What is grace? Union Theological Seminary President Dr. Serene Jones will deliver a sermon entitled, “Call it Grace” this Sunday during the 8:45 and 11 am services. Her texts are Psalm 19 and Romans 8:38- 39. As our Focus on Faith speaker, she will continue the discussion about grace with a lecture on that subject at 10 am in Highland Hall.

Dr. Jones is the seminary’s first female president in its 181-year history. She is also holds the Johnston Family Chair for Religion and Democracy at Union. Dr. Jones has held numerous positions with prestigious religious institutions, like Yale University and has authored several books including, Trauma and Grace. She’s a remarkable theologian, and I highly recommend you hear her speak. 

Our Evensong series also continues this Sunday at 4 pm in the sanctuary. While you are planning your weekend, look ahead to February 3- 10. The 48th Religious Arts Festival: “Jazz and the Arts” takes place that week with lectures on the synthesis of jazz and worship, an art tour, jazz music and food. All events are free except for the Jazz Brunch on Sunday, February 3 and the Religious Arts Festival Banquet on Thursday, February 7. Reservations are required. Please note: the Jazz Brunch is at the Oscar’s at the Birmingham Museum of Art, and if you’re interested in that brunch, make reservations with them.

The Session met on Tuesday night. The church’s annual budget and capital budgets for the church and Children’s Fresh Air Farm were approved. The Session received a report about the search for a new Youth Director, which has involved reaching out to seminaries across the nation. In addition, Dr. Katherine Rhodes Henderson, president of Auburn Seminary in New York, was approved as our Walthall Lecturer for October 12- 14. I hope you will join us for her sermons and lecture in October, as well as Dr. Jones’ presentations this weekend.

Finally, please keep Rev. Jonathan Yarboro and the congregation of First Presbyterian Church in Wetumpka in your prayers. As many of you are aware, he is the son of IPC members Felix and Helen Yarboro. The church and the manse were destroyed during Saturday’s tornado. Jonathan’s daughter, Stanton, was home at the time but fortunately not injured. The congregation was able to worship Sunday in a different location. Jonathan wanted to share his thanks for the prayers and offers of assistance. Please read his letter further down in the eUpdate with a few ways you can help. We will of course keep you updated about any future needs.

See you Sunday,