South Plains Presbyterian Church

Honoring our traditions and building the future

Reflections From the Pastor PDF Print E-mail



I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise. (Isaiah 43:19-21)
A few years ago, there was a movie entitled “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray as a weatherman from Pittsburgh, PA, who was sent on assignment to Punxsutawney, PA, to cover the prognostication of Punxsutawney Phil, the renowned hero of February 2nd. Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is doomed to repeat the same day over and over again. He wakes up every morning in a Bed and Breakfast in Punxsutawney; and it is always February 2nd, Groundhog Day. He becomes stuck in a world that never changes. He meets the same people every day. He hears the same conversations. He desires for something different to happen.
In contrast to that, in the play “Fiddler on the Roof,” the main character, Tevye, struggles with trying to hold on to the traditions of his heritage in a world that is constantly changing around him. In tradition, he finds security, meaning, purpose, and identity. To him, tradition is sacred. I often find myself stuck between these two worlds—seeking to hold fast to traditions, to the familiar, to the heritage; and at the same time, I want something new, something surprising to take place. We live in a world much like Tevye’s that is in constant change, and we struggle to maintain a sense of boundaries.
Tradition is very important. It ties us to our history and gives us our identity. Just as our nation has a rich heritage that we cherish, it defines who we are, and provides us with a vision. The church as well has a rich history that dates back beyond the birth of Christ. It springs forth from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is a heritage filled with triumphs and brokenness. But is one that instructs us through the Word, and through the testimonies of saints and sinners throughout time. So it is important for us to hold fast to our heritage as our foundation. Change, on the other hand, is unnerving. It calls us to step out of our routines, to venture across the boundaries that we know to be secure and to enter the unknown, the new, and the unexpected. Change calls for us to have faith and to trust the one who does a new thing in our midst. Change is frightening. Yet change is good.
As we struggle with discerning where God is leading us as individuals and as a church, we need to maintain a sense of balance between these two opposing forces. Tradition held on to simply because it is the way things have always been done, stifles ministry. Change simply for the sake of change is often counterproductive. Yet we are called to remain faithful to the past and open for new possibilities for the future. As the people of God, seeking his will for our lives and our community, let us keep our ears and eyes open for God’s leading in traditional and tested ways and in new, unexplored opportunities. God’s future is open and promising. May he grant us the wisdom to see the work he is doing.
Pastor Kevin
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Presbytery of the James and Shenandoah Presbytery
The 2017 Adult Retreat
Let's Talk (& Listen): Biblical Hope for Today
Retreat Leader: Rev. Nancy Summerlin
Thursday, April 27, 2017 9:30am - 3pm
Massanetta Springs Conference Center
More information and registration form will be in the March newsletter


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Please contact Pat Valentine (email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) if you would like to assist with Bible School
More information soon


Freezin' For A Reason! PDF Print E-mail

Fluvanna Penguin Plunge – Freezin’ for a Reason!


The third annual Fluvanna Penguin Plunge will be occurring on February 18 at the Lake Monticello Main Beach. This community fundraiser benefits five Fluvanna non-profits: Fluvanna County Habitat for Humanity, Fluvanna Meals on Wheels, Fluvanna SPCA, Lake Monticello Fire and Rescue, and FAST (Fluvanna Aquatic Sports Team). If you would like to register to be a part of the plunge, go to: or call 434-589-3752.
Spectators are also welcome to cheer on the folks who are braving the lake in the winter. If you would like to sponsor Barbara Shaffer, who is plunging in honor of the Fluvanna Meals on Wheels volunteers, go to https:// Campaign/2017fluvannapenguinplunge/
Fellowship PDF Print E-mail
If you are enjoying the fellowship of your church family after each
service, please consider providing snacks every once in a while.
Nothing has to be fancy and coffee has already been made. Signup
sheet on the kitchen door. Ask Bernice Gibson about joining
the Fellowship Committee. It takes a village here too!
February Fellowship
February 5 8:30 Sue Tracinski
          11:00 Kellee Eastwood
February 12 8:30 Mary Anne Fitzgerald
           11:00 Lynn Anderson
February 19 8:30 Leah Wayner
           11:00 Linda Harrison
February 26 8:30 Barbara Higginbotham
           11:00 Pat Valentine
Retirement News PDF Print E-mail



We celebrate Eleanor Dickerman and her nearly thirteen years of dedicated service to South Plains Presbyterian Church as organist/choir director. Eleanor has had a lifelong career in music, beginning with teaching stringed instruments and orchestra in the Charlottesville school system, playing in the Municipal Band of Charlottesville (principal flutist), and organ lessons with Robert Goodale. Eleanor has enhanced our worship services through her ministry of music. Eleanor’s final Sunday playing the organ and leading the choir will be Sunday, January 15. Please join us in expressing thank you, but not farewell, to Eleanor. She plans to worship with us and to continue to assist with the music library.


Worship and Music News Update PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, February 5 – Communion at both services- Souper Bowl Sunday offering
- Choir will sing at the 11 a.m. service.
Sunday, February 12 – 4 Chaplains Recognition Sunday – Rev. Larry Greenslit, Director of The Presbyterian Council for Chaplain and Military Personnel, will be our guest preacher. A free will offering will be accepted following each service. The choir will sing at the 8:30 a.m. service
Sunday, February 19 - Choir will sing at the 11 a.m. service
Sunday, February 26 – Choir will sing at the 8:30 a.m. service
Extended Communion
The Elders will be offering Extended Communion service four times during 2017 to homebound members and friends – February 5, May 7, August 6, and October 1. Extended Communion is an extension of the Communion service during morning worship, provided that same day. Elements from the morning Communion will be provided to homebound members and friends, along with reading of Scripture, a synopsis of the sermon, and time for prayer. If you would like Extended Communion brought to your home the afternoon of Sunday, February 5, please contact Pastor Kevin or Barbara Shaffer .
PW News Update PDF Print E-mail

Presbyterian Women News


You are invited to join us in studying Lesson Four of our new Horizons Bible study: Who Is Jesus?
– According to John. At our December meeting, we decided to hold off on this important lesson until our January meetings.
Two options are available:
     Monday, January 9 - 9:30 a.m. in Kirk Hall at South Plains.
     Tuesday, January 10 – 7 p.m. at Molly Channell’s home – 2165 Beaverdam Road, Keswick (207-3598).
If you would like to carpool for either of these gatherings, please contact Barbara Shaffer.
We always welcome new members to join us at any point during the program year for Bible study, mission work, sharing each others’ joys and sorrows, and growing together in faith as Christian women.
For more information, please contact Kellee Eastwood at 589-2705 or Barbara Shaffer at 207-4355.
Bits 'N Pieces PDF Print E-mail


• You’ll find Eleanor Dickerman seated in a pew on Sunday mornings instead of the organ bench. She was welcomed into our congregation on January 15.
Library Update PDF Print E-mail

Library Report



Looking Forward to Warm Weather: There Are 77 New Books for Reading on a Ship or a Plane or on a Sunny Beach or in a Backyard Hammock

Thanks to a generous donation, 77 entertaining books have been added to the Church Library. These are mostly novels that appeal to people who enjoy a good mystery that takes place in ancient or medieval times, and in more modern times. Here’s a sampling. Have you ever heard of Edith Mary Pargeter? You might recognize her pen name: Ellis Peters. She wrote a series of novels about the adventures of Brother Cadfael, a Benedictine monk at the Abbey in Shrewsbury. Cadfael is a fictional character based on her study of medieval history and her own experiences as a pharmacist’s assistant. Cadfael is a returned crusader who serves as an herbalist and physician for his brother monks. He’s sophisticated, intelligent, and curious. He uses his worldly experience and his knowledge of herbal medicines to solve intriguing mysteries.
We have 19 of her books.
How about Edward Marston? That’s the pen name for Keith Miles, an Oxford (England) graduate who majored in history. He has written novels that take place in the time of William the Conqueror, in Elizabethan, Restoration, and Victorian London. We have 10 of his books.
Leonard Tourney? He has written scholarly articles on 17th century British literature; but not to worry, we have seven of his nine historical novels set in Elizabethan England. Constable Matthew Stock must solve mysteries that occur in castles and travelers’ inns.
Lynda S. Robinson? She’s an American writer best known for a series of whodunits set in … ancient Egypt. Her fictional mystery solver is Lord Meren, “the Eyes and Ears of the Pharaoh.” We have four of her books. Ian Morson? His fictional puzzle solver is William Falconer, a Regent Master at Oxford University in the 1200’s who loves logic and reads Aristotle. Morson is a 1965 graduate of Exford and an expert in folk-life studies. We have three of his books.
John Mortimer you might recognize as the author of the Rumpole of the Bailey series that ran on PBS for many years. We have over a dozen of his books on the rumpled barrister who deals with complicated mysteries in court and with “she who must be obeyed” – his wife.
There are other books that provide light reading for vacation travel or just resting quietly on a staycation: Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson, The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott, The Last Days of Pompeii by Bulwer Lytton, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, and Quo Vadis by … do you know who wrote Quo Vadis? Henryk Sienkiewicz. The book is famous because of the movie but the author is not exactly a household name.
So next time you’re looking for a good whodunit to while away a rainy day, don’t run to the store … stop by the Church Library. Take the elevator down to the basement and turn right; a good read is at the end of the hallway.
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