South Plains Presbyterian Church

God so loved the world

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Now Accepting Applications





South Plains Presbyterian Church is seeking a Director of Music to serve as organist and choir director for this small historic church in beautiful Keswick, Virginia, just east of Charlottesville. The right candidate will enjoy playing the classic liturgical organ repertoire on our unique two-manual hybrid ipe organ, leading a small and dedicated choir in anthems, service music, and providing inspiring accompaniment for traditional congregational hymns.


We offer a competitive salary for this position, a caring congregation of all ages that is actively involved in church programs, local outreach, and the support of international missions. This is a great opportunity for you to help build and grow an outstanding music program with your vision, enthusiasm and leadership.


Interested?  Please send a cover letter and resume to:  music@SouthPlainsPresbyterian.Church



First Thoughts PDF Print E-mail

Galatians 4:1-7


My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property; but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.




Paul is continuing his argument that he began in 3:23-29.  The sect of Jewish Christians was sharing an “other gospel” in which Gentile converts must undergo circumcision.  Paul’s argument claimed that as Abraham was a beneficiary of God’s favor by grace apart from the requirement of circumcision, then by grace, Gentile converts are descendants of Abraham by faith not by obedience.  The purpose of the law was to be a “guardian,” a nanny.”


Paul’s continues his argument stating that prior to Christ; the law functioned as a trustee overseeing the accounts of the household, until the underage heir reached the age of majority, a age established by the father.  Upon reaching the age of majority, the heir would receive what had been held in trust (property, wealth, etc.).  With the gift of the Holy Spirit, believers were like adult children, without the need of a trustee (the law).




In the Gospel of John, Jesus breathes on the disciples and invites them to receive the spirit.  Here the spirit is like God’s breathe in Genesis 2, when God blows life into the human creature. 


In Acts, the Spirit is like a wind that brings about newness and empowerment.  Genesis 1 says that the “wind of God swept over the face of the waters.”  The Pentecost Spirit breaks down barriers of language, race, and religion.  This Spirit brings about a new creation, a new order.


In Galatians, the Spirit is the “Spirit of the Son.”  God “sent” his Son in vs. 4 in order to redeem or release those who were under the guardianship of the law, and become children of God through adoption.  In verse 6, God “sent” the Spirit of the Son (Holy Spirit) into our hearts, crying “Abba, Father.”  Here, the Spirit is a gift that restores the intimate relationship of the creator and the creature in Genesis, and even more, the intimacy between a child and a loving parent.


According to Mary Hinkle Shore, “All of the New Testament reports of the Spirit’s arrival have two things in common: (1) the identity of the Spirit is specific and specifically tied to the identity of the risen Christ, and (2) the Spirit’s work is to draw human beings into a relationship with God like that which the Father and Son share.”




The use of the term “heart” in the present day refers mainly to the seat of emotions (love, grief, joy, etc.).  In the ancient world, the heart was the seat of the psychological self, the inner-self, the mind.  The inner-self is our true self, not the external self that we show to the world.  This is the place of our thoughts, fantasies, yearnings, attitudes and beliefs.  God “sent” the Spirit into “the core of who we are.  If mean and hateful people can be referred to as “rotten to the core”, as my dad used to say, then are we as Christians possible “holy to the core”?




God, in extending God’s saving grace to the Gentiles, adopted them into the family of believers, making us brothers and sisters with Christ, and heirs to the kingdom.  We are no longer on the outside looking in on the covenantal relationship between God and the children of Abraham.  We are now on the inside enjoying the loving relationships that exist within the family of God. 


If God, as Father, and Jesus, as Son, are one, and the Holy Spirit is the spirit of the Son, then it is the spirit of the Father as well.  


If the Spirit is gifted by the Father into our hearts, then the very living presence of the Trinitarian God dwells within us. 


If so, then what does that say about our relationship/connection with one another? 


Do we look upon the other person as not only created in the image of God, but the dwelling place of God as well?



Reflections From the Pastor PDF Print E-mail



      A colleague related the following story. One day, in her seminary course on worship, the old professor who taught the class came in carrying a brown paper bag and declared that “today we are going to learn the significance of the Lord's Supper.” As he began to talk, he reached into the bag and pulled out a handful of buckeyes and began throwing them, one by one, to each member of the class. The professor then reached into his own pocket and removed a small, brown, shriveled up something. Holding it between his two fingers for all to see he said to the class, "See this? This is a buckeye like you have. I have been carrying it around in my pocket since 1942. I had a son who went off to the war that year. When he left, he gave me this buckeye, and told me to put it in my pocket and keep it there until he came home. That way, each time I reached in my pocket I would always remember him. Well, I have been carrying that buckeye in my pocket since 1942. And I have been waiting. Waiting for my son to come back, and each time I reach in my pocket I remember my son."
"You see, class," said the old professor, "putting aside all the theological stuff. Putting aside all the mystery. Putting aside all the questions of how, when, and how often, communion is simply about waiting and remembering. Each time we, as a community of faith, gather around the table to take the bread and the cup we are remembering, and we are proclaiming that we are waiting for our Lord to return."
That is it. You see, communion, the Lord's Supper, the Eucharist, or by whatever name one may call it, is that simple. We can have great theological debates over how to do it, or when to have it, or how it works, but the reality is that this is a simple meal which remembers and proclaims to all believers the promises of a crucified and risen Lord.
A few months back, the manner in which we take communion changed. Members of the congregation approached the pastor and members of the Worship and Music Committee about doing communion at the 11:00 service differently. They asked if we could hold the elements (bread and cup) until everyone had been served, then consume them together as a sign of our unity in the Body of Christ.
We have tried this. Some in our congregation have appreciated this. Some have felt uncomfortable with the change. Most recently, I suggested during the service that we eat the bread as one in unity, and drink the cup separately as a sign of our individual discipleship. This raised the issue of what is the proper procedure? The answer to that is, there is none. Whether communion is by intinction, common cup, served in trays, held, or consumed at one’s discretion, the use of wafers or bread, juice or wine are all proper and right. The manner is a personal preference.
At South Plains, we have members who come from differing traditions, from differing regions of the country. People have experienced taking communion in many different ways. The Worship and Music Committee suggests that we hold the bread and eat as one, but take the cup separately and individually. However, this in no way binds any individual. You are free to hold or to not hold, to eat the bread and drink the cup in the way that is most meaningful for you. What is most desirable is that each of us feels welcomed to the table, fed for the journey, and that we remember while we wait for the coming of our risen Lord.
Pastor Kevin
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
Worship and Music News Update PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, May 7 - Communion at both services - Choir sings at the 11 a.m. service.
Sunday, May 14 – Mother’s Day - Choir sings at the 8:30 a.m. service.
Sunday, May 21 – Guest Preacher – Diana Brawley, MDiv, ThM, MSW. Rev. Brawley received her degrees from Princeton Theological
Seminary and the University of Georgia. She brings an extensive background to the pulpit, including pastoral counseling through the Counseling Ministry of Charlottesville, and facilitating renewal retreats through the Center for Courage & Renewal. Choir sings at the 11 a.m. service.
Sunday, May 28 – Memorial Day – Choir sings at the 8:30 a.m. service.
On Sunday, May 7 following the 11 a.m. Worship service, Pastor Kevin and several of the Elders will be serving Extended Communion to homebound members and friends of the congregation. This will include Communion elements from the Worship service, Scripture readings of the day, a synopsis of the day’s sermon, and prayers. The Worship and Music Committee contacts each homebound member and friend ahead of time to see if they would like to receive Extended Communion on the 7th. We appreciate your keeping this ministry and our homebound members and friends in your prayers.
PW News Update PDF Print E-mail

Presbyterian Women News


On Sunday, May 7 Presbyterian Women will be celebrating the Birthday of Presbyterian Women by hosting both Fellowship Hours. We will be remembering a number of women from South Plains who were active in Presbyterian Women over the years and made a difference in the life of the church. Please enjoy a piece of birthday cake and special refreshments with us! Our final PW meeting of the 2016-17 program year will be a combined group potluck gathering at Kellee Eastwood’s home at 4 Fleetwood Drive, Lake Monticello, 434-589-2705. It will be on Monday, May 8 beginning at 5:30 p.m. If you live outside Lake Monticello, please let Kellee know so she can provide your name to the gate. Please bring a dish to share, other than a dessert. If you would like to carpool, please contact Barbara Shaffer . We welcome all ladies of the church to join us for this fun fellowship event! Beginning in September, we will start up the new 2017-18 Horizon’s Bible Study – “Cloud of Witnesses: The Community of Christ in Hebrews” by Melissa Bane Sevier.
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.
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.
Bits 'N Pieces PDF Print E-mail


• Matt and Sherry Esch have transferred their membership to Cunningham United Methodist Church.
• Thank you to all who made our Lent and Holy Week services possible. The Worship Team made sure everything fell into place, and the Fellowship team was marvelous as usual.
• Camp Hanover announces that this summer they will be hosting Camp Jordan - a summer camp experience for kids with diabetes. The program is in partnership with the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, VA.
• Retired camp director Bob Pryor at Camp Hanover has agreed to shave his beard - something that hasn’t happened in over 40 years - if $10,000 is raised as part of an online “FundRazor” for the Reach Forward in Faith Campaign. For more information: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
• Camp Hanover Fun Day will be Sunday, May 7. Hayrides, boating, camp tours, campfire cooking, face painting and more from 2- 6pm.
• Camp Hanover upcoming date: “Living in God’s Time” - a Retreat for Adults, - May 5-6, 2017.
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