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Member Spotlight: Kay Rainey
PHPC Member Since 1991

Kay supposed to send photo

What PHPC activities are you involved in?
Adult education (occasionally teaching Faith Bible Discovery Class), Stephen Ministry, DivorceCare, and offering counter team (volunteers that count the offering after services).

You were recently commissioned as a Stephen Minister, what led you to serve in this way?
It was a way to combine my need to give back with the training skills I learned throughout my career.

Are you involved in any volunteer opportunities outside of the church?
I teach a GED writing class one day a week and a one-hour-per-week math class for ESL students. I also volunteer one day a week in the surgery waiting room at Texas Health Resources Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. I’m the designated dog sitter for my son's 2 Weimeraners, one German shepherd, one Pomeranian, plus my daughter's Boxer.

Tell us a little bit about your family
I’m a caregiver to Sylvester and Sweetie, two demanding cats. I’m also a grandmother to Cameron, a junior at the Air Force Academy, and Carson, a sophomore cross country runner at Coppell High School. Their parents, Conrad and KaNan Vickroy are my son-in-law and daughter, and I have a son, Kevin Whitlow, and his significant other, Liz Mulig. All live here.

What do you love most about PHPC?
The openness that encourages us to explore, research and question, and the opportunity to discuss issues of faith and theology.


Faith Story
by Bert Colter

My parents lived in a dusty little town in the high country of Eastern Arizona. They were strong, proud people who were quick to help others but never asked for help. In his prime, my father was a large man, a hard working rancher. But now, near the end of his life, his body was weakened by cancer and little physical activity was possible. Especially his favorite chore, cutting firewood. That was significant because in this valley the primary means of heating homes is with fireplaces and wood burning stoves. Late one afternoon my parents returned home from a short outing and were astonished to find several cords of firewood, cut, split and neatly stacked in their driveway, left there by an anonymous group of friends.

My mother shared this story with me later, amazed and humbled by such an act of kindness. When she asked, “How could we ever deserve this?” I gave the stock answer, “You can’t.”  But it was the look of awe and gratitude on her face; the idea that they could be “worth it” that had a profound impact on me. I saw, perhaps for the first time, the sheer power of even a small act of kindness and friendship. Among this group of friends were Baptists, Mormons, Methodists and agnostics, yet made manifest through this simple gift, so freely given, was the love and friendship of the risen, living Christ. My Mother helped me learn another important lesson that day as I came to believe that Christ can work through anyone, anytime, often unexpectedly.


The Peace Candle on our Communion Table

Get photo of Blair with the rubles. He has them in his office

You might have noticed that on the Communion Table in the Chapel and Sanctuary sits a small candle. This candle is lit for every service. And while it may look like an ordinary candle, the story behind this accessory in our places of worship is quite extraordinary.  

In 1985 Dr. Monie visited the Soviet Union. In the small town of Voronezh, he was approached by an old woman who put a small sum of money into his hand and requested that he do something for world peace. He saw the deep desire and strong devotion in her eyes and in her voice, and he became determined to do something special when he returned to the US.  

Dr. Monie took the money (which was equivalent to about $0.75 in US dollars), purchased a small votive candle, lit it, and placed it on the Communion table at the church where he was serving, First Presbyterian Church in York, Pennsylvania. He told the story to his congregation and they agreed to make it a permanent accessory of the chancel and purchased a supply of votive candles so that they would make a “peace candle” available to any visitor wishing to take it back to his/her Sanctuary. Today, peace candles burn in England, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Kuwait, South Africa, and Denmark – and of course, at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas. When you see this candle, we encourage you to play your part as a peacemaker and say a prayer for world peace.


My Spiritual Journey
by Gary Hammer

No, there were no burning bushes. No sirens or bells going off.  No voices in the mist. I guess some people have a significant experience that tells them of God's call for their lives. That isn't my story. God has been working on me my entire life.

God prepared me well. He gave me enormous opportunities and gifts. A wonderful 33-year marriage to my first wife; three terrific sons and three beautiful daughters-in-law; four (and soon to be five) energetic and delightful grandchildren; and now a second marriage to my best friend, Sharon. God provided me with the opportunity to enjoy a 37-year career in financial management at various companies. And now I am retired and have the time to enjoy my many passions in life. But God isn't done with me yet.

A number of years ago I started volunteering with Plain-O-Helpers, a faith-based group of seniors who get together to do home maintenance and repairs for other seniors, disabled, and the needy in southern Collin County. One experience is deeply embedded in my mind and is evidence of God's amazing gifts in my life.

A while back I signed up to help build a wheelchair ramp for a lady living in a trailer park in Plano. Four of us arrived at the sight on a beautiful Friday morning. The trailer had about five wooden steps up to the front door. A man of about 50 answered the door. This was the son of the woman who lived in the trailer and was in a wheelchair. He told us that he had to carry his mother up and down the stairs in order for her to go to the doctor or store. She hadn't been able to get herself into or out of the house since she moved there several years ago.

Well, we worked for over six hours that morning and into the afternoon. We finally finished and knocked on the door. The son answered and then called for his mother. She wheeled herself over to the door and tentatively started wheeling down the ramp. When she got to the bottom she burst into tears of joy. She was now free to go out to get her morning paper or mail, or just go outside to sit under the trees. A few pieces of lumber and screws meant a new life to this woman. But to me, it was God telling me that the gifts I can share have a reward far greater than I could imagine.

God's preparation for me was not without its bumps in the road. My first wife had breast cancer for 20 years, and died of this disease in 2007. I was Theresa's primary caregiver and she and I shared many "God moments" as she was nearing death. Although I was heartbroken as I watched my best friend get weaker and weaker, we both praised God for giving us the gift of 33 years together, and the lasting legacy we created through our children and grandchildren. After going through this experience, I realized that God was with me the entire time and was getting ready to open another door for me.

After Theresa died, I connected with a friend of hers who happened to belong to PHPC. Sharon and I were married a year later and now enjoy singing together in the Sanctuary Choir and serving on the choir council. I believe God opened the doors for me to be at this place and at this time. I just needed to walk through those doors and accept His call.