Independent Presbyterian Church


Their daytime bosses are high school teachers. At night, they report to mom and dad. Many of them can't vote in U.S. elections yet. But they're already quite accomplished athletes, scholars, musicians, artists and leaders. These 12 ambitious high school students will soon be sharing their insight into church activities and helping to shape IPC's future.  
Several of these teenagers impressed a roomful of parents and church leaders at a November Youth Grant Team presentation. They were told, "you're touching people and making an incredible difference in their lives." They also touched Senior Pastor Dr. William J. Carl III who saw how they could make an incredible difference in the church by bringing the idea of Youth Advisory Delegates (YADs) who are used at the General Assembly to IPC.
Youth Ministry leaders put their heads together and appointed the following youth to teams:
  • Emma Grace Jones and Vann Walthall for Christian Education
  • Catherine Walthall and Conner Sorrells for Worship
  • Marion Dukes and Adelaide Burton for Witness
  • Spence Hutchinson and Hunt Cochrane for House and Properties
  • Annie Norris and Lakin Coulter for Music and Fine Arts
  • John Darby and Banks Walston for Stewardship 
"I'm very honored the church sees us this way and that our opinions matter," says Annie.

"Youth are respected and involved at IPC. But now there is an opportunity for youth to work with church leaders and have a say," explains Vann.

The addition of YADs also fits within 14-month plan created by Ministry Architects to help grow the Youth Ministry at IPC and build youth leaders. The goal is for them to better understand the church, enable them to make an impact and hopefully continue to remain an active Presbyterian in college and later in life. Read more about these youth in the February Window.


A letter from Verna Lyons

It has been an honor to serve as your president. 2016 has been a year of planning, organizing and restructuring. The year was full of wonderful change and one of moving forward for IPC.  As we look to the future, here are some of the highlights of the past year. 

We had several major personnel changes in 2016.  Bobbie Epting announced her retirement (effective July 2016) in January 2016 and Mary Ann Morrow announced her retirement (effective May 2016) in February of 2016.  Lucy Turner requested moving from Congregational Ministries to Stewardship and Development. The congregation approved Lucy’s request and an Associate Pastor Nominating Committee was formed for the Congregational Ministries position.  Brian Lays was approved by the congregation to fill the Congregational Ministries position.  Honora Gathings was hired in April as our Director of Communications.  Ryan Hamilton resigned as of July as Director of Youth Ministries and we rehired Catherine Goudreau as Director of Youth Ministries and hired Gann Wright as Assistant Director of Youth Ministries. CLICK HERE to read full report about Strategic Planning, finances, Christian Education, Worship, Music & Fine Arts, Highland Hall, Witness, and Congregational Care.


ISlideshowndependent Presbyterian Church is home to 2,300 people. They give the church 2,300 hearts and bodies to continue carrying out Jesus Christ's ministry. IPC's strength is not just in numbers. It's also the capacity to spur positive change. 

To recognize and celebrate the work being done, IPC member Cathy DeLozier will write about the People of IPC in a blog. It's dedicated to the ministries and God-given talents of its members who are Joining God in the World, Welcoming our Neighbors

Here's an excerpt from her blog one the Youth Grant Team:
To see these youth in action is to be inspired. They are all involved in hours of other extracurricular activities including sports, choir and debate practice, STAIR Tutoring, AP courses and other homework, as well as Standardized Testing and college tours and applications. The amount of time and energy they put into the team and the seriousness with which they take their responsibility is moving.

Foundation Sunday, January 28

Every summer, grant applications start coming in to the IPC Foundation- requests for help sending children to school, for assistance purchasing medical equipment and building much-needed hospitals, and for support keeping programs that employ adults with special needs and centers that help people in times of crisis running. The Foundation received 94 applications from people around the world and in our neighborhood who are on the ground trying to make a difference.

The IPC Foundation will now help 79 of those ministries, organizations and mission agencies in 2017. The grants will cover scholarships at Spring Valley School- a special school in Birmingham for children with learning differences. The money will also go towards the construction of a new medical clinic in India designed by Samford students and a new mobile medical clinic in Sudan. A grant will also help pay for the YWCA's crisis line, which helps people here in the Birmingham area escape domestic violence. Those are just a few of the ways the Foundation is using its resources to help change lives and carry out Christ's ministry.

This grant selection process began in early June with a meeting of the IPC Foundation Grant Making Committee. The members of the committee made site visits throughout Birmingham and via phone. Each grant request was thoroughly researched and discussed before the final selections were made in mid-November. 

The Youth Grant Team underwent a similar process reviewing 50 grant applications and going on six site visits.

In December, the grant cycle for the IPC Foundation ended with the mailing of grant letters to the 79 ministries, organizations and mission agencies that were awarded grants for 2017. 

The grants totaled $1,837,900; this amount was 60% of the amount requested in the 94 applications. As you can see, the needs in the community and in the world are great. The IPC Foundation has been blessed by many generous donors over the years. As the IPC Foundation continues to grow through contributions and bequests, even more people will be served in the years to come. Below is a breakdown of the grants.

You can make a difference in the world in the name of Jesus Christ through your support of the IPC Foundation.  If you would like to discuss ways in which you may contribute to the IPC Foundation, please call Rev. Lucy Turner, 933-3729.  


by Dr. William J. Carl III, IPC senior pastor

The presents are unwrapped. The Christmas decorations are stored. Most of the sweets lying around the house are already gone. No doubt many of you have turned your attention now to the New Year and your New Year's resolutions. I made one months ago. By the end of 2017, I want every IPC member and child to have updated pictures in the membership directory.

When I make birthday calls, I like to pull up your pictures in the directory. I want to make the connection between your voice, your face, and your story so I can recognize you when I see you at the church. But here's the problem- many of you don't have pictures in our directory! I really want to get to know you, but it's hard when I don't know what you look like. 

I know Christmas cards were sent out recently. Go ahead now before you forget and log into yourmembership directory account online and upload that picture. Or simply email any picture of yourself or your family to Marsha Harbin. Below you'll find more detailed directions for uploading a picture. We also plan on having a photographer here on some Sundays to take pictures, so look for dates in upcoming eUpdates. 

For those of you with January and February birthdays, please update your photos now. I want to see your smiling faces as I wish you a "Happy Birthday."

That's my New Year's resolution, and I will never be able to keep it unless you help me!


A look at how you gave your money to IPC Ministries this holiday season

  •     Approximately $5,000 raised for IPC Choir thanks to fruit sale
  •     $6,350 (as of 12/16/16) donated to local and international charities through Giving Tree
  •     More than 4,000 food items donated to IPC Food Pantry during Harvest for Hunger Food Drive
  •     $32,400 dollars grossed in Holiday House ticket sales for The Open Door, STAIR and Children's Fresh Air Farm
  •     30 bags of new toys delivered to First Light's Shopping Day
  •     58 coats donated to STAIR children
  •     $590 collected by 30- 40s for STAIR stockings

A look at how you gave your time to IPC Ministries this holiday season

  •     15 IPC youth set-up and oversaw Advent Workshop
  •     22 IPC youth help stocked the IPC Food Pantry
  •     Roughly 400 Holiday House volunteers served as hostesses, traffic controllers, bakers, servers, ticket sellers, receptionists, floral designers and arrangers, pianists, and tea pourers.
  •     Dozens of Giving Tree volunteers sold cards
  •     20 children delivered toys and sang Christmas Carols at First Light
  •     30 members of theWestminster Tour sang at three retirement communities
  •     4 mothers from MOPS stuffed STAIR stockings

Thank you to all of our volunteers and donors for your generosity! 

"We asked for toy donations for First Light and you responded in a huge way. We had more than 30 bags of toys to give to First Light! Every Christmas, First Light sets up a “store” and the residents come and shop for their children or grandchildren for presents. First Light wraps the presents for them to take to their families. The toys you gave will find their way to children who may not have received anything without your help. Thank you for bringing Christmas cheer to our neighbors! After we gave the toys we sang Christmas carols with the residents and gave everyone a candy cane.  It was a great way to start the Advent season." ~ Mary Beasley, assistant director of Children's Ministries 

"The IPC Choir would like to thank the congregation for their ongoing support of the many fundraising opportunities during the Christmas Season. While the ministry of music is close to our hearts, we as members of IPC are passionate about other ministries of the church, and are supporting the Giving Tree with contributions to Bread for the World, the Mwandi Mission and the IPC Food Pantry." ~ Dr. Jeff McLelland, music director.


They call themselves, "The Holy Cows." The name for IPC's first girls' basketball team came from their own surprise and exclamations of "holy cow" after their first win. But the wins keep coming every week for this group of high school girls. They play Monday nights. 


The Austin Theological Seminary professor of preaching and worship joined Independent Presbyterian Church on Sunday, November 6 for All Saints Sunday. Dr. Jennifer Lord delivered a sermon at both early services entitled, "Remembering the Future." CLICK HERE to listen to it.

Dr. Lord also spoke about her journey along Camino de Santiago between the services.

"IPC was fortunate to host Dr. Jennifer Lord as part of the Barbara Noojin Walthall Lecture Series," says Rev. Elizabeth Goodrich, associate pastor and Director of Discipleship. "Dr. Lord's class during the church school hour dealt with her experience of being a pilgrim along one of Christianity's ancient holy routes, the Camino de Santiago, in Spain.

During her lecture, she referenced Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez's movie  The Way and documentary I'll Push You. You can read more about her journey in the The WayAustin Theological Seminary's magazineCLICK HERE to listen to her lecture.


Independent Presbyterian Church was one of three churches to win Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary's 2016 Faithful Steward Award. This award is given to individuals, organizations and churches for generosity and upholding the seminary's mission of faithful support and advocacy.
This mission is very familiar to IPC's founding pastor Dr. Henry M. Edmonds, former senior pastor Dr. Conrad Sharps and current senior pastor Dr. William J. Carl III. They all graduated from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
On October 28, IPC was recognized for establishing the Henry Morris Edmonds Chair of Pastoral Ministry at Louisville Seminary and the Joan M. and William F. Edmonds Scholarship. The Henry Morris Edmonds Chair of Pastoral Ministry is a professorship to help train seminarians in preaching, leading worship, pastoral care and administration. The tuition scholarship established in 2015 is named after Dr. Edmonds' son. 
"Over the years, Louisville Seminary has celebrated strong and meaningful connections with these three congregations," said Louisville Seminary President Michael Jinkins. "They understand that stakes are too high for there not to be theologically well-educated leaders and ministers, and we are grateful for their advocacy and support."
Senior Pastor Dr. William J. Carl III, IPC Foundation executive director Denise Moore, Courtney Bowen and Lee Walthall accepted the award in Louisville. 

Two Louisville, Kentucky churches also received the award- Second Presbyterian Church and Highland Presbyterian Church.


IPC Youth Director, Catherine Goudreau, explains why she and Gann are hitting the road this fall

"College is a time when everything is new. New places, new friends, new experiences, new ideas, and new freedoms. It’s equal parts exhilarating and daunting, a wonderland and a wilderness.” These are the opening lines to the UKirk promotional video. UKirk is the name for the PCUSA’s campus ministry. When I saw this video, I was immediately taken back to the feeling of being at Auburn. I could too well identify with the idea of college being a wonderland and a wilderness. With the development of UKirk Birmingham well underway, I am excited about all the opportunities provided to Birmingham area college students to help them remain connected to “the vine,” but as we continue this process, it has been important to me to remember the students who are away from IPC right now at colleges across the country. How can we be sure we are still walking alongside our students when they feel like they are in the wilderness? 

In September, Gann and I attended Auburn Pastor/Student night. Students and leaders from their home church gathered for snacks and worship. We took our students to dinner and enjoyed hearing about their college life. We learned IPC students are involved in almost every area of Auburn’s campus and are helping to make a difference through Auburn University Relay for Life, Young Life, Project Uplift, and by serving as Sunday School teachers and youth leaders at First Presbyterian Church in Auburn.

Recently, Gann and I have been on a college tour of our own, visiting former IPC youth group members who attend college in Alabama. In late August, we traveled to The University of Alabama. We drove the campus for a long time looking for this place affectionately termed “The Ferg” and stumbled upon University Presbyterian Church who offered us hospitality in the form of a parking place and use of their student center. When we finally found our way to “The Ferg,” we enjoyed lunch with IPC youth group alumni. We got to hear about the excitement and the challenges freshman year has to offer, as well as show love and hospitality to our students.
Gann and I look forward to other opportunities connecting with our IPC students who are away at college. Our next stop? Visiting our students at local campuses. Watch out BSC, Samford, and UAB students - we’re stopping by for lunch soon! Our college tour is just getting started



IPC Foundation President Foster Cook on why you should share your gifts with the IPC Foundation

"In last week’s [October 9, 2016] sermon, we heard how Jesus calls for us, the people of his church, to be a light to the world. At Independent Presbyterian Church, one very important way we try to be that light is through the work of the IPC Foundation. Through the Foundation, we come face to face with the sometimes overwhelming needs of God’s children in the world around us. Through the Foundation, we find opportunities to help, and to serve. These opportunities may be close by in the Birmingham City Schools, in the neighborhoods of Kingston and North Avondale or it may be on the streets of Calcutta, in Katmandu or South Sudan. These opportunities may be direct support for our missionaries or through partnerships or in common purpose with other denominations, congregations, foundations and non-profits. 

This summer, Dr. Carl, our Foundation Executive Director Denise Moore, Betsy Holloway and I traveled to Rwanda in East Africa. Denise’s daughter Jordan and Betsy’s daughter Bebe went with us. We made this trip in partnership with at the Church of the Advent and Samford University to see what God is doing in Rwanda through his church. What we experienced was exactly what we aspire to be here at IPC- a church alive in the world, a church in a very poor and recently broken country that is leading in reconciliation and meeting the spiritual needs of a beautiful people who love the Lord, a church that is also working every day to improve the lives of the people and their community through childcare, nutrition, education, economic development and care for widows and orphans. We returned from Rwanda excited by a new opportunity to engage our congregation and to be a partner in God’s work. 

The Foundation is currently working toward the end of this year’s grant making cycle, overwhelmed, at times, by the needs of the world that come before us and our limited ability to respond. We will be funding 1.7 million dollars but less than 60% of our requests. We ask that you pray for the needs of the world and the work of the Foundation. Please take the time to learn more about our church and the Foundation’s work in our community and abroad. Take advantage of the opportunity to support the Foundation and the Church through your time, your gifts and your bequests through The Henry M. Edmonds Society. 

Our prayer: God of our abundance, you unite us with Christ making us one with all your people. We thank you for the opportunity to serve in the world through your church. We thank you for those who have given so we might do your work. Strengthen us as we do your work in our community and around the world. Amen." 


The Reverend Mr. Brian Lays Installed as Associate Pastor

The Denver, Colorado native heard God's call to ministry during confirmation in 9th grade. Years of preparation and internships led Rev. Brian Lays to Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington then Pittsburgh Theological Seminary for a Masters of Divinity and Masters of Theology. 

"I was abroad a lot in different ministries. I thought, 'maybe God's calling me to be a missionary.' But when the job opened at IPC, I was reminded about what I was really excited about- pastoral care," said Rev. Lays.

He answered God's call to serve as director of Congregational Ministries in July. He was ordained in August; and on September 18, he was installed as an Associate Pastor.

"I'm reminded of all the reasons I love it. It's important to be with people in important parts of their lives and to bear witness to the work of God," he said.

As Rev. Lays put it, his ordination and installation were the last of 1,000 steps in an unwavering call to serve. 


How You Can Help IPC's Newest Ministry

For sixteen years, Independent Presbyterian Church has reached out to children in Birmingham’s North Avondale and Kingston communities. Members have taught them to read, swim and build relationships with God. Now, it’s time to help their parents through The Open Door.

We wanted to be more than a church handing out charity, We wanted to really partner with the neighborhood to try to find ways to empower our neighbors,” said Rev. Susan Clayton, associate pastor and director of Community Ministries. “Some of them are second or third generation poverty families. They see little hope of a different life. If we can provide a glimmer of hope, we believe they are ready to walk forward into a new future.”

Starting September 19, people will find that door at JCCEO’s building on 46th Street North. IPC along with The Literacy Council of Central Alabama and Jefferson State Community College will provide basic literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. GED classes will be available Mondays through Thursdays. The program will be called The Open Door: A Ministry of Independent Presbyterian Church.

“You are not only helping that parent get a job. You are also helping them teach that child, so the child can make it successfully through the education system,” explained Beth Wilder, executive director of The Literacy Council of Central Alabama.

In a state where roughly 15 percent of adults are functionally illiterate, the program needs your help. Rev. Clayton is looking for literacy and ESL tutors, as well as GED volunteers to help the Jeff State teachers. There are also openings for volunteer receptionists to staff the desk for a few hours between 8:30 am – 1 pm. If you want to be a link in this pipeline from poverty to self-sufficiency, please contact Rev. Clayton at 933-3709. 


Rev. Elizabeth Goodrich writes about her top picks.

As an Associate Pastor in a dynamic and busy congregation, mom to three growing-too-quickly-children, wife, friend, avid foodie, reluctant runner, lover of travel, glutton for leisure, and person who generally has more that I want to do than I have time to do, I cherish summertime. I relish the change of pace as we downshift together. To be sure, theres still plenty that goes on at IPC during the summer, and this summer, maybe even more so as we delve into strategic planning, discover our strengths, and move together towards the call we have felt as a congregation to join Gods work in the world through ministry in our neighborhood. But, even in the midst of that, the days are longer and the meetings are fewer, and summer allows some time for restoration and refocusing.
So what do I do when the schedule has less urgency? I read. My rule for summer reading is simple: I only read what I want to read. I read fiction and non-fiction, church-y stuff and, yes, some fluff. But I dont read anything because I ought to or I should. Not in the summer, at least, if I can help it. One of the things I love most about my call to serve you through the ministry of Christian Education is that part of what you have asked me to do is to explore the best of what is out there in the world being said about how to live faithfully, well and wisely and bring it back to share with you. To that end, I have five treasures to offer. All of them relate in some way to the life of this congregation, and perhaps you will want to read some of them, too.
Being Mortal:Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gwande
Three people told me within one week that I needed to read this book, and I put it off because I thought the topic might be too dark. Its not. Challenging as it is to confront our own mortality, this book is beautifully written, and, in as much as it is an unflinching look at the fact that we will not, any of us, live forever, it is also a graceful and dignified exploration of the aging process. Susan Clayton and I will be teaching this one with Susans Tapestries group this fall. Join us in person, or read along at home!

Glimpses of Grace: Daily Thoughts and Reflections by Madeleine LEngle
This appeared one June afternoon on my doorstep, left by a kind friend who knows I love Madeleine LEngle. I dont generally do all that well with daily devotional books, but this one is a wonderful anthology of some of LEngles most moving but still short-enough-to-digest-quickly tidbits. The Womens Sunday School class has been reading Madeleine LEngle over the past year, and, many years ago, she spoke at IPC. This book would be a welcome addition to any fans devotional library.
Joy in the Journey: Finding Abundance in the Shadow of Death by Sherol and Steve Hayner
After we finish Being Mortal, which is a reverent but secular look at aging, Susan and I are going to take up this short, beautiful, grace-filled book written by Steve and Sherol Hayner during Steves battle with pancreatic cancer. Steve was the vibrant, healthy President of Columbia Seminary when he was diagnosed with a cancer that was ultimately fatal, and this book comes from the moving and faithful reflections Steve and Sherol posted to their CaringBridge site during Steves illness. It is not easy to read, but it is an inspiring look at how people of faith live life and face death.
The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Tell Your Family History, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More by Bruce Feiler
My brother in law described this book as the only parenting book Ive ever read and liked. This is a book about family life for people who dont like books about family life. Its wise and funny, and intentionally provocative. (Much like my family.) I dont agree with everything Feiler comes up with, but I cant wait to talk about this book on Sunday mornings this fall with anyone who wants to reflect on how peaceful, playful and successful families live together. The chapter everyone with a teenager should read? Chapter 7: Lessons From the Sex Mom: What Your Mother Never Told You About Sex (and Should Have).
Some of My Best Friends are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America by Tanner Colby
As we think as a congregation about what it means to love our neighbor and our neighborhood, and how we are called to be a place of welcome where differences are honored, we might all check out this book by Vestavia Hills native and Chris Farley (SNL fame) biographer Tanner Colby. The Amazon review says: In a book that is part reportage, part history, part social commentary, Tanner Colby explores why the civil rights movement ultimately produced such little true integration in schools, neighborhoods, offices, and churchesthe very places where social change needed to unfold. Weaving together the personal, intimate stories of everyday peopleblack and whiteColby reveals the strange, sordid history of what was supposed to be the end of Jim Crow, but turned out to be more of the same with no name. He shows us how far we have come in our journey to leave mistrust and anger behindand how far all of us have left to go.
If you do decide you want to read any of these- and I hope you will!- I’d love to hear more about what you think! 


  • Dr. William J. Carl III will teach a nine-month Greek class on Wednesday nights. Contact Alynn Leberte if you are interested.
  • Strategic Planning unveiled IPC's new guiding principles. Click HERE to read them.
  • IPC continues to have a slight budget surplus.
  • Building on Our Strengths town hall on August 25 will introduce you to new ministries and staff at IPC
  • $17K of upgrades to Children's Fresh Air Farm approved to build a trail system on 30 acres of unused property
  • A memorandum of understanding between IPC and JCCEO was approved. This will allow IPC to use space inside JCCEO's building (old Kingston Elementary) to house the N. Avondale/Kingston pilot project. The Literacy Council and Jefferson State Community College will work with IPC to provide literacy, GED and vocational job training services to people living in the community. Many of them are parents of IPC's STAIR children.


Fresh wood chips cover the floor of the 150 year old Tabernacle in Covington, Georgia. Christians are gathering there this week for the annual camp meeting. For those who made the pilgrimage, they'll hear Independent Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Dr. William J. Carl III preach. It's his third time serving as guest preacher. 

Protestants have gathered in this same spot every year since 1828 except during the Civil War. This meeting used to be primarily for Methodists seeking spiritual sustenance. Now, it's interdenominational featuring a Methodist preacher every year and alternating between a Baptist or a Presbyterian preacher every other year. This year, it's the Presbyterians' turn and Dr. Carl will be the speaker for five nights.

"It's a tremendous privilege to be guest preaching for a third time. Seems like it's every 14 years. My first time was in 1988; the second was 2002. If they keep up this pattern, I'll be 81 next time! Probably not. I'm only the second preacher in the history of the camp meeting to be invited back a third time, so I expect this will be my last," said Dr. Carl.

You can read more about the camp, as well as watch videos from previous years by 


Several thousand people from the Presbyterian Church (USA) gathered Portland, Oregon for the 222nd General Assembly. Commissioners from the 172 presbyteries are meeting to take action on hundreds of items. 

To see videos from the General Assembly or take a look at the decisions, CLICK HERE to go to IPC's special General Assembly page.


The Birmingham chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) awarded Independent Presbyterian Church's labyrinth a Merit Award in its detail category. It's a wonderful surprise!

The church purchased the property to the east of the sanctuary and administration building in 2012 for the labyrinth and prayer garden. A design team lead by architect Andrew Hicks preserved an oak tree that would provide both sunlight and shade. Sandstone pavers were installed to match the existing building and to create the seven circuit octagon. It's inspired by the nave of Amiens Cathedral in France

The designers didn't just think about the labyrinth's design. They also decided to use the staircase in the Great Hall as a focal point. They added dwarf modo, boxwood, holly, magnolia and hawthorn trees to "evoke a quiet setting."

The labyrinth and prayer garden were completed in 2014.

The project team included Andrew Hicks and Dick Pigford. The consultants were Norman Kent Johnson and AML Consulting. Brasfield & Gorrie was the general contractor.

We're so proud of this honor. We hope this will be an opportunity for you to come see the labyrinth and walk its path in prayer. To read more about the labyrinth, CLICK HERE.


To quote senior pastor Dr. William J. Carl III- "[Last] Tuesday night's Session meeting was one of the most exciting, substantive, energizing, inspirational and informative Session meetings I've ever attended. We accomplished so much in one meeting! We approved some remarkable preachers and lecturers for next year and decided to go down a path of being more sensitive to the environment as a congregation."

Here are the meeting highlights:
  • 3116 is officially named Highland Hall
  • Strengths in Service program launching in the fall. It will help you identify your top five strengths and learn how to use them to serve others. More information coming in June Window.
  • 589 Glory to God hymnals have been purchased. You'll see them in the pews in late August. CLICK HERE to purchase one by August 1.
  • Theologian Dr. Edwin Christiaan van Driel will be the first lecturer in next February's Religious Arts Festival. He was on the Glory to God hymnal committee and will preach Sunday, February 5, 2017.
  • Tom Long will be the Focus on Faith Speaker February 25 -26, 2017
  • IPC is in a strong financial position this time of the year
  • Roof work was completed successfully and under budget
  • Two groups going on mission trips to Africa this summer
Those are just some of the reasons Dr. Carl drove home from the Session meeting "on Cloud Nine amazed at all the Lord is doing in and through the members and the staff of IPC."


Finding the perfect name isn't always easy. We took your suggestions for the newest building here at IPC and allowed you to decide. Popular options for IPC's 3116 building were The Commons at IPC, Highland Hall and Highland Commons. Highland Hall got the most votes. That's not the most exciting news. More changes are on the way for the building, so keep checking back for more information!


Learn, support Kirkwood and IPC Community Ministries Social Services Sunday, June 12.

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us,” said Brenda, the daughter of Kirkwood by the River residents Wayne and Geneva Robbins. “The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live.”

Dr. and Mrs. Robbins moved to Kirkwood in 2009 as Independent Living residents. Kirkwood by the River, a ministry of IPC, is a nonprofit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), which means it offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing and Medicare Rehabilitation to the senior adult community in Birmingham. The continuum of care allows residents to progress through life receiving the most appropriate care without having to relocate.

In January 2015, Mrs. Robbins needed the skills, the hands and the care of staff in Kirkwood’s Skilled Nursing wing. Because Kirkwood is a part of the Presbyterian Ministries United Appeal of Birmingham (PMUAB) and has an established Life Care Fund, which ensures no resident is asked to leave because they have outlived their financial resources, Dr. and Mrs. Robbins were able to stay and live out the rest of their years together at Kirkwood. Without assistance from the Life Care Fund, which is funded by contributions from members and friends of IPC, they would have been forced to separate and move to different communities.

In the seven years that Brenda’s parents have been at Kirkwood, she says that she and they have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. “You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere at Kirkwood from both the staff and the residents. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.”

It is projected that the Life Care Fund will provide near $100,000 in assistance for 2016 alone. Through your support of PMUAB, you can give back to residents such as Dr.. and Mrs. Robbins and ensure that the Life Care Fund will stand strong in God’s services. Together we can continue to impact lives for years to come.

In addition to support for the Life Care Fund, your PMUAB contributions also benefit the Community Ministries Social Services account.

Heath Rada, IPC


Dr. Heath Rada, the Moderator of the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), served as the guest minister at both morning services as we celebrated Pentecost. In his "Fishing Miracle" sermon, he told the story of the disciples hearing Christ's calling and following him on "a day when fire, wind and strange happenings occurred."

"We are also living in a time when we are being told to be afraid for what is ahead of us, afraid of terrorist attacks. We are afraid of criminals. We are afraid of things that might happen to us or our loved ones of which we have no control," Dr. Rada told the IPC congregation. "We are told to fear people who look different from us or who believe differently from us."

Dr. Rada said fear can be the opposite of being faithful. He urges us to allow the Holy Spirit into our lives to give us the ability to overcome fear and act.

He also shared hopes for the graduating high school seniors to have fun, inspiring and exciting lives.

IPC was one of Dr. Rada's stops in 38 states and 16 countries.

To watch the sermon, CLICK HERE. You can also download it to listen later HERE.

Dr.  Rada, a retired ruling elder who served the American Red Cross as CEO of the Greater Richmond chapter and president of the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, will continue the conversation to help the congregation prepare for the 222nd GA to be held June 18-25, 2016, in Portland, Oregon.

Children's Fresh Air Farm, Summer, Learning, IPC


Many Birmingham children are preparing to head to the Children's Fresh Air Farm (CFAF) for a summer of learning. For seven years, the IPC mission has fed children, given them tools to be successful in the classroom, taught them to swim, and provided them with a safe, loving place to develop and foster a relationship with God.

"How do you describe God as a Father to a child who doesn't have one in his life or whose father is in prison? Or whose parents are abusive?," asked CFAF director Gini Williams of the IPC congregation Sunday, May 8. "The need for love and hope through Jesus Christ is a hunger that the Farm is uniquely able to meet."

It costs $2,000 for each child in the program. That includes $210 for breakfast, lunch and a snack and $150 to send them back to school with a uniform and school supplies. 

As Gini, IPC staff and volunteers prepare for another summer, Gini thanks everyone for their support of the mission. She also asks people to consider giving. CLICK HERE to read her appeal.

IPC, acolyte


On Sunday, May 8th, 24 new acolytes were installed. The senior acolytes and new captains were also recognized. These light bearers are tasked with bringing spiritual light into the church and world:

Katherine Emily Baird; Adelaide Cassell Burton; Virginia Glenn Cobbs; Lillian Kennedy Cochran; Everett Simons Cross, Callie Ryan Dukes; Lewis Christian Fischer; Kathryn Alicia Garrison; Robert Peyton Haley, Jr.; John David Higgins, IV; Barbara Bugg Holloway; Marilyn Douglas Joyce; Andrew Tyler Lewis; Caroline Bergin Lewis; Alice Alden Monk; Abigail Gearhart Murphree; John Byrd Norris, IV; Haise Allen Ogilvie; William Douglas Preston; Carson Vines Robinett; Robert Benjamin Savage; Abigail Aydlette Shepherd; Anna Catherine Sorrells; and Lauren Campbell Walston. 

The new captains are Neal Spence Hutchinson, Jr.; Emma Bolling Hall Taylor; and Catherine Elizabeth Walthall.


Focus on Faith welcomed its 2016 speaker Dr. John Buchanan, pastor emeritus at Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church, Chicago, and retired editor and publisher of The Christian Century, on Sunday, April 24, at both morning worship services and at the church school hour at 10:00. Dr. Buchanan preached on "What's Next for the Church?" (Mark 2:13-22). At 10:00 in the Great Hall the speaker presented a lecture "In the Beginning, God" on our basic theological affirmation and its radical implications. Dr. Buchanan, in addition to leading the second largest congregation in the PC(USA), also served as the moderator of the 208th General Assembly and is the author of several books.  His blog, “Hold to Good,” is an excellent source for his views on contemporary issues and ocurrences and can be viewed at


"This week, there was a media and public outcry as it was revealed no plan was available for a replacement warming station while Boutwell Auditorium was in use....Birmingham churches and shelters are stepping up to address this need... In response, Birmingham churches, homeless shelters and some City officials are meeting on Monday at Independent Presbyterian Church to shore up plans for additional overflow warming stations when Boutwell is occupied."   
IPC's Rev. Susan Clayton said, "We hope that we can use this opportunity of raised awareness about the needs of the homeless community in Birmingham to bring people together and address the needs for additional warming stations for the homeless and the plight of those with inadequate shelter."   Read the article in the Birmingham Post-Herald.


See the history of IPC unfold through the years. Thanks to everyone who had a part in this, especially the musicians and IPC member Jim Walker for video/slide production, editing and post production.  Click here for video.


It's official.  Sunday, August 30, was a most significant day in IPC’s history as the Reverend Dr. William J. Carl III was installed at 3:00 pm in the sanctuary as Independent Presbyterian Church's last pastor in our first century and first pastor in our second century. God has once again blessed IPC with a gifted pastor, preacher, and minister who encourages us to serve God by sharing our gifts and serving others.  Dr. Carl will lead IPC into our second century with energy and enthusiasm, and for that, as for all of God’s gifts to us, we are eternally grateful. Thanks be to God! 

Rev. Dr. William J. "Bill" Carl, III,  Begins His Role as Senior Pastor of IPC

Rev. Dr. William J. Carl III begins his pastorate at IPC July 1, 2015. 
IPC joyfully welcomes Bill and his wife Jane to IPC.

Jimmy Holloway, Chair, Pastor Nominating Committee wrote: 
"It is with great joy in our hearts that we are thankful for the leaders who have served IPC over the past 100 years, building the foundation for our many humble ministries throughout Birmingham and the world. It is nothing but providential that Bill and Jane Carl have been sent to us to by God to lead our congregation as we start our next century of service. Be in prayer and listen to God's voice as to how you might participate in one or more of the many opportunities at IPC."
IPC Congregation Votes Unanimously to Call Seminary President as New Pastor
From Rev. Lucy Turner:
Sunday, March 1, 2015, was an exciting day for IPC! The sanctuary was full for the annual meeting of the congregation. By far the most anticipated item on the agenda was the report from the Pastor Nominating Committee. On behalf of the PNC, Jimmy Holloway, chair, recommended the calling of Dr. William J. "Bill" Carl III as IPC's seventh pastor/head of staff. After a presentation describing Bill's many gifts for ministry and after hearing the PNC's great enthusiasm for him, the congregation voted unanimously to call Bill to IPC. Many in the congregation agree that with Bill's leadership, IPC's second century will be as rich as its first 100 years. The traditions that continue along with the fresh wind of God's Spirit blowing through us will provide exciting opportunities in the service of God. The future of IPC feels as fresh as it ever has in our history.
 The welcome for Bill's wife, Jane, has been equally enthusiastic; they both received a standing ovation at the conclusion of the meeting. We look forward to many years of service and fellowship with Bill and Jane. --Rev. Lucy Turner

The IPC Congregation voted unanimously Sunday, March 1, 2015, to extend a call to Dr. William "Bill" Carl III to serve as the seventh pastor of Independent Presbyterian Church. Dr. Carl, past President of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, announced his retirement last year and left Pittsburgh Seminary in June 2015 to begin his role as pastor at IPC in July.
Please click here to read the letter from Pastor Nominating Committee Chair Jimmy Holloway, and click here to read the biographical information about the candidate, Bill Carl. 
For Dr. Carl’s Curriculum Vitae click here.
Article on the congregational meeting March 1:
Click here to read the press release.
Link to article on new pastor of IPC

2015: The IPC Day School is 50!

To commemorate the 50th anniversary in 2015 of the founding of the IPC Day School, we have established the Independent Presbyterian Church Day School Endowment Fund. Our goal is $50,000. "Fifty for Fifty."

The fund will be administered through the IPC Foundation, a 501c(3) corporation. Please consider joining us in making a donation to help us reach our goal in building this fund to ensure quality preschool education in Birmingham for years to come. You may also consider making contributions in honor or memory of someone special. Checks may be made payable to the IPC Day School or contributions may be made through pasting the following link in your browser or clicking below:

Church Website Software from E-zekiel