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This Week at St. Paul's
St. Paul's United Methodist Church  •  7740 Lackman, Lenexa KS  66217  •  913-268-9551
In this issue:
• Welcome new members!
• Job openings at St. Paul's

• Message from Pastor Lora
• Worship this week
• Coffee & Connections
• New small groups & topics start next week
• New fall schedules and resources for Youth & Kids
• Sept/Oct Upper Room Devotionals now available
• Help navigate back-to-school
• Women's Virtual Brunch with the Dialogue Institute
• Support Cross-Lines - Virtually or In-person
• Black Lives Matter signs
• Serve by Singing!
New Members

Welcome New Members!

Last Sunday at NEXT (our two-part new member class), staff and Church Council welcomed six new adults as members, along with the kids and spouses who come with some of them!

God shows up even when we can’t!

God brings us together even in the distance.

Thank you to this group of new folks who help us see just how present and creative God is. We can’t wait to Love, Seek, and Serve with you!

If you're interested in learning more about our discipleship pathway and membership at St. Paul's, we'd love to hear from you. Contact Luke Miltz and he'll get you connected!

We're Hiring!

We’re excited to see what God has in store for us and the individuals who will soon be part of our Worship Team!

Check out the open positions listed below and contact us if you feel like one of them might be a good fit for you or someone you know. We’d love to connect with you and hear about how your gifts and our openings match up.

Contemporary Music Director
Our Contemporary Music Director plans and leads music for worship services and other special events. This part-time person conducts weekly rehearsals, inspires congregational singing, and serves as a member of the Worship Team.

Technical Arts Director
This part-time position oversees the technical audio and visual systems associated with worship and other events; records and streams worship services; provides tech support for the video system throughout the church building; supervises the Technical Arts Assistant and volunteers; and serves as a member of the Worship Team. 
Find out more and apply now

Message from Pastor Lora

September 4, 2020

I was supposed to get married this weekend.

That was the plan.

Of course, you all know that those plans changed. We’ve been happily married for two months now. It has been such a gift. We are about to close on the cutest little house. Life is good!

And yet, there is still more grief there than I thought there might be. We’ve rescheduled the party for April 2022. Hopefully life will be a little calmer and safer and more predictable by then.

I also know that I’m going to have a lot more gray hair by then at the rate I’m going this year! I’ve hit a new level of tired this week. COVID is just the worst, isn’t it?

I saw Brad Footh walking on my way home for lunch, and I found myself teary thinking about missing everyone so much. Re-Entry Team continues to meet and assess how we can safely bring folks back together, and we know that the safest way to do that right now is small groups outside. Sigh.

What I also know is that six new people joined the church on Sunday. Over 100 people have participated or have signed up for an upcoming antiracism group this summer. Our staff have innovated again and again and again in ways that blow me away every day.

You all have kept with it. The fact that you are reading this newsletter today feels like a MIRACLE to me. Thank you. Thank you for hanging with us when it is so distanced and so hard. You don’t know how much it means to us to feel your engagement and to witness your faithfulness in Christ and in the church God has called us to be.

Thank you for worshiping online even when there are tech glitches.

Thank you for opening Praying with St. Paul’s—I know I feel your prayers.

Thank you for supporting our children and youth.

Thank you for your grace when things aren’t perfect.

Thank you for the ways you give yourself grace.

This is hard stuff. Wearying. I read a line this week in a wonderful poem that said:

Be excessively gentle with yourself.

That’s the phase of pandemic I’m trying to find. (Jesus needs to help me with this one.) But my faith tells me that grace abounds. What are you doing to experience grace these days? Serving? Loving? Seeking? Grace is there—be gentle—be embraced—let yourself grieve—let the tears come—welcome the gray hairs—sit in gratitude when you need to. For God’s love will find you there—or better yet—you will find God’s love there.

See You Sunday,

Pastor Lora

Worship this Week

Worship this Week

Sunday, September 6

10:00am Livestream on Facebook

Participate in the livestream on Facebook or watch later on St. Paul's YouTube channel. Here's a link to last week's service in case you missed it. Check out the worship guide (link below) for suggestions on how to make the experience more meaningful. 
Online Worship Guide

Presence Worship

Presence is a neurodiverse worship community. We welcome and celebrate the different ways in which we all interact with God, each other, and our environment.

Presence small group worship meets on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m., currently on Zoom; contact Mike Marcus for the link. Advance notice of the discussion question for the week is available by request. Contact Pastor Mike Marcus for more information.
Coffee & Connections

Do you miss seeing faces and chatting in the lobby with your church community before worship on Sundays at St. Paul's? Join Love Council for Coffee and Connections - a virtual, come-and-go opportunity to gather together, even though we're apart. Invite a friend and join us any time after 9am this Sunday via Zoom!

Coffee and Connection Zoom link
Meeting ID: 893 3022 6401
Password: SPUMC


Pastoral Care

If you have need of pastoral care (going to the hospital, a death or injury in your family, a prayer request) please email Pastor Sandra. For emergencies, you can reach Pastor Sandra by phone at 913-579-1298.

Adult & Intergenerational Small Groups

Being part of a small group working through questions about faith and life is an important part of spiritual growth. If you aren’t already part of one, this is your time! Scroll down to check out all the possibilities (also available on our website) and sign up. Contact Pastor Sandra if you have questions. 
Join a small group now
Sandra Cox
Sundays 8:45-9:45am
Micah Class
Contact: Sandra Cox

Join the Micah Class for conversation about contemporary topics of faith.
Lora Andrews and Carter Ellis
Sundays 4-5:30pm
The Trails
Hosts: Lora Andrews & Carter Ellis

Beginning September 13, this group will meet Sundays in-person socially distanced and masked at Shawnee Mission Park from 4-5:30pm. We will gather, pray, divide into small walking groups for guided conversation, and return to share all together. We will listen to a relevant podcast each week before meeting to guide our time. Join us for faith community, good conversation, and a beautiful hike. First up: Krista Tippett’s OnBeing interview with John Lewis.
Linda Stoner
Mondays 10am
Monday Study Group
Contact: Linda Stoner

This group of women meets for one hour on Zoom to learn about and discuss a variety of topics together. They will begin September 14 with a study of Torah.
Mondays 8pm
Monday Men's Small Group
Host: Luke Miltz

Starting September 14, this group will initially view and discuss the documentary, The Mask You Live In. The documentary is about the impact of toxic masculinity, but conversation will be oriented towards Christian "manhood," and how God calls us to deconstruct the parts of masculinity that are harmful.
Sandy Finney
Tuesdays 2-3:30pm
Tuesday Women’s Small Group
Host: Sandy Finney

Beginning September 8, this group will meet weekly on Tuesdays via Zoom and/or possibly in-person in an outdoor setting following socially distanced recommendations. This group welcomes women who have not yet found a home in a small group at St. Paul’s, but are interested in building supportive relationships within our church community. This group will start off reading Citizens of Hope: Basics of Christian Identity by Clayton Oliphint.
Scott Groth
Wednesdays 6:30-7:30am
Men's Study Group
Host: Scott Groth

Discussing contemporary topics of faith. Beginning September 9, join us for conversation about G. S. Griffin’s book, Racism in Kansas City: A Short HistoryThis book takes a look at some of Kansas City’s darkest moments—slavery, the border war, the Civil War, bombings of black homes, lynchings, the segregation of neighborhoods and schools, the civil rights struggle, the Black Panther movement, the 1968 race riot, assassinations in the 1970s, the infamous Missouri v. Jenkins U.S. Supreme Court case, and the racial inequities that still plague Kansas City today. Threaded throughout Racism in Kansas City are stories of those who fought ardently against racist policies—and won.

Sandra Cox
Wednesdays 1-2:30pm
Women’s Study Group
Host: Sandra Cox

If you love to read and discuss what you’ve learned, this is the group for you! During the course of a year, this group will incorporate Bible study, current events, spiritual practices, and seasonal studies into their studies. On September 8 they will begin a three-week study of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, Between the World and Me, an emotional letter written to the author’s son about what he has experienced as a Black man in this country. Following that, the group will delve into the Book of Genesis with J. Ellsworth Kallas’ offering through the Immersion Bible Studies series.

Dustin Cooper
Wednesdays 3-4pm
Scripture Study
Host: Dustin Cooper

Each week this group will explore the scripture that will be the basis for the following Sunday’s sermon. It’s a good way to prepare for worship and see how the scriptures can come alive in the context we live in.

Jamie Turk
Wednesdays 8-9pm
Evening Women’s Group
Host: Jamie Turk

Are you over-scheduled due to stress we put on ourselves from work and mothering? Beginning September 9th, this group for adult women will meet weekly via Zoom on Wednesdays at 8pm for laughter, friendship, and conversation. We’ll kick off the group with a look at the book Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist.
Thursdays 6:30-8pm
The Seekers
Host: Sharry Lockhart

This group is currently meeting in the church parking lot (as long as the weather is good!) social distancing by bringing lawn chairs for sitting in a large circle! They are currently reading together Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist, exploring  the most basic concepts and tackling some visionary possibilities, with the goal of helping see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves. 

Dustin Cooper
Thursdays 7pm
Scripture Study
Host: Dustin Cooper

Each week this group will explore the scripture that will be the basis for the following Sunday’s sermon. It’s a good way to prepare for worship and see how the scriptures can come alive in the context we live in.

Charlotte Millard and Angela Thornton-Millard
Thursdays 7-8pm
Next Generation Anti-Racism Study
Hosts: Angela Thornton-Millard & Charlotte Millard

Beginning September 10, this group will meet weekly via Zoom on Thursdays from 7 to 8 pm.  Kids and/or youth are invited to participate with a parent and/or adult. The group will read and discuss the book Just Mercy: A True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson. Please note, there is a young adult version available. This group will also work together to think of actionable items kids and/or youth and families can take to promote anti-racism in our community.
Mel Gard
2nd Thursdays of the Month 8:30-9:30pm
That One Small Group
Host: Mel Gard

This is a group of folks who are intentional about examining issues from a social justice perspective. Recent discussions have centered on: a break down of this session's supreme Court decisions; a video highlighting White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo and a discussion with Pastor Lora. Folks in this group rotate leadership each month selecting a topic of interest. 

Neighborhood Small Groups
Sign up for a neighborhood small group
Join a small group now
Visit the website to learn more
Contact Sandra Cox, Pastor of Faith Formation Contact Sandra Cox, Pastor of Faith Formation

Youth: Middle School/High School

Check out our new fall schedule for youth and join us any time! Programs are open to all youth grades 7-12. Contact Allison for Zoom links.

Sunday School 
Sundays 11-12pm (year-round)
Topic: Faith & Justice 

Activity Based Small Group 
Sundays 3-4pm 
Topic: Engaging in new and fun Spiritual Practices together (Sept. 13 - Oct. 25)

Discussion Based Small Group 
Sundays 6:30-7:30pm 
Topic: “Allyship” Reading the book How to Be an Antiracist together and discussing how to be an ally in racial justice (Sept. 13 - Oct. 25)

Youth Fellowship Activities 
Once a month on Sundays 4:30-6pm 
We will gather either outside social distanced or on zoom in a fellowship activity. 
September 27: Social Distanced Youth Parking Lot Party OR Jackbox Game Party on Zoom 

Youth Council Meetings
Last Sundays of the month 12-1:30pm 
Open to Youth Council members
St. Paul's Youth online
St. Paul's Youth Facebook Group St. Paul's Youth Facebook Group
Contact Allison Marcus, Director of Student Ministries Contact Allison Marcus, Director of Student Ministries

Kids' Connection: PreK - Grade 6

Our children’s ministry program is designed to connect families to the church, so that together we can partner to build a foundation of faith for our children. We want your child to know that God loves them no matter what and that Jesus will be their best friend forever. We also want your child to know that kids are important at St. Paul’s and that their church family cares about them and is praying for them.

We use Celebrate Wonder, a Cokesbury curriculum, that engages children’s natural sense of curiosity to help them understand God’s love. It creates a safe environment for kids to ask big questions — helping them explore the Bible in ways that feed their imagination and encourages creativity. Through carefully-selected Bible stories, songs, videos, and hands-on activities, Celebrate Wonder gives children the tools to explore their faith while incorporating it into their daily lives.

Celebrate Wonder
Kids’ Connection & KIDS 456
Join us for story time and our weekly Bible lesson on Wednesday evenings at 6:45! This setting is ideal for our younger kiddos. KIDS456 will be right after that, using the same Zoom link, at 7pm. 

Virtual Classroom
For more fun and games check out the Great Plains Kids Bible Journey! This virtual classroom was created by Rev. Melissa Collier Gepford, Intergenerational Discipleship Coordinator of the UMC's Great Plains Conference.

Anti-racism resources for parents and kids
We're committed to supporting and practicing social justice. The conversations we have with our children matter. Find a list of anti-racism resources for both parents and kids here. We'll continue updating the list on an ongoing basis.

We also invite you and your child to participate in the following intergenerational study!

Next Generation Anti-Racism Study | Thursdays 7-8pm
Hosts: Angela Thornton-Millard and Charlotte Millard Beginning September 10, this group will meet weekly via Zoom on Thursdays from 7 to 8 pm. Kids and/or youth are invited to participate with a parent and/or adult, and adults who don’t have kids are also welcome! The group will read and discuss the book Just Mercy: A True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson.  Please note, there is a young adult version available. This group will also work together to think of actionable items kids and/or youth and families can take to promote anti-racism in our community. Sign up here! 
Get this week's Parent Guide with activity sheets
Kids' Connection Facebook Group Kids' Connection Facebook Group
Contact Jamie Turk, Director of Family & Children's Ministries Contact Jamie Turk, Director of Family & Children's Ministries
Upper Room devotionals


The September/October issue of the Upper Room devotional is now available in the black mailbox by the church front entrance. As a constituent of St. Paul's, you also may download the issue at no charge here.

Navigating Back-to-School

Looking for a way to help parents and students navigate back-to-school 2020?!! Join St. Paul's as we partner with The Hub @ Metropolitan Ave UMC & YouthFront to provide Learning Pods for students in KCK. The Hub is located in the former Metropolitan Ave UMC building in the Argentine neighborhood of Kansas City, KS. We are looking for adults who are able to commit to working with students for 2 hours, once a week for one semester of virtual learning (Tuesday or Thursday afternoons). Training will be provided by YouthFront the week of September 21 and the Learning Pods will begin the following week. If you are interested in participating please fill out this form. Additional information can be found here.

For any other questions about this volunteering opportunity, please contact Carter Ellis or Scott Groth.

Please note that all volunteers must be Safe Gatherings certified through the UMC. Contact Allison Marcus for information on how to start Safe Gatherings certification.


Women's Virtual Brunch

St. Paul's Peace & Justice team invites you to join women from St. Paul's and the Dialogue Institute for a traditional Turkish women's brunch - taking place virtually! - on Friday, September 18, 10-11am. Let us know you're interested by filling out this form.

Our discussion topic will be Sharing with our Neighbors: Noah's Pudding (the traditional Turkish dessert given to friends) and other similar traditions in American culture.
Noah's pudding

Our friends at The Dialogue Institute of Kansas City are hosting the brunch. The Dialogue Institute is a non-profit organization that promotes peace, dialogue, mutual understanding and respect by bringing together people of different faiths and cultures. Turkish-Americans and their friends established the organization in 2002 to answer the question, "How can citizens of the world live in peace and harmony?"

Let us know you'll be joining us! We look forward to "seeing" you on the 18th. 

Supporting Cross-Lines - Virually and In-person!

Cross-Lines Gala
Cross-Lines Virtual Gala
Make plans to serve from home at the Cross-Lines Community Outreach virtual gala on Saturday, September 19 at 7pm. Typically an elegant in-person affair, their major fundraiser for the year has gone virtual. Find out more and register to participate in both the silent and live auctions!
serving at cross-lines

Cross-Lines Food Kitchen
Our monthly Cross-Lines Food Kitchen serving date is coming up Friday, September 18. It is Blue Team's turn to provide the meal. We need food providers (tortilla wraps, fruit, brownies), donations for food, and servers to pack sack lunches at the kitchen. Servers will travel to Cross-Lines at 9:30am and spend 3 hours filling lunch bags and passing them out to people through a plexiglass shielded door space. There is no inside dining, and mask-wearing volunteers will social distance while packing lunches and handing the sacks out at the window. Call or text Judi Derks 913-593-3772 to volunteer or find out more.

Cross-Lines has ongoing need for helpers at the food kitchen, food pantry, and commodities area. Cross-Lines staff is stretched very thin, and older volunteers are stepping away. Everyone who helps is welcome! All volunteers should wear masks, and there is always social distancing. We are happy to link you with another person or two from St. Paul's to work with. Go to the Cross-Lines Signup Genius to check out the service opportunities. Contact Janet Podoll if you have questions! 
Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

We're planting Black Lives Matter signs in our yards to express our commitment to antiracism and loving our neighbors. You have requested (and we have delivered!) over 55 signs so far!

Let us know if you'd like to receive your own sign by filling out this form. You can also contribute to the purchase of signs by entering your gift amount in the Antiracism Action Fund category here.

Sing with Us!

We would love for you to participate in our virtual choir, forming now! Check out the video and contact Jackson to get started.
St. Paul's Around Town
Are you involved in a community activity you'd like your St. Paul's friends to know about? Tell us about it!
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