Welcome to our website. We’re glad you found us! Southminster Presbyterian Church is an intergenerational community of disciples seeking to follow Jesus in our lives. We are committed to relevant, meaningful worship, life-long learning and growth, and serving the goal of creating the beloved community of justice, compassion, and peace both locally and globally. We welcome you to join us on a mutual journey of faith!
Who We Are
Southminster is a mid-sized congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Children of all ages find Southminster to be a place to laugh, play, learn, and grow. We have many longtime members, multiple generations of families, as well as new members in our community. We come together to care for one another, worship the Lord and serve God by showing love and concern to those in need.
As a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination, we are connected to sister congregations throughout the region through Heartland Presbytery, the Synod of Mid-American and to our national denomination. Our Session (governing body) along with our pastors share leadership in making decisions for the church as to where God is calling us to serve. As part of the larger denomination we are a member of the Matthew 25 Initiative. This national initiative seek to develop vital, flourishing congregations that work to eradicate poverty and eliminate systemic racism in our society.
What to expect
Sunday morning worship is at 8:30 in the Chapel and at 11:00 in the Sanctuary (the 11 am service is also live-streamed on our Facebook and YouTube channels). Both services are more traditional in nature, but there is often a variety of music on any given Sunday. Folk guitar, djembe, jazz as well as traditional hymnody are a part of worship at Southminster. You will find people dressed in a variety of ways. Suits or jeans, wear what makes you comfortable. We are just glad you are here.
In between worship services there is a time for faith formation for children and adults as well as a time for fellowship. At 9:30, preschool through 5th grade begin upstairs with Pastor Karen to open the Sunday school time with singing, liturgy, and the theological word for the week. Sixth – 12th grade meet in the youth room for conversation about topics of faith. There are two adult Sunday school classes that meet weekly as well. The Inquiring Spirits is a Bible study class led by Pastor Jeff and the Seekers class is a forum that looks at a variety of issues and is led by members of the congregation, Pastor Karen, and occasionally outside speakers.
Jeff Clayton Pastor
Rev. Jeff Clayton has served as Pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church for 21 years. Pastor Clayton has diverse experience in pastoral ministry including small church ministry, university ministry, as well as serving as Associate Pastor and Pastor in several larger metropolitan areas. He indicates that beautiful, relevant worship, nurturing a community of compassion and support, and witness and service for peace and justice in our world are areas of focus for his work. Pastor Clayton is a musician and enjoys incorporating music and the arts into various aspects of the ministry of the church.
Karen Wright Associate Pastor
Rev. Karen Wright joined the Southminster Staff in 2014. Prior to joining Southminster she served as the Director of Christian Education at Westminster Presbyterian of Austin, Texas. Rev. Wright is a certified Christian Educator through the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators and has served on the leadership team of that organization. She holds a BS in Health and Sport Sciences and a M.Ed both from the University of Oklahoma (BOOMER SOONER!) and holds her M.Div from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Karen is married to Rev. Sally Wright (also a Presbyterian Pastor) and they have boy/girl twins and a yorkie. Karen enjoys music, art, reading, and movies when not busy with ministry or chasing after young ones at home.
Joshua Hearn Music Director
Joshua Hearn began his church music ministry twenty-five years ago. As a native of central Illinois, he earned a Bachelor of Music degree with distinction in organ performance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His teachers at Illinois included Dana Robinson, DMA (organ) and Chester L. Alwes, DMA (choral literature and conducting). Joshua came to Kansas to pursue the Master of Church Music degree (organ) at the University of Kansas where his teachers included Michael Bauer, DMA (organ, choral conducting, and church music) and Kevin Vogt, DMA (church music and organ improvisation). He also holds the Associate Certification (AAGO) of the American Guild of Organists and is a member of the Lawrence Community Handbell Choir. When not on the bench, Joshua enjoys traveling and experiencing the many wonderful arts opportunities Kansas City has to offer.
Denise Dillon-Gruber Office Manager
Denise Dillon-Gruber joined the Southminster staff in 2022. Denise has more than 20 years of experience in business and marketing and holds a BA in Business Communications from Augustana College. In addition to her background in business, Denise is also a certified group fitness instructor. In her free time she enjoys teaching and taking fitness classes, watching movies, and spending time with her husband and two kids.
Class of 2022
Class of 2023
Class of 2024 (Elders-Elect)
Class of 2022
Class of 2023
Class of 2024
Building and Grounds – Southminster’s Building & Grounds (“B&G”) committee members oversee all things related to the church building and property. This includes maintenance/repair of the physical structure, building systems and grounds. B&G committee members also provide project management for capital improvement projects to the physical structure, building systems, and exterior grounds areas, including project identification, project design, bidding, and oversite of construction activities, and other related activities. B&G monitors and approves budget expenditures for utility billings, maintenance/repair costs, contract service payments, and other related activities.
Christian Education – Committed to helping people of all ages grow in their discipleship, the Christian Education is responsible for faith formation for all ages at Southminster. Adult Sunday school classes as well as classes for children and youth meet on Sunday morning at 9:30. Youth and older elementary (Club 456) meet on Sunday evenings, weather permitting or on Zoom, for a time of fellowship, recreation and formation through community.
Evangelism – Southminster’s Evangelism committee works to grow and maintain community connection through welcoming and assisting visitors, advertising upcoming events, and participating in community work in support of More Light Presbyterians and full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ persons in church life.
Family Life – The Family Life committee is responsible for the care and nurture of the congregation at Southminster. By reaching out by phone we have sought to stay connected through the pandemic. Cards are sent to those who are sick or who have suffered loss and often food is taken to those in need. For our homebound members, we have an “Angel” program that sends items for holidays as reminders of the care from the church family. Weather permitting, small groups gather for Dine In, Dine Out to enjoy food and fellowship together and the congregation is invited to join in for periodic fellowship gatherings at the church. With the pandemic, this has been a challenge, but the Family Life committee continues to look for ways to care for one another.
Stewardship – The Stewardship committee of Southminster helps keep track of finances and manages our endowment fund which provides a substantial amount of financial support for one time grants. This committee oversees the creation of the budget each year and working in conjunction with the church treasurer and the staff works to keep Southminster fiscally on track.
Worship – Southminster’s worship committee is responsible for a variety of aspects of the worship life of the congregation. Worship is central to who we are as a church and the committee works to enhance our worship together. Whether there is need to look at liturgical arts and the settings for worship, special services, or the transition between virtual and in-person worship, the committee tries to consider the needs of the congregation as well as what God is calling us to do in and be in this time and place.