Monday, 14 December 2009

RCC Communuity updates

Here are a few things going on in the life of our church and community:

Woodlawn Sports Christmas Party
Tonight at 5:30, we are having a Christmas party and grill-out with the boys that we play ball with every week. If you are a guy who is interested in playing ball with young guys in the community, come join us at the Willow Wood Rec Center @ 5:30!

Christmas Slippers
If anyone is still interested in buying a pair of slippers for a Christmas gift for our friends at the Hospitality House, we have a handful that have not been taken! Email Dwight ( if you are interested. Slippers can be delivered in one of two ways: bring them by the RCC office sometime this week, or bring them to church next Sunday. Please include the name of who they are for with the slippers.

Two Cornerstone Events
-Tomorrow, at 11:30 there is a Cornerstone Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. If you have helped in any way at the school, you are invited to come to this lunch!
-Also, Wednesday morning at 8:30, Cornerstone students will be performing their annual Christmas program! If your schedule allows, come out and see how the students are celebrating the holiday season. The program will be held at East Birmingham Church, which is on 1st Avenue North and 56th Street North.

Tuesday Fellowship Meals
We are still providing and sharing a meal every Tuesday night with our friends at the YWCA Hospitality House, and want YOU to get involved! This is a great way to offer only a few short hours of your time to help others in need and build relationships with those in our community. We currently need people for next Tuesday, December 22, at 6:00, so if you are interested, email Dwight.

Cornerstone Bible Studies
At the start of the new year, we will begin a girl's Bible study for middle school girls at Cornerstone. If any more women would like to help with this, we can get you involved. Additionally, we really want to have a Bible study for the middle school boys as well, but do not currently have any guy leaders. We need guys to help lead this study and invest in the lives of these young boys! If you are at all interested, let Dwight know!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Entering into Advent

Well, due to travel, support raising, and the holidays, it has been quite a while since I have posted, so please forgive the interlude. Since we are in the season of Advent, I have been spending more concentrated time really contemplating and reflecting on the coming of Jesus. This long-awaited, long foretold coming of the perfect Messiah to an utterly imperfect earth is truly a mind-boggling concept. That the very son of God, in fact God Himself, would leave the perfect peace and love and holiness of his heavenly dwelling and come literally take on human flesh and live in a broken, selfish, warring, unjust world is remarkable. He gave up this fullness to come reach into our emptiness and fill us- not with any thing or allusive feeling, but with Himself. And in his coming, he began to bring light into the darkness, justice to injustice, truth to lies. This process would one day be entirely completed, when he comes again and brings all things into full redemption, making things again as they were intended to be. As I have followed our church's Advent readings, I was struck by how Christ's coming extends beyond what we may initially associate it with. In Psalm 72, the coming Royal Son is prophesied to bring peace, justice, and a loving rule that heals and rights all of the wrongs we now know:

1 Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the royal son!
2 May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice!
3 Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness!
4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the children of the needy,
and crush the oppressor!

5 May they fear you while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth!
7 In his days may the righteous flourish,
and peace abound, till the moon be no more!

8 May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth!
9 May desert tribes bow down before him
and his enemies lick the dust!
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands
render him tribute;
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
bring gifts!
11 May all kings fall down before him,
all nations serve him!

12 For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
13 He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight.

15 Long may he live;
may gold of Sheba be given to him!
May prayer be made for him continually,
and blessings invoked for him all the day!
16 May there be abundance of grain in the land;
on the tops of the mountains may it wave;
may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
like the grass of the field!
17 May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in him,
all nations call him blessed!

I encourage all of us to slow down over this busy holiday period and allow the truths of Christ's first advent to this earth to touch our often aged and calloused hearts. May his promise of a final advent with a final redemption not only encourage our hearts, but may it also urge us to joyfully labor to this same end of bringing light to darkness, peace to unrest, justice to injustice, and truth to falsehood.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Let there be a playground...

This was truly one of the most efficient, productive endeavors that I have ever witnessed/participated in. At 8:30am, there was nothing but a gravel parking lot, with several intimidatingly large piles of dirt, wood chips, and sod.

With the help and expert direction of over 100 Home Depot and Kaboom coordinators and volunteers, the nothingness soon began to take shape. There were drinks, food, music, encouragement, and an overall sense of anticipation that seemed to fuel everyone's work ethic and spirit. By the appointed completion time of 2:30, the playground had long been finished, complete with adult and kid-sized picnic tables, large hand-painted chess boards, a mini stage, and plenty of newly painted artwork.

As we all stood back and admired the work of many diligent, willing hands, it was quite impressive to see what had been accomplished and to think of the positive impact this would have on the area. The day was finally concluded with a board-cutting ceremony that highlighted some of our young friends from the YWCA House who would enjoy the new playground. I would encourage you to drive by (1st Ave and 59th St N) to see this new neighborhood resource and find ways to build relationships with the locals through this awesome facility!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Woodlawn is getting a Community Playground!

This Thursday, Nov 5th, there is a very exciting community event going on in Woodlawn! The YWCA is partnering with a nonprofit called KABOOM! to build a brand new community playground. KABOOM is associated with the Home Depot Foundation, and they work to build up communities by joining local businesses, organizations, and individuals to construct new playgrounds, skateparks, sports fields, and ice rinks across the US. The Home Depot Foundation has contributed $61,000, and YWCA has added another $7,500 for the creation of a new playground in the community of Woodlawn.

As part of the process, individuals and groups from the community have been highly involved in the planning and designing of the playground, and now, we all have an opportunity to be a part of the actual construction! The goal is to get somewhere between 150-200 people from the community to come help and invest in what will hopefully become an incredible asset to the community. The playground will be built at the site of the new YWCA Interfaith Hospitality House (the address is 5916 1st Ave. N. Birmingham, AL 35212). It will start at 8:30am, and the board cutting ceremony will take place at 2:30pm. If anyone is able to either come by and help for any amount of time, or just observe for a moment, please feel free to come join us!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Focus on Fairfield pics

Several weekends ago, we were able to help with the quarterly Focus on Fairfield community workday. Although the rain prevented us from working on the original outdoor paint project, we were able to help a local resident, Ms. Ruthie, by cleaning and painting several rooms of her house. It was a blessing for us to talk with her and hear her story of the Lord's faithfulness through many difficult times in her life. After the work, we all enjoyed a meal at the local Magic City Grille 2, which was delicious!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Weather update for workday

We have decided that we will proceed with the workday in Fairfield tomorrow morning, regardless of the the possibility of rain. If weather permits, we will continue painting Miss Ada's house as planned, but if not, we will help with several other work projects that are not hindered by the rain, as part of the greater Focus on Fairfield . So, hope to see you all out tomorrow morning at 8 either way!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Fairfield Workday this Saturday!

This Saturday, October 10th
Community Workday in

The time has come again for RCC assist in the quarterly Focus on Fairfield Community Workday! We will continue the ongoing paint project on Miss Ada Riggs's house, so come ready for any possible mishaps (see picture for reference).

We have been working on her house for several months and would love to finally complete it, so we could really use all of the help we can get! We will provide all of the paint and supplies necessary. We will also provide babysitting at the Brooks House so that you parents and families can make it too, but you must RSVP if you will need babysitting. If for some reason, you despise painting more than anything in creation, or if we somehow get too many people, there are other work projects going on that day that you can help with too. In other words, you have no excuses, so don't miss this great opportunity to serve alongside your friends and community!

Meet at Christ Episcopal Church in Fairfield at 8- You can show up and leave at any point you need to throughout the day. Here is a link with directions. Hope to see a multitude of peoples there on Saturday!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Official Move-In Day

After chapel at Cornerstone this morning, I spent a while helping our friends from the shelter move into the new building! It was such an exciting time for them and they are thrilled about their first day in such a nice facility! Here are some pictures of the move-in and the new building:

Lonnie, proudly in her new room

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Change is in the air!

Yesterday afternoon, Joel and I had the privilege of attending the official ribbon-cutting ceremony of the brand new family homeless shelter building! Though they only moved about a block away from their old (and I mean old) building of the last 20 years, they may as well be in an entirely new location, for no expense was spared in this $9 million project. The shelter is run by the YWCA and after multiple generous contributions, a full-on fundraiser, and government funding, everyone involved in this process was finally able to see all that they have been working towards!

As I stood among a hundred influential people who had worked so hard and invested so much to make this dream a reality, I wondered about the significance of my role, of our church's role. I wondered if what we were doing really mattered or made any difference. I wondered if there was any clear fruit that we could point to and see how the Lord was using us. Right then, I heard someone yell my name and turned around to see Felicia, one of the residents at the shelter, coming my way. With a big smile on her face, she exclaimed how glad she was to see someone she knew, and then proceeded to simply stand with me, off to the side. Over the next few minutes, several other residents, house managers, and even a former resident from many months ago sought us out and seemed to take comfort in our presence and simple conversation. I realized in that moment that I had all of the evidence I needed of how the Lord has been using Redeemer in the community. While there are certainly many vital roles in caring for our neighbors, the Lord seemed to reiterate and encourage the role that he has currently given us, and how he alone deserves glory for it!

Last night, several RCC folks shared the last Tuesday night meal ever to be had in the old shelter building, and the feeling of excitement for what's to come is undeniable. In fact, next Tuesday is the actual move-in day for the residents, and we have the distinct privilege of sharing their first meal with them in their new home! I am so excited to see how the Lord is going to deepen and expand our involvement and relationships through this new facility.

If you have any extra time on your hands Saturday morning (9-11) or especially Sunday afternoon (1pm- until) and would like to help move stuff to the new shelter, email Dwight (

Friday, 18 September 2009


This past week was our quarterly missions team meeting. We had special guests, via the internet. Harold Andrews and his family shared with us about their time on the mission field here in the U.S. The amazing part is that they reach muslims throughout the middle east through a simple radio program. I was encouraged to focus my heart on missions here at home, with less dependance on those overseas, counting myself worthy to share the gospel. Every opportunity throughout the day to share the gospel is often dismissed because I loose sight of "missions", the Great Commission.."go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to all creation." {Mark 16:15} Be encouraged as I was, hearing the testimony and continued good work for the kingdom by our missionaries. Pray for them and lets help one another turn our hearts to Christ and His mission field in our lives. (you can find a complete list of our missionaries here.) Amanda Blake