Elders, together with pastors, exercise leadership, government, and spiritual discernment for the life of Second Presbyterian Church. Do you have a question for an Elder? Submit your question here, and someone will respond to you shortly.
Meet Your Elders
Class of 2017
Jim Bernard, Jr. – Clerk of Session
Jim is a second-generation member of Second, and was baptized at Second in 1951. He served a term as a Deacon, and served two terms as an Elder, where he chaired the Finance Committee and the Personnel Committee, and served on the Nominating Committee. He also served as Clerk of Session for around 15 years.
Jim is married to Stacy, and he has two sons, Jamie and Charlie, both of whom were baptized at Second. Jim is a lawyer at Slagle, Bernard and Gorman in Kansas City, practicing primarily in estate planning and real estate law. Jim and Stacy love hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park (they got married there in 2012) and traveling to Europe (where they recently took a cooking class in Tuscany). Jim serves on several non-profit boards, including Boy Scouts of America and The City of Fountains Foundation, and enjoys driving his Model A Ford and participating in several hobbies.
Beth Dawson – Next Steps Steering Team and Building and Grounds Committee
With her experience in architecture and sustainable design, Beth has been a great asset for our congregation as we have implemented a number of green initiatives, including our solar panels and energy-efficient lighting in the Sanctuary. Beth earned her bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Fine Arts from Washington University in St. Louis, an MBA from Rockhurst University, and her master’s degree in Architecture and Interior Architecture from the University of Oregon. For the last two years she has worked for the Mid-America Regional Council as Solar Energy Coordinator and Senior Land Use Planner/Sustainable Places Project Manager. In her position she brings together local governments, non-profit organizations, universities, and businesses to further sustainable development in the region.
Lydia Jeter – Congregational Life Committee
Lydia Jeter has been a member at Second for over 17 years. She is a retired classroom teacher and director of School
of Economics. She and her husband, David, have been married for over 45 years. They have two children and three plus grandchildren (a grandson is coming in February). She has previously served as a Deacon. Outside of Second she is involved as a board member at the Rainbow Center for children with communicative disorders. Her interests include tutoring children, playing tennis, gardening, traveling, and visiting her children and grandchildren.
Brian Myers – Personnel Committee Chair
Brian has been a member of Second Presbyterian Church for 27 years. He has previously served two terms on Session. He and his wife, Merrill, live in Prairie Village and have four grown children and one grandchild. Brian is a partner in the law firm of Lathrop & Gage LLP and serves as the firm’s General Counsel.
John Peryam – Mission Committee Chair
John is married to Jessica Peryam and has three children, William, Caroline, and Olivia. In his free time (theoretically), John enjoys fly-fishing and other outdoor activities. John and Jessica have been members of Second since 2006.
Jim Scott – Faith Development Committee Chair
Jim is an architect and urban planner. He is also a former Senior Civic Fellow for the UMKC Center for the City. Jim was the president and founder of a non-profit development planning organization, the Applied Urban Research Institute, in Kansas City, Missouri for 15 years. He earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in architecture from the University of Kansas. Jim was the recipient of a 2013-14 Fulbright research fellowship in Istanbul, Turkey.
Class of 2018
Kristin Stephen – Outreach and Hospitality Committee
Kristin was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area and relocated to Kansas City. She has two children, Madeline and William. Kristin spends much of her time volunteering both at the church and throughout the community. She is passionate about the rights of women and children, the environment, and her Assyrian heritage. A life-long Presbyterian, Kristin formerly served as a Deacon at Second, heading up the Global Mission subcommittee.
Mary Corneil – Finance Committee and Stewardship 2.0 Committee
A member of Second since 1993, Mary recently served on the Mission and Faith Development Committees. She has been a Deacon and has traveled to Guatemala three times with others from Second, visiting our fellow Presbyterians in Maya Quiche Presbytery. Now retired, Mary was the Executive Director of the Youth Symphony of Kansas City. Before that she was an attorney for Sprint. Her interests are in art history, travel, American Indian art, and the history of the early Christian church. She is the grandmother of seven-year-old Paige, the daughter of Mary’s son, David Bean, and his wife Stacy. Mary is grateful to have Second Presbyterian Church at the center of her life.
Adam Pope – Finance Committee Chair
Adam has been a member of Second for three years. He and his wife, Sarah, have a son, Tyrus. Adam is a financial advisor to state and local governments for Columbia Capital Management. He enjoys golf, gardening, and following the Clemson Tigers.
Susan Vann – Family Ministries Committee and Worship Committee Chair
Susan has been blessed to be a member of Second since 1998 and has served in a variety of ways, including as Deacon, Elder, and the Personnel and Daniels Committees. She currently chairs the Wedding Assistant Committee and is a greeter. She is also on the Stewardship Division Committee of Heartland Presbytery. Susan is a retired clinical social worker from Truman Medical Center Hospital Hill, where it was hammered home every day the importance of respecting people and listening to what they had to say. Looking back, it was a privilege for her to hear clients’ stories and work with them to develop a discharge plan. She is married to John Vann. She loves animals (especially dogs), enjoys retirement, working out in the gym, watching pro football, traveling, reading, and eating coconut cake.
George Wolf – Stewardship 2.0 Committee Chair
George has been a member of Second for over 30 years. He has served as a Deacon, Chair of the Daniels Fund Scholarship Committee, member of the Personnel Committee, and member of the Next Steps Committee. George is a partner with the Shook, Hardy and Bacon law firm, where he is a member of the Executive Committee and is the Chair of the General Litigation and Business Services Division. He is active in the community and serves as the Chair of the Board of Commissioners for Port KC, on the Executive Committee of the Downtown Council, and on the Board of Directors of the Streetcar Transportation Development District. George was recently selected by Ingram’s magazine as one of the “50 Missourians You Should Know.” George and his wife, Deena, have two children, Jacob and Hannah, who were both baptized and confirmed at Second.
Class of 2019
Sarah Bowers – Mission Committee and Congregational Life Committee
Sarah became a member of Second in the late 1990s when she graduated from the University of Missouri and moved to Kansas City from St. Louis. She is a lifelong Presbyterian. In high school, she took her first mission trip to Mexico with the church youth group. In 2015, she accompanied a few high school girls from Second on the mission trip to Thailand, and in 2016 she traveled with Heartland Presbytery to Guatemala. She is a Senior Compliance Administrator at a local bank. Sarah enjoys volunteering in the community.
David Branham – Building and Grounds Committee
David has been a member of Second since autumn 2008. He and his wife, Sondra, live in Westwood, Kansas. David is a graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in electrical engineering. Presently, he is retired after working 30+ years in the commercial nuclear industry. He enjoys volunteering at Harvesters, participating in Be the Church Sunday and playing bridge in the Parlor on Wednesdays. Also, he is a greeter and communion clean-up helper. David’s interests include traveling, taking day trips to historical sites and spending time with family.
Jeff Elliott – Outreach and Hospitality Committee
Jeff has previously served as a Deacon, and has been involved as a guide in Journey to Bethlehem, as a participant in the Dinners for Eight program, and as a coffee server. He and his wife, Irene, have a son, Sam, who lives in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Jeff is a business owner. He has a degree from Longview Community College which he attained while working nights at the Hallmark Distribution Center in Liberty, Missouri. He also enjoys running and has participated in many road races around Kansas City.
Ellen Feldhausen – Outreach and Hospitality Committee Chair
Ellen was raised in northeastern Kansas and graduated from Kansas State University. She has been a lifelong Presbyterian and Wildcat fan. Ellen said, “Most of my career was as director of communications for various Illinois state officials. I moved to Kansas City in 2005, and worked in the non-profit sector before retiring in 2015. My first retirement project is to become a docent at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. I also enjoy spending time in Kansas’ beautiful Flint Hills.” Ellen joined Second as a member in 2005 and previously served as a Deacon.
John Kevern – Faith Development Committee
John joined Second in 2012 after moving to Kansas City after graduate school. He previously served on the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee and helped with audio. John and his wife, Samantha, have a son, Winston, and a daughter, Wren, who were both baptized at Second. He is a professor of Civil Engineering at UMKC where he is referred to as “Dr. Concrete.” He is currently a committee chair for the National Academy of Sciences and has been named one of the top five most influential people in the concrete industry. His research provides the opportunity to benefit the local and global community. Some current activities include water treatment in Kurdistan and beneficiating agricultural waste in Ghana. John enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, gardening, and working on their canned ham camper.
Tom Nelson – Memorial Gifts Committee and Worship Committee
Tom said, “My family has been active here at Second for what will soon be a decade. We came in search of fellowship in Christ and found a welcoming home. I have previously served a term as Deacon and my wife, Jennifer, has served as an Elder, so rest assured we are aware of the honor of this responsibility and the commitment it demands and deserves. In addition to my service as a Deacon, I also was a member of the GPS Committee, have served on the Congregational Life, Worship, and Outreach and Hospitality Committees, and joyfully have been Chief Cook for our regular Sunday Lunches. Let’s go!”
Jason Norris – Family Ministries Committee
Jason is originally from Denver, Colorado and attended Benedictine College. Over the course of his career, Jason has worked with large brands and agencies to develop dynamic interactive marketing solutions. He is currently Vice President Social Solutions at SMG – Service Management Group. Jason and his wife, Kat, were married in 2013 and together they have four children: Fischer, Jacob, Tyler and Olivia. At Second, Jason serves on the Family Ministries Committee.