History & Mission
Village Presbyterian Church is a family of faith actively shaped by the life of Christ to love one another, provide leadership for the transformation of our communities and serve the world.
The mission of Village Presbyterian Church is to see and relate to every person in our communities and the world as loved by God.
We will accomplish our mission by:
- Ensuring the congregation is vibrant and grounded in Christian faith which inspires our desire to grow in faith, shapes our love for one another, and focuses our mission.
- Proactively providing resources to meet the spiritual needs of a changing community in a changing world.
- Shaping our mission and ministry by "defining moments" that embody our vision and demonstrate our faith.
- Securing sustaining resources for mission and ministry.
In the late 1940s, the prairie and farmland just west of Kansas City were rapidly turning into suburban neighborhoods. One such township, known as Prairie Village, had lots of young families settling down, but no Presbyterian church nearby. So the "home office" (Board of American Missions of United Presbyterian Church of North America) decided to do something about it, in a unique way.
Most new congregations begin in schools, theaters, or neighborhood garages, but this
time the Board provided $100,000 for a church building and parsonage. This unprecedented gift (which was funded in part by offerings from many small churches) was an experiment to see if ready-built facilities would have a positive effect on an emerging young church.
They also sent an emerging young minister, Robert H. Meneilly, to spread the good news about this village church. When the last bricks were set in place, Bob and his wife, Shirley, had already built a congregation with their year-long, house-to-house visitation. On February 13, 1949, at the Village Church’s very first Sunday worship service, 282 charter members filled the chapel! Dr. Meneilly retired in 1994. After an interim period, Dr. Robert W. Bohl became the church’s second senior pastor in 1996. In February of 2004, Reverend Tom Are Jr. became the church’s third senior pastor.
Was the Board of Missions’ experiment a success? Today, Village Church has over 4,000 members operating out of an 80,000 square foot facility which, though expanded several times over, still seems to burst with activity. The church also manages the Meneilly Center for Mission at 99th and Mission Road, which houses a Child and Family Development Center and a Food Pantry that serves the surrounding community. Our Village Church family, remembering with gratitude to those small churches which helped us in the beginning, believes that an active mission program is a cornerstone of our life together. We look forward to expanding our mission in even more exciting ways in the decades ahead.
Village Church has always been more than bricks and mortar. Our founding pastor tacked a message to the pulpit, reminding whoever preached there to look beyond himself: "Sir, we would see Jesus." It is the Village Church’s purpose to reflect that image of Christ’s love, now and in the future.