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Celebrate the Season


From the Ladies’ Tea Party to small group gatherings to a special Christmas lunch for Second Season, the month of December at Schweitzer has much to offer.

SATURDAY, DEC. 2, a packed room of over 160 ladies will gather for the “White Christmas” tea party and silent auction. Before this issue ever hit print, the tea sold out, which is great news for the four organizations that this special event will benefit. These four community-focused organizations include Newborns in Need, a local Christian charity which aims to support as many newborns and children in need as possible; Flourish CDC’s Coach House Ministry, offering transitional housing for women; Embrace Grace, a ministry for single, pregnant moms; and Pittman Elementary.

THURSDAY, DEC. 7 at 11:30 am, Second Season will highlight one of their three ministry pillars, Fun & Fellowship, as they host their annual Christmas Party. Folks 50 & older are invited to be part of this midday event. Come, meet new friends, savor a delicious Christmas meal (and dessert), enjoy a fun white elephant gift exchange and songs by talented Schweitzer musicians.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 20 at 6:30 pm, we’ll wrap up our fall small groups. Schweitzer Kids and Students will also host year-end Christmas parties. While we know it’s not all about partying, these times can be easy invites for friends who are curious about Schweitzer.

Merry Christmas from Flourish CDC


What an amazing year of transition and growth for the Flourish Community Development Corporation.

This past July, we moved into our new home on West Division St. in the Heart of the Westside

neighborhood. The gift of this location is a blessing well beyond office space. It establishes Flourish as a member of the community it desires to serve. It makes us a neighbor to those in need.

Since moving, we have spent time getting to know our new neighbors. We have gone door to door, handing out flags for Memorial Day and goodie bags to celebrate National Good Neighbor week. We hosted a neighborhood cookout and ice cream social.

As we celebrate our first Christmas in the neighborhood, we have decorated and added Christmas lights to the building as a symbol of the HOPE and JOY that God offers to this Westside community.

Cucumber Sandwich Recipe

Looking for a delicious treat to bring to a Holiday Party? Carol Rothermel has shared the recipe for one of her favorites – which was also a big hit at the 2022 Ladies’ Tea.

Here’s the digital version for easy shopping.

Cucumber Sandwiches by Carol Rothermel
Serves about 20

1 pkg. 8 oz. cream cheese
¼ cup mayo
1 pkg. dry Good Seasons Italian dressing
Cucumber slices, thinly sliced
Rye Bread
Dill weed for garnish

Mix together cream cheese, mayo and dressing mix; spread on Rye bread and place cucumber on top, garnish with dill weed.

Strengthening Your Marriage (Fall Marriage Class)

by Mark Mildren

When I was in seminary at Southern Methodist University, Pastoral Care and Counseling was a

required year-long class. That was a very practical course for me. I chose to do an additional counseling class in Marriage and Family Counseling. I supposed that would be a very practical class in preparation for ministry. I was right. During my ministry, I learned that the divorce rate for Christian couples was the same for non-Christian couples. I hated to see my parishioners suffering from marriage problems that could lead to divorce. Since then, I have done marriage counseling for 46 years. About fifteen years ago, I did some additional training at the Forest Institute of Psychology in relationship enhancement to aid in marriage counseling. Helping to strengthen marriages is a way to prevent marriage crisis. 

This fall at Schweitzer, I will be leading couples as part of a six-week class running September 26 – November 7, using the book “Making Love Last A Lifetime” by Rev. Adam Hamilton. I’ve used this book before and have found it to be helpful and fun. We will spend time reading and discussing these topics: 

• Venus and Mars in the Beginning 

• What Women Wish Men Knew About Women 

• What Men Wish Women Knew About Men 

• The Ministry & Meaning of Faithfulness 

• After the Honeymoon is Over 

• The Habits of Unhealthy Marriages 

• God’s Plan for Sexual Intimacy 

• Making Love Last a Lifetime 

This class is open to anyone, but we especially encourage young couples to be part of this time together. Childcare is available for the class, and we know the time together will be special. This book will also be one you’ll want to keep in your library. 

I look forward to meeting you! 

A Legacy of Generosity: Launching the Schweitzer Foundation

Faithfulness and generosity have always been central to the Schweitzer Church story. With God’s leading, an acre of land on the edge of Springfield was given by the Schweitzer family for the purpose of beginning a new church in Southeast Springfield. Over 70 years ago, a small group of people began worshiping in a small sanctuary they helped build with their hands and generosity. 

Staying faithful and generous, this little church grew. With vision and leadership, the people of Schweitzer purchased 10 acres and a farmhouse where they worshiped while they pooled their resources and constructed a new sanctuary with room for new people. 

God blessed this new church that could now hold over 100 faithful worshipers. This space also filled up. With faithfulness and generosity, including major gifts, the congregation made room for hundreds more new people to worship and created spaces to serve the broader community. 

God’s character is generosity, and God has provided for Schweitzer over and over again. The people of Schweitzer, responding to God’s grace, have always been in a risk-taking mission, believing God was doing a new thing here. Major gifts from anyone can have a significant impact. For example, about a decade ago, a retired schoolteacher and railroad worker generously gave a legacy gift of $400,000 to provide for future ministry. Several decades ago, a gift helped create spaces where kids and adults today grow in their faith and connection with each other (Dodge Hall). A gift of $250,000 and a medical office building was received in the early ‘90s. This building, “Hoffman Hall,” now provides space for AA and NA on our campus. 

This program helps to restore lives, giving the gifts of hope and reconciliation. Generous giving and legacy gifts named in estates/wills — whether a piece of property, cash, or a percent of an estate — have significantly moved the Schweitzer mission forward. 

It’s in this same spirit, with vision and leadership, the Schweitzer Foundation was established in 2023. In our growing church, leaders recognized the opportunity to create a new way to reach new people and serve our community for generations to come. 

Many of us are familiar with foundations that support the ongoing missions of universities and hospitals; these are good for our community. Similarly, the Schweitzer Foundation will receive gifts that go beyond regular giving, tithes, and offerings. Every gift to the Foundation, small and large, will look beyond weekly ministry and operations to future missions and opportunities God provides. Giving to the Schweitzer Foundation will ensure future mission and ministry on this campus and beyond.

The Schweitzer Foundation will operate as a separate not-for-profit with its own Board of Directors. The Foundation Board members are: Neil McCall (President/Chair), Judy Breeding, John Travers, Phil Wieneke, Carolyn Hoffman, and Jenifer Roberts.

Jim Mason serves as the Foundation Director and Donna Roberts as the Secretary/Treasurer. 

We will be sharing more about the Schweitzer Foundation in the coming months, with a special launch event planned for Sunday, October 15.

You can learn more about the Schweitzer Foundation at schweitzer.church/foundation. 

It’s Me. Hi. I’m on Sabbatical, It’s Me. 


Hi. It’s me, Taylor, your Technical Director! At the time of writing, I am halfway through my sabbatical. This season of rest has been chock-full with visiting family, museums, and churches. 

This season has allowed me to relax and recalibrate mentally and spiritually. I’ve spent a lot of time reading and writing and have been able to reset my sleeping habits, my spiritual disciplines, and my priorities. 

I enjoyed concerts, movies (including the ‘Barbenheimer’ double feature), and time reading and writing. My personal favorite is having more quality time with my wife and daughter, Zoë 

Day one, Zoë decided she would start walking and she hasn’t stopped since! Playtime has become much more exciting these days, and I enjoy every moment of chasing that girl around the house. WITH Schweitzer Kids, Students & PARENTS 

Between visiting other churches, locally and in Washington D.C., plus the Taylor Swift concert, I’ve already been inspired with new ideas to bring back to Schweitzer. (Let’s just say I hope Pastor Spencer is ready to learn some dance choreography!). The second half of my sabbatical is well-booked, and I look forward to sharing more when I return. I want to thank the Schweitzer Leadership for allowing me this opportunity and the people of Schweitzer for encouraging and supporting me. Though I’m in no rush to return, I do look forward to seeing you all again in October! 

New Studies, Confirmation & More for Students this Fall


This summer, Schweitzer students took on painting the Student Lounge, traveled to various campus, served together at Camp Barnabas and had a lot of fun during weekly lunch club. As we settle into the fall semester there are many great opportunities for middle school and high schoolers.

Starting on September 10, on Sunday mornings, we will offer a Middle School Bible study in the Route 56 space (Room 213), and a High School Bible study in the Student Lounge (in the Student Center). Our MS study is open to 5th-8th graders; our HS study is open to 9th-12th graders.

Wednesday Night Worship at 6:30 pm (beginning Sept 6) will stay the same as last year with one important shift: we will begin using Orange curriculum. This aligns with Schweitzer Kids and makes it way easier for families with kids in both ministries to have conversations about what they are learning each week.

On October 1, we will begin a new Confirmation class. If your student is interested, keep an eye out for registration. We have many fall events planned that will give students a chance to have fun and grow closer to each other.

Then, in November, we’ll have a family month with activities aimed at the whole family, including a family hike (Nov 4) and a potluck Thanksgiving dinner (Nov 15). 

If you would like to get involved with Student Ministries join us any week and if this an area where you’d like to volunteer, reach out to me at lzen@schweitzer.church.

Family-Focused in Schweitzer Kids

Summer with Schweitzer Kids has been AMAZING! Our new once-a-month family events have been a hit!! Nerf & Nachos Night was fun for all ages. The best part was seeing parents and children interacting and having a good time. By the end of the night, no one was ready to leave, and there have already been requests to have another Nerf-related event. 

Schweitzer Kids also hosted a Painting Night, where we switched gears from the excitement of Nerf to a relaxing and therapeutic night of creativity. From rocks to printed canvases to blank canvases, many families gathered to spend time with one another and express God’s gift of creativity. This is another event that was requested as something we should do again in the future – be watching for Cocoa & Canvases this winter. 

Last but not least, we relaunched Outdoor Family Movie Nights and are looking forward to more this fall! 

You may have noticed we have been offering more family-oriented events lately. We believe the purpose of Kids Ministry is not only for kids to have a place to worship and get to know God on their level, but also for the church to partner with families to empower and equip parents (and other adult influencers) to be spiritual leaders in their households. Our goal for these family events is to create an environment where families can gather for fun and fellowship with other families while also creating opportunities for them to disciple their children. We believe when the church and parents (or families) come together, they build a solid foundation for the kids at Schweitzer. 

Wednesday night meals this fall are a great way to build community with all generations. We hope this addition will also make it easier for families to enjoy groups and programs. With curriculum designed especially for kids, they will continue to learn and grow in their faith both on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. 

Last but not least, if you’re interested in volunteering with the next generation, please reach out. I would love to meet you! 

Email me at: staylor@schweitzer.church

A Story of Transformation

Refurbishing & the addition of a Mural for Hoffman Hall
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 

From darkness to light . . .
From despair to hope . . .
From ashes to beauty . . .

These are all phrases that could describe our life with Christ. Lives that contain testimonies of transformation, restoration, and reconciliation. These same refrains describe the new mural that will adorn the exterior of Hoffman Hall. 

This building, gifted to Schweitzer in the 1990s has long been used as a community space for groups, including AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), NA (Narcotics Anonymous), the Boy Scouts, and other neighborhood groups. For the past several years, it has needed a facelift. This summer, we began repairing and refreshing this building. 

The basics of repairing the building were easy, but we decided we wanted more! We wanted to add art that could be enjoyed by kids who are part of the Grow to Know Preschool, by our church body, and by people entering our parking lot for various events (like Pickleball). With this in mind, we reached out to a local mural artist. 

Greg Grace, artist and owner of Imaginational, along with his team, created a beautiful visual that will fully wrap the end of the building. His team has designed a mural that displays the transformative work of God. The artwork is currently in progress, and will be finalized this fall. It is also of note that Imaginational, whose business is based on Commercial Street, has played a major role in revitalizing that part of town. 

When complete, the north-facing wall will feature hands reaching up from darkness to light. As the images extend west, an explosion of color and imagery will emphasize the message of hope that comes with a new life. 

We hope this mural will generate conversations throughout our community and be a visual reminder of the power of Christ in each of our lives.

Enjoy these photos of the progress taken with the most recent being on Aug, 30, 2023.
View even more photos at our Schweitzer Photos site.


The Art of Songwriting


Over the years, I’ve had people come up and ask me how I write songs. I’ll get questions like, “How long does it take you to write a song?” Or, “What do you write first, the music or the lyrics?” The beautiful thing about songwriting is that the process isn’t predictable; not for me, anyway. There is no singular way to craft a song. There are, of course, industry “formulas” if you are aiming for a radio hit, but the process of getting to the end product is not always the same.

As a songwriter, I want the songs I write to say something meaningful. There’s not much I enjoy less in music than a kiddie-pool lyric that contains no real substance. Truthfully, as much as I love an incredible guitar riff and drum beat, the lyrics are what hold my attention after the first listen. A song could be incredibly simple, but if the words are creative and rich, I’m in. As I write songs, my attention and time are spent more on the words themselves than anything else. That’s not to say I don’t care about musical creativity. Those who know me well know I am picky about the music I listen to. I enjoy creative, accessible music. Regardless of whether the instrumentation and melody come before the lyrics, the words tend to get a little more attention. 

Most of the songs I have written are not ones we would sing together on a Sunday morning. They tend to be songs about life, love, family, and reflections on our culture. These songs are easier for me to craft lyrically than the ones I write for Sunday worship. 

Let me explain.

Songs of worship carry a different kind of weight. These aren’t simply songs I sing that others listen to for enjoyment. They’re not songs that are up for the listener’s interpretation. These songs must be biblical and have a direct correlation to our Christian faith. The words we sing matter 100 times more than any song I write for myself to perform for another’s entertainment. Therefore, songs of worship must ring true because they are being sung by a congregation. 

For the most part, songs of worship require a bit more intentionality. The words must mean something, or the song will be shallow (like a kiddie-pool). The melody needs to be singable and memorable. The point, after all, is to sing these songs together for our edification and, most importantly, to praise and worship our Lord. 

I pray anything I write that makes its way into the musical repertoire of the church adds value and bears truth. I don’t want to sing empty words to a cool beat. I want to sing life-giving truth with engaging and thoughtful music. I believe that is true for you as well. 

Doug King is Schweitzer’s Director of Modern Worship. He will also be a guest speaker at the upcoming Writer’s Roundtable on October 7 focused on songwriting and poems.