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Pastors

Reverend Dr. Andrew Chaney, Senior Pastor

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‚ÄčThe Chaney family is so glad to be called here to First & Calvary. My wife Christine and I have three children, Luke, age 11, Caroline, age 7, and Anderson, age 6.  Our family enjoys playing games, making art and music, taking adventures together, being outdoors and playing most sports. We enjoy reading and saying prayers together before mealtime and before bed. We help each other and depend upon each other for love and support.

Christine grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, and I grew up in Livingston, Alabama, and as God brought Springfield into our view, we realized its charm—the best of those two worlds—what a great place to be! Growing up the son of a Presbyterian minister brought the blessing of the church becoming my extended family. Christine and I praise the Lord that our children will be nurtured by the many nice Presbyterians of First & Calvary.

I received a B.A. from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and a MLS from the University of Tennessee.  I received the M.Div. at Princeton Theological Seminary and D.Min. at Columbia Theological Seminary.  I have many Presbyterian ministers in my family.  My grandfather, father, mother, and brother are also ministers!  I served as Senior Minister of the beautiful suburban Chicago church, Kenilworth Union Church, before being called here to First & Calvary.

God may be calling you to serve at First & Calvary, too, maybe in a new way, or maybe by just turning up your commitment a notch. God does have a plan for you. It is much bigger than you can imagine. Wherever you are on your faith journey, know that God’s plan is unfolding day by day.  Discovering that fact is the first step to finding true meaning in life.

Participating in ministry is a vital part of that discovery. Your church family at First & Calvary depends upon you to become more involved in ministry. “What are you calling me to do, Lord?” is a question we should ask regularly in prayer and with each other. Let us celebrate the opportunities to grow as a family of faith by working together for the glory of God.
 

Greg Ellis, Associate Pastor

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Greg was born in Concord, CA, the third of four sons born to Richard and Marilyn Ellis.  His father’s vocation as a U.S. Army doctor resulted in regular moves for the Ellis clan.  Greg grew up in California, Kansas, Maryland, Germany, Wisconsin, and Texas. By the time Greg was starting high school, his family had settled in San Antonio and from there he went on to study at several Texas universities. He is a proud graduate of Baylor University.

Prior to becoming a pastor, Greg worked as a business consultant for four years, including long stints in Houston, Atlanta and Denver. He returned to Austin to attend the University of Texas School of Law, and remained there practicing public education law for ten years. Greg had an inkling that God was calling him to ministry as early as his college years, but some wise friends told him, “If you can be content doing anything but pastoral ministry, you should!” By the year 2000, he was wrestling seriously with the decision to go into ministry. Three years later, he moved to Vancouver, B.C., Canada, where he earned his Master of Divinity degree from Regent College in 2007. One of his four years, he studied back in Texas at Austin Seminary.

In 2007, Rev. Ellis accepted a call from First & Calvary Presbyterian Church in Springfield, where he has been serving as Associate Pastor.  He has enjoyed learning what it means to be God’s church and to serve as a pastor for God’s people with humor, humility and authenticity.

Pastor Greg’s biggest interest in ministry is to help people know and love God, and to become aware of God’s redeeming activity in their lives through Jesus Christ. For Greg, this involves reconnecting people with their inner selves, their loved ones, or with their vocation (helping them understand what God is calling them to do). Connecting with God in worship and community is, in Greg’s words, “the overarching thing that makes all that growth and life happen. In Christ, all things are connected. We live in a world that is too often disintegrated. Jesus is the one who puts the world back together. He redeems, heals, and transforms our disrupted lives and that of our neighbors.”

Most recently, Greg joyfully married his sweetheart, Maggie.  He says: “I really celebrate having Maggie as my wife.  She has become a huge part of who I am as a person and as a pastor.  Though we’ve been married only a short while, I can’t imagine life without her.”  Maggie grew up in Springfield and from there lived, studied and worked in Kansas, Colorado and England before returning to Springfield in 2011. The couple became fast friends during the course of 2012, began dating in early 2013, and married in February of 2014.

Greg and Maggie love hiking, tea and coffee, good books & board games, lifelong learning, museums & music, meeting new people, and traveling both near and far.  They also love their sweet black lab LeeLoo.

 
Bob Simpson, Parish Associate

The year 2013 marks the 50th Anniversary of my  ordination to ministry in the United Presbyterian Church. I believe becoming a Parish Associate at First and Calvary, under the leadership of Dr. Andrew Chaney, will be a fitting culmination to my ministerial career.
 
My initial call was to teaching (English, Religion) and coaching (basketball, football) at an east coast prep school, before joining the administration at the St. Louis Country Day School.
 
In addition to being Interim Minister at a series of churches in the St. Louis area and Organizing Pastor for a New Church Development, I also served stints as: a marriage counselor, a police chaplain and a human resources executive in an aerospace corporation.
 
Upon moving to Springfield in 1993, I spent several years as a City Department Head (Workforce Development) and member of the management team.
 
I have also had the privilege of being a part of the pastoral staff at First and Calvary on a short-term basis while working in collaboration with Gary Stratman and Alf Halvorson.
 
I was born and reared in Peoria, Illinois; graduated from Wheaton College and hold post-graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Pepperdine University.

In addition to working with various committees of the John Calvin Presbytery, I was blessed to be chosen as Moderator of Presbytery for 2009.

I was married to my high-school sweetheart, Judy, for fifty-four years and have three children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

 

Dick Menzel, Parish Associate

I was raised on an Iowa Farm and graduated from Upper Iowa University in Fayette, IA with a Bachelor of Science in business education.  I worked briefly for a Retail Credit Company, the Iowa State Employment Service, and taught four years in an Iowa high school.

After serving two tours of active duty as a member of the Army Reserve (called to active duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis), I enrolled in Dubuque Theological Seminary.  While in seminary, I served as student pastor of two United Churches of Christ.  I completed the M. Div. and enrolled in the University of Iowa School of Religion and earned a Master of Arts degree in American Religious History.  During this advanced study, I served as student pastor of a small Continuing Congregational Church in Cedar Rapids.

I served four congregations as an ordained minister prior to my retirement: First United Presbyterian Church, Brooklyn, IA; Bethel Presbyterian Church, West Union, IA; First Presbyterian Church Sterling, IL; and Willard-Mt. Zion Presbyterian Church, Willard, MO.  I continue to preach in a number of the churches in our presbytery.

Some highlights through the years include: becoming a Stephen Series leader and implementing that powerful ministry into the life of the congregation; sponsoring a Hmong refugee family; and greatly -emjoying my time with the folks at Willard.  A key focus of my ministry has been helping lay folks employ their gifts and their abilities.

I have also been very active in Rotary International and in Kiwanis. 

My wife, Nancy, who gives so much of herself to each congregation of which she has been a part, and I, have two children, Mindy in Gainesville, FL who is an underwriter with Nationwide Insurance, and Matt in Marietta, OH, who is an associate professor of mathematics at Marietta College.  We also have two special granddaughters, Grace and Jada, ages 6 and 2.

I have done woodworking, enjoy gardening, and currently spend quite a bith of time on the computer.  I have been priviledged to travel much within the United States and to several countries throughout the world as well.  ONe of my joys has been to attend lectures (both in the US and abroad) and participate in seminars by a number of the most prominent theologians and biblical scholars of my lifetime.

God has opened a new door for me.  My ordained ministry began with a surprise.  I look forward to what God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has in store for me.  I expect and I anticipate more surprises!

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