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Staff Trax

The Story Behind “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

There are so many rich histories behind our favorite hymns and carols! Since we’re doing our Lessons and Carols service this Sunday, I’d like to share one of my favorite carol stories:

Phillips Brooks was a young preacher when he gave the funeral address for President Abraham Lincoln. Not long after, he took a sabbatical from preaching to visit the Holy Land, hoping to find peace…

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

During Advent, many congregations sing the beautiful hymn “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.” For good reason. The hymn speaks of our desire to be set free from our fears and sins while also expressing a need for Jesus, the “joy of every longing heart.”

When evening falls on Dec. 24, Advent will finally give way to Christmas, a time when many of us will gather for Christmas Eve worship…

Christmas Perspective

We are in the middle of the Christmas season. Everything is rushed and busy. There are so many things to do.

The holiday season also finds us helping those in need more than any other time of the year. We adopt families, provide meals, purchase Christmas gifts, and give our time to people during the holiday season.

The holidays can tend to be very lonely for many people. It is a…

Hello, Salem Family!

My name is Luke Carr, and I am the new nursery coordinator at Salem. I have several years of experience working in the church nursery and with the youth. I have spent all those years here at Salem. I have been involved with the nursery, VBS, Sunday school, and more. I enjoy the youth in our church environment, as I have loved it since I first started.

I was born and raised here in Kansas.…

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

Another year is coming to an end, and there is so much to be grateful for. Most of the year in my Staff Trax I speak of giving gratitude, being in prayer, giving thanks daily, and helping others around you.

With the positive energy that you develop when giving gratitude and staying positive throughout your day, you will have fewer days that are not so gloomy. People who focus on the positive…

Countdown to Christmas

We are right in the middle of the holiday season. Thanksgiving is upon us, and the countdown is on to Christmas and the end of the year.

For some, the Christmas season may have started a month ago. As the Halloween decorations went down and the candy was packed away, the Christmas trees and lights went up.

You may have been listening to Christmas music since early November. Others…

Talents Are for Connecting

I’ve been a worship director since August 1997. I served almost 12 years in a Methodist church in Overland Park, then went back to my Presbyterian home church in Leavenworth for a few years, and now I am in year 14 at Salem. If you look at my job description, you’ll see things like planning worship, coordinating musicians and volunteers, directing choirs, and selecting hymns and praise songs.…


Emery Nester tells a story about a lost hiker stranded in the wilderness. Hopelessly lost, the hiker worried about finding a way out of the dense forest, until, by chance, the hiker encountered another wilderness wanderer. “I am lost,” said the hiker. “Will you please show me the way out of the wilderness?” “No,” replied the stranger, “I cannot show you the way out of the wilderness,…

Football Lessons

The weather has cooled significantly, and the leaves have changed. We are also in the middle of football season. I know that not all of us are interested in football, and that is just fine. We all have different interests in life. I just happen to be very focused on football. I have learned the game, which has helped, and I really enjoy watching it. However, I also feel guilty about the time and…

Why Do We Celebrate Reformation Sunday?

Every year on Oct. 31 (or on the Sunday closest to that date), we commemorate the day Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on door of the Wittenberg Castle Church, October 31, 1517. Luther chose that date, the evening before All-Hallows Day (also known as All Saints Day), because he knew the church would be packed full of worshipers the following day and they would see it on the door when…

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