South Plains Presbyterian Church

Honoring our traditions and building the future

Childrens Musical Offering PDF Print E-mail
PDF Print E-mail


Every Sunday morning, the South Plains congregation gathers together to celebrate the most joyful event in history, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead; God’s awe-inspiring victory over sin and death.

We are a celebration people. We love to celebrate births and baptisms, confirmations and professions of faith, special birthdays and anniversaries, graduations and marriages, honors and recognition. Do you have a joy to share? Let’s celebrate. We like to include our happiness in Praise and Prayers during our worship service; and, of course, we break bread together afterwards, eating of the bounty provided by the Lord and shared generously by many in fellowship hour. Come, partake and see that it is good for brothers and sisters to dwell together in peace, sharing our joys and dividing our sorrows.

Worship Bags Available for Church Services PDF Print E-mail

Parents – please note that we now have blue cloth worship bags available in the Narthex of the Sanctuary for your children to bring into the worship service. We hope this will enhance their experience during worship. We appreciate Heide Schumann’s generosity in donating the fabric, Linda Makranczy for sewing the bags, and for Pastor Kevin providing the worship worksheets that follow the liturgy of the day. Please help your child remember to return the bag to the Narthex as they leave the Sanctuary

New Program for South Plains PDF Print E-mail

Currently sermons are available on the website,,  in both printed and audio form. We realize that everyone does not have access to a computer and that the sermon is only part of the service. Beginning September 7, the entire service will be recorded and then transferred to individual CDs. When we have the technology, we will include video using DVDs. The CDs will be made in the office and distributed to those unable to attend services. If you would like to be included on the list of people to receive the CDs, of if you know someone who would like to receive them, please contact the Church office.

Haiti Clinic PDF Print E-mail


In the Spring, the Mission Crafters group approved a new project, thanks to a suggestion from Debbie Garth who had recently traveled to Haiti on a volunteer mission trip. Debbie wrote: “Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Better than half the population is undernourished, illiterate and living below the poverty line. Maternal and child health is almost nonexistent for much of the country. A Haitian woman is 49 times more likely to die in childbirth than an American woman. There are no services for women who live in the mountain regions, and many die along the rugged paths as they walk seeking help with difficult pregnancies.

It is the mission of Family Health Ministries, an NGO founded in 2000 in Durham, NC, to provide health care to women and children and to prevent needless deaths. 2014-2015 should see the building of the Leogane Family Health Center in Leogane, Haiti, and the Women’s Health Center along the Jacmel Road in the mountains. Services will include access to pre-natal and post-natal care, childbirth services, education, contraception and transportation from the mountain communities to the Center for emergencies such as caesarean sections.

I had the opportunity to meet Kathy Walmer, Executive Director of FHM, in January 2014 while I was part of the beginning work of the Family Health Center. The memory of all those wonderful baby caps and gowns draped everywhere in the sanctuary of South Plains came to mind. We could provide a starting layette to each mother who would come to the Center. Thus, a mission to the women of Haiti has begun with 100 sets ready to be delivered by the end of the year. Thanks to all the Mission Crafters at South Plains.”

Sincerely, Debby Garth

Reflections From the Pastor PDF Print E-mail


Church Councils

In November of 1988, the Presbytery of Shenandoah, at the First Presbyterian Church in Lexington, VA, examined me for ordination. As I stood before a gathering of ministers and elders from churches throughout the Shenandoah Valley, I was intimidated to say the least. I was asked questions by the Committee on Preparation concerning my theology, Bible knowledge, worship and sacraments, and polity (church government). It was this last question that caused the problem. After each question by the committee, the floor was opened for further questions by the members of Presbytery. One member of the Presbytery asked the question, “What authority does General Assembly have?” To which I responded that the authority of General Assembly is in matters of constitution alone. 

Then another member of Presbytery asked the question" Does General Assembly have any authority at all?” To which I responded that the General Assembly has authority only in matters concerning the constitution. Before I knew it, a debate arose between these two ministers over the authority of General Assembly.

I was a dishrag. What had I said? Four years of college and three years of seminary down the drain because I did not answer the question appropriately. After a few minutes, a wonderful pastor who had been around the Presbytery for a long time made the motion to rest the examination; and if those two pastors wanted to continue their fight, they could take it to the parking lot. I discovered later that these two individuals had been debating the issue for several months. I provided a catalyst for airing it out on the floor of Presbytery. 

For those of you who are new to the Presbyterian church, this story is probably confusing. What is the General Assembly? What is Presbytery? 

In the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) of which we are a member church, there are four “councils,” formerly referred to as “governing bodies.” Councils are the decision-making bodies of the church. At the local level, the church is governed by the session, which I wrote about last month. Above the session are the Presbytery, the Synod, and the General Assembly. Each of these has ecclesiastical or administrative oversight on the councils below them. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has over 10,000 congregations, which are organized into 172 presbyteries (district governing bodies) and 16 synods (regional governing bodies).  

The presbytery consists of congregations in a designated region. For instance, we are a member of the Presbytery of the James (POJ). The POJ is comprised of churches in Virginia east of the Blue Ridge Mountains and west of West Point, VA, North to Culpepper and South to the Virginia/North Carolina border. When we speak of “the presbytery” we can be referring to one of two things. First of all, membership in the presbytery consists of churches and pastors. Periodically, the presbytery holds meetings. At these meetings, ministers and at least one elder from each congregation are considered commissioners.  They vote on matters brought before the presbytery. 

The presbytery (member churches and ministers) have hired staff to carry out day-to-day functions on their behalf. This staff and its offices are also referred to as the “presbytery.” However, only the gatherings of they are your voice when these matters come before the presbytery. The presbytery (member churches and ministers) have hired staff to carry out day-to-day functions on their behalf. This staff and its offices are also referred to as the “presbytery.” However, only the gatherings of the commissioners have authority to make decisions. The staff operates under its direction. The presbytery is responsible for ministries that take place within its region (i.e., camps and conferences,, and examinations of candidates for ministry within its churches). 

 Above the presbytery is the synod. Like presbytery, the synod is made up of presbyteries within a specific region. The Presbytery of the James is a member of the Synod of the Mid Atlantic. Presbyteries in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and North Carolina make up the Synod. Each presbytery elects elders and ministers as their commissioners to the meetings of Synod. Again, a staff supports the Synod, but the Synod is the churches and presbyteries within its region. 

Finally, there is the big animal known as the General Assembly. Again there can be some confusion. General Assembly, or GA, is comprised of all the synods, presbyteries, and churches within the United States. The body of General Assembly is made up of commissioners (both elders and ministers) elected by the presbyteries. This body meets every two years. GA also has staff and offices to support its mission. These offices are located in Louisville, KY. 

Some confusion arises with the expectation of a hierarchy within these councils. Just the opposite is so. The power within the PC (U.S.A.) rests in the local congregations. Through our election of representatives to the session, from session to presbytery, from presbytery to synod, from presbytery to GA, the voice remains with the local congregation. Each of our voices is joined with others in making decisions concerning the ministries of our denomination. Any decision made by the GA at its biennial meeting must be ratified by a majority of its 162 presbyteries. Each presbytery votes on all constitutional matters. Your pastor and your commissioner are your voice when these matters come before the presbytery.

Pastor Kevin

Habitat For Humanity PDF Print E-mail


Presbyterian Volunteer Workday

Saturday, September 13 8:45am

Lunch is provided

If you would like to join this group or have any questions, contact Leah Wayner (227-2027)

Bits 'N Pieces PDF Print E-mail

 • SAVE THE DATE! South Plains’ 3rd Annual Alternative Gift Fair October 24 (5-8pm), October 25 (9am-3pm), and October 26 (noon-2pm).


Library Update PDF Print E-mail



One of the privileges of working as a church librarian is reviewing the materials that are donated and sampling some of the many wonderful gifts. This past month I’ve been watching lectures by Professor Bart Ehrman of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on DVDs donated by Don Ramirez. Prof. Ehrman has written or edited 12 books on religious subjects and produced several college courses for The Teaching Company. He shares some of his knowledge about the New Testament in 24 half-hour lectures illustrated with charts, maps, and illustrations.

In Part I, he starts by explaining what scholars know about the early Christians and their literature and goes on to provide background about the culture and traditions of the Jews and their Gentile neighbors. Then he goes through the four gospels starting with the shortest one, Mark, and ending with the latest one, John. He then reviews the life of Jesus to demonstrate how scholars evaluate the information given in the gospels to paint a picture of Jesus as an apocalyptic preacher … a teacher preparing people for the Last Judgment.

In Part 2, he starts with the book of Acts and focuses several lectures on the Apostle Paul – the man, the mission, and the method – followed by a discussion of Paul’s ethics and the content of his letters, the first Christian writings. He covers other books of the New Testament and concludes with a review and explanation of Revelation.

If you’re studying THE LIFE OF PAUL FOR TODAY in the Adult Sunday School class, you’ll enjoy watching these DVDs to learn more about Paul, his times, and his contribution to the New Testament. Check it out … in the church library.

Bob Tracinski

Adult Study PDF Print E-mail

Adult Bible Study starts again September 7th.

This coming session we will be studying "The Life of Paul for Today" by Lyle D. Vander Broek,published by the Westminster John Knox press. 

Some of you may remember this study from a few years ago when we dipped into it for the Lenten season Bible study. Now we plan to explore the life of Paul and the New Testament more completely. 

Throughout the Bible Study we will study the Word, consider commentaries, and apply historical and archeological information to what we read and learn. Please consider joining us for this exciting journey in the life of Paul and the early Christian church. 

Everyone is welcome. We look forward to growing together in the Spirit.

PW News Update PDF Print E-mail

October News - Presbyterian Women at South Plains

Now you have two opportunities each month for Bible Study – The Horizons Bible Study of 2nd Corinthians , as well as prayer and fellowship. You may join us on Monday, October 13 at 9:30 a.m. in Kirk Hall in the Choir/Music Room for our daytime Presbyterian Women Bible study and meeting. Or you may join us Monday, October 13, at 7 p.m. at Ann Anderson’s home at 262 Lexie Lane, Palmyra, Virginia. If you would like to join either of these groups or would like further information, please contact me at 207-4355. Also, if you are interested in being part of a PW Bible study but neither of these times or locations works for you, please let me know.

Also, I want to express thanks to our Presbyterian Women members who hosted the Ladies’ Luncheon in early September. We enjoyed the opportunity to express appreciation to all of the women of our church who do so much for the church and for each other as sisters in Christ. A special thanks to Ann Anderson for chairing the luncheon and the wonderful Soul Sisters devotion; Kellee Eastwood for providing the contents of the “Beauty Bags”; Ann, Heide Schumann and Sandy Day for sewing the beauty bags and the table center cloths; and for Lynn Creamer donating the fabrics.

May each of you be blessed as we move into the beautiful fall season,

Barbara Shaffer



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