The Rev. Alix D. Pridgen, Pastor
As southerners like to say, I'm "from" Shreveport, Louisiana, but Overland Park has been my home since July of 2006. We lived 7 years in Chicago and 4 in the Kansas Flinthills, so my Louisiana accent is almost gone, but my roots appear in my love of jazz and zydeco, well-seasoned food, impromptu celebrations and all-round joie-de-vivre.
Growing up in Shreveport, my family attended a small Lutheran congregation which, at the time, was way outside of town amid the cotton fields. It was a compromise since my parents came from a blend of Methodist and Baptist/Episcopal traditions. The congregation was tiny and there weren't many children, but seeds were planted in my soul. I remember learning Bible stories, catching tiny rain frogs and trying to bring them into church, feeling the vibrations of the hymns as I sat sandwiched between Mama's soaring soprano and Daddy's rumbly bass, and being greeted every Sunday by Mr.Grann who made me feel as though I were the most important person on earth. Even so, life is complicated and at twelve I had my doubts, so I dropped out. Then my mother died and I discovered that life without faith is even more difficult. Through pure grace, God pulled me back and my senior year in high school I returned to worship, finding joy, love, meaning and forgiveness among God's people ever since. When life swallows us up, God is there in the chaos, holding onto us, never letting go.
My husband, Ed, is an amazing man and life with him as been an endless adventure shared with my best friend. We have one son who is now in college and we share life with the family dog and parrot. When I'm not working, I enjoy savoring the simple things, like sitting in my porch swing with a good cup of coffee and the entertainment of birds, the whisper of prairie grasses, uninterrupted time with a good book, watching movies, poking around in the garden amid fresh flowers, knitting, listening to music, exploring nature, taking road trips, painting with oils, visiting museums, and spending time with family and friends.
Joy abounds! The God revealed in Jesus is all about forgiveness, love, life, marvel, mystery, beauty, grace, renewal, justice, mercy, awe. There are moments every day that make me gasp, and times when God's kingdom breaks through and all I can do is fall to my knees in worship. There are also moments when I can't "feel" my faith, and when I shake my fist and rage against God for all the pain and anguish in our world, and because I am frustrated and impatient and sometimes powerless in the face of suffering... and God takes it very well...and even joins me in my protest and tears. This is the God I want to share with you... the God who makes butterflies... who grows angry at injustice... who stays with us when we're on the lonesome road... who rejoices when our hearts soar... who loves us enough to become one of us in Jesus... and who dies with us so that we can rise up to new life again in Christ.