Greensburg Mennonite Church is the westernmost SCC church in Kansas, located in the northwest part of the town of Greensburg. The average attendance is approximately 70, with highs around 100. Nearly half of the participants are new in the past 10 years. Pastor Jeff Blackburn has been serving this congregation for 23 years and is now the senior pastor in the city of Greensburg. In this role, he is seen as a respected and appreciated presence in the community along with the entire congregation.
Pastor Blackburn was invited to be keynote speaker at “Bridging the Gap for Harvey Recovery in Galveston, Texas, June 10. Organized by Disaster Leadership Team (pictured) , the summit brought together community disaster recovery leaders from across southeast Texas to identify resources for recovery and rebuilding and to provide instruction and inspiration. Jeff is on the Advisory Board of DLT.
Kiowa County EMS invited him to participate in ALICE training for violent critical incidents, which led to certification as an ALICE trainer. He can work with pastors and congregational leadership in developing an emergency plan.
He was also the Bible study speaker for Western Yearly Meeting of Friends in Plainfield, Indiana, July 12-15. The theme was “Living Like You’re Loved,” with lessons from 1 John. Jeff served as a pastor in that Yearly Meeting 1984-1987, so it was also a chance to renew acquaintances.
Jeff traveled to Eureka, Kansas, for the community’s town hall meeting August 9. After the second tornado in two years, the long-term recovery committee is gearing up to help residents cope with rebuilding again. Jeff went to offer moral support to the recovery committee chairman, Matt Osborn, whom he met through the Disaster Leadership Team in 2016 after Eureka’s first tornado. The community of Greensburg is watching for ways to help and support them.
The congregation is making plans for its annual Pork Supper on September 15. Roasted pork, salads, and desserts will be served from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. They expect the typical 300-350 people to attend. It is a fundraising event, although GMC no longer needs all of funds. It recent years, they have shared the majority of the proceeds to address specific needs. This year’s donations will largely go to Mennonite Disaster Service for their work in Eureka, and a large gift has already been committed.
The elders and congregation are encouraged by the opportunities to minister to the community and beyond. Ministry has been radically redefined, and many are plugged in to the community in various ways.