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Staff Trax

Listen to Him!

How many times do teachers and parents find themselves saying, “Are you listening to me?!” I remember my uncle giving directions to his five kids, and when they didn’t respond he’d raise his voice and say, “Acknowledge!” My cousins told me later that they had no idea what that word meant, except to say “OK, Dad!” after he said it.

This week we wrap up the season of Epiphany…

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…

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.…

Food is Love

There are a LOT of scriptures about banquets, feasts, and food in general. Sometimes they’re just about having a place at the table in fellowship with others. Sometimes they suggest we should eat with people that the world says aren’t worthy, but God says they are. “Jesus is the Bread of Life” talks about how His peace fills you, so you’ll never be hungry or thirsty again.

There…

Only By His Grace

There’s a beautiful song that our Salem choir sang earlier this year called Grace Alone. It talks of promises, prayers, steps of faith, and differences we make that are only by His grace. The words keep coming back to me as we spend this week ironing out details for our next big leap of faith together as a congregation.

I want to thank the small but mighty crew of volunteers…

Miracles Will Happen

I am a believer in miracles. Sometimes we pray, hope, and dream for them, but many times they are unexpected … and we miss them if we aren’t paying attention. I try to watch for them, as they are so often in the small details of life.

This Sunday we’ll talk about Jesus feeding 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. His disciples did not believe they could make this…

Keep Blooming Where You’re Planted

Confession: Sometimes I run out of time (or ideas) for my Staff Trax and go back to previous years to get inspiration. I’ve been reading through my writings from 2020 and was struck by what I wrote after our 135th anniversary celebration, which was also our last worship service in our old location. During the service we read a litany of thanksgiving, which did talk a little about buildings,…

Can We Live in Unity?

If you know me, you’re probably not surprised that I am an extreme optimist. I look for the good in people and situations. This can be … ahem … annoying, as I like to “romp through my field of daisies” instead of looking at things in a more realistic light; I leave that up to my auditor husband!

God obviously created us to be different from each other, and I find it so interesting…

Rebuilding the Cross

David Hellwege built this beautiful cross for Salem in 2017. It is hand carved to hold 190 taper or tea light candles, and we use it for prayers and memorials on All Saints’ Sunday and Good Friday. I like this description of…

Come to the Well

I adore stories of Jesus going out of his way to engage with those who are shunned by others, like lepers, Zacchaeus, the woman at the well, the thief on the cross. He knew everything about them, yet still sought them out to heal, forgive, and bring them new life. It was these people as much as his devoted disciples who spread the good news of God’s love to their communities.

This Sunday…

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