Proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ

Out and About

40+ Years of the Church of the Holy Spirit Holly Fair

The Holly Fair at CHS's Undercroft

The Holly Fair at CHS’s Undercroft

It all started in the 1970’s when for many years the ladies at Church of the Holy Spirit, Bellevue gathered regularly to craft items for the Holly Fair.  Trips were made to the cemetery to gather pine cones for wreath making, needlepoint and other creative tree ornaments were made, papier-mâché vegetables and fruits formed on wood to hang in the kitchen, and many other wonderful items.  Also the Holly Fair served lunch and of course tables of cookies, cakes, pies, candy and other delicious items were for sale.


Flash forward to 2007 and fundraising for a new kitchen.  Time for a cookie bake sale!  The cookies were baked and a few tables were set up for any member who had something to sell.  The Holiday Craft and Bake Sale was formed.  The kitchen is completed, but new projects are identified and it continues to grow each year.  2015 found the ladies setting up the CHS Christmas Flea Market and Bake Sale tables and the Undercroft full of 15 to 20 vendors from Bellevue and the surrounding area offering a great variety of treasures.  The Christmas spirit was shared with new and old friends from the community as we wished them a Merry Christmas and invited them to join us for Lessons and Carols on December 18th.

Baked goods for every taste!

Baked goods for every taste!

The holiday craft and decoration items were overflowing

The holiday craft and decoration items were overflowing

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Meet the Kester-Beyers!

Rev. Sheryl and Rev. Chris Kester-Beyer

Rev. Sheryl and Rev. Chris Kester-Beyer

Greetings! Chris and I are excited to be a part of the Nebraska Diocese and serving Holy Apostles in Mitchell, Nebraska, even though we’re actually Lutheran. Chris grew up on a farm north of Aurora, Nebraska and I grew up in a variety of places (my dad was in the army), but I call Colorado home since that’s where my parents retired and I graduated from high school.

Chris and I were both ordained in 1987, but since we went to different seminaries we didn’t meet until after we were ordained. I began my pastoral ministry at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Bassett, Nebraska while also serving two small United Methodist Churches at Newport and Rose, Nebraska as part of a co-operative ministry. In 1992, I was called to serve as pastor at First Lutheran Church of Avoca, Nebraska.


The Reverends Kester-Beyer and their bike!

Chris began his pastoral ministry at Trinity Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. In 1990, he was called to serve Immanuel Lutheran Church at Orum, Nebraska and Emmaus Lutheran Church at Kennard, Nebraska.

It was after I moved to Avoca that Chris and I began dating and in 1995, we married. In 1997, Chris accepted a call to serve Grace Lutheran Church in Cook, Nebraska, so that we only had a 20 minute commute instead of an hour. Fun fact: during this time, we actually maintained two parsonages and alternated between the two every other week!

Seeking an opportunity to serve together (and live in one parsonage!) we then accepted a call to serve Messiah Lutheran Church in Aurora, Nebraska in 2002. Where Pastor Chris also served half-time at United Lutheran Church in Hampton, Nebraska.

Rev. Sheryl Kester-Beyer

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Twentieth Annual Lessons and Carols at Trinity Memorial, Crete December 13 at 4 pm

trinity memorial crete

Trinity Memorial Church, Crete

Come to hear the Bible readings of Advent and Christmas, from Isaiah through St.Luke and St. Matthew, at 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 13, 2015, at the 20th annual Lessons and Carols Service at Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church in Crete. Join in singing the beautiful Advent and Christmas hymns and carols. Trinity Memorial, on the National Historic Register, is one of the oldest Episcopal churches in Nebraska, having celebrated its 140th anniversary in 2012. Trinity Memorial is located at 14th and Juniper in Crete. The clergy person in charge is Deacon Christine Grosh.


Bible readers at Lessons and Carols in 2015 will be recently confirmed students Claire and Kathryn Holling, Emily and Zack Binder, Jack Blessen, and soon to be confirmed Gus Blessen; as well as Adrian Harris, Emily Binder, and Senior Warden Betty Talley. The Lessons and Carols Service includes a dessert reception following the Service.


“We welcome all in the community to join us for this traditional service,” said Senior Warden Betty Talley, “and for the reception and visiting afterwards.”

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“On the Road Again” with the Trinity Cathedral Choir


Trinity Cathedral Choir singing Lessons and Carols in Seward in 2010, with Rev. Helen Goltl

On Sunday, December 13, the Trinity Cathedral Choir and Handbell Ensemble will present an Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols at 4:00 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church, 301 E. 5th Street, Fremont, Nebraska. The traditional Anglican service of readings and music is designed to prepare us for the coming of Christ at Christmas.

Each December, cathedral musicians travel to a parish in the Diocese of Nebraska to share the gift of music. Those “road trips” have included visits to these parishes:

2007 – St. Martin’s, Omaha
2008 – St. Mary’s, Nebraska City
2009 – St. James, Fremont
2010 – St. Andrew’s, Seward
2011 – St. Martin’s, Omaha
2012 – St. Augustine’s, Elkhorn
2013 – St. Mary’s, Blair
2014 – Trinity, Norfolk

This year’s festival is one of a series of events celebrating the new Allen organ at St. James Church. An extended prelude will showcase the sounds of the instrument with music by composers ranging from Johann Sebastian Bach to contemporary Nebraska composer and organist, Michael McCabe.

Twenty-four cathedral musicians, as well as several spouses, friends, and clergy, will travel to Fremont for lunch and a rehearsal, followed by the choral service. The annual trip provides an enjoyable opportunity for fellowship in the midst of the busy December choir schedule. We are blessed with magnificent musical resources at Trinity Cathedral, and we rejoice in opportunities to share those gifts with our friends and neighbors throughout the diocese.

Trinity Cathedral Choir, with Deacon Ellen Ross, Dr. Marty Wheeler Burnett, Dean Craig Loya

Trinity Cathedral Choir, with Deacon Ellen Ross, Dr. Marty Wheeler Burnett, Dean Craig Loya

All are welcome to attend. A reception will follow the liturgy. A freewill offering with be received benefitting Jefferson House, a local youth shelter, and Downtown Episcopal Outreach (DEO).

God willing, next year will mark our tenth annual Lessons and Carols on the Road. Where will we go? An epic Nebraska road trip may be in the works to celebrate!

Marty Wheeler Burnett, D.Min.
Canon Precentor, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

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Meet Rev. Marisa Thompson

Rev. Marisa Thompson

Rev. Marisa Thompson

Hello, Nebraska!
My family and I came to Omaha by way of central North Carolina this summer. My husband, Joe, is a native North Carolinian and we have enjoyed getting to know his home over the past three years. Prior to that, we were in my stomping grounds, the great Pacific Northwest! This means that our children love BBQ AND tofu, sweet tea AND sushi – and that we have been teaching them to yell “Go Heels” and “Go Ducks” since they were in the womb! We look forward to adding “Go Huskers” to their repertoire. I served in a traditional parish setting in NC and as a college chaplain (and university administrator) in Oregon. In addition to spending time with my family and enjoying my vocation, I like to coach soccer, read mysteries, and watch college football.


I am excited to be a part of the Diocese of Nebraska and to serve with the All Saints community. The future is bright at All Saints! I have already met a number of wonderful people, in the Omaha-area and hope to build some strong relationships. To those I have met, thank you for the great welcome. To those I do not yet know, please say hi!


In Peace,
Rev. Marisa


Joe, Zeo, Patrick and Marisa Thompson

Joe, Zoe, Patrick and Marisa Thompson

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Church of Our Savior Commemorates Ministry of Bishop Alfred A. Gilman

Bishop Alfred A. Gilman

Bishop Alfred A. Gilman

On Sunday, September 6, 2015, Church of Our Savior in North Platte commemorated the 137th anniversary of the birth of the Rt. Rev. Alfred A. Gilman, S.T.D., and the 113th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Prayers were said and a plant was placed at Bishop Gilman’s gravesite at the North Platte Cemetery.


Alfred A. Gilman was born in North Platte, Nebraska, on August 23, 1878. He was baptized (Easter Sunday, March 23, 1883) and confirmed (Sunday, May 8,1892) at Church of Our Savior. Alfred graduated from North Platte High School at the age of 14 in 1893; the University of Nebraska (Phi Beta Kappa) in 1898; and the Philadelphia Divinity School in 1901. He was ordained both to the diaconate (Sunday, June 16, 1901) and the priesthood (Sunday, August 24, 1902) at Church of Our Savior by the Rt. Rev. Anson R. Graves.


Alfred left for Hankow, China, in 1902 to do missionary work. He served as editor of the Chinese Churchman, 1913-1917; president of Boone University in Wuchang, China, 1917-1924; and acting president of Hauchung University (Central China University) in Wuchang, China, 1924-1929.


Alfred was consecrated as bishop suffragan of the Missionary District of Hankow, China on March 4, 1924, and installed as third bishop of the Missionary District of Hankow, China on April 12, 1938. He initiated the transfer of church leadership to the Chinese people.


Bishop Gilman was arrested by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, and held until June 5, 1942. He was in the first diplomatic exchange of World War II, arriving in Jersey City, New Jersey, on August 25, 1942, aboard the diplomatic exchange ship M.S. Gripsholm. Bishop Gilman returned to Hankow and played a major role in emergency relief for refugees in the Hankow area during World War II. He retired in 1946 but was recalled to Hankow until 1948. Tensions in China required him to return to the United States.


Bishop Gilman was decorated by the Republic of China with the Third Order of the Growing Grain. He died on September 13, 1966, in Pompton Lakes, Passaic, New Jersey and is buried in the North Platte Cemetery.


Click here for a story in the North Platte Telegraph on the celebration.

Members of Church of our Savior, North Platte

Members of Church of our Savior, North Platte

Stephen Kay and Fr. Jeffrey Nelson

Stephen Kay and Fr. Jeffrey Nelson

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Schedule for DioNeb On the Road Tour 2015 Edition



Monday – Kimball 5:30 Holy Eucharist


Tuesday – Harrisburg 6:30 Holy Eucharist


Wednesday – Alliance 7 p.m. It will include confirmation and receiving new members


Thursday – Hyannis 5:30 p.m. Holy Eucharist


Friday – Rushville 5:30 p.m., Pot Luck at Holly, followed by informal discussion and Eucharist


Saturday – Gordon 9:30 to about 11:30 Western Deanery meeting.  Coffee & snacks available as people arrive.  Program will be Q & A to Diocesan Staff.


Noon to 5:00 Attend Willow Tree Festival (optional).  There will be many food vendors.  The festival has ongoing entertainment at three different stages and numerous craft booths.


5:30 p.m. Eucharist at St. Mark’s


Sunday – Scottsbluff 8:00AM & 10:00AM Holy Eucharist

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Fr. John Schaefer: Invitation to Investigate Co-Housing

Omaha Green Cohousing Plan

Omaha Green Cohousing Plan

The Rev. John and Margaret Schaefer are involved in a process in the Omaha area to create a Cohousing community. Fr. John is the rector of St. Andrew’s in Omaha. Both John and Margaret hope that more Episcopalians will consider cohousing as a way to create intentional community. Cohousing is a type of intentional community which has been successful in creating the feeling of traditional neighborhoods where you get to know your neighbors. Many have been successfully created across the United States and the world. Cohousing pairs private ownership of homes with extensive shared facilities, including a common house. Homes can be smaller because places like guest rooms, which are used infrequently, are aggregated in the common house. Residents share these spaces as well as other resources, which are chosen by what is called a ‘Forming Group’ during the planning process. This group helps design the community, and ultimately decides how the community will function. In cohousing, there is typically an optional shared meal once a week in the common house because it is an effective way for neighbors to get to know each other. The common house usually has a large kitchen and a large dining room to facilitate the weekly meal.

Due to the focus on sharing resources, cohousing can be less expensive to live in than other housing alternative Rather than have 50 lawnmowers in a community, you might only need a few. There often are tools, books or digital media held in common. Some cohousing residents even share cars. The average cost to own and operate a car in the United States is over $9,000 per year, making car-sharing programs popular in many cohousing communities.

“Omaha Green Cohousing” is forming a cohousing community in Omaha. We recently signed a purchase agreement on 4 acres of land in the Keystone area of Omaha (8557 Boyd Street). On this 4 acres, we’ve proposed putting 32 town-home units (1,200 square feet each) and16 ‘tiny houses’ (600 square feet each). In addition, current plans include a common house, greenhouse, community gardens, dog run, orchard, and other amenities with a focus on sustainability and net zero energy use. We have experienced tremendous interest in the project and are currently growing a Forming Group. This is an exciting time, because the group is engaged in the creating of a community. Part of this is deciding how to live together—and also deciding what the neighborhood will look like and how it will function. One of the benefits to joining now is you get to be part of the process of designing the community with the architect: What will the neighborhood look like? How do we site the homes? What features do we want in our Common House? These are to be answered by our Forming Group.

If you have a passion for building community and for living sustainably, you might enjoy being in cohousing. For more information, check out our site on Facebook (Omaha Green Cohousing or Meetings occur at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church 925 S. 84th St. on the corner of Pacific and 84th in Omaha. For meeting times and more information, please contact Fr. John Schaefer or his cell phone: (402) 690-0991. For general information, please visit

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