Upcoming Events

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"Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. 

And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day."

-E.B. White

After more than two years of making our way through a pandemic and the lock-downs that separated and paralyzed us, we find ourselves settling into a new normal. At the same time, we are fearful about the emergence of new variants, the constant political rancor, the appearance of deep national fissures and war in Eastern Europe.

And with all of these concerns in the background, we still have the usual, normal challenges of managing the foreground of daily life - caring for family, dealing with health issues, paying the bills and more. How do we face the realities of where we are, and continue to move forward, finding satisfaction and even joy in life? How do we use the lessons we have learned in the past two years as impetus for growth?

In this year's series we want to explore the skills that are critical to surviving and even thriving in times of complexity and change.

June 1, 2022: Exploring Resilience

SESSION ONE sets the stage, developing an understanding of resilience - the processes and experiences that undergird resilience, the potential for growth in adversity that resilience offers, and the lessons learned from the experience of others.


Froma Walsh: Professor Emerita at the University of Chicago and Co-Founder & Co-Director, Chicago  Center for Family Health, Froma is the leading expert on family resilience with extensive experience working with a wide range of adverse challenges involving trauma and loss, disruptive life events, and multi-stress conditions.  She is a valued consultant nationally and internationally for resilience-oriented training and practice, has published widely and has received numerous honors and awards for her distinguished contributions to the mental health field. 

Cynthia Campbell: President Emerita of McCormick Theological Seminary, Cynthia was its longest serving president (1995-2011) and the first woman PC(USA) seminary president.  Following that, she served as lead pastor at Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville, KY, retiring in 2020.  She is a highly respected pastor, teacher, author, and leader within the PC(USA), serving on numerous task forces and committees.  In 1988 Cynthia became the first woman lead pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Salina, prior to her move to McCormick. 

Alan Edelman: A Jewish educator with a long career in developing and expanding educational capacity for Jewish institutions and individuals, Alan is also known for his interest in interfaith and multi-cultural programming across the Kansas City area.  He is widely known as a teacher and guest theologian in churches, universities and seminaries.  He is active in the pursuit of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians and serves on many boards of directors for a wide array of non-profit and educational organizations. 

Click to see the pre-recorded presentation: roundedrecord

June 15, 2022: Telling Stories of Resilience

SESSION TWO will explore the role of storytelling in developing resilience, from personal narratives to the stories that have carried meaning and culture across time and geography.


Sarah Smarsh: As an award-winning author and journalist, Sarah explores socio-economic class, politics, and public policy in America.   She is from a fifth-generation Kansas farm family, growing up on farms in rural southeast Kansas.  She was the first in her family to attend college, graduating from the University of Kansas and Columbia University where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing.  Her first book, published in 2018, “Heartland – A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth,” was a finalist for the National Book Award.  She has written for publications that include The New York Times, and developed a podcast series, The Homecomers.          

Susan Page: Award-winning journalist and biographer, Susan is the Washington DC Bureau Chief for USA Today newspaper where she writes about politics and the White House.  She has interviewed the past ten presidents and reported from six continents and dozens of foreign countries.  In 2020, she moderated the vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris.  Her biographical works include: “The Matriarch: Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty” and “Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power”.  Susan is a native of Wichita, Kansas. 

Fidencio Fifield-Perez: Born in Oaxaca, Mexico, Fidencio was raised in the US following his family’s migration when he was six years old. After a high school teacher told him “people like you don’t go to college,” he was accepted to seven colleges, eventually earning his BFA, MA and MFA.  As an undocumented citizen, every 18-24 months he has had to prove to the government that he exists through saved report cards, newspaper clippings and employee records.  His DACA status could be revoked at any time, sending him back to Mexico. He currently teaches painting and drawing at the University of Missouri at Columbia. 

Please email communications@fpcsalina.org for a link to see the pre-recorded presentation.

June 29, 2022: Creating Practices of Resilience

SESSION THREE will focus on the specific practices that create resilience, exploring scientific as well as creative approaches.


Chris Sexton:  An anxiety specialist and Research Assistant Professor at University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Chris’ clinical and research interests have focused on implementing, adapting, and disseminating evidence-based treatments for children, parents and families.  She specializes in the treatment of a wide range of anxiety disorders, and has over 15 years of experience as a scientist-clinician.  Chris regularly gives presentations in professional organizations, schools and hospitals. Chris is a Salina native now living in Kansas City.   

Jon Earle: As host and producer of 75 podcast episodes of “Road to Resilience” for Mount Sinai Health System, Jon has a great deal to share about what he has learned about resilience. His award-winning independent work has appeared on several Spotify original podcasts and aired on NPR stations.  He has been a researcher and Russian translator for HBO and NBC Sports Group and a reporter in Moscow, Russia, where his work appeared in The Wall Street Journal and other publications. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

Melinda Jett: A graduate of Kansas Wesleyan, Melinda has been an active member of First Presbyterian, Salina and involved in numerous community organizations. When her children were in secondary schools, the pull of teaching became strong – and she excitedly returned to the classroom. Melinda has been an English teacher at Central High School for ten years, commenting that “these last two years have been especially tough for all educators, parents, and students. Honest relationships and relatable curriculum are even more important for an atmosphere of learning to occur.

Click to see the pre-recorded presentation: circlerecord

Summer Soul-stice 2021

Moving to Higher Ground: Practices for Healing

Every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.  

Micah 4:4 

This year’s Summer Soul-stice will again engage speakers from across the country along with a few more local favorites exploring the “after-time” of our year of COVID with its lock-downs of separation and paralyzing political polarity.  How do we move forward?  How do we open to our new normal?  In other words, how do we begin to actively and intentionally heal, individually and in community? All three sessions will be moderated by Paula Fried, PhD in psychology, actively practicing in Salina, and a community leader. 


There are two options for participation in this year’s program: online and in-person.  Sessions are scheduled to go online at 12 noon June 16, 30 and July 14 on the First Presbyterian Church website (www.fpcsalina.org) on either Facebook or YouTube.  Each session can be accessed any time after it has gone live. You can also join us in-person at First Presbyterian Church, 308 S. 8th, at 12 noon, as we watch the sessions together followed by a discussion. 


Session One- June 16: The Need for Healing


Fr. Frank Coady: a Catholic priest currently serving at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Manhattan, KS.   He also works for the Dioceses of Salina and Dodge City as Director of Liturgy, Deacons and Pastoral Ministry Formation and is a frequent Summer Soul-stice contributor.   


Daniel Yudkin: PhD in social psychology and currently a Postdoctoral Fellow studying moral psychology. He is currently working with More in Common whose mission is to understand the forces driving us apart, to find common ground and help to bring people together to tackle our shared challenges. He is a contributor to the research reports Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape, and The Perception Gap: How False Impressions are Pulling Americans Apart which have been featured in over 1,000 news articles. 


Brian Ellison: Executive Director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians working with congregations about the inclusion of LGBTQIA people, fostering and navigating difficult conversations, and organizing and advocating for transformation. Brian is a former pastor of Parkville Presbyterian Church, Parkville, MO.  


Session Two – June 30: Moving to Higher Ground - Artistic Practice as a Response for Healing


Kevin Iega Jeff: choreographer, director, and cultural community builder.  He is the co-founder of Deeply Rooted Productions in Chicago and is currently it’s Creative Director.  He has choreographed over 50 works as well as trained a new generation of dancers and choreographers. Deeply Rooted Dance Company has done many residencies in Salina. 


Shin-hee Chin: fiber/mixed-media artist and Professor in the Visual Art Department at Tabor College.  Her work has been exhibited nationally, including the Salina Art Center, and internationally and is influenced by feminist traditions, Christian spirituality, and Eastern philosophy.  She has created a coherent narrative addressing complex issues of the female body, cultural identity, cultural hybridity, and a sense of belonging. 


Saralyn Reece Hardy: the first Marilyn Stokstad Director of the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas since 2005. She is noted for her curatorial prowess and interdisciplinary skill as well as her leadership in Spencer’s Phase I renovation project that transformed the museum galleries, storage facilities and teaching and research spaces.  She is remembered for her years of pace-setting work as the director of the Salina Art Center and as a former member of the First Presbyterian church of Salina.    


Session Three – July 14 : Moving to Higher Ground - Communal Practice as a Response for Healing


William Doherty PhD:  author and professor, director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Center and director of the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project at the University of Minnesota; co-founder of Braver Angels, an organization whose goal is to depolarize America by bringing together Red and Blue Americans and helping them find common ground. Doherty believes that “surely in our increasingly and dangerously fractured nation, we all need to be touched by something “better” within us and within the institutions that we build together.” 


Maureen Morrison Psy.D: a clinical psychologist, practicing in Wichita, KS in a solo private practice serving adults, couples and families for over 35 years.  She has given numerous professional presentations to community groups and professional  associations and is a previous Summer Soul-stice contributor.  


Isaiah Oliver: President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Flint, MI, supporting a unique philanthropic perspective that focuses on relationships and inclusion. The Foundation’s strategic priorities are improving literacy rates, increasing access to healthy food, strengthening resident-led neighborhood improvements, and providing critical resources to the children affected by the Flint Water Crisis. He is a Civil Society Fellow at The Aspen Institute and an advocate for social and racial justice.  

Summer Soul-stice 2021 Pre-Recorded Sessions