“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
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!
While in Italy recently, I had the opportunity to renew my acquaintance with an old friend, Francis. Growing up in the beautiful hillside town of Assisi, Francis was not a part of the nobility, but he was the son of a very successful and wealthy merchant. Heir to the family fortune, poised to take over the family business, Frances lived a life of privilege, drawn to adventure and having a good time.
One day, however, Francis was alone in the dilapidated chapel of San Damiano in town, praying before a crucifix, one in which the eyes of Jesus seemed to be looking right at him. While in prayer, Francis heard a voice saying to him, “Francis, repair my church, which has fallen into disrepair, as you can see.” At first, Frances took this quite literally and began what we might call a building program, going door-to-door gathering materials and assistance for the rebuilding of the church. Along the way, Frances began to realize what God was calling him to was far more than the physical repair of one chapel, but rather the rebuilding, reforming of God’s church that had strayed far, in just about every way from God’s plans and purposes. By his words and by his actions, Francis sought to live out the teachings of Jesus, calling the church back to the “radical simplicity of the gospel, to the spirit of poverty, and to the image of Christ in His poor.” It was a long way from the life he once embraced. As author Robert Ellsberg notes, “Francis’s life began to take shape around an utterly new agenda, contrary to the values of his family and the world.”
Francis, of course, lived a long time ago, but the similarities between his time and ours is interesting. Francis lived in a time of great anxiety in the midst of a rapidly changing society. It was a time of “aggressive capitalism and greed ran riot in culture.” Sex scandals were in the news both inside and outside of the church. “In Francis’s day the church was hemorrhaging credibility. It was seen a hypocritical, untrustworthy and irrelevant.” The church settled for a “commercialized Jesus,” and was involved in the power of politics. It was also a time when “Christians were at war with Muslims.” Does any of this sound familiar?
Meeting Francis again, walking through his hometown, sitting in the chapel facing the same crucifix in the Chapel of San Damiano, served as a powerful reminder that God is always in the work of re-forming God’s church. When we think about reformation, we may think of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation of over 500 years ago, but this was only one of many times the church has undergone reformation calling it back to the plans and purposes of God. Perhaps the Church is always ripe for re-formation as it is so easy for humans to engage in our own agendas as if God is not there, and God is not in charge! It’s so easy to insert our own plans and purposes for God’s mission and ministry to a broken world.
Thinking about Francis, this week I celebrate a bold and courageous step by our Leadership Team here at Gadsden Street UMC. This weekend, eleven of our leaders will begin the journey of Faithwalking, opening our hearts, minds and lives to the ongoing work of God, while discerning God’s call for His people at Ninth and Gadsden Street. We are thankful for a team of prayers who have committed to undergirding it all with persistent prayer. All of this is just a beginning as we seek to be faithful to God’s plans and purposes in us and through us, but I look forward to seeing all God will do in us, through us and among us as we seek to be faithful. I invite you to join our prayer partners in praying for wisdom, discernment, and for the ways God will re-form us!