Pastor Joel R. Kurz accepted the call to serve Bethlehem in 2007 and is glad to be a servant of Christ in this place. Born in Tennessee, Joel was raised in the Philippines, Missouri, and Texas. He earned a B.A. in English from The College of the Ozarks in 1992, then spent a year studying Greek and Hebrew while working at Bethesda Lutheran Home in Watertown, Wisconsin. Prior to receiving his M.Div. in 1997 from Concordia Theological Seminary (Ft. Wayne, Indiana), he was a congregational intern in Baltimore, Maryland, and Pensacola, Florida. He served as pastor of Concordia Lutheran in Youngstown, Ohio, until 2001. During a six-year hiatus from full-time parish ministry Joel was a caregiver for his father (a retired pastor) and did part-time parish supply. In addition to his ministry at Bethlehem Pastor Joel is actively involved in the Warrensburg Ministerial Association, the Johnson County Emergency Care Coalition, the Johnson County CROP Hunger Walk, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, and the Regional Health Care Free Clinic. He often can be found in Bethlehem’s community herb and vegetable gardens as well as in the newly developing nature trail at the back of the property. Joel is a board member of With God’s Little Ones (a St. Louis-based agency ministering to the needs of vulnerable widows and orphans around the world) and is also a support-team member of the Kyosiga Community Christian Association for Development in Uganda. Joel is the author and editor, along with Dr. C. George Fry, of four published books of religious biography. His poetry and essays have appeared in journals including The Cresset, Concordia Journal, Sojourners, Weavings, and Worship. Special joys for him are traveling and connecting with people, reading and writing, gardening and cooking, hiking and biking, and listening to a wide array of music—especially live.
Cindy joined our staff in August of 2017. She came from a local law office where she had worked for over 10 years. She has a Bachelor's and Master's Degree from UCM. She oversees all administrative aspects of Bethlehem. She has been a part of the Warrensburg Community since 1990. Her family includes: Ben-husband, Danielle Meloy-daughter with three grandchildren, Kersten, Trevor and Connor, and a son-Christopher Meloy and wife-Kiera and granddaughter Dakota Sage.
I am excited to get to work as the new CLF at Bethlehem! I have had my eye on this position ever since it was created, but my family life was too busy to jump in. Now that my baby is a baby no more, I’m ready to get to work! I have been a Bethlehem member since 2011, shortly after Jeremy VanWey and I were married. We have 5 children: Brady (19), Gracyn (16), Bryce (8), LauraBeth (6), and Delia (3). I homeschool the 3 youngest.
Shawn & Beryl came to Warrensburg in May 2008 from England. They have a son, Shane, who lives on the east coast. They are both custodians at the church, and years ago, Shawn along with members of the congregation started the community garden, which is still doing very well today, providing vegetables for the people of Warrensburg.
Teresa is the Bookkeeper for the church and is married to Don Hillsman who owns Show Me Realty in Warrensburg. Teresa enjoys traveling and spending time with her many grandchildren.
Jerry has been taking care of/installing equipment at Bethlehem for more years than most of us have been members. He is a United States Navy veteran and retired from the University of Central Missouri. Jerry and his wife, Karon, live in Warrensburg and are very active at Bethlehem. If they are not here, you can bet that they are with their wonderful grandchildren.