Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Sunday, June 2, 2013

North Alabama United Methodist Conference, Marti Turnipseed, Birmingham Southern College

Frank and I are in Birmingham today through Tuesday attending the North Alabama United Methodist Conference.  Our district is the Southeast.  Richard Stryker has been our DS (District Superintendent) but we will have Lewis Archer as of June 13th.  That is official moving in day for the conference.  During the big conference (735 churches) we will be worshipping, doing business(some pleasant....some not so much), and hearing many good speakers/music during our duration here.   I am so excited.  We have a new bishop....well she has been with us for about nine months.  Her name is Debra Wallace-Padgett and is one of the best speakers I have had the privilege of hearing.  She has the sweetest voice and you could just sit and listen forever as her Kentucky brogue rolls off her tongue.  I think she is going to be a great addition to our conference.  Her theme this year is Cultivate and as someone who loves growing things it is a term I can understand completely.  We have to cultivate our members, our churches, our communities, and then we will see growth.    Conference is a great place to see old friends and make new one. 

Yesterday we saw a video clip and heard a very sad story about a young BSC student in 1963 named Marti Turnipseed. 

Her real name was "Minnie Martha "Marti" Turnipseed Moore (born c. 1943 in Greensboro; died September 2, 1972 in Detroit, Michigan) was a student at Birmingham-Southern College in 1963 and was asked to leave college for participating in a demonstration during the Birmingham Campaign.  Marti Turnipseed was the daughter of Andrew Turnipseed, a Methodist minister who was transferred to Niagara Falls, New York for publicly supporting the desegregation of public buses in Mobile. Her own study of philosophy and religion at Birmingham-Southern during the critical months of the Civil Rights Movement made her question the morality of segregation. She and a friend attended a mass meeting at First Baptist Church Ensley at which Martin Luther King, Jr spoke. Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth asked her to speak to the crowd, as well. She volunteered to join a sit-in at the Woolworth's lunch counter in downtown Birmingham the next day. She made the three-mile journey from campus on foot to join the other demonstrators. The seven black demonstrators were arrested by Birmingham police and Bull Connor, but Turnipseed was returned to campus without being charged. Under pressure from city leaders, thought, the school forced her to "voluntarily" withdraw from classes. She transferred to Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1964, after months of petitions to the administration, Turnipseed was re-admitted to Birmingham-Southern and completed her degree a year later. As a senior, she coordinated with student leaders at Miles College to recruit African-Americans to Birmingham-Southern, beginning with Ulysses "Skip" Bennett, who enrolled that year. She also spent time tutoring younger black students. Her reputation as a fearless white female champion for civil rights resulted in numerous invitations to speak at regional and national movement events. Turnipseed married educator Charles Moore and had one child. The family resided in Detroit, Michigan. She and her 3-year-old daughter, Martha Andrea, died in an automobile accident in 1972. In 1993 Turnipseed's parents and brother founded a lecture series at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia in her memory.

 In 2013, as part of Birmingham's 50 Years Forward observances, Birmingham-Southern students, led by President Charles Krulak and Mayor William Bell, re-created Turnipseed's three-mile walk from campus."  As I sat in the Battle Arena with ministers from all walks of life I was in awe.  We have come so far in the Methodist church just in my lifetime that it is humbling.  Jesus truly does love the little children (and adults)...all the children of the, yellow, black and white....we truly are all precious in His sight.  Can I get an amen on that one.  Please be in prayer for my daughter and her sweet husband, Brian, as they head to Moldova for another summer working with the orphanages through Stella's Voice and Phillip Cameron Ministries.  They have already had one attack by satan (I refuse to capitalize his name).  There plane was grounded for two hours before even taking off due to weather.  There went their two and a half hour layover in Newark.  Pray they make their connecting flight to Germany. 

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