St. Paul United Church of Christ
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.”
Wade Walchak of the Sentimental Art Glass Company, worked on the stained glass windows at St. Paul United Church of Christ as part of a project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the installation of the glass. (photo by Richard Gwin, courtesy The Lawrence Journal-World)
Story by Stephen Montemayor, courtesy The Lawrence Journal-World
It’s late afternoon and Wade Walchak hasn’t taken a lunch break yet. Instead, he’s steadying the balls of his feet on scaffolding outside St. Paul United Church of Christ, 738 Church St., and studying the stained-glass windows he has been tasked with saving.
Sun peeks between clouds to illuminate the red panes of Jesus’ robe as Walchak trains his eyes on the delicate task of bolstering the windows’ protective lead bars and Lexan window covering.
The new sheets of Lexan, Walchak said, will protect the windows from being broken and won’t yellow for at least 10 years.
“If somebody throws something at it, it will bounce off and hopefully hit them in the head,” said Walchak, who runs a stained-glass restoration business out of Belton, Mo. Originally from Winona, Minn., which bills itself as the stained glass capital of the United States, Walchak was called on by the church to lead $30,000 in repairs in time for the 100th anniversary of the windows’ installation. Walchak replaced the lead between the pieces of glass and the protective covering on the windows.
The church, founded in 1868, is also nearing the 100th anniversary of its present building. Clippings from the Eudora Weekly News inside the church tell how in 1913 a small congregation collaborated to chip in $8,000 to build the new church. A rededication ceremony is planned for May 2014.
Though pulling funds together isn’t new to the congregation, the passage of a century has inflated the amount needed to overhaul something as delicate as stained glass.
Pastor Rod Nitz said the main west window of the building, over which Walchak spent several afternoons laboring in November and December, was purchased for slightly less than $500 in 1913. Today’s replacement value of that window alone is $10,000, Nitz said.
“It’s a meaningful part of this church,” Nitz said, “and it really sets off the whole sanctuary.”
Church secretary Karen Anderson Troutman said that Cherry McCabria, one of about 70 who make up the church’s congregation, helped spearhead an effort that allowed the church to raise enough funds for a decent down payment. McCabria, Troutman said, lit up the phones to solicit donations from current and former church members, some living across the country. Some families, Troutman said, chipped in $50 checks every other week.
“How this little church rallied together to save these windows is a great way to remind people that there is still a church on Church Street,” Troutman said.
Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
St. Paul United Church of Christ is hold a series of discussions on the topic of racism. The contemporary study course which started on Tuesday, Oct. 2, is designed to help start faithful, honest and freeing conversations about race and racism.
Some of the topics that will be discussed over the course of the 11 week series range from the difficulties in talking about racism, the Bible and Racism, historical perspective discussions and is affirmative action still needed.
The remaining 10 classes are to be held on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM at St. Paul United Church of Christ, 738 Church Street. For more information and to RSVP contact Bonnie Neis at bonnieneis_EHS@hotmail.com or by phone at 785-979-3207.
Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
With the Holidays approaching way to fast, we take time to try to help out those less fortunate. Several organizations in Eudora need your help.
His Hands Clothing Closet is in need of coats for all ages. They have had many requests for coats in all sizes. Some orders have been filled but they still are in need of many sizes from small girls size 2t to junior sizes, and boys from 12 mos to junior sizes. The closet is also in need of men’s and women’s coats from medium to the largest plus sizes.
They have a waiting list with a few who are pending donated sizes. Also any hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, snow boots can be dropped off at the clothing closet. To find out how you can help out His Hands Clothing Closet, contact Christine Zimmer at 785-542-3528 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Not only is there a need for clothing at HHCC, the Eudora Food Pantry (located at St. Paul United Church of Christ) is very much in need of donated items. Canned and boxed food is always in need. At this time, the Food pantry is seriously in need of personal care items (i.e. soap, toothpaste, shampoo, etc). Please bring your items to St. Paul or to your own Church which will send them on to the Food Pantry.
The Ministerial Alliance is an organization that consists of the pastors from many of the churches in the Eudora community. This group also supports the food pantry.
Please consider taking a moment and helping out those who need your assistance.
Kids can come to the Shake it Up Cafe and learn about the five key ingredients to living a Christian life! Registrations are being taken now and walk ins that first night will be accepted! The Cost is free, but each participant is asked to bring canned goods or money to support the Eudora Community Food pantry as the mission project for the week.
For more information, contact the church office at 542-2785.