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First Presbyterian Church of Liberal

1551 N. Western Avenue, Liberal, KS 67901       P.O. Box 236, Liberal, KS 67905-0236       (620) 624-5487 

Pastor Kitty's Korner

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Martin Luther King, Jr. March & Celebration

Posted by [email protected] on January 21, 2016 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (3)

On 1/18/16, Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day, Judy and Allison Chance, Judy's friend, Carol and I joined the march in honor of MLK, which began at the Liberal Memorial Library and it was exciting! At the end of the march, we had a celebration at the Calvert Learning Center, a center for Adult Education and English as a Second Language classes. We sat at a table with some of our African-American sisters and brothers and got to mingle with them and folks from diverse cultures, which was fun! We also were served a nice chili supper with plenty of desserts, while we listened to inspiring speeches about Dr. King's dreams for equality and justice for all people. We listened to two groups of African-American singers sing moving spirituals about unity and diversity. We all joined to sing, "Lift Every Voice and Sing". We learned about the Black History Committee and many different civic groups in our area, including the Red Cross, Baker Arts Center and LARC (Liberal Area Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence Center). It was a very meaningful time and Judy sent me a cool YouTube video of  song recorded in honor of MLK, "Shed a Little Light", sung jointly by the African-American group Naturally 7 and the Jewish group, Maccabeats, which I posted on our Facebook page. These two singing groups from very different cultures and religions joined together to sing about MLK's dream - that we would all focus on the 'ties' or close bonds we have with one another, regardless of our gender, race, culture, religion, etc., and sharing our common hope,  love and dreams in a spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. Let us keep praying and working toward MLK's dream, that all persons would be judged, not by the color of their skin, or any other category we put them in, but by the content of their character. Let us also always do this with non-violent approaches, remembering that love, not violence, is our greatest weapon.

Eritrea and East Africa

Posted by [email protected] on January 14, 2016 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (3)

 We are so blessed to have a man from Eritrea worship with us.  We have been trying to learn more about his culture, family and country, and this week one of my members, Jill forwarded an article on Eritrea to me. I knew that there were wars and some unrest in Eritrea and its neighboring nations in East Africa, but I had no idea of all that is actually happening in this small country. The article was eye-opening, and I learned that Eritrea is a totalitarian nation. Just that, says volumes about how the country is run. Most males must enter the military, to fight in the various wars going on in with the surrounding nations. The people have very little freedom and most of us Americans would not be able to imagine how oppressive the living conditions are in this country. The U.N. is now investigating the situation in Eritrea, because there are questions regarding human rights in the nation. It is incredible that our friend was rescued by a Red Cross team, while a prisoner of war in a neighboring nation, and I believe that it was by the grace of God that this could happen! I thank God for God's amazing grace, that brought him out of East Africa to the U.S. as a refugee, for a chance to live a life of freedom and experience things like love, joy and most of all - peace. Many others in Eritrea are also hoping for the same thing, so let us really keep in prayer our friend, the nation of Eritrea and all other nations which are in war/conflict, daily, petitioning God for an end to violence, oppression and war, and the start of justice, love and peace. Please let me know if you would like a copy of the article and please share your thoughts about this.

Living in Peace

Posted by [email protected] on September 17, 2015 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (1)

This week there is major concern with the threatening statements from North Korean leaders regarding their development of nuclear weapons to fight us and their other enemies. Similar to what I had discussed about the Middle East, ISIS and Al-Assad's regime in Syria and Jesus' teachings in the story about the Syrophonecian woman, we also need to apply those teachings to our relationship with North Korea. It is so hard to respond to North Korea's threats and adversarial attitude in a positive way, but Jesus and God teaches us repeatedly throughout the scriptures that we need to respond with understanding, a desire to live peaceably and much prayer! Romans 12:18 tells us, "If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." First, we need to take on that outlook toward our 'enemies' such as North Korea, and second, we need to pray that they, too, will begin to realize that this is the right outlook. The situation in North Korea is quite sad, because it is a very impoverished country, and their nuclear weapons is their only major resource. That may be one reason why they feel the need to use nuclear weapons to leverage power among other nations. I think they believe that developing more nuclear weapons will help and make them more powerful, but because they are using them to form adversarial relationships and fight other nations, the scriptures tell us that this is wrong and will lead to further poverty and destruction. Psalm 1:1-3 says this about those who follow God's way, "Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked ... but their delight is in the law of the Lord ... they are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all they do, they prosper." On the other hand, Psalm 1:4 and 6 says this about those who do not follow God's way, "The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away ... for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish." North Korea is already doing very poorly economically, especially in comparison with South Korea, which has a very different government and relationship with other countries, than North Korea. Micah 6:8 tells us that we should "do justice, love kindness and walk humbly" with our God, and this makes it very clear as to how our attitude toward North Korea and other adversarial countries should be. Sometimes it seems overwhelming and scary, to face such confrontational situations, such as with North Korea, and we wonder how we as one individual can really make a difference. However, working for peace and justice begins with just one person, and one person CAN actually make a difference, because this person's attitude will affect the next person, and on and on the positive and peacemaking spirit will go. May we be one of the first persons to promote this attitude of peace and pray diligently for it. The peace and security of our nation, as well as that of the whole world depends on it.

More Understanding, Love and Peace

Posted by [email protected] on September 11, 2015 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (6)

Last Sunday I preached about the Syrophonecian woman in Mark 7:24-37. I was grateful that my sermon stirred up thoughts/feelings in the congregation about our country’s ‘enemies’, such as the countries/groups in the Middle East. I said in my sermon that we needed to learn from Jesus’ example, of how he extended his love, Word and healing even to the Syrophonecian woman, whose race was at constant odds with his own people, the Jewish people, that we also need to extend forgiveness, understanding and peace to our ‘enemies’. One member asked me after worship, whether this meant that we need to do this even with groups such as ISIS and Al-Assad’s regime in Syria, and I said, as hard as it is for us, yes, we need to extend forgiveness, understanding and peace even to these groups. I believe that the best way we can begin doing this is by praying for these groups/countries. In the one act of bringing these groups and our heartfelt concerns about them and the tenuous situation between our country and theirs, we change that adversarial relationship between us, both in their attitudes and ours. Right away, we will feel a sense of calm and peace, and on the other end, the Spirit will work on their hearts and minds, though we will not see results right away. The member resoled to pray about them, but not for them. It was a compromise, but I thought it was a nice start! I pray every day, for more forgiveness, understanding, love and peace between our country and theirs. On this anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, what are your thoughts/feelings on this? -Pastor Kitty

The Peaceful Kingdom

Posted by [email protected] on August 4, 2015 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Here is an incredible picture of an amazingly content and happy family of 10 animals (Golden Lab, hamster and 8 birds), posted on Instagram by Luiz Higa of Sao Paulo, Brazil! The picture was sent to me by my friend, Wally from San Francisco, CA, and it reminded me of the "peaceful kigdom", which Isaiah 11 describes, where the wolves live with the lambs, and the calves lie down with the lions. Wouldn't it be wonderful if each of us humans, could treat and live with our enemies in the same way? Also, wouldn't it be fantastic, if our dogs, cats and pets could get along so amicably and be such good friends? One of this week's lectionary scriptures is Ephesians 4:25-5:2, which is about letting go of bitterness and anger, and being kind, forgiving and tenderhearted toward one another, and I believe this happy family of 10 animals really models this for us. I know my dogs, Wally and Shauny have a lot of work and long road ahead of them, before they get to this place of being such good brothers and friends! Please share your thoughts on this. -Pastor Kitty

Rich History of Pastors

Posted by [email protected] on July 29, 2015 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (5)

Last Sunday I talked about some of the wonderful pastors in the history of our church in my sermon. The pastor I was most encouraged by was Pastor Lucas Krebs, serving here from 1949-1958. The thing I that most inspired me about Luc was his loyalty and love for our church, as he continued to keep in touch with and prayed for our church, until the very end of his life in 1977! Luc remarked that this church was his happiest ministry of all the churches he had served! In 1 John 3:18, it says that we show our love not just by our words and emotions, but by our actions, and Luc sure did that for our church, to the maximum. I also liked that Luc used prayer as a "constant companion", as he shepherded this church. These two things about Luc as a pastor, are things that I too hold high on the priority list of how to be a pastor, as I serve in this role. I hope after 8 months, this congregation understands that I love them, "I have their back," and I am fully committed to taking care of them. My mother taught me that when we love people, we need to be loyal and true to them, until the end, so I know I will care about this congregation, forever! I often go to the deep well of prayer, to ask for God's guidance, as I face challenges. I would like to know, what is your favorite memory of a previous pastor? For those of you, who are recent members or have not attended church before, you may share about a favorite pastor or mentor from a different church or other part of your life. I know that the fond memories of Pastor Bill Sebring (1965-1974) as "an egghead you could talk to" and "Black Bart" because of his black outfits with cowboy hat and cowboy boots were favorite memories of several in our current congregation! ;) - Pastor Kitty