Windows On Our World
June 2023 | Written by Maribeth Griessel
As we identify two stained glass windows for the month of June, the obvious similarity is that both feature a cross prominently. The window shown here in the left photograph, and located in the far back of the sanctuary on the east side, depicts a cross passing through a crown, symbolizing the reward in Heaven (the crown) coming after the trials of this life (the cross). Jesus came as Savior/King, requiring that He be faithful unto death on the cross. Our King of kings saved us through His sacrificial death on the cross. The window in the right photograph, which is the second from the front on the east side of the sanctuary, shows the cross in the chalice. At the last supper, Jesus served the cup of the new covenant to His disciples, telling them, “…this is my blood…which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” He then walked across the Kidron Valley to the Garden of Gethsemane where He mentioned the blood he would soon spill for our salvation, praying that if possible this cup (His death on the cross) might pass from Him.
For this issue, we bring to you a brief history of some of the Godly men who have served Gashland as pastors. As reported in the April “Windows On Our World”, the reactivated Barry Presbyterian Church was incorporated under the new name, Gashland Community Church, in August, 1948. Dr. James W. Teener, originally from Ohio and a Princeton Seminary graduate who later received his Doctor of Divinity degree from the University of Chicago, had moved to Park College, Parkville, MO, in 1920 as Professor of Bible. In 1945, while serving as moderator of the Kansas City Presbytery, Dr. Teener was assigned to build and pastor the new Gashland Community Church. Our church library is named in honor of Dr. Teener, who served this church until 1951.
1951 saw Gashland welcoming a new pastor, the Reverend Norman J. Stanhope. During the following year, the men of the church constructed a Manse. Rev. Stanhope moved into the new Manse briefly in 1953 prior to his resignation in September of that year.
Paul D. Votaw and his wife, Betty, had served as missionaries at the Syria-Lebanon mission prior to being called to Gashland. Reverend Votaw was installed as pastor in 1954, which was the same year the church mortgage was paid off. The next several years saw many changes and building projects for Gashland. Rev. Votaw served this church for 23 years, and the Chapel in the education building was dedicated in 1980, named to honor him. Our July issue of The Porch will focus more on this pastor’s extensive service to our church.
Following a brief interim pastorate of Rev. James Tilton, the Reverend Robert Lee Gunner served as pastor from 1978-1982, at which time he resigned for personal reasons.
After the interim service of Rev. Melvill Nesbit, Gashland’s next pastor, The Reverend Gregory Jensen, served a mere two years, from 1983-1985, before resigning to return to Omaha. Dr. William Hage was appointed interim pastor for that year.
Backtracking to 1972, a young man, Andrew Cullen, was hired as Youth Director for the church, a position he held for several years prior to leaving to attend Gordon Conwell Seminary in Massachusetts. Following his graduation and time serving as pastor at Butler Presbyterian Church, Reverend Cullen returned to Gashland, as senior pastor from 1986-2002. During his 16 years here he oversaw the construction of the Ministry Center and the present Christian Education Building.
August 2003, brought the Reverend Ed Longabaugh to Gashland from Sacramento, CA. He served until 2012, when he left Kansas City to return to the western part of the United States, moving to the Seattle, WA, area. The years of Rev. Longabaugh’s pastorate included times of turmoil, when Gashland made the decision to separate from the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. due to doctrinal differences. Our church then united with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
Gashland’s current senior pastor, the Reverend Ritchey Cable, was called here in April, 2012. That summer he, along with his wife, Melissa, and their three children, moved to Kansas City from Alexandria, LA. Several years before the Cables became Kansas Citians, prior to accepting the position at GEPC, this Texas boy grew up in Conroe, the same town his Dad hailed from. The young High School graduate then attended Baylor University, where he met his future wife, Melissa. After marrying in 2000, the newlyweds moved to St. Louis, MO, where Ritchey furthered his Christian Education at Covenant Seminary. First child, Parker, was born in St. Louis on April 16, 2003. God next moved this young family to Louisiana where Dad Ritchey was to become assistant pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in Alexandria. Second son, Cooper, joined the Cable Clan on October 23, 2005, with daughter, Sophie, blessing her big brothers (and proud parents) on July 17, 2008. Becoming the Associate Pastor there, Rev. Cable led the revitalization effort for Grace Presbyterian. Two of his primary goals upon moving to our church were to strengthen the leadership of Gashland and of course to preach the gospel every week, goals he has clearly fulfilled with passion and skill. As our pastor’s days at GEPC are coming to an end, he looks forward to setting and pursuing new goals, or perhaps simply building upon goals God implanted within his heart when he was a very young lad. Whatever his future may hold, the Gashland family prays for God’s very best for Ritchey Cable and his family.
Dr. James Teener
Rev. Norman J. Stanhope
Rev. Paul D. Votaw
Rev. Andrew Cullen
Rev. Ritchey Cable