Dear Resurrection Family,
This weekend we conclude our series of sermons on Romans. I’ve really enjoyed taking a deep dive into one of the most important, and complex, of Paul’s letters. I’m so grateful so many of you read the epistle and have been memorizing our weekly scripture verses. If you didn’t read today’s scripture from Romans 13:1-7 in our GPS and Darren Lippe’s excellent GPS Insights on Deitrich Bonhoeffer, I’d encourage you to read them by clicking here.
In the final message in this series, we’ll turn to Romans 14-16 where Paul takes up the issues that divided the Roman Church. My sermon is entitled Romans, Republicans and Democrats, though it's not so much focused on Republicans and Democrats as it is on how we live together and the role we might play as Christians and the Church in healing our society.
In the message we’ll see what my dog Maybelle, some Minnesota Viking’s fans at the August 27 Chiefs game, and Robert Putnam’s new book The Upswing have to do with Romans 14. Here’s our final memory verse from Romans for this coming week: Let’s strive for the things that bring peace and the things that build each other up. Don’t miss worship this weekend!
Don’t forget to bring your Bible to follow along and a pen and paper for notes. This would be a great weekend to invite a friend to join you for worship, with in-person worship on Sundays at 9 or 11 am, at any of our locations, Sunday 5 pm at Leawood, online at cor.org at 5 pm Saturday, 7:30, 9 or 11 am or 5 pm Sunday, and on television at KMCI Channel 38 at 8 and 11 am. Click here for our physical locations or for information about joining us online or on television.
Our Fall food drive continues this week. If you picked up a bag to fill with non-perishable food, you can drop it off at any of our locations tomorrow, Saturday, September 18, between 9 am and 11 am or when you come to worship on Sunday. You can still pick up a grocery bag at any of our locations this weekend, fill it with food, and return it during worship on September 26.
You can also make a financial donation that we’ll use to purchase food in bulk. Simply use this link and select “Hunger” under Giving Type to donate online. This is our largest food drive of the year, and will stock the shelves of pantries throughout the Kansas City area, including the Resurrection Overland Park Food Pantry, our new Mobile Food Pantry.
I will not do my regular Vespers service on Tuesday night so that you can join us for an special presentation from local docators and experts about the COVID Delta Variant. On Tuesday, September 21, Resurrection’s United Methodist Women are sponsoring a panel presentation on “Pathway to Normalcy: Facts about the Delta Variant” from 7 – 8:30 pm. The panel will be in person in the Foundry Hall (Building B) at Resurrection Leawood, or you can participate online at cor.org/live.
We have an incredible panel of experts: Elizabeth Holtszchuh, Johnson County Director of Epidemiology; Dr. Angela Myers, Division Director Infectious Disease, Children’s Mercy; Dr. Dana Hawkinson, Medical Director Infection Prevention, Kansas University Medical Center; and Richard Nobles, PhD., Clinical Psychology, Truman Medical Center. They will share facts about the COVID Delta Variant, children’s health, breakthrough cases, protocols for reducing risk, vaccinations regarding children and mental health. When you register, you can submit your question in advance.
We still have opportunities available to serve the community in a variety of ways tomorrow. There are morning and afternoon shifts, family-friendly and outdoor options. Just go to the registration site and pick where you want to serve. Some opportunities fill quickly, so don’t wait.
In our Vision 2030, we identified four “gaps” that we believe God was calling Church of the Resurrection to help close. One of those was the Justice and Kindness Gap, and we set a goal of identifying areas of injustice that we can help eradicate in order to make Kansas City look more like the kingdom of God. Pastor Cheryl Jefferson Bell, our pastor of Community and Social Justice, has been putting together a team, exploring opportunities and developing initiatives. I’m excited to share an upcoming opportunity with you.
Over the last year, Resurrection has been involved with a new ministry in our community, the Johnson County Interfaith Justice Organization. It includes 18 congregations who are collaborating to build a collective voice to advocate for systemic change on behalf of the most vulnerable in this community. This fall, Resurrection, along with these other congregations, is conducting “listening sessions” in which participants share concerns and issues that they see within our community.
Team leaders have been trained, and now we need participants for these 90-minute sessions. We are doing this as part of the Johnson County initiative, but we are inviting people from all our locations to participate. This is your chance to share the issues that keep you up at night. We want to uncover our shared concerns so we can begin to address them.
Beginning Tuesday, September 28, Resurrection will be offering a new six-week class: Saving Grace: A Guide to Financial Well Being in person and online. Created to help people of faith develop healthy relationships with money and bring your financial lives in line with your faith journey, the class weaves Wesleyan theology together with sound financial advice, and offers concrete guidance on saving, earning, giving, spending, debt, and how to build a sustainable financial plan.
As I shared with you in June and July, we have been going through an organization redesign process over the last year. Our consultant, an expert in organization design, led the process of understanding our needs, challenges and opportunities. The changes have been implemented over the last few months. You may have noticed changes as our some of our staff have moved into new roles. I want to share with you where we are in the process.
First, I want to remind you that we undertook this restructuring to help our staff and ministry teams work more closely together to fulfill the long-term vision of the church. After years of growth, it was time to adjust in preparation for our next decade. The new structure was developed with four primary goals:
We have an executive team including me as your senior pastor, Dan Entwistle as our senior executive director, and five executive directors who lead our ministry divisions:
I thought it might be helpful for you to see what each of these ministry divisions does.
This is a new organizational division, responsible for church-wide outreach, evangelism, member and visitor engagement, digital outreach and creative resource development. This is where you’ll find our marketing, communication, technical production, event management and ShareChurch teams.
This division includes worship, adult discipleship, KiDSCOR, rezlife, and missions teams. Each team is led by a lead director and works closely with the ministry teams embedded across all locations to coordinate and collaborate in the design and implementation of their ministry.
This division focuses on people. Your location (campus) is where you experience Christian community, receive care and engage in the church’s ministries. A location pastor leads the team at each location – we’ve shifted the language from campus to location. Leawood is led by Rev. Wendy Lyons Chrostek; West is led by Rev. Bill Gepford; Downtown is led by Rev. Anne Williams; Blue Springs is led by Rev. Penny Ellwood; Overland Park is led by Rev. Dr. Joshua Clough; and Rev. Ashley Morgan Kirk has moved into a new position serving as the pastor for people who live outside of Kansas City and those who participate primarily online.
Within this division is also the Care Central team, led by Rev. Claire Saunders Clough. This team will work with the location pastors and provide centralized elements of care, such as recovery and support groups, counseling, Silver Link, prayer ministry, weddings and funerals, and community assistance.
When you need pastoral care, the pastors and care ministers at your location will be caring for you with the support of our church-wide care team. When you want to serve, take a class, or just get connected, your location staff team will continue to be your main points of contact.
This division supports the entire church and consists of IT, HR, Finance and Accounting, Facilities and Construction, and Safety, Compliance and Risk Management. Moving to this division is a new Learning Centers department, which is responsible for Early Learning Centers at Leawood and Overland Park and our church-wide Matthew’s Ministry.
This division works in collaboration with all divisions on annual stewardship campaigns, capital campaigns, ministry initiatives and on-going donor connection. An increased focus is the growth of planned gifts through the Resurrection Foundation for the long-term effectiveness of the church.
Okay, that’s probably way more information than you want. The redesign effected nearly every staff member. In some cases it involved moving to a new position. In others it meant reporting to someone new, or welcoming new members to a team. We had a position for every staff member, but some chose to take a voluntary separation package developed by our Staff Parish Committee. For a few it was a good time to step into a retirement they had been contemplating or leave to explore new opportunities.
Over the summer we have added quite a few new people to our team, and we are still working to fill some open positions. We anticipate it will take several more months before we are fully living into this new organization. If you know people who might be interested in joining our team at the church, you can check the employment opportunities here.
Change is never easy. For some of you, it has been confusing trying to figure out who to go to when you have a need – I find myself confused too, at times, when I’ve been used to working with one person related to a particular ministry, and now I’m working with someone else. I know it will take time to acclimate. Our staff are learning new roles or new ways of doing things, and some are temporarily covering both old and new positions. If you’d like to know who is in a specific role, here is a link to our most current organizational chart. If you have questions, you can direct them to Dan.Entwistle@cor.org.
Despite the challenge of change, we’re already seeing some exciting results from the reorganization and, six months from now, I think we’ll be a better church, and more effective in ministry, because of the changes.
I’m looking forward to sharing the final chapters of Romans with you this weekend as we worship together.
In Christ’s Love,
13720 Roe Ave.
Leawood, KS 66224
24000 W. Valley Pkwy
Olathe, KS 66061
1601 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
601 NE Jefferson St.
Blue Springs, MO 64014
8412 W. 95th St.
Overland Park, KS 66212
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