Rev. Ellen Guice Sims

Hello and Welcome!

As many of you know, I will retire in January 2021. Although I am in no way engaged in the process that will seek and call Open Table’s next pastor, the Search and Call Committee has asked me to help publicize the search process, which I am eager to do to support them in this important endeavor and to commend them, as only their outgoing pastor can do, to ordained ministers seeking a vibrant, mature, diverse, inclusive, and deeply caring congregation. To those ministers I introduce Open Table this way:
The imaginative folks of Open Table UCC read the Bible too seriously to take all of it literally, eat progressive theology for breakfast, welcome new people and new ideas, laugh and weep together in worship services, and love the United Church of Christ.
They are doers. In our ten short years they founded two ministries that became two independent 501(c)(3)s that now are embraced and sustained by the larger community: Prism United, which serves LGBTQ youth and families, and Gulf Coast Creation Care, which brings together congregations and individuals of many faith traditions to care for creation. They were on the front lines in local social justice projects and protests that, for instance, helped overturn a draconian anti-immigrant law in Alabama and supported marriage equality.
As progressives in a conservative culture, they are a “destination church,” so although Open Table is located in midtown Mobile, participants have come from as far away as Pensacola, Florida, and Biloxi, Mississippi. Many have not been “churched” since childhood but come tiptoeing back through our church door, grateful for a faith community that loves them as they are and that wants them to use their brains.
They are ready for the challenges ahead.
They are longing to love you.

Thanks for letting me introduce myself. A United Church of Christ minister, I have been shaped over the years by a variety of Christian traditions. When my husband and I returned to our home state and my hometown after many years away, I felt called to start a new church in Mobile, Alabama, for people hungry for a socially responsive, intellectually engaged, spiritually dynamic Christian communion. In February of 2009, I began gathering together a core group of people who were eager to support each other in a life of faith as we worked together to discern God’s direction for us. This dear, diverse, and growing group of traveling companions shares a commitment to see where God is at work in the world and to join in that work. Since 2010 we have been a ministry of the United Church of Christ, a progressive denomination uniquely suited for a future-oriented church.

If you want to know how you can join this spiritual adventure and support the beginnings of a new faith community, I welcome the chance to hear from you. Please use the Contact Us link at the top right to email me and I’ll be in touch. Also, each week my sermons are archived online on our Sermons page. Please take a look.

Here’s some more information about my background and experiences:

  • Taught literature and writing for 16 years at Belmont University in Nashville prior to entering the ministry.
  • Received an M.Div. from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio.
  • Originally ordained as an American Baptist minister.
  • Gained valuable experience both during and after seminary as a campus minister, associate pastor, and hospital chaplain.
  • Serve as a board member of the Mobile Area Interfaith Conference and past-president of The Quest for Social Justice
  • Support community organizations including LGBT Wave of Hope, Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice, and League of Women Voters.
  • Volunteer with various community organizations in Mobile.
  • Married to a college administrator; mother to a lawyer in Nashville.
  • Student of our dog Rascal, who teaches the spiritual practice of appreciating life as it comes.