A lifelong Californian until she moved to the Midwest, Hannah comes from a long line of Presbyterian pastors. She was raised by clergy parents on the grounds of San Francisco Theological Seminary in northern California, where seminary professors and hippies lived side by side and debated matters of faith and Presbyterianism at her childhood dinner table. Because of (or maybe despite?) the environment in which she grew up, she went on to study Religion at Occidental College in Los Angeles before continuing on to receive her Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, a move partially inspired by a beloved college professor’s remark that “anyone who wants to talk this much about Paul belongs in seminary.”
With friends new and old, she and her spouse, Adam, are building an urban intentional community in their home in St. Louis City, and, along with their toddler Junia, are looking forward to welcoming a new baby in late 2021. With more enthusiasm than skill, Hannah spends her time with and without family gardening, crafting, baking, and dancing, and loves nothing more than extensive, lively, meandering conversation about theology, the Bible, church history, and the future of Christ’s Church.
Some of us have been members for over 70 years, while others have been here only a few years or a few months. There is no shortage of surprises once you get to know us, and there is no limit to what we can do together in the Spirit of the Lord.
What We Believe
Affton Presbyterian Church is a part of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Within the larger Christian family, Presbyterians are part of the Reformed tradition that emerged during the Protestant Reformation under the teaching of John Calvin. Our name “Presbyterian” comes from the Greek word “presbyters” which means “elders.” It describes the way our people elect councils of elders to lead the church.
Theologically, our tradition emphasizes fidelity to the Bible and the sovereignty of God. We take a humble view of human nature—it is not our righteousness that makes God love, but God’s love that makes us righteous. Our lived journey of salvation is an expression of gratitude for what God has already accomplished through Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection.
Excerpts from the St. Louis Dispatch1:
Affton Presbyterian has been part of the Affton community since it was chartered in 1943. The congregation’s first chapel was the former Hilltop Tavern, which occupied the church’s next site at 9217 Gravois Road.
They used the tavern at the beginning. A chapel was built in 1948. The [next] church was built around 1960.
More and more people from St. Louis were starting to move into the suburbs. Much of South County was still rural. There were farms, and the area had not yet been built up.
In those days, people didn’t go long distances for church or shopping. Everything was in the neighborhood. Pastor Smiley had the idea of bringing the church out of the city and to the people living in Affton.
Many of the current members of the congregation grew up in the neighborhood [of the Gravois location] and attended Affton Presbyterian.
In discerning both our congregation’s desire for a future focused on mission and unencumbered by the maintenance of our aging church building, we decided as a church that God was calling us to sell our building. In June of 2016, that sale became complete. After much prayer, we have three simple guidelines to follow God’s will. We are called to:
-stay Presbyterian, and
-stay in the Affton community.
If you read the Bible, you will notice that God’s people move around a lot. Abraham followed the Lord’s call from his father’s land all the way to the shores of Canaan. Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and into the Promised Land. The apostle Paul spent years and years crossing back and forth across mountain ranges and the Mediterranean Sea.
After 18 months of searching for a new home, the Lord led us to “nest” with our neighboring congregation, Calvary Presbyterian Church, near the intersection of Lindberg and Lemay Ferry Rd. In July of 2020, after many years of faithful ministry, Calvary closed, and the ownership of the property transferred to the Presbytery of Giddings Lovejoy. We continue to worship in Lewis Hall at this location.
1Scott Bandle, “Affton Presbyterian Prepares for 70th Anniversary,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 24, 2013, https://www.stltoday.com/suburban-journals/metro/life/affton-presbyterian-prepares-for-70th-anniversary/article_1fa42786-cf1f-5ca8-9436-19213e93e468.html.