Issue 2 | May 2023

It’s All About Community!

Kim Meagher is an inspiration to many at Central Presbyterian Church as she reaches out with creativity to invite members and visitors to use their gifts and passions to serve. Her attitude of joy and excitement is contagious! 

Like creativity, service is key for Kim. She recalls a Sunday in 2008 when she had just started attending Central, and two members, Phyllis DeSmit and Kris Bailey,  introduced themselves and invited her to help with a seminar hosted by Central for the nonprofit, Women Who Stand. This program led her to attend the yearly Justice Project conference and then help bring the online version to Central. 

She also said “yes” to help lead the fall clothing drive at Central. After a prayer time on the morning of the drive, Kim asked the volunteers–both adults and kids–to look for and share “God sightings” as they helped families find clothing. She reflects on the love she observed from Central kids and teens helping other children select what they needed. 

Kim and her husband Tony, who have five children and two granddaughters, started attending Central in 2008 for the worship and youth opportunities for their kids. Coming from an unchurched background, Kim joined the First English Lutheran Church in Baltimore when she and Tony married. Her background as a teacher led her to become their director of family ministries. Her passion was for providing “on ramps” for others who come from unchurched backgrounds, and she set up activities that promoted fellowship. 

Children helping at Camp Kim

At Central, Kim has engaged people of all ages in creative projects as she helps others find their “ fit” in serving. She began the tradition of the “stained glass”  nativity scene, which adorns Central’s York Road windows throughout December. This beautiful art piece is prepared at the Deck the Halls event on the 1st Sunday of Advent, when many hands help paste strips of colorful tissue paper to serve as background for the silhouette manger scene. 

Summer Bible Camp (SBC) is one of Kim’s favorite projects. SBC is held each year during the last week in June for children to learn more about God. The two weeks prior to SBC, Kim involves all ages in the preparation for the camp. Children and families can serve together to ready everything as they paint, assemble, and use their imaginations. Kim provides the instructions for preparing craft projects and backdrops for each lesson in the various parts of the church building. This year’s theme is “Twists and Turns – Following Jesus Changes the Game” and is based on Psalm 25:4. 

WOW Women

“Creating Space to Serve” is a class held at Women on Wednesdays (WOW) for members and visitors. For more than 6 years, Kim and her co-leaders have offered classes at Central. It is an opportunity for women to come together to learn fun new crafts, connect with women in their group, and share their creations with others. One recent project included making colorful collage-covered notebooks for women at the recently opened Women’s Helping Up Mission in Baltimore City. (See the results of their efforts in the photo.) In recent months, this WOW group also served Central’s high school ministry, Storm, by making balloon bouquets as table decorations and chocolate-covered pretzels as favors for their Fabulous February event. Last year, the women prepared beautiful paper flower arrangements to cheer Central members who were isolated by COVID. Other WOW members served by delivering these flower arrangements.

When asked why she does what she does, Kim says that she wants to show others how to serve in a way that brings joy and is life-giving

Learn more about volunteering at this year’s Summer Bible Camp 

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Pastor Andy Nagel: Open to God’s Call for Central Now

Pastor Andy's ministry journey started at a Presbyterian church middle school youth group. That's when his mother had a conversion experience, and the family regularly went to church. Up until then, religion and church attendance weren't a family priority. Andy said at first, he just liked the cool youth group activities, but he began to think more deeply about what Christianity meant. He wrestled with questions about what matters in life and how you live it—against the backdrop of his home in quirky Boulder, CO.

He wasn't thinking about becoming a church pastor when he majored in English in college. But he had an active spiritual life and, through a pastor who had been a missionary, spent a summer in Costa Rica working with a local pastor. "I began to think: I want to do this," he said, "but not as a missionary—the church in America needs help as well."

While a student at Princeton Seminary, Andy worked in ministerial roles at churches and knew it was the right path for him. His first church after graduation was in Maryland. It took several more years before Andy made a connection with Central Presbyterian Church. He met George Antonakos (a now retired pastor) at a national meeting, and George invited him to visit Central and meet Pastor John Schmidt. Andy said he enjoyed the meeting and was impressed with Central, but it wasn't the right time to leave his position. But four years later, he was called to serve by Central as our associate pastor.

His decision was based on the qualities he saw in Central and the collaborative approach to ministry. "There's a strong team approach; everyone is very thoughtful and caring about our mission."

Andy arrived at Central in January 2015 as the Associate Pastor of Discipleship and Mission. Despite taking on more responsibility when Pastor John retired in 2020, it's still his title. By then, the church had already pivoted to online worship because of COVID and  bringing people back to in-person church and activities. While that was a challenging time, Andy said, "I was impressed with how supportive and caring the congregation was throughout it all."

He continues to develop his spiritual life by often turning to the Bible—selecting Galatians 4 and Romans 8 as significant passages. He reads Christian thought leaders and is participating in a program in spiritual direction. He plans to start a doctoral program at St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute this summer. Outside of church, Andy regularly goes to a boxing gym, follows Bruce Springsteen passionately, and finds time for some favorite shows on Netflix, and sports. He has switched his baseball allegiance to the Baltimore Orioles, but he's still a Denver Broncos fan. Sadly, he has not convinced his three sons, ages 15, 13, and 9, to support the Broncos.

As we move forward after COVID, Andy said he appreciates how Central is flexible and intentional. "I see the staff, leadership, and people open to what God is calling us to do now," he said. "We don't look at how we always do something; instead, we ask how can we do this better or make more of an impact?" He appreciates Central's focus on community—both inside the church and in our surrounding community. "We have lots of potential to do more to increase the quality and health of our community and be a blessing."



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Love Mail

Have you noticed how much junk is in the mail today? Rarely anything inspiring. But occasionally, once in a while, there is a handwritten note. Words of love and encouragement are there in black and white, in your hand to be read and reread as much as you’d like, then set on display or saved for later to warm your heart again.

This is the gift of Barbara Andrew, one of Central’s Deacons. Barb writes notes of encouragement, empathy, sympathy, and celebration to help support the body of our church. She writes to lift up those in crisis, but also to encourage those affected by having friends in crisis. Such was the gift of Barb’s note to a fellow deacon when her friends were struggling through a hard time, and by proxy this deacon was also having a hard time and feeling the pain of her friends. A simple thing as words on paper written from someone who cares can change the perspective of an entire day. That kind of support is rare in this world. But Central’s Deacons know how very, very important it is. It’s another way the Deacons strive to show Jesus’ love through words and actions. And snail mail. 

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New Series Begins May 4th

The book of Proverbs is a treasure trove of timeless wisdom that can guide us through life’s challenges and help us make wise choices. Through this series, we will explore the practical insights and principles found in Proverbs and learn how to apply them to our daily lives.

The Current Needs YOU!

We hope you enjoyed the first issue of The Current. A small group developed it, and now it’s time to involve other people to manage and grow it.

Share your skills as a writer, editor, or photographer, and your ideas for stories. Your involvement can be very flexible. Write one article, edit one article, take photos of one event—or more. It’s up to you. But we need you.

Use the box below to email Fran Anderson, if you are interested in building our community by sharing stories of God working in and through the lives of this congregation. Help us show how God’s love can be seen and felt.

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Milestones in May

Central celebrates these special birthdays and anniversaries!

If we missed posting one of your special days, please check your CCB profile to bring it up to date.

Prayer Requests

Please remember the following people in prayer as the Lord leads you.

Join the Prayer Team

John Doarnberger
Joe Pollitt
Gene & Dottie Ball
Richard Davis
Pam Knight
Keith & Carol Pallante
Kyle Hungerford
Pastoral Nominating Committee

Financial Update: Your Giving at Work

Thank you, Central, for your faithfulness to our Lord and Savior, and for the generosity in giving that you have demonstrated this year. Most recently, your support provided four holy week services (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and two Easter worship services) which in total welcomed over 800 people to worship. 

Contributions through March 31, which total $1,418,901, are ahead of last year by a 5.2% increase. Expenses for this time period total $1,396,459, which leaves a small buffer. To achieve a balanced budget in the remaining three months in our fiscal year, Central will need approximately $378,000 in giving while holding expenses. 

Finally, we give thanks to those who have responded to the call to increase their household’s giving by $320 through June to help meet the fiscal year’s budget goal.

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Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunity

YoungLives
YoungLives, a ministry of YoungLife, serving teen moms, hosts clubs and needs groups of adults to set up, clean up, bring breakfast food, and offer childcare on May 13 and June 3. Contact Jessica Clark.
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Position available

Central Preschool
Central's weekday preschool is looking for an Administrative Assistant to provide organizational and clerical support.
Job Description

Recycling Center Tour

Interested in what happens to your recycling? Central’s newly formed “Green Team” is organizing a tour at the Recycling Center in Cockeysville on May 23. Carpool from Central’s parking lot at 9 am. Contact Richard Ames-Ledbetter to hold a spot.
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Camp for IV Students

This month, partner with InterVarsity in sending Towson and Loyola students to a week of transformational experiences with God at Chapter Camp in NY/PA by - serving on Work Crew, donating snacks, or providing scholarship funds. Contact Kathryn Downes.
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