The Church of the Redeemer didn’t set out to be a church at all. Actually, Redeemer came about as the byproduct of other ministries and the dedication of a handful of members who devoted themselves to see its ministry increase.
In the 1940s, many priests in the Episcopal Church originated in urban areas and were unfamiliar with rural life. As a remedy, Wilber Cochel gifted to the Episcopal Church a tract of farmland just east of what is now the Tiffany Springs exit of I-29. There, the National Town and Country Church Institute founded Roanridge, a training center for priests and seminarians to study the issues of life in small-town America as well as the trades of organic farming and tractor repair. As Roanridge grew into its own seminary-like community by the mid 1950s, the Chapel of the Redeemer was started as a mission of the Diocese of West Missouri.
In 1958, it was decided that Redeemer should relocate to a growing area near Platte Woods, moving to our current location at NW 72nd Street and 9 Highway. “The little gray church with the red doors” was built and the first services held in November 1960. Throughout the 1960s, a vicarage was built and expanded on the property, and is now serving as the House of Prayer.
During that time, Redeemer’s financial hardship nearly meant the end of its ministry. Thanks to the work of Dean Coffelt and others, the ministry of Redeemer continued, even without paid clergy. The church grew from 5 to 35 members in 1965 and by 1967 had 152 members. In 1982, Redeemer had proven its self-sustainability and was granted full parish status, no longer being served by vicars as a mission.
In 1987, the church was greatly expanded, building our current narthex, nave, sanctuary, and educational facilities; the old church, being turned into a gathering area across the narthex from the new sanctuary, was named Coffelt Hall in appreciation for Dean Coffelt’s faithfulness to God’s work in and through Redeemer.
The Church continued to grow. In 2003, the nave was expanded and office spaces added into what constitutes our present buildings and grounds configuration. The House of Prayer now serves primarily as host to the Northland Infant Clothing Center. Whereas the early days of the church had scarce resources and limited clergy, the Church has been blessed by many clergy in recent years, having not only a Rector but often serving as a home to new clerics (known as curates) assisting, which stands as a testament to Redeemer’s history as a training ground for clergy development. Explore the current ministry of Church of the Redeemer using the menus above.
Priests who have led Church of the Redeemer:
1958-1964 | The Rev. Sylvan W. Law, Vicar
1965-1966 | Metropolitan Team Ministry, Guest Vicars
1965-1966 | The Rev. Staley Hackley, Vicar
1966-1967 | The Rev. Herman Page, Vicar
1967-1970 | The Rev. James S. Masters, Vicar
1970-1975 | The Rev. M. Joseph ("Joe”) Hirsch, Vicar
1975-1981 | The Rev. David A. Egbert, Vicar
1981-1988 | The Rev. Maurice ("Mo”) V. Champion, Rector
1988-2003 | The Rev. Edgar ("Ed”) J. Whelan, Rector
2003-2005 | The Rev. Jerry Skillicorn, Interim Rector
2005-2009 | The Rev. R. Louise Baker, Rector
2009-2011 | The Rev. Jess Reeves, Interim Rector
2011-Present | The Rev. R. Joseph ("Joe”) Behen, Rector
HISTORY & VALUES
GET TO KNOW THE REDEEMER FAMILY
The Church of the Redeemer is a community of Christian disciples in the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement. Persons of all walks of life, races, sexual orientations, income levels, ages, and abilities are welcome to fully participate at all levels of our common life and worship.
We are members of The Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri and the Worldwide Anglican Communion. As such, we are united through liturgies and sacraments as presented in the Book of Common Prayer. We are committed to being the Church that Christ has called us to be in Northwest Kansas City in the 21st century.
The central theme at Redeemer is "knowing Christ and making Him known.” This reflects our desire to bring glory to God and blessing to the world through ministry. Learn more about our various ministries at the links above.