New Union Church welcomes new minister
New Union Christian Church in Woodford County has named a new minister. The Rev. Dr. Deborah A. Phelps will begin her duties on Sept. 3. She replaces the Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Kemper who served the church for 23 years prior to her retirement. Dr. Phelps brings a varied background to her new position. She received a Ph.D. in science education from Georgia State University and taught chemistry, physics, biology and anatomy in public and private schools in the Atlanta area for 28 years. She also served as a department chair, teacher-trainer, and as a coach for volleyball, basketball, softball, and cross country. She received numerous awards for her teaching, including being named "Teacher of the Year" twice and Sigma Xi Outstanding District Science Teacher. Her teaching experience includes six years working with youths in a psychiatric hospital as an educational therapist. Throughout Phelps's life, she has been active working with children and youth in churches and church camps. In 2007, she felt called to the ministry and entered Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, where she graduated in 2010 with a master of divinity degree, summa cum laude. Following her ordination, she served several churches in Indiana as an interim minister and as minister of congregational care. She also developed and worked as senior minister of the DisciplesNet Church, an online church for those unable to attend services. Phelps makes her home in Versailles with her husband, the Rev. Dean Phelps, both of whom have expressed how friendly they have found the Woodford County community. Dr. Phelps said she feels that ministry and teaching are closely related, and the church should support lifelong learners who wish to reflect and think deeply about "the care of the world and its creatures." She also stressed the need to connect with other faith traditions to promote dialogue and mutual learning and respect. New Union Christian Church is a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Founded in 1834, the church is located at 440 Old Frankfort Pike. Services are held each Sunday at 11 a.m.