Archive for Thursday, July 15, 2004

New minister hopes he’s found final home

July 15, 2004

Jerry Vaughn's office still has some half-unpacked boxes and empty bookshelves, but it's beginning to look a little more settled in.

Vaughn, the new pastor at De Soto United Methodist Church, gave his first Sunday sermon on July 4. An ordained minister for 34 years, Vaughn said he's looking forward to spending his last eight years in the profession -- if not more -- with the congregation in De Soto.

Just a few weeks ago, Vaughn and his wife, Janet, moved to the parsonage in De Soto from near Topeka, where Vaughn was pastor at the Berryton United Methodist Church.

Vaughn grew up in St. Louis, Mo., and Janet is originally from Wichita. They met while both attended St. Paul's School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo.

Vaughn took his first job in Overland Park, and the two have been in eastern Kansas ever since, he said.

Through the years, some of his other ministry posts have included the First United Methodist Church of Emporia and a post-seminary internship assisting the chaplain at Osawatomie State Hospital.

Heading a church in a rapidly growing community like De Soto is a great opportunity, Vaughn said, because of all the new life coming in.

Currently, more than 200 people attend the church, and Vaughn hopes that number will grow.

"I'm looking forward to reaching out with the message of Christ and bringing people into the church," he said. "My favorite thing about leading a church is discovering that God's people are everywhere."

In his spare time, Vaughn has pursued a variety of hobbies.

Until recently, he even participated in triathlons. Unfortunately, a leg injury marked the end of his athletic endeavor about six years ago, said Vaughn, now 57.

A glance at his office bookshelves gives away another of Vaughn's interests.

Always a history buff, he loves traveling and reading, especially about historical places and events, he said, pointing toward several shelves stocked with chronicles of times gone by.

He and his wife have also devoted a lot of time to genealogy research, even tracing her family's roots as far back as the 1700s.

For now, Vaughn said he usually spends mornings at the church office and afternoons out and about, calling on patrons and getting acquainted with his new community.

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