing miracles from the hand of God, Gary chose to take a sabbatical, a grown-up time out. It was a faithful spiritual time of tuning out the voices of the world in order to tune into the voice of God. (Maybe you’ve noticed this is a recurring theme in the things I share with all of you.) Gary emerged from his time apart with a deep sense “that God desired for IJM to experience more of His presence and His power. But… we were not yet ready to receive it.” For years the folks at IJM paused for prayer together every other day, but if they were honest with themselves and with God their work then “would veer into prayer-less striving rather than expectant abiding. We longed for transformation – in ourselves and in the lives of those we sought to serve. We longed to know more deeply the love of our good Father who leads us in transformation.”
As a result of this time apart with God, Gary gave to each employee a journal, and the gift of time. Together the entire staff celebrated the gift of silence every day. Everyone arrives at work, settles into their desk space and the first thing on everyone’s agenda is to stop. “All phones are off. Laptops closed. No e-mail. No meetings. Just silence. Solitude. Stillness. For thirty minutes.”
Gary is clear that silence, “stillness can be hard. Even awkward, frustrating. We come to each day like a jar of river water that has been shaken. The water is murky, impossible to see through. But as the jar sits still, unmoved, the silt and sediment begin to settle. Clearer waters emerge. So too, in the stillness that enables solitude and silence, the mud and mire of our souls begins to settle and clarity emerges.”
We may not have high power jobs in Washington D.C. We may not sit at a desk every morning. We may not be facing the challenges of global human rights issues, but we do face all sorts of other challenges day in and day out. I don’t know where this will meet you this week. I don’t know what you’re wrestling with. I don’t know the voices shouting in your ear. But what would it look like for us receive the gift of time to think, time to listen for God’s voice? What would it look like for us to stop and pay attention to the voice of God speaking to our hearts before we rush into whatever awaits us each day?