Historic Church Throws its Doors Wide Open…It is Tuskegee First United Methodist Church where Pastor Elizabeth Whatley is the new minister.
Located at 202 South Main, we strive to be a welcoming church that teaches authentic principles from the Bible. We hold to the greatest commandment, to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
As a church community, it is often hard for those of us inside the church to understand why others choose to remain outside the church. Martin Luther King, Jr. writes, “Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust” (Why We Can’t Wait, 105) An important first step for me as pastor of Tuskegee First is listening, without judgment or excuses, to their reasons, perceptions, and experiences of the church.
We make every effort to offer hospitality, some space of welcome in which each person can be themselves. Hospitality means people don’t have to conform to our ways, instead, it means that they can be themselves in our presence. It doesn’t try to change people but enables them freedom and space to change at their own pace in their own way – as God leads them individually and collectively – just as God has done for us.
At Tuskegee First, we endeavor to remember that all are sinners and all are forgiven. To be a welcoming church to our community we have had a back-to-church Sunday hoping that persons in our community will feel free to join us in worship. We want people to come as they are. That is how Jesus welcomed people. Jesus hung out with sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes and others thrown away by the religious leaders of the time.
Of course, every Sunday all are welcome to join us as we seek God in worship, but some notable times of worship will be October 1st as we celebrate world communion Sunday. Later in the month, we hope to have a blessing of the pets service.
Tuskegee First encourages people to seek out a place for fellowship, community, sanctuary, and respite. We are, as a church, working to re-envision ourselves as beacons of light in the community, a place where friends and neighbors can come together in times of joy, challenge, and struggle – a place for everyone to belong. Our church cares about celebrating our inclusivity and diversity.
As primal as our need for food and shelter, our need to belong is part of what makes us human. From the earliest years, the need to belong drives many of our choices. Whether it’s an exchange smile or a Facebook “like,” we are thrilled when someone notices and includes us. Tuskegee First would like to include you in a place that doesn’t just welcome you but values you as you are. Follow us at Facebook.com/TuskegeeFirstUMC.