Church School Kick-Off

jellenkc : August 31, 2016 1:47 pm : pastors-blog

Greetings Fellow Followers of the Way!


On August 28th we will celebrate the beginning of the new church school year with a time of fellowship and learning more about what offerings this year will hold.  There are many exciting opportunities to discover in the upcoming year and there are a myriad of ways for everyone to be involved in ministry at Southminster Presbyterian Church.

We will begin the morning at 9:00 with pancakes (served until 10:00).  We will do some singing together and learn more about the Sunday school offerings for the year ahead.  For the adults that includes some new opportunities.  The Inquiring Spirits Bible study class continues as does the Seekers class which explores more contemporary issues.  In addition to these classes we are beginning a Coffee, Conversation and Connection class in the Rearick room.  This class is a place for more casual conversations surrounding faith.  This class will use a series called Living the Questions as a place to start each week.

While we grow our faith through worship and through education, we also need opportunities to serve as well.  All the committees and church groups have been looking at the variety of opportunities that exist within the church.  From volunteering in the church office to answer the phone, to writing thank you notes for memorial gifts or working with the children and youth, there are many opportunities.

Some new opportunities to volunteer this year include being a helper in the nursery during the 11:00 worship service and being the helper in Treasure Time as we begin the Godly Play curriculum.  In an effort to help our preschool children learn more about the rhythm of worship, we will use the Godly Play story curriculum during Treasure Time.  After the children’s message, the kids will be dismissed to the preschool room where Ms. Madeline Miguel will be the story teller.  Each week they will hear and see a Bible story and have the opportunity to wonder about where God is at work.  There will need to be a helper in the room with Ms. Madeline.

If the littlest saints aren’t your age group, the older elementary group, Club 456, will resume meeting in September.  This group meets one Sunday a month for fellowship and devotion.  The youth group also begins its program year.  If you would like to volunteer with Club 456 or bring a meal to share with the youth, we would be happy for you to spend time with our children and youth.

There are opportunities to learn and to serve available to everyone.  My hope is for everyone in the congregation to find ways to grow their faith and ways to serve in the life and ministry of the church.  Join us on August 28th to discover where your gifts are needed!



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The Blessing of Memory – In Memorium: Elie Wiesel 1928-2016

jellenkc : July 25, 2016 2:56 pm : pastors-blog, Uncategorized

Jewish writer and teacher, Elie Wiesel, died on Saturday, July 2, 2016 in New York City.  He was 87 years old.  He was born in Sighet, Romania in 1928, living in a community of 15,000 Jews.  In the spring of 1944, the Nazis rounded up the city’s Jews and Wiesel found himself at the Auschwitz extermination camp.  He recounted his experience of the death camps and the Holocaust in his memoir entitled buy Pregabalin er online Night.  He became a tireless advocate for the telling of the story of the Jewish population of Europe under the Nazis.  In 1986, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.

In the preface of his book, From the Kingdom of Memory, Wiesel wrote this:

If there is a single theme that dominates all my writings, all my obsessions, it is that

of memory—because I fear forgetfulness as much as hatred or death… 

For memory is a blessing:  it creates bonds rather than destroys them.  Bonds between

present and past, between individuals and groups.  It is because I remember our

common beginning that I move closer to my fellow human beings.  It is because I

refuse to forget that their future is just as important as my own.  What would the

future of man be if it were devoid of memory.


I first read Night as a young man.  It was my first experience of hearing about the horrors of the Holocaust in the words of a person who had endured those horrors and emerged still alive.  It affected me profoundly and motivated me to want to understand more fully both the evil that caused the holocaust and to explore what meaning might be there for both Christians and Jews as we reflect on our faith and our God.  One particular passage from Night has haunted me through the years.  It was an account of the hanging of two adults and one child inside the camp.

The three victims mounted together onto the chairs.  The three necks were placed at the

same moment within the nooses.  “Long live liberty!” cried the two adults.  But the child

was silent.  “Where is God?  Where is he?” someone behind me asked.  At the sign

from the head of the camp the three chairs were tipped over.  Total silence throughout

the camp…Then the march past began.  The two adults were no longer alive…But the

the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child was still alive…  Behind me, I

heard the same man asking:  “Where is God now?”  And I heard a voice within me

answer him:  “Where is He?  Here he is—He is hanging here on this gallows. 

Wiesel said:  “I fear forgetfulness as much as hatred or death.”  He raised his voice against anti-Semitism, hatred, bigotry, and intolerance in all its forms.  His witness and his persistent call for us to remember things we would rather forget continue to reverberate in our own time and place as we also fight against hatred, bigotry, and intolerance in all its forms.  Thanks be to God for the life and witness of Elie Wiesel.

Grace and Peace,



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A Community of Hospitality for All

jellenkc : June 17, 2016 3:33 pm : pastors-blog

At the May Session meeting, your Evangelism Committee reported their intention to introduce a motion that Southminster formally affiliate with More Light Presbyterians, a national advocacy network that has worked for decades to create a community of hospitality in the Presbyterian Church (USA) for persons of the LGBTQ community.  A formal affiliation with More Light Presbyterians is the most tangible way for our congregation to witness to the wider community of Presbyterians as well as others that our community of faith is a place of welcome for all people.

The More Light Presbyterian mission statement states this:

Following the risen Christ, and seeking to make the church a true

Community of hospitality, the mission of More Light Presbyterians

Is to work for the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,

And queer (LGBTQ) people in the life, ministry, and witness of the

Presbyterian Church (USA) and society. 

Formal endorsement of this mission statement allows us to register as a member of the More Light network and is the clearest way for us to declare that we are indeed what our own mission statement declares–we are a welcoming community of hospitality to all.

Southminster has already demonstrated that this is in fact the case in different ways over the last 20 years or more.  Your evangelism committee is aware that Presbyterians who are relocating to this area may be looking for a church that they can reliably assume is going to be inclusive of persons who are LGBTQ.  I have had personal conversation with some of our members who came to us from other parts of the country that the “More Light” designation was one of the criteria by which they evaluated their options.

The Session recognizes that people have different levels of understanding regarding the complexity of defining sexual orientation.  The officers had vigorous conversation about this at our retreat in January.   I was interested that our youngest Session members were most knowledgeable about the various definitions of sexual orientation.

On August 7th we will engage as a congregation in dialogue and sharing of information following the 11:00 worship service.  More information about the work of More Light Presbyterians can be found at  I encourage you to visit their website and explore the many ways that MLP is working to create a community of hospitality and welcome in our beloved church.  While the formal governance barriers to full inclusion in leadership and participation and marriage equality have been removed in our denomination, much work remains to create a true spirit of hospitality for persons who are LGBTQ.

Both of your pastors welcome individual conversation about these matters as well.  Please let us know if an individual conversation would be helpful you.  The Session will formally consider this motion at its August stated meeting.  It is important to us that all questions and concerns be heard and addressed.

Grace and Peace,



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Teachers are Angels in Disguise

jellenkc : May 23, 2016 3:51 pm : pastors-blog

As we approach the end of the school year and as we transition to our Summer Sunday school, we want to thank everyone who has been engaged in the teaching ministry at Southminster.  Whether these volunteers have taught preschool, elementary, youth or adult, they are all vital to the continuing discipleship of our congregation!  On behalf of those who have taught this year, the Christian Education Committee has made a donation to Bread for the World in their honor.  Please celebrate the gifts that have been shared with the church throughout the past year.

Susan Anderson                                     Shelley Moran

Amy Bagnall                                           Becky Newkirk

Denise Blinn                                           Rick Newkirk

Tammie Calkins                                     Pam Nitsche

Rev. Jeff Clayton                                   David Potter

Nancy Colley                                         Julie Potter

Ruth Davidson                                      Lindsey Powers

Sudie Dozier                                         Mindy Rawlston

Brian Ellison                                          Judy Robinett

Nancy Fischer                                       Susie Robinett

Courtney Fiser                                      Jennifer Stathas

Michelle Frost                                       Bill Tammeus

Amy  Herring                                         Rev. Edward Thompson

Mark Jorgenson                                    Katy Thompson

Mary Jorgenson                                    Ruth Ann Unruh

Judy Klamm                                          Kelly Wachel

Marilyn Lake                                         Joy Warner

Kory Lewis                                            Larry Williams

Melinda Lewis                                       Rita Williams

Madeline Miguel                                   Rev. Karen Wright

Susan Mitts                                          Rev. Sally Wright

Maxalt generic Karen


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Greetings Southminster Friends

jellenkc : May 5, 2016 4:16 pm : pastors-blog

How do we celebrate milestones in life?  I remember when I turned 16, being given sets of keys to the family cars.  I remember the roast by my teaching colleagues when I turned thirty.  We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries because they have special meaning in our lives.  We do this in the church as well.

This Sunday we will celebrate the baptism of one of Southminster’s youngest saints.  Baptism is our welcome into the family of God.  It is an outward sign of the invisible grace of God, a visible and tangible way in which we as a community recognize God’s claim on those who cannot respond.  We as the church family promise to help in the nurture and care of this child of God and we mark the occasion together.

As the children and youth of the church grow, we continue to mark our time together.  In third grade we present children with Bibles.  As they are becoming more proficient at reading, we put the Word of God in their hands to read for themselves.  In Sunday school we work with them to help them explore their Bibles.

In a few weeks, our confirmation class will meet with Session to proclaim their faith and seek to take over the promises made on their behalf at their baptism and to become full members of Southminster.   In the spring of their eighth grade year, the youth engage in dialogue and discussion about faith.  On May 8th, we will welcome two youth into full membership.

In May, we will also celebrate our graduating high school seniors.  It is a time to celebrate with them as they complete one chapter of life and begin another.  We will wish them well on their way and send them with our blessing.  We also send them with a gift from the church in the form of a devotional book as a reminder that they have been nurtured in their faith by this family of faith and we want them to continue their journey knowing they are always welcome here.

Milestones are important in our lives, in our families and in our church family.  As we celebrate a baptism this week, let us remember our own baptism and the promises made to all the children of Southminster.  May we renew our promises to all our children and youth to nurture them in their journey of faith, to walk alongside them as they grow and celebrate the milestones of life with them as well.





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