On December 18th, the congregation unanimously elected Kris Schondelmeyer as our next Pastor at Deep Run. We welcome Kris, his wife Abby, son Alexander and dog Cooper to the PCDR family. Kris will be starting at Deep Run in February. Please find his biography and statement of Faith below.
Kris grew up in Sedalia, MO attending Broadway Presbyterian Church with his grandparents, whose families both helped to found Presbyterian churches in central Missouri. He first experienced God’s call to ordained ministry the summer before his freshman year of high school during a Montreat Youth Conference in Montreat, NC. Two years later, Kris was ordained as a Deacon at Broadway Presbyterian Church during his junior year of high school.
As many young adults do, Kris struggled the first couple of years in college. He wrestled between his passion for politics and his call to ordained ministry. During his undergraduate years, Kris served as a volunteer youth leader, worked on the summer staff at Montreat Conference Center, directed the Program Staff at Mound Ridge Presbyterian Camp for two summers, served as the Director of Youth Ministries at Broadway Presbyterian Church in Sedalia, MO, and served as pulpit supply for several churches in mid-Missouri enjoying his love of preaching the gospel.
Kris graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Speech Communication and minor in Political Science from the University of Central Missouri where he was honored as the 2006 Speech Communication Scholar of the Year. He went on to do his graduate work in an ecumenical setting at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis. Eden is a seminary of the United Church of Christ, a sister denomination with which the PC(USA) is in full communion. Kris received his Master of Divinity in May of 2010 where he was awarded for outstanding scholarship and academic achievement. While doing full-time graduate work, Kris also served full-time on the staff at First United Presbyterian Church of Belleville, IL as the Director of Youth Ministries. First United is a church in an area known as the St. Louis Metro East.
Kris began his pastoral ministry at Christ Presbyterian Church in Toledo, OH in October of 2010. He serves as the Associate Pastor with primary responsibilities for program administration in the areas of Youth Ministry and Adult Christian Discipleship. While serving in Toledo, Kris met and married Abby, who he admits is his better 3/4ths. While serving in Toledo, Kris has completed two Graduate Certificate programs specializing in Executive Leadership and Engaged Compassion. He is preparing to begin Doctoral work within the next year.
Kris is a survivor of clergy sexual abuse from when he was a youth, and now a strong advocate for creating safe and sacred space within the PC(USA). In fact, his story as a survivor created positive changes at the 222nd General Assembly of the PC(USA) recently held in Portland, OR. His advocacy and partnership with Gradye Parsons, the recently retired Stated Clerk of the PC(USA), helped the General Assembly to create and adopt national level policies for the protection of children and youth. Kris is committed to being engaged in the work of the larger church to create a church where children, youth, and vulnerable adults are safe.
Kris and Abby have one son named, Alexander, and one mischievous dog named, Cooper. They look forward to joining the life of the Presbyterian Church of Deep Run, are encouraged by the ministry the church is already engaged in, and are excited about opportunities to reach out to other young families.
Statement of Faith:
I believe that God is the creator of everything good. God is neither male nor female, but is all things in order to relate to all people. I believe that God created this world and especially human beings because of God’s nature as a relational God. Indeed, God exists as a relational Triune God as the Creator, the Incarnation that is Christ, and through the incarnation of the Holy Spirit that lives in each person. As we see in scripture, Old and New Testament, God’s nature is indeed gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. God continually approaches humankind, even in our unfaithfulness, to create and renew covenants in order that God might be in loving relationship with all of humankind. Though God is sovereign over all of creation, maintaining the power to do marvelous and wonderful things, God chooses to act by giving humankind freedom of will, for God so desires personal and communal relationships that are true and loving. It is indeed God’s predestined plan and God’s eternal will that the entirety of creation be in loving relationship with God and with others.
The most perfect incarnation of God exists in Jesus, the Christ. I believe that it is God’s nature, from the beginning of time, to be so personal and relational with humankind that God is like us, for we are created in the image of God. Jesus’ life was a parable in and of itself, teaching us through his example, through his story, the answer to that great Genesis question; we are indeed our brothers and sisters keeper. Though Jesus was arrested, held captive by Pilate, and at the request of the present crowd put to death, he lived a life of true freedom for his “kingdom is not of this world”. In his life, Jesus showed us what incarnational living looks like; the kind of loving and compassionate people of God that God has predestined us to be. In his death, Jesus took upon himself the sin of this world. And in his resurrection, Jesus proved that there is newness of life, freedom, and healing in living life beyond the confines of worldly gain.
Through the Holy Spirit, God continues to live incarnationally in this world. The Holy Spirit is the breath of our living God that lives in us and is at work in the world. Through the power of the Holy Spirit that compels us to do the work and will of God, we can become the body of Christ to a hurting and broken humanity. Indeed, those that respond to the compelling Spirit of God, those that leave their old lives behind to become fishers of people, those that take up their cross to follow the way of Jesus are the true church, the Body of Christ. The true Church is made up of those faithful believers that have been bonded together in unity by the Holy Spirit, symbolized through the waters of our baptism. They are the ones that understand, however, that the Body of Christ will forever be broken until all live into the life that they were created to live and this world ceases to be broken. Ergo, the true Church is made up of those that understand that we are all so intricately connected by the Holy Spirit that we cannot fully become who we were created to become until we respond to the needs of this world; clothing the naked, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, etc.
The Church is not alone in its struggle to do the work and will of God. In fact, the Church is nourished and strengthened in its work through the Lord’s Supper. Through this meal, the Church is called to remember the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. As the Church shares in the ancient custom of eating and drinking in community, the power of the Holy Spirit reminds the Church of Jesus’ never ending presence.
Jesus’ never ending presence is also proclaimed to the world through the reading and preaching of Holy Scripture. The Scriptures, through the power of the Holy Spirit, help us to know and understand the good news and grace of Jesus, the Christ. Jesus, the living Word, calls us to take the Scriptures from their page and to live them with our lives, thereby following Christ into the world to continue the work and will of God.