Although “Rev. Cheryl” Mishler is new to the pastorate at First Presbyterian, she is not new to Hiawatha but is perhaps better known as “Nurse Cheryl.”
Mishler has worked as a nurse in Hiawatha for more than 25 years, including Hiawatha Medical Associates (as a nurse for Dr. Ivan Ketter), Hiawatha Community Hospital, Hiawatha Place, Rehabilitative Services Inc., Lighthouse/Abundant Life Hospice and as school murse for Hiawatha Middle and High School. She is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and has served the Churches of the Brethren in Topeka, Abilene, and Washington. She currently serves Trinity Church of the Brethren in Sabetha, as she has done for the past 7 years.
“I was very surprised and deeply honored when I received a phone call this past August, from the Presbyterian Session in Hiawatha, asking if I might consider providing pulpit supply for them as their pastor, Rev. Nancy Tuma, had recently resigned to assume a position closer to her home in Denver, Colorado,” Rev. Mishler said. “As their summer schedule was for worship service at 9 a.m. on Sunday mornings, and the Church of the Brethren at 11, that offered me the wonderful opportunity of providing some service to this congregation.”
She said the first Sunday she preached, she found myself immediately immersed in a bounty of love and friendship.
“I discovered I was acquainted with nearly every person in the congregation from my time as a nurse in Hiawatha,” she said. “In January 2019, I was asked to consider and apply to be the minister of the church, with the very loving understanding that I was also serving another church. This generous congregation offered to continue meeting at 9 so that I could continue in my role in Sabetha. I did apply and went through examination by the Northern Kansas Presbytery. I deeply respect and value how seriously Presbyterian’s consider ministry. After several meetings, in late February I was offered and accepted this position.”
How is it possible to serve as a minister in two different denominations? Rev. Mishler said her answer is simple, “The Church is the Body of Christ.”
“Each part of the Body is a bit different but all are important. Scripture tells us that. “There are many parts, but all the same Body.” (I Corinthians 12),” she said. “I believe our denominational names are like our last names. They identify us. There is a song which says ‘Christ has no Body, now but yours. No Hands and Feet on earth but yours. Yours are the Eyes with which He sees; Yours are the Feet with which He walks; Yours are the Hands with which He blesses all the world.’ That is who the Church is to be.”
Rev. Mishler encourages community members who don’t have a church family, or if they have not discovered their place in the Body of Christ, to join the congregation at First Presbyterian, 701 Kickapoo.
“You will easily recognize the beautiful Church building, but you will far better recognize ‘The Church’ when you are embraced by the people just inside the doors.”