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Pastor Michaele R.J. Wood

From The Pastor:

Pastor Michaele Wood


Blessed Thanksgiving to All

I am sure most of us have favorite memories of Thanksgiving celebrations past, some good, some not so good. As a child I always found those family get-togethers to be an interesting study of people, some of which I only saw once a year. Some would come from military deployments all over the world. Others would be home from college or jobs out of state. There were always new babies
to fuss over, new spouses to meet, and stories to tell of those who were no longer with us. In short, Thanksgiving was the Yin-Yang of holidays. It was both enjoyable and painful but it taught us how to be thankful for everything in life. I had no trouble being thankful for Aunt Ella’s ‘bestest’ chocolate cake but those awful vegetable casseroles that we had to eat first took a little longer.

We said grace together giving thanks for our history through those remembered and for those new lives welcomed into the family since the previous year. We thanked God for the blessings and the trials. Dinner lasted quite a while as everyone ate and conversed. And then it was time for football - kids in the yard showing off their
skills and parents in the living room pretending to watch football on TV as they slipped into a turkey coma. God was good.

As I entered adulthood I began to look around and wonder if people really understood what it means to be grateful. I wondered why we needed an act of congress to set aside a particular 24 hours as Thanksgiving Day, especially in a land where we have so much for which we should be thankful.

I wondered also why Thanksgiving Day, filled with bountiful amounts of food and visiting family could be so closely followed by a day such as Black Friday.

I know why the retailers call it Black Friday but in truth I found it to be a day dedicated to getting more at better prices. I have seen in years past people making shopping plans as they were washing the dishes from Thanksgiving dinner. I watched as groups of people would carpool to the mall by 10 PM to wait in line for the opening sales at 5 am. Maybe today we are not as dedicated to the sales in person but many folks are already waiting for the websites to post the Black Friday sales and some folks who have special memberships that allow Early Bird shopping have begun to fill their carts online.

Take a breath. Gratitude is not a one-day event. Gratitude unlocks the very nature of God within us. It truly is the essence of a healthy soul. When we are not grateful we spoil the joy that should be ours when we hold in our hands what we once could only hope to acquire. If we are only looking ahead to the next thing we think we want there is no joy in the gifts of the present time. This holiday, please be present in the moment and be thankful for the moments you have with family and friends. Remember to be a blessing to those who are telling the stories of those who are no longer with us. Be thankful for the children who are only trying to be part of the family remember you were once children too. And be grateful to God that provides all we need. If we are grateful for what we have it will always be enough.

I think Herman Maxwell said it best, “We should certainly count our blessings but mostly we should make our blessings count.” Be grateful. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, eat your vegetables - they are good for you.


Pastor Michaele


Rev. Michaele RJ Wood was born the eldest of four children in Harrisburg PA. Her father was a Marine and Korean Veteran and her mother was a caterer. Michaele says, “Dad maintained order and discipline and mom added the spice.” She attended Catholic school through her junior year before graduating from a public school closer to home. It was during a school assembly about teen suicides that the message “God is love” became real and the Bible became a favorite read.


The years following high school were a hodgepodge of military service as an EMT / Practical Nurse and a liaison to the Military Police Units working narcotics, often accompanying them on the execution of search warrants and arrests. She met and married her husband during that tour and one year later put military service behind to be a mom to a new daughter. The following year she gave birth to twins.

In 1990, she was ordained as a minister in Kingdom Fellowship Ministries, a Charismatic fellowship, and assigned to Fountain Gate Ministries, an inner-city Harrisburg Church. There she served for 15 years as an elder, ordained minister associate and part-time instructor in Biblical & Church History for the ETS School of Ministry. She also held the position of Chief Financial Officer for a Harrisburg non-profit organization, while maintaining employment as a medical claims adjuster and raising a family.

The church grew quickly but the authoritarian form of government did not support the growth which led to problems of discipline and doctrine within the fellowship. This led her to a time of discernment. Seeking the help of a more experienced female pastor, who just happened to be Presbyterian, she was introduced to the Book of Order and Reformed Theology. Michaele states, “I had found the missing piece of my faith journey but the church I served was not ready

to change its style of government.”  In 2005, she became a member of Capital Presbyterian Church in Harrisburg. She was soon asked to serve on session and was ordained as an elder in the Presbyterian Church. Michaele completed the Dubuque CRE training in January 2006 and was then accepted to Lancaster Theological Seminary receiving her Master of Divinity in 2009.  In 2010, she was ordained by Carlisle Presbytery as  Minister of Word & Sacrament. Subsequently, she was  accepted as a member of the initial class of the “For Such A Time As This Program” leading to her installation as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Pontotoc, Mississippi,  where she served until December 2017. 

She now comes to Gainesville as the called pastor of Kanapaha Presbyterian Church and will be installed as the way is made clear.

Pastor Michaele holds an Associate in Human Services from Harrisburg Area Community College; a Bachelor of Christian Ministry from Chesapeake Bible College; a Master of Divinity from Lancaster Theological Seminary; a diploma from the CRE program at Dubuque Seminary, and Certificates of Completion in Spiritual Direction; Clergy Tax Management & Law (Chitwood); and Stewardship (Kirby-Smith).

She is the widowed mother to three adult children, grandmother to (10) ten grandchildren, great-grandmother to two boys, ages 2 years and an infant of 3 months, with another due in October. Saying of her journey thus far, “Life has not always been easy, but then, God didn’t say it would be. God did promise to give us strength to continue the journey even when it seems impossible, even when we are afraid, even when we aren’t sure where God is leading us.  And so, I look forward to our journey together.”


Capital Campaign!

Dear KPC Members and Friends,

We need your help! We’re kicking off a Capital Campaign to raise $30,000

for our historic buildings and grounds. This year has been a challenging one, to say the least. Likely no one expected what God had in store for us, Kanapaha Presbyterian Church, our country and the world. In spite of a global pandemic, raging politics and natural disasters, we, as a KPC family, managed to stay connected, worship virtually and now in-person, and continue spreading God’s love through various mission projects. We give thanks to God for his many blessings, in spite of the challenges we’ve faced this year.

While the KPC family has been very generous and faithful in tithing and contributions, and the Session has reduced expenditures, we have had to defer some needed capital projects or use cash reserves when there was a critical need. We are blessed to worship in a historic sanctuary, sitting on a beautiful piece of property. However, our buildings are aging and require(d) some much needed work such as:

1. Reroofing of McCormick Hall: $10,300 (replenish cash reserves). The roof was leaking and shingles coming off. Work was done on an emergency basis.

2. Ductwork under the sanctuary: $5,325 (replenish cash reserves).
Ductwork had fallen down, impacting air conditioning, and needed immediate replacing.


3. Western portico of the sanctuary: repair, remodel and fix sinking stairs. $12,338 (yet to be raised)

The portico, held up by unsightly metal poles, is rotten in many places. The first stair on the southern stairs has sunk ~4 inches creating a fall hazard.

4. Replace and repair lattice/animal barrier around Sanctuary and McCormick Hall: $2,037 (yet to be raised)

Help make a difference! Please prayerfully consider making a contribution or pledge to help us reach our goal! While the Capital Campaign will be going on for some time, this is the time of year to make a contribution that could lighten your tax burden for 2020. Maybe you received a stimulus check and were looking for a good cause to support?

Kanapaha Presbyterian Church is a 501c3 non-profit organization and donations are typically tax deductible, however KPC does not give tax advice. If you want to make a pledge and spread the contribution out over time, that’s wonderful too! Please put “Capital Campaign” on the memo line of your check. You can also use the yellow Donate button at the very bottom of this KPC webpage to donate safely and securely right here on www.kanapaha.net.

With thanks and praise to God,
The Session

Supporting Kanapaha Presbyterian Church has never been easier! Donate Online!

Kanapaha Presbyterian Church is a 501c3 Non-Profit.  Charitable Donations are tax deductible