(Nearly) 200 years of service in Huntsville, Alabama
April 4, 2017 by Lee Hinson-Hasty
Editor’s note: Rev. Dr. Lee Hinson-Hasty gave a sermon at First Presbyterian Church in Huntsville, Alabama, on April 2, 2017. We’re sharing it in parts with you here over the next few days – acknowledging that the spoken version varied from this script.
First, we start with some words about this faithful Presbyterian congregation and its legacy of service in the community.
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By Lee Hinson-Hasty
One of Karen Madison’s spiritual gifts is clearly hospitality. I believe most, if not all, of you already know that to be true. I will also say it is one of Doug Madison’s gifts. For that introduction and your overnight hospitality now for a second time, I am deeply grateful.
Thanks to First Presbyterian for welcoming me to the pulpit and into your community of faith… especially on communion Sunday! Getting to know the church, the pastor, and the church’s ministry as a mission driven church has been a gift to me.
Finally, as one of the first or least one of the few serving you at a General Assembly national level in decades to lead this congregation in worship, I am also honored. First Presbyterian is no stranger to the General Assembly. In fact, you hosted the General Assembly meeting of ruling elders and ministers in this very building 157 years ago this May. I counted 15 ministers that have served this congregation since your founding in 1818. You understand the value of something close to my heart and ministry, strong pastoral ministry, so I pray for your pastoral search committee and believe God is already preparing someone to come and serve alongside you in the right time.
I want to add to this written text a few words that help amplify and celebrate FPC’s role in the community, summarized from content on their own web site. This church believes in the power of theological education, supporting Huntsville Female Seminary for its entire 78 years of existence. FPC also spurred the birth and growth of other Presbyterian churches in Huntsville: Trinity, Northminster and Faith. Fellowship Presbyterian Church in Huntsville was sponsored by FPC. The church reaches out into the world by supporting mission workers and mission trips, and by supporting Habitat for Humanity projects.
I would be remiss if I did not publicly thank you all for the long-time volunteer service of one of your members, Janel Gray Bates on the General Assembly’s Theological Education Fund Seminary Support Network.
For over a decade, Ms. Bates made the case for prayer and financial support of future ministers and our PC(USA) Seminaries. I am particularly grateful for her service and helping tell the story of Theological Education in the Presbyterian Church.