Superhero inspires community outreach


On June 1, 2014, the Rev. Jeff Slater began a special sermon series that he hoped would be both spiritually rich and a lot of fun: Lessons from Smallville. As pastor for First UMC in Hutchinson, Kan., Slater wanted to connect with plans for a Smallville festival and share the gospel.
Slater had read in the Superman comics that Clark Kent was raised a Methodist in Kansas. He structured the sermon series to allow his congregation to “grow along with Superman,” starting the topic of dual identity and looking at Romans 7:13-21. The second sermon considered how Superman would go away by himself from time to time, to reconnect with his origins at his “fortress of solitude.” Connecting with Matthew 6, Slater looked at prayer and how we all benefit from time away to be with our Creator. Some of the kids are now wearing Superman shirts to church, and this past Sunday one even wore a cape.
The Hutchinson News noticed the sign announcing the sermon series and found it intriguing. See their story here. Slater said he hopes the sermon topics “will allow people who haven’t stepped foot in church for a while to feel comfortable enough to join back in.”
On June 21, 2013, Hutchinson proclaimed itself to be Smallville, the home of Clark Kent, for a day. This year Mayor Bob Bush declared Hutchinson as Smallville for four days, June 19-22, during which the Smallville festival will be held. Visit for more information.
Slater said, “This isn't definite yet, but during the festival itself, we're hoping to hang a bright red cape on the side of our steeple to enrich the festival and to reach out at the same time. If we can pull it off, it should be quite visible” from the festival area.
With two more Sundays in the series to go, Slater’s congregation is on the edge of their seats to find out what’s next. Services at First United Methodist Church in downtown Hutchinson, Kan., are at 8:30 a.m. and 10:55 a.m. The second service is broadcast live at 11:05 a.m. on radio station KWBW (1450 AM, 98.5 FM).
Photo: Rev. Jeff Slater and the president of the First UMC youth group, Alexus Torres, display their superhero smiles. Photo contributed by Kim Peirce.

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