An invitation

April 21, 2011



and 151 S. Ann Street in Mobile, AL,

You are invited to join trustworthy companions pursuing a vision of  church that is rooted in early Christian history but responsive to a postmodern world.   Members of this new congregation include folks wrestling with difficult questions, people searching for spiritual practices that make a difference in their lives and in the world, seekers who do not know what they believe but want a safe community that will respect and support them as they develop spiritually, thinkers who affirm that the life of faith is compatible with the life of the mind, and individuals from varied backgrounds who hunger for a more expansive vision of God and believe what unites us is stronger than what divides us.

We welcome and affirm people of all races, economic classes, cultures, religious backgrounds, ages, and sexual orientations.  Walk alongside us as we try to follow in the ways of Jesus –in joyful worship, in spiritual formation, and in service to others.

Open Table is a ministry of the United Church of Christ, a progressive and inclusive denomination.  We are the first outpost of the UCC in Mobile.  (Mobilians, the United Church is a very different denomination from the Church of Christ. ) See regional and denominational websites: and  Follow us on Facebook:  

We now worship at 10:30 on Sundays at 151 S. Ann Street, Mobile, AL.  


What we are up to…

April 21, 2011

All events at  St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 1050 Azalea Road, unless otherwise indicated.  Educational hour: 400 p.m.  Worship: 5:00 p.m.

June 9, 2013. 4:00 discussion.  5:00 worship in the CHAPEL.  Sermon title: “Through God’s Grace.”

June 2, 2013.  4:00 discussion session.  5:00 worship service with lectionary texts from Psalm 96, I Kings 8, and Luke 7: 1-10.

June 1, 2013.  11-1 Summer Fun Day at the St. Luke’s pavilion.  Hot dogs, watermelon, root beer floats, games.  Relax with friends.  All are welcome.

May 26, 2013. 4:00 discussion session. 5:00 worship for Trinity Sunday includes sermon “You Can’t Handle the Truth!” an allusion to A Few Good Men.

May 19, 2013.  4:00 discussion session. Taize-inspired service of sung prayers, silence, scripture, guided meditation. After worship stay for our traditional birthday cake to celebrate the birth of the church at Pentecost: a RED velvet cake.

May 12, 2013.  No 4:00 session.  5:00 worship.  2-part sermon “From Slavery to Liberation” (Acts 16: 16-35).

May 5, 2013.  No 4:00 session.  5:00 Celebration Service.  We welcome our Conference Minister and special guests as Open Table becomes a “church in full standing” in the United Church of Christ. Pastor’s sermon: “We Will Make Our Home With Them” (John 14: 23).  6:00 Potluck Supper.  All are welcome!

April 28, 2013.  4:00 brainstorming.  5:00 Earth Day (Mission 4/1 Earth) Celebration.

April 21, 2013. 4:00 singing session.  Learning new songs.  5:00 Taize-inspired prayer service of song, silence, scripture, and enacted prayer.

April 14, 2013. 4:00 session of Open Table 101: Our Values and Theology.  5:00 worship that includes poetry, song, and a sermon based on John 21: 1-19.

April 7, 2013.  4:00 called congregational meeting to vote on bylaws revisions. 5:00 Easter celebration, part 2.  6:00 farewell reception for Mary and Roy.

March 31, 2013.  No 4:00 discussion hour.  5:00 Resurrection Sunday celebration.  6:00 Easter Dinner potluck.  (The church is providing ham.  Bring a dish to share with others.  No fancy Easter clothes required. )

March 24, 2013.  4:00 Walking the Stations of the Cross (standing with Jesus who stood with those who suffer).  5:00 Palm/Passion Sunday.

March 17, 2013. 4:00 class, “Open Table 101.”  5:00 worship is a Taize-influenced service of meditative sung prayers, silence, scripture.

March 10, 2013.  5:00 worship.  Sermon:  “Parables from the Lost and Found.”

March 3, 2013.  5:00 worship.  Sermon: “Parable of the Fig and the Twig”

February 24, 2013.  4:00 discussion/group activity on practicing discernment. 5:00 Second Sunday in Lent.  Theme: Covenant.  Texts: Ps. 27, Genesis 15: 1-6; Luke 13:31-35. What does it mean to be in covenant with God and with one another?

February 17, 2013. 4:00 conclusion of book discussion of Grounded in God.  5:00 First Sunday in Lent.  Guest Preacher:  Dr. Deanna Thompson, author of Hoping for More: Having Cancer, Talking Faith, and Accepting Grace.  See

February 13, 2013.  5:00 pm Ash Wednesday service in the chapel at St. Luke’s.

February 10, 2013.  4:00 book discussion of Grounded in God continues.  5:00 worship:  Transfiguration Sunday.

February 3, 2013.  4:00 book discussion of Grounded in God: Listening Hearts Discernment for Groups.  5:00 worship: Epiphany4.  Sermon: “A Cliff Hanger.”

January 27, 2013.  4:00 membership class open to members of Open Table and people interested in learning more about our congregation and denomination.  5:00 worship: Epiphany 3.

January 20, 2013.  4:00 discussion of the concept of covenant.  5:00 service of sung prayers, silence, guided reflection about covenant.

January 13, 2013.  4:00 discussion of church membership.  5:00 service celebrates the Baptism of Jesus.  Guest preaching: Ryan Sirmons, who served as our summer intern in 2011 and who is completing his M.Div. at Cambridge and his ordination process through the UCC.  Stay for a reception at 6:00 to honor Ryan and his wife Irish.

January 6, 2012.  Epiphany Sunday.  4:00 discussion of a discernment model of church decision-making. 5:00 service celebrating the Light of the world.

December 30, 2012.  Festive Fifth Sunday.   Celebrating Christmas by sharing our stories and a potluck meal at 5:00.  No 4:00 educational hour.

December 23, 2012.  Fourth Sunday in Advent.   Lighting the Candle of Joy.  Sermon title: “The Christmas Chipmunk.”

December 15, 2012.  Third Sunday in Advent.  Lessons and Carols service at 5:00. Lighting the Candle of Love.

December 9, 2012.  Second Sunday in Advent.  Starting at 4:00 jewelry and other beaded products from Ghana will be on display and available for purchase for those wishing to support Soul of Somanya, a nonprofit that offers fair wages to artisans in West Africa.  At 5:00 we will light the candle of Peace.

December 2, 2012.  First Sunday in Advent.  Lighting the candle of Hope. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”  Sermon title: “Shoots and Leaves.”

November, 25, 2012.  Reign of Christ Sunday.  Sermon title:  “Clothed in Immense Power.”

November 18, 2012.  Contemplative prayer service: sung prayers, silence, guided meditation, “Birthpangs,” based on Mark 13: 1-8 . 

November 11, 2012.  Guest preaching: Lyn Walters, Director of 15 Place, who will receive hats knitted for guests at 15 Place.  Thanking all who knitted over 100 hats for homeless women and men.

November 4, 2012  TIME CHANGE.  Set clocks back 1 hr.  Our educational hour moves to 4:00.  Worship remains at 5:00 pm.  All Saints Sunday.

October 24, 2012   Sermon text: Mark 10: 46-52. Sermon title: “Open Your Mouth to See.”

October 21, 2012.  Our (3rd Sunday) contemplative service uses songs, silence, scripture, and the visual arts for our prayers. A guided meditation will pair Job 38 and Psalm 104.

October 14, 2012. The Gospel reading for this Sunday (Mark 10: 17-33) may raise questions like these:  Is Jesus’s way broad or narrow?  Inclusive or restrictive?  Accommodating or demanding? The sermon will not provide simple answers but will explore these questions.  Stay for our 6:00 discussion of Richard Rohr’s book Falling Upward, a conversation accessible to folks who have not read the book.

October 7, 2012.  World Communion Sunday.  Celebrating God’s diverse peoples with a communion service of breads from many cultures.

October 6, 2012.  Blessings of the Animals service at 4:00 in the front of St. Luke’s.

September 30, 2012.  On fifth Sundays one of our members shares a story from her or his faith journey.  Linda Taylor will share this Sunday a moving story of recent grief and grace.  The abbreviated service (5:00-5:30) will be followed by a potluck supper, as is our tradition on 5th Sundays and is befitting the topic of grief.

September 23, 2012.  Sermon: “‘When God is a Child'”: Children as Guide and Goal.”  Text: Mark 9:30-36.

September 16, 2012.  A contemplative service of sung prayers, scripture (James 3:1-18), and silence.  Plus embodied prayers and a guided meditation (“Not a Tongue Lashing.”)

September 9, 2012.  Sermon on James 2.  “Believing in Jesus = Honoring the Poor.” Stay for 6:00 reflective listening workshop, part 2.

September 2, 2012.  Sermon on James 1:17-27.  “Gimme That Real Religion.”  Stay for mini-workshop this week and next at 6:00 pm on reflective listening.

August 26, 2012.  Rev. Patrick Rogers will be guest preaching.

August 19, 2012.  Special offering of school supplies for area students.  Service of sung prayers, silence, scripture at 5:00.  Meeting afterward in the Activities Room to discuss our children’s ministry.

August 12, 2012.  Special guest: Rev. Dr. Timothy Downs, Conference Minister for the Southeast Conference of the United Church of Christ.  Join us for a potluck dinner at 6:00 in the Activities Room.

August 5, 2012.   New member celebration.  Sermon title:  “Being Signs.”

July 29, 2012.  Festive Fifth Sunday.  Abbreviated service of story sharing at 5 pm. Pot luck dinner and fellowship in the Activities Room at 5:30.

July 22, 2012.  Pastor Ellen Sims returns from vacation. Sermon text: Ephesians 2: 14-22.  Sermon title: “Crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge: Reunion and Reconciliation.”

July 15, 2012. Rev. Bart McNiel guest preaching again: Sermon:  “A  Parenthesis in the Dominant Narrative.”

July 8, 2012.  Rev. Bart McNiel will be guest preaching.  Sermon title: “How to Recognize a Prophet When You See One.”

July 1, 2012.  Sermon: “JESUSCARE.”  Stay for report at 6:00 on church council retreat.

June 24, 2012.  Texts:  Job 38: 1-18 and Mark 4:35-41.  Sermon is titled “Forecast: Stormy with a Chance of Calm.”  We’ll forego our usual 6:00 discussion time to participate (a little late) in the 6:00 prayer vigil, sponsored by the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice, outside USA’s student center/bookstore.

June 17, 2012.  Service of sung prayers, scriptures, silence, and a guided meditation on the Parable of the Sower.  Arrive at 4:45 to learn a few new songs for the service.

June 10, 2012.   Sermon title: “Sin-cerely.”

June 3, 2012 Trinity Sunday.  Sermon: “To the Trinity . . . and Beyond!”

May 27, 2012. Pentecost Sunday.  Wear something red if you wish! Service at 5; annual congregational meeting at 6.  Our traditional Red Velvet Cake served afterward!

May 20, 2012.  Taize-influenced prayer service of songs, silence, and scripture.  Stay for budget discussion at 6:00.

May 15, 2012.  First session of 4-part book study of Bulletproof Faith @ Camillle’s Sidewalk Cafe at 6 pm.  All are welcome.  Series continues each Tues. evening at 6 through June 5.

May 13, 2012.  Sermon title:  “I Call You Friends.”  Stay for Sermon Talk Back at 6:00.

May 6, 2012.  Text: Acts 8:26-40.  Sermon title: “A Chariot for a Church.”

April 29 2012.  Festive Fifth Sunday.  Kenny King will lead worship at 5:00, which will be followed by our quarterly potluck supper at 5:30.

April 22, 2012. Earth Day celebration.  Sermon: An Earthy Jesus for Earth Day.

April 15, 2012. Easter celebration continues with Taize-influenced service of sung prayers, scriptures, silence, and embodied prayer.  Introducing new songbooks from the Iona community: “There Is One Among Us.” Stay for fellowship afterward and a longer look at our new songbooks.

April 8, 2012.  Resurrection Sunday celebration at 5pm. Sermon:  “When We Are the Women.”  Stay for social (cake and coffee) afterward.  Childcare provided and includes egg hunt in play area.  ALL are welcome!

April 2, 2012.  Palm/Passion Sunday.

March 25, 2012. Sermon: “The Matter of the Heart.”  Scripture: Jeremiah 31: 31-34.  Stay for Sermon Talk Back @ 6 pm.

March 18, 2012.  Taize-influenced service of sung prayers, silence, scripture.  Lenten meditation: Snake on a Pole and Christ on the Cross.

March 11, 2012. Sermon text: John 2:13-22.  Sermon title: “Insiders, Outsiders, Alongsiders.”  Stay for 6:15 “Contact Your Legislators” event. We’ll phone, email, or write letters to state legislators urging the repeal of HB 56.  We’ll supply contact info, WiFi, stationery and stamps, fact sheets, sample letters and scripts, AND desserts: tres leches cake and flan!  Todos son bienvenidos.

March 6, 2012.  6:00 at Camille’s Sidewalk Cafe on Old Shell Rd. for 6-part Lenten book discussion.  Strategies for interpreting scripture.  Using the book Listening to Scripture.  Each Tues. evvening through April 10.  Led by George Sims.

March 4, 2012.  Second Sunday in Lent.  Stay for Sermon Talk Back.

February 26, 2012.  First Sunday in Lent.  After the service, special guest for 6:00 discussion: Ray Ables from Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice.

Feburary 22, 2012.   Ash Wednesday service.  5:00 in the chapel.

February 19, 2012.  Transfiguration Sunday.  Taize service of sung prayers, scripture, silence, and guided meditation.

February 12, 2012. Sermon on Mark 1: 40-45 continues Mark’s theme of healing–particularly why and how cultures designate some as “unclean.”  Stay for Sermon Talk Back at 6:00.

February 5, 2012.  Sermon on Mark 1: 29-39 will explore ways Jesus’ culture understood healing–and how our own culture understands it.  Stay for Sermon Talk  Back at 6:00.

January 29, 2012.  Guest speaker: Jessica Norwood, founder of Emerging ChangeMakers (  Stay for our quarterly potluck supper and social.

January 22, 2012.  Sermon: “Crossing Borders.”  (Story of Jonah–and a response to Alabama’s harsh immigration law, HB 56.)

January 15, 2012.  Taize-influenced service of silence, scripture, song, guided reflection and embodied prayer.  Stay at 6 for “The News at 6:00,” theological reflection of a current new event.

January 8, 2012. Celebration of the Baptism of Jesus.

January 1, 2012.  Celebration of Epiphany.  Sermon Talk Back at 6:00.

December 25, 2011.  Christmas Day service of celebration. 5:00.  Joy to the world!

December 24, 2011.  Joint Christmas Eve service with St. Luke’s Episcopal.

December 20, 2011.  Open Table Discussion series @ Satori Coffee House @ 7.  Topic:  “Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?”

December 18, 2011.  Lessons and Carols service at 5.  Stay for 6:00 discussion on “Seeing the Symbols and Scriptures of Advent from a Progressive Lens.”

December 11, 2011.   Melody MacDuffee, founder of the nonprofit Soul of Somanya, will speak in our 5 pm service.  SoS jewelry made in Ghana will be on display and available for purchase both before and after the service.

December 10, 2011.  Cookie baking for the children, 10:00-12:00, at the pastor’s house.

December 4, 2011  Second Sunday in Advent. Lighting the candle of Peace in this world.  Stay for 6:00 discussion of “Advent Symbols and Scriptures: A Progressive Perspective.”

November 27, 2011. First Sunday in Advent.  Special music in the 5:00 service by guest musician Jack Brown.  Stay for reception with cookies and hot cider at 6:00.  At 6:15 singer/songwriter Jack Brown will offer a concert of  family-friendly folk/jazz/blues music–free to the public.

November 20, 2011.   Taize-influenced service of prayer, silence, song, contemplation of a modern icon.  Stay for “The News at 6:00” as we use current new stories for theological reflection.

November 13, 2011.  Sermon: “You’ve Got Talent.”  Text:  Matt. 25: 14-30.  Stay for Sermon Talk Back at 6:00.

November 6, 2011.  All Saints’ Sunday.   Sermon to address societal and individual stewardship of all our resources.  (Amos 5:18-24).  Bring a sack supper and stay for Sermon Talk Back at 6:00.

October 30, 2011.  Festive Fifth Sunday.  Susan Granade will lead brief worship service.  Afterward a potluck dinner in the Activities Room.

October 26, 2011.  Brian McLaren workshop at Spring Hill College, sponsored by The Quest for Social Justice.

October 23, 2011.  Sermon: “Lesson #1: How to Die.” Stay for discussion of Safe Church Policy.

October 16, 2011.  Taize-influenced service of sung prayers, silence, scripture.

October 9, 2011.  Special music led by Karen Turner.  Stories shared from our retreat.  Sermon on stories of joy.

October 8-9.  Retreat at Point Clear led by Dr. Karen Lee Turner.

October 2, 2011. Celebrating World Communion Sunday in our new worship space at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 1050 Azalea Rd.  Enter through the main doors that face Azalea Rd.  Rev. Ken Cumbie will participate in our worship service at 5:00 as we gratefully begin this ecumenical relationship.

September 25, 2011.  Welcoming Dorinda Broadnax to speak at 5:00 on Our Church’s Wider Mission.  Bring a sack supper and stay for 6:00 information about move next week to 1050 Azalea Rd.

September 18, 2011. Taize-influenced service of sung prayer.  Brief words of meditation will focus on how and why we pray.  Stay for 6:00 guest speaker, Teressa Ramsey, Exec. Dir. of Family Promise, and training of our volunteers who serve homeless families in our community through this fine organization.

September 11, 2011  Pt. 3 in sermon series on Miriam:  “Leaving No One Behind”  We’ll enter in silence to Mozart’s Requiem; hear scriptures of peace from the Jewish prophets, Christian Gospel and the Qur’an; and share in a litany of remembrance and hope.  Sermon focuses on reconciliation.  Stay for potluck supper and Sermon Talk back at 6.

September 4, 2011  Pt. 2 sermon series on Miriam: “Praise the Lord?  Really?”  Bring a dish for the potluck at 6 when we’ll share questions and responses to the sermon during our Sermon Talk Back hour.

August 28, 2011. Sermon will focus on the biblical character of Miriam, sister to Moses and Aaron.  Stay for the potluck dinner at 6:00 pm as we conclude our 4-part series on the book of Genesis.

August 27, 2011  Participating in the Immigration Awareness Gathering, 11-1, at Lyons Park.  Sponsored by The Quest for Social Justice.

August 21, 2011  Taize-influenced prayer service of sung prayers followed by part 3 in series on Genesis.

August 18, 2011  Open Table Discussion series on Faith and Society continues.  7-8 pm at Satori Coffee House.  Topic: Religion and Public Education.  Guest facilitator: Mark Berte from Mobile Area Education Foundation.  All perspectives welcome.

August 14, 2011  Sermon: “The Lesson Jesus Learned.”  Stay for potluck supper at 6 during which we’ll continue our discussion series on the book of Genesis (chapters 6-9).

August 7, 2011  A Celebration of Learning.  Special offering of school supplies for area children.  Blessing of students and teachers. Sermon on Gen. 37 is titled “Playing Favorites.”  Stay for sack supper and pt. 1 in 4-pt. discussion series on the book of Genesis.

July 31, 2011  Festive Fifth Sunday.  We gather at 5 for potluck supper, songs, fun.  Children will provide a puppet show.  Reflection is based on Genesis 32:24-31.

July 24, 2011  Youth group from Central Congregational UCC in Atlanta will lead the service before begnning a week volunteering in Mobile.  Stay after worship for pizza supper and conversation.

July 17, 2011  Taize-influenced service of sung prayers, silence, scripture @ 5.  Saying farewell to our seminary intern, Ryan Sirmons.

July 14, 2011  Pastors for Peace @ 5 @ Mt. Hebron.

July 12, 2011  Hosting over night 3 families in the Family Promise program.  Serving dinner at 6:00.  All are welcome.

July 11, 2011  Church council meets @ 3:30.  All are welcome.

10, 2011 Our UCC seminary intern Ryan Sirmons will preach @ 5 followed by report on General Synod @ 6.

July 7, 2011  Science and Religion Discussions 12:15-1:15 @ Serda’s; 7-8 pm at Satori Coffee House.

July 3, 2011   Laura Lemley guest preaching while pastor @ UCC General Synod in Tampa (July 1-5)

June 28, 2011   Science and Religion discussion 12:15-1:15 @ Serda’s; 7-8 pm @ Satori Coffee House.

June 26, 2011  Stay after 5:00 service for potluck supper & welcome our seminary intern, Ryan Sirmons.

June 21, 2011  Church council meets at 3:30

June 19, 2011  Trinity Sunday.  Taize-influenced service of sung prayers.

June 16, 2011  Prayer vigil, sponsored by The Quest for Social Justice, to oppose capital punishment.

June 12, 2011  Pentecost Sunday.  Wear something red, symbol of the Spirit. Stay for Pt. 4 in book study and enjoy our traditional Red Velvet Cake to celebrate the birthday of the Church.

June 5, 2011  Sermon: “Truer Than Truth.” After worship: Pt. 3 in book study of The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg.

May 22, 2011   Congregational meeting follows 5:00 service. Child care provided for worship and meeting that follows.

May 17, 2011  Church council meets @ 3:30 @ West Side.

May 15, 2011  Taize-inspired service of sung prayers and scriptures followed by Pt 2 of discussion of Marcus Borg’s book The Heart of Christianity.

May 13, 2011  Paint Party @ 6 @ 6808 Airport. Fundraiser for SouthBark, local animal rescue organization. $35.  RSVP.

May 8, 2011  Following 5:00 worship, stay for our 1st in our 4-part book discussion series of The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg.  Great overview of Progressive Christianity.

May 3, 2011  Mobile Bay Sierra Club program. 7:00 @ 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center.

May 1, 2011   From Open Tomb to Open Door.  2nd Sun. in Easter.

April 24, 2011  Pre-Easter Jesus and Post-Easter Christ.  Easter Sunday!  Special Music.

April 17, 2011  Palm/Passion Sunday.  Stay for Sermon Talk-Back.

April 12, 2011 Bridges Inter-Racial Dialogue.  6:00-8:30.  Government Street Baptist Church.

April 10, 2011 Re-entering Life.  Stay for Sermon Talk-Back.

April 8, 2011  Movie night at pastor’s house.  “For the Bible Tells Me So.” 7:00.  Bring a snack to share.

April 7, 2011 Trialogue (Jewish/Christian/Muslim symposium) at SHC’s Byrne Hall @ 7.  Several members of Open Table serve on planning committee and as small group facilitators.

April 6, 2011  Carl Wilkens speaks on genocide prevention from his experience in Rwanda. USA library at 7.  Open Table’s own Jenni Currie is one of 17 Carl Wilkens (genocide prevention) Fellows for 2011-2012 .

April 3, 2011 Resisting Certainties.  Stay for Sermon-Talk Back.

Mar. 29, 2011 Hosting homeless families overnight w/ Family Promise program.

Mar. 27, 2011  Rethinking Bloody Salvation.  Stay for Sermon-Talk Back.

Mar.  20, 2011 Taize-inspired prayer service.   Prayers include those for our world: for Japan, Libya, Bahrain.  No Sermon Talk-Back.