South Plains Presbyterian Church

Honoring our traditions and building the future

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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.

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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


As I have gotten to know many of you, I have come to realize the great diversity that is South Plains Presbyterian Church. We are diverse in so many ways: politically, socio-economically, and especially ecclesiastically. We live in a more fluid society than our parents. In the past, the faith tradition one was born into tended to be the tradition one remained in throughout life. 

 Today, Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodist, Baptists, etc. along with lifelong Presbyterians make up our congregation. Each of these traditions has its own form of government or way of doing things. This "melting pot" of backgrounds often causes confusion about the way our church functions. 

In light of this, my articles in “The Reflector” over the next few months will focus on Presbyterian Polity. 

  • September – polity of the local congregation 
  • October – church councils 
  • November -- membership privileges and responsibilities 
  • January and February – the Reformed understanding of the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper 


Presbyterians have a representative form of government. It is neither hierarchical nor congregational. When the founding fathers of our country sought a model to use for the new  government, it was ours they chose. The Session members, our board of elders are the primary council for the local church. They are responsible for the life and ministry of the congregation. The session sets policies, establishes financial procedures, hires non-clergy staff, manages property, receives and dismisses members, provides for the worship and nurture of the children of God, and oversees programmatic events. 

Under our constitution, the congregation has limited powers. Business to be transacted at meetings of the congregation shall be limited to matters related to the following: 

  • electing ruling elders, deacons, and trustees; 
  • calling a pastor, co-pastor, or associate pastor; 
  • changing existing pastoral relationships, by such means as reviewing the adequacy of and approving changes to the terms of call of the pastor or pastors, or requesting, 
  • consenting to, or declining to consent to dissolution; 
  • buying, mortgaging, or selling real property; 
  • requesting the presbytery to grant an exemption as permitted in this Constitution (G-2.0404). (G-1.0503)  

Item “e” concerns an exemption from the stipulation limiting an officer’s service to no more than six years consecutively. These items are the only matters that may be brought before. 

The congregation annually elects elders for a three-year term. Elders may serve two three-year terms, but may not serve more than six years consecutively. Once a member is ordained, they are ordained for life. The election procedure is not a political process like we see today. Rather, members are elected to serve on a nominating committee. The members of this committee pray, study scripture, brainstorm, and through the work of the Holy Spirit, bring a slate of officers to the session. The session upon receiving the slate, if there are no concerns, calls a congregational meeting. At this meeting the slate of officers is placed before the congregation for election. Nominees may be offered from the floor at this time. Service as an elder or trustee is not a popularity contest, but rather a calling, which is placed upon the heart of election of the congregation. We believe that God calls and sets apart individuals to serve and to do his work. 

Presbyterians believe that the will of God through the Holy Spirit is discerned through the work and discussion of the session. Sometimes, the elders serving on session may disagree with the decision of the council, but for the sake of the unity and peace of the church, support 

According to our constitution, on matters brought before the session, elders are to vote their conscience. “God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in anything contrary to his Word, or beside it, in matters of faith or worship” (F-3.0101a). Elders are not to be influenced by the opinions of others. Rather, they seek the will of God through prayer and vote as they feel the Holy Spirit is leading them. Sometimes this results in the session having to make unpopular decisions. 

As the governing body of the church, decisions by the session are final.

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)

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.

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



To thank South Plains for “longstanding support of Presbyterian Military Chaplains,” the General Assembly (Detroit, 2014) donated a special book to the Library titled THE WARTIME SERMONS OF DR. PETER MARSHALL edited by his son, Rev. Peter J. Marshall. Who would want to read a book of sermons?

That’s the very question that the editor asked before starting work. His answer is interesting. As a Presbyterian minister who travels extensively, he noted that most Sunday sermons preached around the country are yawners. His father had the special gift of making every sermon exciting, memorable, and universally relevant. Before and during World War II, Dr. Marshall preached at Washington D.C.’s historic New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and asked some challenging questions. Why should God bless America? Why does God permit war? Are we good enough? His answers to these questions have meaning for us today, especially when you consider the events after 9-11 and the recent declaration of war by the so-called ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), the terrorist army attracting American recruits and killing American citizens. The book includes 12 of Dr. Marshall’s sermons that explore how Christians should react to the threat of war and the violence of war. They were given from September 1940 to November 1947; but considering our recent history, they could have been preached earlier this year. After World War II Dr. Marshall became the Chaplain for the U.S. Senate. After his death in 1949 at age 46, his wife, Catherine, wrote a biography that was adapted for a movie titled A MAN CALLED PETER. He was a faithful man of God who served well by listening and learning about the struggles of his fellow human beings, by thinking about their pain, and by answering their most basic questions in the light of God’s love and mercy. I recommend the book, but you’ll have to wait until I finish reading it.

Bob Tracinski

PW News Update PDF Print E-mail

SEPTEMBER PW NEWS - Bible Study of 2nd Corinthians begins!

We are excited for the start of the 2014-15 program year for Presbyterian Women. We will enjoy the Ladies’ Luncheon on Saturday, September 6, and move into further fellowship, prayer and Bible study on Monday, September 8.

Join us on Monday, September 8 at 9:30 a.m. in the Kirk Hall Choir/Music Room for our daytime Presbyterian Women Bible study and meeting. For those of you who can’t make a weekday daytime Bible study, we have formed a Lake Monticello/Palmyra area PW Circle in the evening. We will be meeting on the second Monday of each month (September through May) at 7 p.m. at group members’ homes.

Our first meeting will be on Monday, September 8 at 7 p.m. at Molly Channell’s home. If you would like to join this group or would like further information, please contact Barbara Shaffer 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.

Our 2014-15 Horizons Bible study for both PW groups will be “Reconciling Paul: A Contemporary Study of 2 Corinthians”. Author Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty invites us to read Paul’s letter afresh in light of today’s issues. We will consider concepts of shared partnership, power in weakness, healing, reconciliation and love both in Paul’s time and in our world today. Please join us as we gather together to learn from Paul, the Holy Spirit, and each other in the upcoming year.

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