One Giant Leap for Mankind

Lara Schopp Articles, Congregational Care, Joe Walker

By Joe Walker, Minister of Congregational Care Email ads almost never make my heart soar. But this one did. Late the other night I received an ad for t-shirts commemorating the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo XI mission. The 50th anniversary of walking on the Moon?! Groovy! My whole …

Holiday Conversations

Lara Schopp Articles, Joe Walker

Even in the gathering dusk the unadorned concrete slab on its native rock foundation was still warm from the summer sun. My grandmother, “Grams,” and I settled on the edge facing east; she with her feet on the roughhewn stone steps while I dangled my gangly legs over the side.

The American Love Affair

Lara Schopp Articles, Congregational Care, Joe Walker

Rev. Joe Walker, Minister of Congregational Care The automobile– it is quintessentially American, more so than apple pie. It appeals to both our personal and cultural love of “freedom.” It becomes an extension of our personality; frugal or flashy, safe or speedy. We can’t wait to start driving, counting the …

Beautiful Fear

Leslie Tenjack Articles, Congregational Care, Joe Walker

You have probably held a door open for a stranger on countless occasions. Most of the time you received a polite “thank you” or an appreciative head nod. What about those times when your kindness was ignored or the person grumbled something under their breath? That felt a little awkward, didn’t …

Billy Graham (1918-2018)

Lara Schopp Articles, Congregational Care, Joe Walker

The life and legacy of Rev. Billy Graham has been on my mind since his death. When anyone dies it is natural to pause and reflect on his or her life and what we learn from their triumphs and missteps. In Rev. Graham’s case, his ministry is so interwoven with history that it beckons us to look back on our collective journey during his 99 years.

Cold Hope

Lara Schopp Articles, Congregational Care, Joe Walker

Can you imagine having 200 guests in our sanctuary in sub-freezing weather and us not having heat in our building? Can you imagine 200 guests staying for two hours with coats, hats, and gloves on?


Lara Schopp Articles, Joe Walker

When did I become “old”? That’s not a punchline, it’s a serious question.    

Last weekend our congregation helped host Culver-Stockton College students on their “Know Thy Selfie” retreat. As a church we arranged for a service opportunity at Grace United Community Ministries, one of our Northeast neighborhood partners.

Braggin’ Rights

Lara Schopp Articles, Joe Walker, Mission Trips

The utility crews were peering into this hole the other day as I was walking through our parking lot. I asked if I could look, too, and they graciously agreed. I casually mentioned that it reminded me of the holes we dug for the foundation of a community center on our most recent mission in Nicaragua.

Lara Schopp Articles, Joe Walker

I vividly recall the first time I saw something called a “Macintosh,” a product of an unknown start-up Apple Computer. This little ivory-colored box was in a friend’s basement office and was only connected to the electrical outlet. As we huddled around its tiny black and white screen, it came to life with a little smiley face. Something in my very being sensed that we were peering into a window on the future. We were.

From One to Astrophysics and Back

Lara Schopp Articles, Joe Walker

At first glance, two books could not seem more different. Who Counts? is a numbers book for children ages 3-8 based on scripture stories. I pretty much “get” that one. The other is Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson. Everything I know about astrophysics I learned from “The Jetsons.”

Sacred Space

Lara Schopp Articles, Congregational Care, Joe Walker

This past month we held a family celebration at Tall Oaks Conference Center, our region’s camp in Linwood, Kansas. The eldest of our four generations had been volunteers at Tall Oaks long years ago and they love to return to its familiar beauty and relive the memory of friendships that the camp evokes.

Way Beyond the Cookies

Lara Schopp Articles, Congregational Care, Joe Walker

Joe: “Did you know I have a Girl Scout award?” Girl Scout: “Whaaat?” (complete with a side glance and a little head shake) Joe: “Because I helped start two Girl Scout troops.” Girl Scout: “Reeeealy?” (with another doubting head shake) It was an amusing little exchange that began last Sunday …

Go Confidently, Go Together

Sally Huggins Articles, Joe Walker

“In our most relaxed moments, we sit with our friends and fantasize about how we would like things to be—but we immediately retreat from the excitement such visions generate,” observes Rabbi Michael Lerner, “because we ‘know’ that they are impossible, that no one would ever join us in doing what …