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!
“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
(I John 3:18)
Over the last couple of weeks Ron and I enjoyed some time away and some time together with our family. There were 13 of us for the week at our cabin in north Georgia, five of whom are 5 and under. It was, to say the least, chaotic and busy in a wonderful way. However, in the middle of our time away we received a phone call that that deeply saddened us all, a call to let us know Rachel died in the early morning hours.
Serving for nine years in Wilmer, Alabama, Rachel’s parents became very good friends of ours as we shared mission and ministry together. I had the blessing of meeting with Rachel and Roger for premarital counseling and then the joy of celebrating their wedding. They were all a part of our mission trips to Ecuador as we served Christ with our hands and feet. A few years later we celebrated with them all as they welcomed their firstborn child, less than a year before our first grandchild arrived. Through the years Rachel and Roger became a part of our extended family. When I journeyed through cancer Rachel and Roger and her parents stood alongside with prayer and encouragement. Several years after my journey with cancer, Rachel began her own journey with breast cancer. She chronicled her journey through poignant and powerful writing. On a Tuesday morning, however, Rachel lost her battle with breast cancer. She was just 38 years old.
Nine of us made our way from the cabin to the funeral. The funeral was difficult in so many ways. Not only was there the grief of a life cut far too short, there was the consuming grief of her parents losing their only child, the grief of her husband, and the painful reality of leaving behind a 6 year-old son. Sitting in a pew alongside my own children and grandchildren the grief seemed multiplied. As someone else summed it up- it’s just not fair! And yet, in the middle of it all, we celebrated Rachel’s life. The way she made strangers feel welcome. The ways she intentionally reached out to those others ignored. The way she created family wherever she went. And, when her heart was touched by the children of Ecuador, she and Roger “adopted” a child through Compassion International, and she became a vocal advocate for others to make a difference in the life of children in need.
How do you measure a life? The lyrics from the Broadway musical, Rent, suggest: “How do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets. In midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles. In laughter, in strife. In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure a year in the life? How about love? Measure in love. Seasons of love.”
Rachel’s funeral was a painful reminder life is short. It was also a powerful reminder that in the final analysis maybe the only thing that really matters is love. The love we give. The love we receive. The opportunities we have to extend love to others. The opportunities for love in action, even when love calls for sacrifice and moving beyond our own comfort zones.
Our five year old grandson is fascinated with relationships, and sadly keenly aware of death- maybe it’s just something about being five. Anyway, one evening as he was falling asleep we were talking about birthdays. He knew my birthday was the next birthday in our family, but then he asked, sadly, “G.G. (Grandma Gail) is this your last birthday?!” I will be celebrating a birthday soon, but I sure hope it’s not my last. I hope I have many more years, with many more opportunities to give and receive love. I hope God continues to stretch me and grow me that I might greet each day with the possibilities of love. For in the end, love, not just in words, but with actions and truth, might just be the fullest measure of life.