Saturday, December 8, 2018

A time of reflection in a season of hope

Over the last two months, members of the Idlewild PNC have spoken with a number of well-qualified and impressive ministers of the Gospel. We are grateful to God for the ministries of each of those with whom we have spoken, and we ask that the Church remember them in prayer. Regardless of whether we have spoken with the next Head of Staff for Idlewild, we have been excited to experience and see the work of God being accomplished in communities across the country through God's ministers. Truly has the Lord poured out blessings on the PC(USA)!

The PNC is currently in a time of reflection and discernment. We have had conversations, listened to sermons, and researched candidate ministers, but we know our task has only just begun. Difficult decisions loom, but so does hope for the future of Idlewild. How fitting that we approach this hope, then, in the season of Advent as we profess hope for the blessing of peace through Christ. We are inspired by this excerpt from the Companion to the Book of Common Worship (Geneva Press, 2003, 96):
In Advent we expectantly wait for the One who has already come. We anticipate the promised justice of God’s new world, yet we praise God who raised the “righteous branch” to rule with justice and righteousness. We hope for the restoration of the afflicted, the tormented, and the grieving, yet we delight that healing has come in Christ. We long for the beating of swords into plowshares, yet we rejoice that the Prince of Peace has appeared. We yearn for the barren deserts of our inner cities to flourish, yet we laud the desert Rose that has bloomed. We dream of the land where lions and lambs live in harmony, yet we acclaim the child born to lead us into the promised land. 
As always, do not hesitate to contact any member of the PNC with a suggestion or request. We are grateful for our engaged and thoughtful congregation! Our email addresses are linked below, along with a short bio about each of our members. You can also reach us collectively by e-mailing us at

Jeanne Marie Cummings
Jeanne Marie Cummings is a lifelong Memphian and a child of Idlewild Presbyterian Church. She is the daughter of Lee and Lucy Cummings and the older sister of DC Cummings. She works for Welcome To Memphis, the training subsidiary of Memphis Tourism and is the President of the Kemmons Wilson School Alumni Chapter at the University of Memphis. Jeanne Marie is also involved with Pinecrest Conference and Retreat Center leading ropes courses when needed and leading recreation at Presbyterian Youth Conference every year.

Albert Johnson
Albert Johnson has been a lifelong member of the church and grew up in the recreation department. He has coached various sports and put on numerous basketball camps in the past. He recently served as the chair of the house and properties committee. His grandfather was an associate pastor at Idlewild in the 1960s and his mother and late father have been longtime members. Albert is married to his wife of 10 years, Trinh Johnson, and has two children: Levi (9) and Beklin (7). Albert works for local civil construction company, VuCon, as a Project Manager.

Julie Markham
Dr. Julie Markham was born and raised in Virginia, trained as a neuroscientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and was an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore before her husband Brent’s job at St. Jude brought them to Memphis in 2012. She planned a brief hiatus from her career to accommodate the move, which turned out to be so delightful and fulfilling that she decided not to run from happiness; six years later she continues to embrace life as a self-styled “family manager”. This shift has allowed her to be more present in the lives of their boys Aiden and Miles, now 11 and 7, and also to become engaged in the life of their faith community at Idlewild. Julie was ordained as a deacon in 2016, and has enjoyed facilitating Lenten Lectionary small groups, leading workshops on prayer practices, serving on the planning committee for a Sunday school class (Faith and Function: Ancient Texts and Today’s Questions), and chairing the Congregational Care Committee.

Cindy Moore
Cindy Moore is long time member of Idlewild. She has served on various committees in the church, and she has served as both a deacon and an elder. Cindy was Idlewild's director of Outreach Ministry in the 1990s. She is now the director of development at MIFA. She and her husband, Scott, have two daughters, Isabelle and Lucy.

Mitchell Redd
Mitchell and Mary Katherine Redd joined Idlewild in August 2000. He is currently a member of the Budget & Finance Committee as well as Chair of the Administration Ministry Unit. He previously served on the Stewardship Committee and the Board of the Children’s Center/Kindergarten as well as both a deacon and an elder. He has three children – Josephine, Katherine and John – all of whom were baptized at Idlewild. The girls are in their senior and sophomore years at Hutchison School and John is in 6th grade at Presbyterian Day School. Mitchell is a Senior Vice President for FTN Financial Capital Assets, a loan trading and advisory subsidiary of First Tennessee Bank.

Betty Louis Sheppard (chair)
Betty Louis Sheppard moved to Memphis in 2002. After many years in the Mid-South Presbytery, she knew that Idlewild with its traditions of fine preaching, community outreach, and commitment to the PC(USA) would be her home. Her primary interest in church life is worship and music, which is where the congregation gathers together to prepare and be inspired to live as daily Christians. Music as an integral part of worship gives voice to faith through the singing of hymns, psalms, and liturgy. Betty Louis have four children who grew up in the Church, all of whom are grown with families of their own. She is fortunate to have one daughter as a member of Idlewild, along with a son-in-law and their two children.

Jeremy Sykes
Jeremy Sykes is a lifelong Memphian with deep roots, both family and professional, in the area. He is a graduate of Rhodes College and the University of Memphis' Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. He and his family joined Idlewild in 2015. Jeremy is married to Jenna. Their twins, Eden and Reid, are first graders. Jeremy is self-employed as an immigration attorney in private practice and serves as a volunteer youth soccer coach. He previously served as an immigration adviser to the Office of Multicultural and Religious Affairs for former Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton.

Jeff Thompson
Jeff Thompson has been a member of Idlewild for more than forty years. He has served two terms each as a deacon and an elder and has served on various committees of the church. He is married to Nancy, and they have three adult children. Jeff is in the private practice of law.