Having two sixth and eighth graders means I spend a lot of time in middle school.

My favorite part of the day comes right after morning drop-off during the opening announcements. Ms. B, the art teacher, energetically welcomes the students to a new day, leads the pledge of allegiance and then has the school observe a moment of silence. In those 60 seconds, a hush falls on the entire school.

Chairs stop scraping the floors, whispers cease, papers don’t rustle—it’s just a quiet silence where all I can hear the breathing of teachers and students. I love to pray during those few seconds—for the day that will unfold, the teachers who come to school already burdened, the students who are struggling. I pray that this school will be a place of peace and calm. I pray for all the students in our church and visualize them in their schools. I thank God for the gift of learning. And just as we settle into the silence, it’s all over, the announcements start back up and the sounds of tweens and teens get louder and louder. Those 60 seconds, though, get us centered and started for all the excitement that a middle school day brings. 

We had the opportunity to experience middle school excitement on Saturday as we painted faces for the Philip Simmons Middle School Fall Festival. We were able to engage with hundreds of people—painting faces, handing out pieces of candy, giving away “You Are Beautiful” koozies and talking to adults and children alike about our community. This fall we’ve invested time, energy and resources into our connections with the Philip Simmons Schools—we love the relationships we build there.

Learning from the Good Samaritan

Sunday during worship we looked at the importance of relationships we make with people in our community who are viewed as different from us by looking at Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. Steven Bramlett brought an excellent message, complete with the intersection of “bleeding heart liberals,” nerd culture and the social and political location of ancient Samaria. In case you missed it, you can still watch the sermon here.

Get connected with a community group

This week, we will build relationships in real time as many of our community groups have their monthly gatherings. You can jump into a group at any time—head over to our groups page to find a group that fits your schedule and geographic preference. Our Justice group holds its first meeting on Sunday before worship at 9 a.m. at Philip Simmons High School—we’ll have childcare and coffee ready for you!

New sermon series starts Sunday

This Sunday we start a brand news series—Begin (Again). For the next five weeks, we’re taking a deep dive into the practices that form us and define us as followers of Jesus. It’s the perfect starting point for those of us new to church, curious about learning more about Jesus, or those of us who want to take the next step in deepening and living our our faith. We’ve got stories, music, and take-homes ready for you. I’m excited for us to begin this series together—be on the lookout for more information about the series later this week.

I love our community. Going to coffee with you all, hearing your stories, praying for your lives and helping create places to worship, connect and grow are among the deepest privileges of my life. Our community is special and unique not only in Charleston but in our state and the entire Southeast. I’m so grateful to be on this journey with you.

Peace be with you, friend,



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