Rev. Holly McKissick
Holly has given birth to two children, Eden and Ben, and two churches, Saint Andrew Christian Church in Olathe, Kansas (where she served 21 years as the founding pastor) and Peace Christian Church UCC in Kansas City, Missouri. From Texas to the Midwest, the core of her ministry has been progressive, open, justice-oriented faith and rich, meaningful worship.A mother of two young adults and a marathon runner, Holly was ordained into the Christian ministry in 1987 after graduating from seminary at TCU’s Brite Divinity School. A native Texan, Holly completed her undergraduate studies at Texas A&M and TCU.
Holly is a contributing religion writer for the Kansas City Star and an insightful, spirited speaker. She is the author of two books–a Hallmark gift book, You Are Blessed: Prayers for Checkout Lines, Ice Cream and Other Simple Moments and one on leadership, Tall Poppy: How to Lead Without Losing Your Head, which was released by Abingdon Press. Holly is a mentor at Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Connections to Success. Her work with StandUp KC, Missouri Jobs with Justice, SURJ, and MORE2 is an extension of her commitment to racial and economic justice. Past community involvements include service on the Board of Directors for Midwest Innocence Project, Planned Parenthood, and the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education. You can feel Holly’s passion as she shares God’s justice and delight in every moment and every thing.
When she is not pounding the pavement for Peace Church or progressive politics, you can find her on the yoga mat or a long run with her dog, Satchel Paige. Holly is married to Joe Hatley. A native of Virginia, Joe moved to Kansas City after graduating from law school at the University of Missouri. A father of two sons, an avid golfer and reader, Joe is an attorney with Spencer Fane.
Student Pastor and Youth Minister
Born and raised in Kansas City, KS, Paula is a 2010 graduate of Chapman University, a Disciples of Christ University in southern California. She is presently enrolled at St. Paul School of Theology and is a Member in Discernment in the United Church of Christ. She lives in Overland Park with her husband Mike and his wonderful daughter. Paula is a talented communicator whose ability to navigate and explain a world where people create community and engage one another through social media gives her a smart, youthful outlook that is current, refreshing, and hopeful. And she frequently lends her clear, lovely voice to music at Peace.
“From singing to preaching, pastoral care to planning, Paula’s infectious spirit is a gift! Bright, insightful, compassionate, creative, and deeply committed to an inclusive faith centered on justice, Paula brings energy to Peace Church.” Rev. Holly McKissick
Paula’s goals as a member of the Peace staff are to facilitate small group community, to create space for thought, warm embrace, and challenging questions, and to build a deep network of support for our children and youth.
Paula feels called to walk alongside young people on their journeys and help them recognize how very capable they are to make change and cultivate peace in the world.
A Kansas City native, Eli is firmly rooted in the heritage of her Cuban emigre parents. Eli grew up with the rich spiritual and musical tradition of a racially integrated Southern Baptist church, building a deep faith and a real love of music and ritual. Staying close to home for college, she completed degrees in music and English at William Jewell College. Serving at Peace is the perfect opportunity to blend Eli’s passions for singing and writing. Eli describes worshipping at Peace, with so many others who are on a spiritual journey that is defined by a vision of God’s justice and peace for everyone, as a gift and a privilege.
Along with Alex Holsinger, Eli leads singing at Peace and describes her role as a dream job. “Every week at Peace is a delight,” she says. “Collaborating with the staff and Alex to find music that enhances the message and illuminates the week’s theme is an incredibly creative process and deeply satisfying.” Eli and Alex are also founding members of On The Record, a local Americana band that enjoys a spirited following, including lots of their Peace Church friends. Eli lives in Overland Park with her husband, Justin, and their children, Julia and Christian.
Alex and his spouse, Kristi, along with their sons Jordan, Luke, and Eli, have lived in Overland Park since 1999 when UMKC brought them both onto the Criminal Justice faculty. Since then Alex has worked with local, state and Federal correctional agencies, improving rehabilitation practices and working toward a more just prison system. In addition, for the last several years Alex has been an active musician, playing (along with Eli Chamberlain) in the band On The Record at many local and regional venues. More than just about anything, Alex loves coordinating music and helping to lead worship at Peace– since doing so ties together EVERYTHING he loves – family, friends, music, and worship in a community dedicated to justice!
Alex’s parents always made sure music was a big part of his life — years and years of violin lessons, piano lessons, trumpet lessons and involvement in choirs, orchestras and symphonies throughout childhood, high school, and college. “To help with the provision of our music programming at Peace is an incredible privilege, that often surpasses my own understanding. Playing and singing both explicitly sacred music, as well as searching for an incorporating the sacred pieces from the secular world, is without question the best part of my week. Peace Church has literally brought new meaning to the term ‘worship’ for me, and I look forward to every single service, and every single song as we come together as a community of peace, love, and justice.”
Director, Peace aChord
While studying horn at the college level in the 80s, John found that his true passion was in choral conducting. So after he worked in marketing while his wife obtained her Master’s degree, he returned to college and received an accounting degree. After working for a division of the FDIC in the early 90s, he accepted a position with Sprint more than 18 years ago and has been there ever since (mostly in roles that have required him travel the globe…and none of them accounting). Somehow when you put all of these things together you end up with our experienced church choir director, who brings together voices of all ages into one harmonious unit which sounds much larger than the sum of its parts and performs beyond the typical expectation for a volunteer group. John selects music from many different genres to ensure that the music “fits” with the overall service and to keep the choir engaged and interested. He believes that singing in worship serves two critical purposes beyond praising God, it shares (or supports) the story and unites us in our mission. If you leave the church singing the refrain, or even just humming the tune, you have taken the “message” with you and into the world.
Beth Jordan has been the Regional Representative for the Helen Keller National Center for more than 20 years. Their sons, Madison and Tristan, share this passion for music and are regularly involved in music during worship services.