Eudora Food Bank
Eudora News and Information ~ www.eudorareporter.com
Rev. Dr. Shannah McAleer, better known as Pastor Shan, arrived in Eudora this past June to become the pastor of St. Paul United Church of Christ, 8th and Church St. So far she’s learned a lot about small town life. Before coming to Eudora, she had no idea what a 4-H bucket calf was or that parishioners of a rural church delight in bringing their pastor fresh produce all summer long. And she couldn’t be happier about being here.
Prior to becoming pastor at St. Paul, she was the Director of Children’s Ministries at United Methodist Church in Lawrence. She also pastored a large church in California. She is so happy with her experience here in Eudora that she plans to stay until she retires.
In describing her ministry at St. Paul Pastor Shan said, “I am a very ‘pastoral styled minister,’ which means I like to be highly involved.”
She not only preaches and performs ceremonies such as weddings and memorials, but also offers spiritual guidance to those who seek it. She describes the church as a place of love, and one that is very missional.
“Everybody is welcome here”, she explained. “UCC is an extravagant church of love. No one should ever leave here without feeling loved.”
Though the congregation is not large, about 50 attenders, Pastor Shan is proud of the great outreach it has to the community. The local Food Bank is housed in the church and helps many families every Wednesday morning when volunteers distribute food and household goods. Each year before school starts even the children of the church help fill backpacks for needy kids in Eudora. Another mission of the church is to provide Sunday and Wednesday services at Medicalodges skilled nursing and rehabilitation center on a rotating basis with other local churches.
“The giving nature at this church is really amazing,” said Pastor Shan. “But that is consistent with Eudora and with all of Kansas.”
Besides pastoring St. Paul United Church of Christ, Pastor Shan also teaches social work and human services at both KU and Ottawa University. She worked as a social worker before going into the ministry, and she feels like the two careers have close ties in serving others.
Pastor Shan is an openly gay pastor. UCC was the first denomination to recognize gay clergy and to perform gay marriages. She married her partner of 25-years this past July, and together they have one daughter and three grandchildren. She feels like the church and the community have been very accepting of her.
“I absolutely love this church,” Pastor Shan declared. “I live such a life of blessing. I love it.”