2023 Annual Report

A Word from our Pastors

Together we continue to make Christ’s love visible. 

“…for someone who trusts (faith), anything can be done.” Mark 9:23b 

It’s wonderful to share ministry at Southwood.

This last year we saw the spirit lead us in our serving, missions, teaching, music, and caring activities. As we look forward, Sunday worship attendance is growing, and our connection to God’s Grace is evident. We hear from new attendees how the Spirit is felt when you walk into this place.

Our search for a pastor will be entering a third year. Whether that’s a senior pastor or a co-exec pastorate, time will tell. You’ve elected council members who are awesome, caring and have our best interest in mind.

It’s exciting to be a part of the Vitality initiative where we study the strengths of our past, consider public data to find insights in our community we serve and gain insight for the future. With God’s help we will be even more vital and effective in serving the spiritual needs of our community. You will hear more about it in the coming year.

We are hopeful for what the next year will bring in 2024 and give thanks for a year filled with God’s work and gifts used.

Thanks be to God!

—Pastor Jessica Kingsborough and Pastor Michael Ryan

Sunday, January 21, 2024, 12PM in the Fellowship Hall.

All confirmed, communing, and contributing members of the congregation are urged to join together for a celebration of God’s blessings upon Southwood, and to conduct the annual congregational meeting. At this meeting, we’ll be making decisions about Southwood’s future, including our 2024 budget and election of our Church Council members.


101 New Members Received

Shared by recent new members:

"We joined Southwood because the air is alive!"

"We joined Southwood because it's inclusive."

Life Events:

  • 58 Baptisms
  • 8 Weddings (Includes off-site ceremonies)

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Adult Ministries

NEW! Outreach Planning for 2024

Planning began for creative ways to invite our new neighbors to Southwood.


Fall & Winter Brunch: 430 attendees each.

Women's spring gathering: 130 attendees.

Pride Picnic: 50 attendees (doubled from prior year).

Social Groups: 160 participants.

"My friend has been inviting me to Southwood Seniors for a while, and I'm so glad I came today."

Faith Growth

NEW! Sunday Morning Classes: 150 participants.

NEW! Book Club: 55 participants.

NEW! Online worship attendees' option to engage with staff.

Study Groups: 233 participants.

"The support of our Small Group was a great help to persevere in this difficult time."

Sunday Morning Volunteers

695 people served to help people feel More than Welcome, They Belong.

NEW! Safety Training for all volunteers was offered in-person and via emailed resources.


Children's  Ministries

Sunday School & Vacation Bible School

208,940 Bible crafts created.

375 children registered for Sunday School

308 children registered for Vacation Bible School

Children's Ministries Volunteers

9,750 Volunteer hours served.

268 people made a difference in children's lives:

  • 62 Advent Festival Volunteers
  • 86 Sunday School Volunteers
  • 78 Vacation Bible School Volunteers

Sunday School Outreach

  • 360 Backpack meals packed for Saratoga school.
  • 45,792 Mercy Meals were created on Mission Sunday with the help of Sunday School students.
  • $3,690 In offerings were sent to the Tanzania English Speaking Preschool and Honduras Children's Home Project.

Gifted to our Third Graders

48 Hearts changed with the gift of 3rd Grade Bibles.

Advent Festival

200+ children and family members attended.

750 Snacks served.


Youth Ministries

Middle School DELVE

180 students and 35 volunteers participated.

High School Youth Group

50 students participated in gatherings and/or retreats and mission trips.

Youth in Service

Between Sunday School, mission trips, and community service, our Youth have served a total of 3,500 volunteer hours for the sake of others.

25 students involved in Sunday Morning volunteer opportunities.

Young Adults

Planning to take a group of Young Adults to Tanzania in June of 2024.

Worship & Music

Short-term Choirs

Opportunities to sing in the Mixed Choir, Men’s Chorus, and Women’s Chorus with only a few rehearsals provide easy entry-level ways for people to engage in choir.

Children's Choirs

Children in 3rd -5th grade also had the opportunity to sing in a short-term choir this summer. These will continue to be offered in 2024.

Music Ministry Partners

The Music Ministry shared music with various ministry partners such as Yankee Hill Village, Pemberly Place and Mosaic throughout the year. Reaching out beyond the walls of the church is a way of sharing God's love with the community around us.

Short-term Handbell Ensembles

Throughout this past year handbells have been used in worship in a variety of ways including accompanying hymns and choir anthems.


2023 Missions

At Southwood, we believe that our belonging fosters a desire to love and serve others. We are committed to providing opportunities to serve alongside our community and global mission partners. Our church members selflessly give of their time, talent and treasure to support and uplift our neighbors near and far. The impact of our church and volunteers can be seen in our community, in Honduras and Tanzania. The impact of giving to and serving others can be seen in our church and volunteers.

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In Our Community

The Food Bank of Lincoln and Southwood partner to provide food in our community through many

  • Southwood Garden donated 7,601 pounds of produce to the Food Bank of Lincoln. More than 400 volunteer hours were necessary to take the garden from planting to harvest.
  • Mobile Food Distributions at Southwood and Palmyra served more than 10,000 households in 36 distributions.
  • Saratoga Elementary Backpack Program helped 120 students receive a bag of food every Friday of the school year. There are 92 volunteers who give of their time to pack, transport and distribute the bags.
  • Food Market at Lincoln Northeast High School volunteers helped students and staff choose food to take home each month.

Mercy Meals Event on Mission Sunday gave the Sunday School kids a great opportunity to serve alongside adults. Together they packed 45,792 meals that will be shipped all over the world by Orphan Grain Train.

Southwood continues to serve in our community through Tabitha Meals on Wheels, Clinic with a Heart, Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach and The Gathering Place. Our volunteers are vital to the work our partners are doing to serve our neighbors.

Global Missions

Southwood's impact in our world: 

  • Chosen with World Vision - 70 children in the community of Promesa Del Sur were sponsored by Southwood members. The community is working with World Vision to provide better education, water and sanitation for children and their families.
  • Connected to Bless Church & Ministry in La Ceibita
    • 4 homes and 3 Pilas built for families.
    • First Southwood Dental Mission since 2019! The team of 22 people included 4 dentists, 1 hygienist who treated 178 patients.
  • Haley Janssen - Southwood continues to support Haley’s work with The Children’s Home Project at Proniño. Haley leads the staff in providing love, care and support for 30 children, teens and young adults. Haley was instrumental in the success of the Dental Mission this year. She spent hours of her time and a great deal of persistence to making sure the team had everything it needed to treat patients.

  • Uswaa, Tanzania
    • An ultrasound machine was procured for the Medical Clinic. The machine enables the clinic to provide better care for patients.
    • Southwood visited our sister church with a small team. A physician and nurse led education seminars. Other team members helped back fill the school foundation in a bucket brigade with more than 300 church members.
  • Education Scholarship Program - continues to support students in secondary school, vocational training and college programs. Southwood members visited with sponsored students and their families while in Tanzania. It was meaningful for students and sponsors to spend time together with their families.

Care Ministry

  • Prayer requests shared daily with our Prayer Team.
  • GriefShare and DivorceCare support groups offered twice a year.
  • Grief support offered through cards, mailings and books to over 52 families this year.
  • Care Team worship services offered monthly at 4 assisted living facilities in Lincoln.

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Held 13 funerals at Southwood and 5 funerals offsite.

Care Gifts Created

136 prayer shawls and 38 baby blankets were created as gifts to our congregation and community.


Hosted the "Belonging with Bluey" parenting session.

Good Samaritan Fund

69 financial assistance requests received from the community and congregation.


12 families received Thanksgiving meals and Christmas gifts.

Worship Services

3 Healing Prayer services held.

16 congregational members honored during All Saints Sunday worship.