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Meet the Newest Church Officers

ELDERS CLASS OF 2027

Jessi Beckett

I believe God is the Holy Trinity: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I can feel the Holy Spirit at work in my life in so many ways, helping to guide me through every season of life. I believe God is love. He loves us unconditionally through our brightest days and darkest moments. I was raised by a faithful family, baptized into RCPC as an infant, and have felt God’s pull on my life for as long as I can remember. I feel his love for me and forgiveness of my sins. I feel his desire for me to love all of his children and creatures. I feel his guidance when I am struggling or when I’m surprised with a new daunting opportunity. His presence is all consuming and loving. I believe in the sacraments of Baptism and Communion as a way for us to feel the real, affirming promise of God’s grace. I believe that Jesus was sent to us to see God’s love and for us to become disciples of an ever-loving God. I believe Jesus died on the cross to wash away our sins. I see and feel God everywhere: in my children, in my family, in nature, in the darkest days of grief, while sitting in a church pew, in scripture and hymns, and in this community. I see him everywhere. I am definitely not an expert in theology or the Reformation of the Presbyterian Church, but I know that he will be with me guiding me through this new journey of learning and discipleship. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10.


Mark Derbyshire

God’s love is expressed in the relationships He has with His only Son and the Holy Spirit. The love of the Son is unconditional, and it is only through grace that we can call Him Father/Dad. When we slow our breath, we experience God’s fullness and peace; and with each inhale and exhale He is present.

Jesus’ servant lordship serves as a model for how we make heaven on earth.

The Holy Spirit is spry, joyful and brings a deep sense of peace in my soul.

God has dealt with our sin once and for all and my imagination is not deep or wide or tall enough to understand how He saves us from ourselves. I only know that it is is not mine to judge how God’s love wins the day, but He does in spite of our humanity.

I am called to be Christ in the world, to love, to serve, to question, to uplift, to be present with not only my brothers and sisters in Christ but to whomever God leads me to support.


Victoria Skinner

I believe that God is good. I believe that He loves all people and that we, as His followers, are called to live out that love every day through our words and actions. I believe that people are sinful by nature, but that God gives us grace and loves us anyways, and that means we should give everyone around us grace, too. I believe that our lives should be fueled by gratitude for God’s freely given grace, prompting us to show kindness, mercy, love, and compassion to our fellow humans. I believe that God the Father watches over me and cares for me; I believe that Jesus Christ teaches me, by His example, how to live a righteous life; and I believe that the Holy Spirit guides me each and every day as I try to live according to God’s plan for me. I believe that this Holy Trinity shows us the value of relationships and that we are not meant to go through this life on our own. Because of this, I believe that the Church is an important part of a fulfilling Christian life. Being part of a community of believers helps strengthen our own faith, gives us a chance to live as part of the body of Christ in the world, and enables us to use our God-given gifts in the service of others, both within our church family and in the broader community. I believe that God is good!

 

Marty Trussell

The confessions declare that Christ instituted two sacraments: baptism and the Lord's Supper. I was baptized in a Presbyterian Church at two months of age. As we have often heard, infant baptism is wonderful because it reveals God's free grace and the amazing truth that God accepts and reconciles us to Himself before we do anything to deserve it. I believe this is true. As a boy, I was raised in that same small Ohio Presbyterian church, attending Sunday Worship, Sunday School, and Vacation Bible School, and later being a member of the Boy Scout Troop. My mom and her large Catholic family also gave me a heavy dose of theology.

Then, somewhere on the way through "Communicants Class," now called Confirmation, I got bogged down in the lessons culled from the Book of Revelation and decided to check out of the class, never to receive that second sacrament - the Lord's Supper - on what then was considered the "official schedule."

This choice led to trying out various churches and religions through high school, college, and young adulthood. (I still regularly read the Bhagavad Gita.)

In mid-life, circumstances left me alone, raising two toddlers. I was led to read the Bible each night before bed but was not yet ready to seek out a church. That's when the woman I had started dating invited me and my kids to attend Easter services with her and her children. Talk about the Holy Spirit's work, Christ's redemption, and God's reconciliation power! Nancy and I married in that church. We raised four children in the church and are blessed with many dear friends from the churches we have been members of, as God called us to live in several cities. We now call Roanoke home. Possibly, it is our "forever home," and Raleigh Court Presbyterian is our "forever church."

My life experience leads me to believe we all belong to God through his son, Jesus Christ. With the help of the Holy Spirit, the sacraments, and the Holy Word read and preached, we are called to die to everything that separates us from God and work over a lifetime to grow into the identity Christ has already given us in our baptism.


Hugh Wellons

I believe that we all are stardust, molded by God and his processes into the babies we once were. Since we were created by God and live in his world, we belong to God, and not the other way around! Since we belong to God, we are obliged to follow His instructions, however hard that might be. I believe that the Bible contains the glorious words of God, a single, connected story of God’s offer of redemption and instructions for living. Both the redemption and the instructions are born from God’s love for us. I believe Jesus is our Messiah, sent by God as both redemption and instruction. I believe that He died, was buried, and rose as a testament both to that sacrifice and to the loving power of God. I believe that the Holy Spirit is the breath of God working in and through us when we are right with those instructions. I believe that every Christian church is part of the same church, instructed by God to work together to bring the Kingdom of God to earth. “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q.1)

 

DEACONS CLASS OF 2027

Chris DeFalco

I believe in God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I believe that God’s nature and plan for salvation are revealed through holy scripture. I love how the Bible Project describes scripture as “a unified story that leads to Jesus.” I feel like my own personal journey of faith is a reflection of that, with several twists, turns, highs and lows, but always leading back to Jesus. My dad was Catholic and mom was Methodist. They eloped because in their day it was considered a “mixed” marriage. I was baptized, grew up, and confirmed as a Catholic where I learned about the Father’s power and awe. I graduated from a Presbyterian college where I experienced the Son’s love and grace. I have lived most of my adult life as a Lutheran seeking the Spirit to grow and apply my faith the best I can in marriage, parenting, family, friendship, work and service. Regardless of denomination, twist or turn, I’ve always felt I belonged to the body of Christ. Romans 10:13 says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” which has become an important verse in my journey ever since those early days as a college student. Most importantly that “everyone” means everyone, everybody, all, no one is excluded. Not so long ago during one of those twists and turns, the Spirit reminded me of this good news and I rediscovered love, grace and mercy. Along the way, the Spirit also led me to RCPC, where grace abounds! So with a grateful heart, I look forward to serving our congregation and the needs of our community as a deacon.


Kirk Martin

My faith journey has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and yet, in some ways, it seems like it is just beginning. I was blessed to have been raised by loving parents who made our church life a priority. That foundation guided me through school and into adulthood. My path over the next couple of decades included time close to God and time not so close to God. The last 10 years is what seems like the beginning. I have always believed in God and tried to live a life that was gratifying to Him. But I did it on my own. Quietly. Isolated. Not too long ago I started thinking I needed to do more, to serve. And then Andrew approached me about leading the ushers. Now the beginning. I realized that being a Christian means being part of a community. An active part of a community. Faith is something that is meant to be shared. Essential to living a grateful and faithful life is relationships not just with God, but with people. I am excited about taking my journey “public” and being a part of the RCPC community.


Mike Mayo

“… what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

One of my favorite passages from Scripture is Micah 6:8. Succinct and easy to remember, it provides the basic guideline for living one’s life. How to implement this charge, however, is not always clear. Christ’s teachings provide the pathway to achieving this goal. His Church provides the means to follow, however imperfectly, this path. His message of God’s love and reconciliation provides hope and assurance even when we fail to live up to Micah’s seemingly “simple” charge.

 

Autumn Quinn

I believe in God, the Father, who is working at all times for my good. I believe God is the Creator of all things who is constantly refining our world to display goodess, grace and mercy.

I believe in Jesus who gave up his life so that I could live mine. I believe, as I sing to my daughter every night before bed, that Jesus loves me and that this love is revealed through the scriptures. I believe that he was fully human and fully divine and that is wild!

I believe the Holy Spirit is as close as the air I breathe in and breathe out. I believe that I am never separated from the presence of the Spirit but that sometimes my awareness is lacking.

I believe that community is a necessary part of the Christian life. I’ve learned that over these last 4 years, while I needed space at times, the calling of the people who love me and my family was greater than the call of separation and withdrawal.

I believe that Raleigh Court Presbyterian Church was placed in my faith path for reasons known and unknown, but all for my good. I believe that this community has specifically loved my family and I in ways beyond how I could have thought when we arrived in 2017. And I believe this community’s best days are still ahead of her.


Kathy Sebolt

I believe in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I was raised as Lutheran and was baptized in the Lutheran Church at age 7. I say “raised” because we prayed together as a family and had many discussions about God and Jesus and following the ten commandments. I always felt close to God and have prayed throughout my life. However, we didn’t attend church on a regular basis. My Dad worked shift work and my Mom didn’t drive so we only occasionally went as a family to the small Lutheran family church in Ceres, VA. Usually if I went to church it was with a friend’s family…Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, non-denominational. I got to see and participate in a variety of services, but always as a guest. I grew up believing, but not really belonging. As an adult, I would pray daily and began the ritual of starting each day with reading the Bible, prayer and meditation (although honestly the reading part of this habit has been much harder to continue after having a child!) I felt close to God and comfortable with my relationship with Him. Once I became pregnant with Sloan, my husband and I agreed that we wanted her raised in a Church. I wanted her to have not only the formal teaching, but the support of a Church family. I would of course accompany her, but it was FOR HER, not for me. I was just going along for the ride. We started out attending St. Philips Lutheran Church which wasn’t too far from where we lived. I was comfortable there in the small church and felt welcomed. I sat in the back row, closest to the door. Then when Sloan was two, we moved to Cave Spring. Soon after, St. Philips stopped doing a separate children’s ministry…there just wasn’t enough children to warrant it. I decided it was time to step out of my comfort zone and find a church that fit our needs (my child’s needs) better. I visited a few churches and met with pastors. I came to Raleigh Court Presbyterian because I had met some amazing families through my work at Roanoke Valley Governor’s Schools (shout out to the Travers and Whiteheads) and wanted the chance for my daughter to have the same experiences their kids had. RCPC was bigger than I was comfortable with, but remember, this wasn’t about me….this was what was best for my daughter. Seven years later, we’re still here and I was right. This is an amazing community for her. However, I was also wrong…I needed this church community as much as she did. I truly didn’t understand that in order to really be fully in relationship with Jesus and God and to grow in your faith, you need to be actively involved in the Church. I am thankful that God led me to RCPC and that Sloan and I have found our Church Family here. I have volunteered my time since we came; through Children’s Worship, Sunday School and God Alive…not because I have to, but because I am thankful for being here and thankful for God’s love and guidance. I want to share that same love with other children and families. Finally, I am not just a visitor…. I belong.

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