Starting October 3, 2012

Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life  -<br /><br />
        By: Richard Rohr</p><br />

Open Table (United Church of Christ) is offering a four-part book study during the month of October at Camille’s Sidewalk Café, in Mobile. On the first four Wednesdays in October the public is invited to join the discussion of Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, by Richard Rohr. Participants may purchase dinner or a drink as they enter, and then gather in the back meeting room at 6 p.m.

Falling Upward describes the spiritual life as having two stages. In the first stage, people generally focus on making a career, finding friends and partners and establishing their identities. Then, often after a crisis, those who are open to it can enter a space of spiritual refreshment, peace and compassion they could not have imagined before. They can learn to hear “a deeper voice of God” that “will sound an awful lot like the voices of risk, of trust, of surrender, of soul, of common sense, of destiny, of love, of an intimate stranger, of a deeper self.”

This book promises to prompt respectful, lively discussion among folks from both “halves of life” who come to ask the deeper questions. It’s sponsored by a congregation noted for its progressive theology, the only UCC church in southern Alabama. To reserve a free copy of the book, contact the church. All are welcome.


We meet for this series at Camille’s Sidewalk Cafe, 5817 Old Shell Rd., Mobile. For more information and a free book, call 251-545-1011 or email


Sunday, March 11, 2012.   Following our weekly 5:00 pm worship at 1050 Azalea Road in Mobile, AL, join us in the Activities Room for 6:15 pm session to call, email, and write our state legislators and our governor,  urging the repeal of House Bill 56, which hurts immigrants and all in the state of Alabama.  Open Table will provide WiFi, stationery and stamps, fact sheets, contact information, sample letters, sample script for phone nessages AND delicious desserts (tres leches cake and flan) and coffee.  If you wish, bring your cell phone and your laptop or iPad.  Bienvenidos Son Todos!

Guest Musician Jack Brown

Guest musician Jack Brown will provide special music for our first Sunday in Advent, November 27, 2011.  Following the 5:00 service, we’ll enjoy hot cider and cookies in the narthex before returning to the sanctuary at 6:15 for a concert of family-friendly songs by Jack.  The public is warmly invited to our worship service and the concert that follows.

Jack Brown is a former UCC choir director and classically trained musician who teaches music to high school students by day and in his off hours is a recording artist, touring musician, and songwriter.  Now living in Idaho, Jack grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi, so many of his songs reflect his Gulf Coast roots.  In “December Shorts and Sandals,” for instance, he recalls fondly childhood winters spent on the Gulf Coast.  Jack Brown often plays at coffee houses and bars but has opened for big names like Carole King.

Learn more about Jack Brown and hear samples of his folk/blues/jazz-flavored music at

Please bring a friend to any or all of the following events on Nov. 27th:

  • 5:00 worship celebration of the First Sunday of Advent with special Advent music by guest musician Jack Brown
  • 6:00 reception with hot cider and cookies in the narthex
  • 6:15 concert by Jack Brown featuring secular but warm-hearted and family-friendly songs.

See Open Table Discussion page for June/July information on Science and Religion…


During the Easter Season, we will follow four worship services with a book discussion based on Marcus Borg’s The Heart of Christianity, a helpful summary of Progressive Christian theology.  Bring a sack supper, stay after the service, and dive into the lively discussion with great conversation partners interested in a different way of seeing Christianity.  See interview with Borg for an overview of his summary of the emerging Christianity for folks who can’t be literalitsts, absolutists, or exclusivists:

  • May 8
    • Preface (What Does it Mean to be Christian Today?)
    • Chapter 1 (The Heart of Christianity in the Time of Change)
    • Chapter 2 (Faith: The Way of the Heart)
  • May 15
    • Chapter 3 (The Bible: The Heart of the Tradition)
    • Chapter 4 (God: The Heart of Reality)
    • Chapter 5 (Jesus: The Heart of God)
  • June 5
    • Chapter 6 (Born Again: A New Heart)
    • Chapter 7 (The Kingdom of God: The Heart of Justice)
    • Chapter 8 (Thin Places: Opening the Heart)
  • June 12
    • Chapter 9 (Sin and Salvation: Transforming the Heart)
    • Chapter 10 (The Heart of the Matter: Practice)
    • Chapter 11 (Heart and Home: Being Christian in an Age of Pluralism)


Special services beginning Nov. 14 and interpersed through Advent will focus on creating a greener planet. Guest speakers will instruct us in ways to treat the earth gently, and Christmas greenery will remind us that perhaps the best gift we can give the Christ Child is a greener planet.

Nov. 14.  Bethany Kraft from the Alabama Coastal Foundation

1st Sun. in Advent
Nov. 28.  David Underhill from the Mobile Sierra Club

2nd Sun. in Advent
Dec. 5.  Sermon by pastor:  Creation in Harmony

3rd Sun. in Advent
Dec. 12. Tom Herder from the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program

4th Sun. in Advent
Dec. 19.  Taize prayer service:  God with Us and All Creation


As the first UCC congregation in southern Alabama, we offered a 4-part series about our denomination’s history, polity, and theology. These sessions focused primarily on UCC core values and engaged participants in sharing “what matters” to them.

Session 1     Aug. 22, 2010         A Pilgrim People of Extravagant Welcome

Session 2     Sept. 12, 2010       A Covenant People in a United and Uniting Church

Session 3     Sept. 26, 2010        A Worshiping People: One at Baptism and the Table

Session 4     Oct. 10, 2010         A Grateful People Work for a Just and Loving World

Rev. Kathy Clark, associate conference minister, visiting Open Table


Open Table gathers to hear the first session of “WHAT MATTERS TO YOU”

Rev. Clark shares her journey to the UCC


Participants explore questions in small group



Contact: Rev. Ellen Sims


New Church Fosters Spiritual Growth by Honoring Tough Questions

 Mobile, AL  January 18, 2010 – Open Table, a new congregation-in-formation, will begin, on January 24 at 4:00 p.m., a 12-week series on progressive Christian theology.  Titled Living the Questions, the DVD-based curriculum will launch small group discussion to consider the future of Christianity and what a meaningful faith can look like for “thinking Christians” in today’s world.  The series will be offered every 2nd and 4th Sunday through July.

Those who have felt Christianity requires people “to believe twelve unbelievable things before breakfast” (to use Mark Twain’s phrase) will enjoy meeting others who find questioning to be essential for the life of faith.  Living the Questions is also for those who have stopped taking the church at all seriously but may be excited to learn of a revolutionary and expansive re-visioning of Christianity already emerging in the world.  Participants will have permission to ask the questions they’ve always wanted to ask but have been afraid to voice for fear of being thought a heretic.

Living the Questions participants will meet at 2100 Airport Blvd.,  at the Loop.  Light refreshments and a free web-based curriculum will be provided.  Child care can also be arranged for those who register children in advance by calling 545-1011.

The Open Table community gathers each Sunday at 4:00 p.m. at 2100 Airport Blvd.  For more information, see the church’s website:  Or contact the pastor, Rev. Ellen Guice Sims:  251-545-1011.






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