The magnolia trees on The Upper Room grounds are in full bloom. These huge ancient trees, heavy with pink flowers and waxy leaves are as beautiful as ever. Regrettably, I’m not in the office to admire them as in previous years because The Upper Room staff is working from home. The magnolias announced spring without notice or fanfare as if all is well. And, yet we are fully aware that the last 12 months have been anything but normal. I appreciate their gracious reminder that life goes on and hope awaits us. As Easter people, we believe in resurrection, the possibility of new life, and a faithful God. All shall be well.
The Upper Room is also in a new season. We welcomed a new publisher on January 1. The Rev. Kimberly Orr is at the helm to help us navigate this sea of change impacting our churches and the publishing industry. Kimberly served most recently as the pastor of education and discipleship at Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, one of the largest churches in the denomination, and is an ordained elder with the Texas Annual Conference.
Kimberly’s prayer for The Upper Room is that we remain open to the Spirit’s leading for unity, growth, and shalom. She will seek to build on The Upper Room’s legacy by broadening the reach of the daily devotional guide and increasing our digital footprint by thinking playfully and entrepreneurially about how best to open up the gospel of Jesus Christ to a wider audience. After settling into her Nashville home, she spent her first weeks getting acquainted with staff members. In my first conversation with Kimberly, I was pleased to tell her about the generosity of our donors and their faithfulness to our ministry.
Kimberly loves to play board games, watch British mysteries, strum songs on her Gretsch guitar, and hike and camp when possible. She is also the proud mother of two adult children, Miriam and Josiah, and cherishes time with her two grandchildren, Ellie and Sam.
We are so pleased that Kimberly is our spiritual leader during this challenging time and ask for your prayers for the days ahead. Personally, I can’t wait for you to meet her. She is gracious, pastoral, and a kindred spirit. And, like the magnolia trees, she is grounded in God’s goodness.
Sherry Elliott is the Executive Director of Administration, Interpretation, and Development at The Upper Room.
This article also appears in the Spring 2021 Fellowship Focus newsletter for friends and donors of The Upper Room. Click the image below to view the complete newsletter.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.