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Bible Study - 03/3/2021 - 7:00 pm
Women's Quilting Class - 03/4/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join our ladies for this nice time of fellowship and learning.  We are learning together how to make a quilt.  

Be sure to bring a small dish for pot luck together with our other ladies.  See Sheila Campbell for more information.

Monthly Business Meeting - 03/7/2021 - 7:00 pm

We will hold our monthly business meeting immediately following the evening worship.  Please attend to review the church business.

Women's Quilting Class - 03/11/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join our ladies for this nice time of fellowship and learning.  We are learning together how to make a quilt.  

Be sure to bring a small dish for pot luck together with our other ladies.  See Sheila Campbell for more information.

Brotherhood Breakfast - 03/13/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join us for a wonderful Country Breakfast for the family.  The cost is $5 each or $12 for a family of 3 or more.  There will be a short devotion following the meal.  Don't miss this great time of fellowship and fun together with our Church family and friends.

Women's Quilting Class - 03/18/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join our ladies for this nice time of fellowship and learning.  We are learning together how to make a quilt.  

Be sure to bring a small dish for pot luck together with our other ladies.  See Sheila Campbell for more information.

Stemley Senior Sensations Fellowship - 03/19/2021 - 11:00 am

Come join this time of fun and fellowship with our seniors of the church.  There will be activites and food for all.  See you there!

Birthday and Anniversary Fellowship - 03/21/2021 - 5:30 pm

On this evening, we celebrate with anyone who has a birthday or a couple that has an anniversary.  We share finger type foods and then sing some favorite hymns selected by the congregation.  Please come and join this fun evening.

Churchwide Dinner - 03/24/2021 - 6:00 pm

The WMU will be serving dinner for the church.  Please bring your family and friends for some good food and fellowship.

Women's Quilting Class - 03/25/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join our ladies for this nice time of fellowship and learning.  We are learning together how to make a quilt.  

Be sure to bring a small dish for pot luck together with our other ladies.  See Sheila Campbell for more information.

Women's Quilting Class - 04/1/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join our ladies for this nice time of fellowship and learning.  We are learning together how to make a quilt.  

Be sure to bring a small dish for pot luck together with our other ladies.  See Sheila Campbell for more information.

Monthly Business Meeting - 04/4/2021 - 7:00 pm

We will hold our monthly business meeting immediately following the evening worship.  Please attend to review the church business.

Bible Study - 04/7/2021 - 7:00 pm
Women's Quilting Class - 04/8/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join our ladies for this nice time of fellowship and learning.  We are learning together how to make a quilt.  

Be sure to bring a small dish for pot luck together with our other ladies.  See Sheila Campbell for more information.

Brotherhood Breakfast - 04/10/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join us for a wonderful Country Breakfast for the family.  The cost is $5 each or $12 for a family of 3 or more.  There will be a short devotion following the meal.  Don't miss this great time of fellowship and fun together with our Church family and friends.

Women's Quilting Class - 04/15/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join our ladies for this nice time of fellowship and learning.  We are learning together how to make a quilt.  

Be sure to bring a small dish for pot luck together with our other ladies.  See Sheila Campbell for more information.

Stemley Senior Sensations Fellowship - 04/16/2021 - 11:00 am

Come join this time of fun and fellowship with our seniors of the church.  There will be activites and food for all.  See you there!

Birthday and Anniversary Fellowship - 04/18/2021 - 5:30 pm

On this evening, we celebrate with anyone who has a birthday or a couple that has an anniversary.  We share finger type foods and then sing some favorite hymns selected by the congregation.  Please come and join this fun evening.

Women's Quilting Class - 04/22/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join our ladies for this nice time of fellowship and learning.  We are learning together how to make a quilt.  

Be sure to bring a small dish for pot luck together with our other ladies.  See Sheila Campbell for more information.

Churchwide Dinner - 04/28/2021 - 6:00 pm

The WMU will be serving dinner for the church.  Please bring your family and friends for some good food and fellowship.

Women's Quilting Class - 04/29/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join our ladies for this nice time of fellowship and learning.  We are learning together how to make a quilt.  

Be sure to bring a small dish for pot luck together with our other ladies.  See Sheila Campbell for more information.

Monthly Business Meeting - 05/2/2021 - 7:00 pm

We will hold our monthly business meeting immediately following the evening worship.  Please attend to review the church business.

Bible Study - 05/5/2021 - 7:00 pm
Women's Quilting Class - 05/6/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join our ladies for this nice time of fellowship and learning.  We are learning together how to make a quilt.  

Be sure to bring a small dish for pot luck together with our other ladies.  See Sheila Campbell for more information.

Brotherhood Breakfast - 05/8/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join us for a wonderful Country Breakfast for the family.  The cost is $5 each or $12 for a family of 3 or more.  There will be a short devotion following the meal.  Don't miss this great time of fellowship and fun together with our Church family and friends.

Women's Quilting Class - 05/13/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join our ladies for this nice time of fellowship and learning.  We are learning together how to make a quilt.  

Be sure to bring a small dish for pot luck together with our other ladies.  See Sheila Campbell for more information.

Birthday and Anniversary Fellowship - 05/16/2021 - 5:30 pm

On this evening, we celebrate with anyone who has a birthday or a couple that has an anniversary.  We share finger type foods and then sing some favorite hymns selected by the congregation.  Please come and join this fun evening.

Women's Quilting Class - 05/20/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join our ladies for this nice time of fellowship and learning.  We are learning together how to make a quilt.  

Be sure to bring a small dish for pot luck together with our other ladies.  See Sheila Campbell for more information.

Stemley Senior Sensations Fellowship - 05/21/2021 - 11:00 am

Come join this time of fun and fellowship with our seniors of the church.  There will be activites and food for all.  See you there!

Churchwide Dinner - 05/26/2021 - 6:00 pm

The WMU will be serving dinner for the church.  Please bring your family and friends for some good food and fellowship.

Women's Quilting Class - 05/27/2021 - 9:00 am

Come join our ladies for this nice time of fellowship and learning.  We are learning together how to make a quilt.  

Be sure to bring a small dish for pot luck together with our other ladies.  See Sheila Campbell for more information.

Deacon's Pantry in need
The Deacon's Pantry is in need. This time of year, the request for pantry items are very high. If you have non-perishable items that you would like to donate for this ministry, please bring them to the kitchen and they will be added to the pantry.
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The Golden Globe nominee shows us what happens when “the Way” really isn’t.

The galaxy can be a complicated place.

Din Djarin, the title character of the Disney+ show The Mandalorian, learns this quickly. Played by Pedro Pascal, the stoic gunslinger has led Star Wars fans into unexplored corners of the much-loved franchise and become the world’s favorite foster dad.

As Din travels to various planets tracking down the mysterious alien child Grogu (better known as Baby Yoda) and eventually seeking a good home for him, he meets people whose beliefs severely challenge his own. Din’s soul-searching becomes the heart of the show, and his willingness to question his worldview makes a good example for us as well.

Trained as a bounty hunter by a secretive religious community of Mandalorians on a backwater planet, Din thinks he knows everything about his culture and his personal convictions. His people even have a mantra to remind them to hold fast to their beliefs: “This is the Way.”

But what, exactly, is the Way? Is it protecting the Mandalorians’ covert on the planet Nevarro at all costs? Is it keeping his face hidden from even his own people? Is it caring for foundlings, orphans who are rescued and reared to preserve Mandalorian culture? What if fulfilling one of these tenets jeopardizes another? Worse, what if some of them aren’t essential for a Mandalorian to follow?

Suddenly, Din feels pretty relatable. As Christians, we may be confident in our convictions until a leader we admire is exposed as not the role model we knew them to be. Or until we meet people who challenge our private stereotypes. Or until a community we belong to starts expressing values we don’t hold. We find ourselves feeling pulled in two directions, torn between beliefs that no longer agree or ...

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These 40 days of self-denial might seem painful during a pandemic. But the habits of “tedious love” are just what we need right now.

After the world shuttered last March, I turned to my kitchen. I made cinnamon rolls and blueberry muffins. I fried doughnuts and braided Finnish coffee bread. For many, bread-baking was our collective, cloistered privilege. We had time to watch something rise.

But those days, dusted in flour, now seem remote. Hundreds of thousands have since died. Businesses have closed, never to reopen. Many children have never returned to school. Many churches, including my own, have never re-opened for corporate worship. Our pandemic year, while experienced differently, has whittled all of us down and apprenticed us in losses of many forms.

It begs the question: How can we rouse the will to practice Lent—its deprivations, its renunciations—after a long Lenten year?

On the surface, these 40 days of self-denial might seem like the very last thing we need. And yet I would argue the opposite. Our pandemic lives have brought us face to face with the same temptation that plagued the monks centuries ago—the sin of acedia. It’s the inability to “rouse yourself to give a damn” as Kathleen Norris writes in Acedia & Me. In that context, the structure of Lent offers us not a millstone but a lifeline. It provides a way out of the dark waters of acedia.

During the fourth century, Evagrius of Pontus identified the first formal list of eight deadly vices that were common to the desert hermetic. Among that list of recognizable sins—gluttony, lust, greed, pride—Evagrius also included sadness and sloth, which centuries later came to be understood together as acedia.

Rebecca DeYoung explains in Glittering Vices that acedia is not laziness as we might traditionally conceive of it. It comes in twin forms. It’s ...

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The first of three posts on Dr. Sawyer's thoughts and concerns about CRT.

As a faculty member in the social sciences in a state institution, critical social theory (CST) is the water I swim in, the air I breathe. As an academic and conscientious Christian, justice concerns drive much of my scholarship and all of my praxis (activism). Consequently, critical race theory (CRT), a prominent critical social theory concerned about racial justice, has a place in my teaching, scholarship, and praxis. I say this to underscore that while this series will be net critical of CRT, that doesn’t mean that CRT has nothing to offer to social analysis and that some of its insights aren’t genuinely instructive when it comes to our racial history in the U.S and our current racial zeitgeist. Indeed, some aspects of CRT are notably discerning and percipient. It is an injustice to truth to deny this or act otherwise. Please keep this in mind as you move through my analysis.

In this article I want to give an overview of CRT and mention some of its unifying ideas. In the second article, I’ll offer five important cautions relative to how its claims can be received and embraced. In the final article, I’ll offer three more cautions, a salient concluding point, and a final exhortation.

Before I move into an overview of CRT, I want to make a final point by way of introduction. Where there is disagreement about CRT in the professed Church, we should make every effort to ensure there is no hateful speech, no ad hominem attacks, and no slander. The nuance and care needed with this topic should underscore the importance of sticking close to Christ’s commands regarding our speech and how we communicate with one another (Matt 12:36-37; Eph 4:15, 29-31; Col 4:6; 2Tim 2:24-25). In many respects, the Enemy ...

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East African nation has no plans in place to accept COVID-19 vaccines.

Tanzania’s leader is finally acknowledging that his country has a coronavirus problem after claiming for months that the disease had been defeated by prayer.

Populist President John Magufuli on February 21 urged citizens of the East African country to take precautions and even wear face masks—but only locally made ones. Over the course of the pandemic he has expressed wariness about foreign-made goods, including COVID-19 vaccines.

Last month, the president called on his 60 million citizens for three days of prayer to defeat unnamed “respiratory diseases” amid warnings that the country is seeing a deadly resurgence in infections.

“Maybe we have wronged God somewhere,” Magufuli told mourners at a funeral for his chief secretary, John Kijazi, on February 19. “Let us all repent.”

Though officials in late February announced public health rules similar to other nation’s COVID-19 measures, Magufuli has repeatedly claimed that Tanzania defeated COVID-19 with God’s help. The government has not updated its official number of coronavirus cases since last spring, and the health ministry has promoted unproven herbal remedies.

But the local Catholic church, the US Embassy, and others have openly warned of a resurgence in cases. On February 20, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, added his voice to growing calls for Tanzania to acknowledge COVID-19 for the good of its citizens, neighboring countries, and the world, especially after a number of countries reported that visitors arriving from Tanzania tested positive for the virus.

And the death last month of the vice president of the semi-autonomous island region of Zanzibar, Seif Sharif ...

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A discussion on identity, faith, and the pursuit of justice.

Last year, CT’s “Race Set Before Us” series helped challenge and inform Christians during a season of reckoning, lament, and heightened interest around issues of racial justice. Join moderator Vincent E. Bacote, along with guest speakers from the original series Walter Kim, Michelle Reyes, Jamal-Dominique Hopkins, and Sheila Caldwell as they discuss how we can pursue racial justice within our theology, churches, and society.

Our Speakers:

Vincent E. Bacote

Vincent E. Bacote, PhD, is associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College. A theology adviser for CT, his books include The Political Disciple: A Theology of Public Life and his latest, Reckoning with Race and Performing the Good News: In Search of a Better Evangelical Theology.

Walter Kim

Walter Kim became the president of the National Association of Evangelicals in January 2020. He also serves pastor for leadership at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, after ministering for 15 years at Boston’s historic Park Street Church. Kim received his PhD from Harvard University in Near Eastern languages and civilizations, his MDiv from Regent College in Vancouver, and his BA from Northwestern University. He regularly speaks at college campuses, churches, retreats, and symposia, particularly in the areas of biblical theology and cultural issues.

Jamal-Dominique Hopkins

Jamal-Dominique Hopkins is currently dean and associate professor of Religion and Theology at Dickerson-Green Theological Seminary at Allen University. He also is a Senior Fellow at the Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies and a Pedagogy Fellow at Yale University’s Center for Faith and Culture, ...

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Introducing a new series on Critical Race Theory: its merits, flaws, and how (or even if) Christians should engage.

It’s likely you’ve heard the term “Critical Race Theory,” or “CRT” for short, more than a few times in the last couple of months, to say the least. CRT has been brought to the front stage of American culture after a summer of racial turmoil, and because former President Trump issued an executive order banning federal contracts from including the framework in diversity and inclusion training in September 2020. Though the theory has been in existence since the 80s, and its intellectual forefathers in existence since the 70s, we now see an extraordinary amount of interest, and controversy, surrounding CRT.

White Evangelical Christians have been at the center of much of the controversy around CRT. Despite this continued interest, there seems to be a woeful lack of understanding around what CRT even means, and why it may be incompatible with the Christian faith. In consideration of its immense popularity and controversy that The Exchange is hosting a series on Critical Race Theory, similar to other conversations on the book “White Fragility” and on PhDs. We have invited several authors of varying backgrounds and views on CRT to discuss its merits, flaws, and to offer their thoughts on how Christians should engage with the popular school of thought.

However, before we hear from our contributors, it is helpful to at least try and delineate a framework for understanding Critical Race Theory as a whole. Since its beginning, CRT has grown far beyond its original conceit, and co-opted by movements which might expand, or simply not align with, its original tenets. CRT is vast, at times convoluted, and I cannot hope to fully explain it in a 1,000-word article today. Furthermore, it may be ...

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The new Global Methodist Church will leave the UMC regardless of the General Conference decision, which has been delayed until 2022.

Conservative United Methodists have chosen a name for the denomination they plan to form if a proposal to split the United Methodist Church is successful: The Global Methodist Church.

The Global Methodist Church unveiled its new name, logo, and website on Monday, days after the United Methodist Church announced it was once again postponing the May 2020 meeting that was set to consider the proposal to split.

That puts the likely launch of the planned denomination at least a year and a half away.

“Over the past year the council members, and hundreds of people who have informed their work, have faithfully and thoughtfully arrived at this point,” the Rev. Keith Boyette, president of the Wesleyan Covenant Association and chair of the Transitional Leadership Council that is guiding the creation of the Global Methodist Church, said in a post on the WCA website.

“They are happy to share with others a wealth of information about a church they believe will be steeped in the lifegiving confessions of the Christian faith.”

The United Methodist Church’s General Conference, its global decision-making body, is now scheduled to meet August 29 to September 6, 2022, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis.

Delegates are expected to take up a proposal to split the denomination called the Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace Through Separation.

The proposal, negotiated by 16 United Methodist bishops and advocacy group leaders from across theological divides, would create a new conservative “traditionalist” Methodist denomination—that’s the Global Methodist Church—that would receive $25 million over the next four years. Individual churches and annual conferences ...

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It took Aramaic speakers 1,500 years to agree on Christology, now their main debate is over Assyrian identity. Could Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq encourage unity?

Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to Iraq in March is bound to attract attention to the nation’s peculiar Christian minorities. These fascinating groups have a uniquely Middle Eastern history that is far too little known and appreciated in the West, even though they are now present in sizable diaspora communities in North America, Europe, and Australia.

When over 20,000 Iraqi asylum seekers came to my home country, Finland, in 2015, I realized that as a half-Iraqi theologian it was finally time for me to find out about my roots. I knew they went deep and had something to do with Arameans, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Syriacs—but who was who, and what was the difference?

Welcome to the heated debate over the identity of the Christians who still speak the language of Jesus.

Assyrian continuity and churches

Who are the Assyrians? There is no country called Assyria on today’s map, but from Old Testament history we remember the Assyrian Empire. Its capital city, Nineveh, was destroyed in 612 B.C., and its ruins lie in modern-day Mosul, in northern Iraq.

Could it really be the case that Assyrians have existed since then and converted to Christianity?

Indeed, average Assyrian Christians see themselves as belonging to the people that once ruled one of the greatest empires of the Middle East, which repented at the preaching of Jonah. According to this narrative, the Assyrians survived under the Babylonians, Persians, and Greeks, as well as in small kingdoms of their own like Osrhoene in northern Mesopotamia.

According to tradition, Osrhoene’s king, Abgar V, exchanged letters with Jesus and converted to the new faith following a later visit from one of the 70 disciples. Assyrians therefore consider themselves to be ...

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The largest Christian adoption agency is now calling on “Christians with diverse beliefs” as it aims to serve more children under a new inclusion policy.

Bethany Christian Services, the largest Christian adoption agency in the United States, has changed a longstanding policy and will now place children with LGBT parents for foster care and adoption across its operations in 32 states.

The news was announced today in a ministry-wide email and first reported in The New York Times. President Chris Pulasky told employees that “Bethany remains steadfast in its Christian faith,” and that the new practices will allow the organization to further its mission “to provide safe, loving, and stable homes to as many vulnerable children as possible.”

The change comes two years after Bethany opted to allow LGBT placements in its home state of Michigan. Pulasky was “disappointed” with the outcome of a lawsuit there, but at the time said if Bethany didn’t comply with state requirements it would miss out on serving thousands of children in foster care.

As legal fights over religious convictions on family and LGBT rights have continued to make their way through the courts and Congress, Bethany Christian decided to incorporate the move toward LGBT inclusion across the organization.

“We will now offer services with the love and compassion of Jesus to the many types of families who exist in our world today,” Palusky said. “We’re taking an all hands on deck’ approach where all are welcome.”

Robin Fretwell Wilson, a legal expert and an adoptee, applauded the move as an example of a Christian organization finding a way forward in the culture wars.

“I was pleased to see them talk about this as ‘all hands on deck’,” said Wilson, who directs University of Illinois’s Institute of Government and ...

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Ten years after Pakistan’s highest Christian official was martyred, religious freedom advocates apply his life’s lessons.

“Shahbaz is dead.” I received the shocking news 10 years ago this week, as I stared out my kitchen window into a cold March morning. Shahbaz Bhatti was known worldwide as a courageous Christian voice for religious freedom in Pakistan. And I knew him as my friend.

Shahbaz lived an exemplary life, daily demonstrating heroic love of neighbor, speaking out for victimized religious groups in his home country. The only Christian in the Pakistani prime minister’s cabinet, he did not shy away from denouncing persecution. For this, the forces of darkness assassinated him on March 2, 2011, hoping to silence him and terrify others.

The question for those of us who remain: “How do we carry on his legacy?”

Pakistan was and is a dangerous country for Christians and other religious minorities. Government laws victimize, and violent religious extremists strike with impunity. Open Doors ranks it the fifth worst country in the world for Christians. Ten years ago, it was equally dismal.

Yet Shahbaz tirelessly advocated for the persecuted, be they his fellow Christians or members of other communities such as Hindus, Ahmadi Muslims, Shia Muslims, atheists, or Sunni Muslims standing up to extremists. He was fearless, speaking out on their behalf, carrying his small candle into dark places to shine a light.

Politically savvy, Shahbaz was appointed by then-President Ali Zardari to his cabinet, making him the only Christian federal official at the time. When Asia Bibi was sentenced to death in November 2010 over bogus blasphemy charges, Shahbaz threw himself into her cause. Advocating at every level for her release, he also worked with officials from around the world. I and others like Rep. Frank Wolf connected him with ...

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    399 Rock Church Road, Talladega, Al 35160