By John Durbin
Each year, the Social Justice Action Team selects an individual or individuals to receive the Social Justice Champion Award. The person(s) chosen best exemplifies our guiding scripture: “And what does the LORD require of us but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God” Micah 6:8. The criteria for the award include: being a member or friend of The Church of the Palms, being active in church leadership roles, a history of being active in social justice ministries, personal actions challenging injustices and affecting change through education, advocacy, activism, and demonstrating the belief that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities. Max and Kay meet all of these criteria and then some.
Rev. Max Klinkenborg (Retired)
Max was born on a farm in central Missouri and walked to a one-room schoolhouse. He graduated from the University of MO and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Here are a few of his social-justice efforts spanning his life so far:
- Led church members of a small town church to establish a “Clothes Closet” to recycle used clothes for children and adults;
- served free food along with Kay and son Erik in a small soup kitchen to poor and homeless in Columbia, MO;
- made two work trips to Baton Rouge with Habitat for Humanity, post Katrina, for those displaced from their homes;
- participated in the renovation of a church in Turrialba, Costa Rica sponsored by American Baptists;
- organized and led 10 youth mission trips to Bacone College in Muskogee, OK, learning the true story of the relocation of the five civilized tribes along the Trail of Tears; worked monthly at the Micah Ministry of Independence Blvd. Christian Church to provide meals to the homeless and food insecure in the northeast area of Kansas City, MO;
- worked weekly at Harvesters Food Bank in Kansas City that served 26 counties in Missouri and Kansas;
- and shed blood for the sick, donating 320 pints of blood and counting.
And of course, since joining Church of the Palms, Max has launched two programs for the homeless: I-HELP and the Shower Trailer “Feet and More” ministry.
Kay was born in Missouri as the oldest of three children. She worked as a nurse and hospital administrator prior to returning to school to obtain a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy. She has done training in the fields of domestic violence, sexual abuse and women’s counseling.
The following are some of Kay’s social-justice activities:
- along with Max and son Erik, served monthly meals to the homeless in Columbia, MO;
- co-led with Max “Clergy Response to Domestic Violence” and “Spouses Support Group” for men whose wives were victims of childhood or adult sexual-assault;
- founded “Women of the Corn” in Jacksonville, IL (support group for building positive self-esteem and psychological development);
- pro-bono counseling for Women’s Shelter in Jacksonville, IL.;
- wrote and produced the video: “ACT: Communication Steps & Tools for Advocates Working with Elder Abuse”;
- volunteered for PORA (Positive Options, Referrals and Alternatives) remodeling old houses for transitional housing to non-street living in Springfield, IL;
- served as chair of “’VOICES in Action” (International Conference for Survivors of Sexual Assault); coordinated “Senior Tuesday Lunches” for Ray and Clay Counties (education, meal, B/P and foot care clinic) in Lawson, MO;
- coordinated “Dresses for Africa” (dresses and boys shorts shipped to Africa, Haiti, Kenya);
- volunteered for Project Linus (made over 280 blankets for children in hospitals, shelters or homeless), KC, MO;
- coordinated public seminar (LGBTQ Issues & Faith”);
- volunteered monthly at Harvester’s Food Bank and Micah Ministry, KC, MO. (prepared and served meals for 600- 800 people).
And since Kay has joined Church of the Palms, she has provided spiritual counseling to several church members, has led groups and taught marvelous education programs spanning a wide variety of social-justice topics.
Wow, we are blessed to have the Klinkenborgs as members of Church of the Palms.