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Thursday, May 5, 2016

First Presbyterian calls Mansour Khajehpour as new pastor

Friday, May 21, 2010

Submitted Photos The Khajehpour family. Left to right: Nahid, Matthew, Mansour, and Rebeka.
The congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Scott voted overwhelmingly Sunday, May 16th, to call Mansour Khajehpour as its full-time installed pastor. Pastor Khajehpour will assume his new duties on August 1.

Mansour Khajehpour was born into a Muslim family in Mashhad, Iran, and was trained to faithfully follow Shi'ite Islamic laws. His father took him as a teenager to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj, the "once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage" prescribed for Muslims. In 1981, following three months of argument and debate with Christians in his town he says, "I personally gave my heart and life to Jesus Christ...This decision changed my whole life. Christ has ruled as the most important person in my life since then."

Khajehpour received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Teheran University in June, 1991. While studying there he became a member and later was an elder of St Peter Presbyterian Church in Tehran. He participated in the Certificate Program of the Board of Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church of Iran.

In 1993 he married Nahid. Nahid's father, Rev. Sepehri, a Presbyterian Church (USA) minister was the Executive Director of the Iranian Bible Society. Today Nahid Khajehpour is the Coordinator for the United Bible Societies' West Asia Partnership working on Today's Persian Version of the Bible into her native language. She will continue that work from their new home in Fort Scott.

In 1994 Mr. and Mrs. Khajehpour were imprisoned for apostasy and evangelism. He says, "We were so blessed to be encouraged by Rev. Mehdi Dibaj to endure during those days of trial. He was martyred for his faith three months later."

In 1996, when another wave of persecution of Christians started in Iran, the couple and their one-year-old daughter, Rebeka, fled Iran. They became refugees in Athens, Greece. He says, "By the Grace of God, and as a response to a sense of a call to ministry, along with an International Team Missionary (Tim Sirinides), I started and led a home Bible study group in our home in Athens. After we moved from Athens to Salt Lake City in 1997, that small fellowship became a well-established church serving Persian Speaking refugees from Iran, and Afghanistan."

In November of 1998 Seattle Presbytery enrolled Pastor Khajehpour as a Commissioned Lay Pastor and evangelist to start an Iranian Presbyterian ministry at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle. As the founding pastor of the Persian Church of the Good Shepherd (PCUSA) in Seattle, he writes that this was, "a fruitful ministry that allowed many to hear the good news of the Gospel for the first time. Beside the direct ministry involvements in that fellowship, I was blessed to translate and publish several books and other publications; among those are the Persian Presbyterian Hymn book, the Gospel of Luke with Study Notes, and the Farsi translation of Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life.

Mansour, Nahid and Rebeka Khajehpour became US citizens on February 25, 2003 in Seattle.

Pastor Mansour entered Princeton Theological Seminary in 2005 and received his Master of Divinity and the Speech and Communication in World Mission and Evangelism Award from Princeton in 2008. As a student at Princeton he served the small Persian fellowship in Philadelphia, was a Pastoral Intern at Kingston (New Jersey) Presbyterian Church (PCSUA) and a Chaplain Intern at the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital. He was also the Persian Ministry Consultant of the Middle East Office of the Presbyterian Church (USA). After returning to Seattle, he became the full-time Coordinator for Mission and Stewardship for Seattle Presbytery, oversaw the Presbytery's properties and budget and was the liaison staff person to the Presbytery's 10 Ethnic Fellowships.

Pastor Mansour is to be examined for membership in the Presbytery by John Calvin Presbytery, which includes Fort Scott's First Presbyterian Church, on Saturday, June 5th at the Woodland Heights Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Mo. He is to be ordained by Seattle Presbytery at the University Presbyterian Church of Seattle on Monday, June 14.

After Sunday's vote to call Pastor Mansour, he announced his gift to the church of a website for the church, http://www.fortpres.org. Pastor Mansour has a personal website, http://pastormansour.com/.

The Khajehpours have two children. Rebeka, 14, will be a freshman at Fort Scott High School this fall. She plays violin, is a member of Bell Choir and youth choir and her school's track and gymnastics teams. Matthew, 9, will attend fourth grade at Eugene Ware. He attends Tae-Kwon-Do classes after school and "...thoroughly enjoys any ball game."

In line with the Reformed understanding, Pastor Mansour states that he believes in the "Priesthood of all believers," and therefore looks forward to serve God and God's people with God's people. His message to the congregation includes the call for constant transformation. Pastor Mansour's invitation to the community is simple. With arms wide open he states: "If you are seeking unconditional grace, love, peace, and care, then you may want to consider attending many of your friends here at Fort Scott Pres! I look forward to seeing you and worshiping with you starting Sunday, August 1, 2010."

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What a fascinating history and testament! Welcome to our community!!

-- Posted by pegles on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 8:42 AM

Praise God, He works in mysterious ways. Welcome to Fort Scott. May your testimony encourage others to give THEIR lives to Christ and experince a new life.

-- Posted by Citizen4change on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 9:53 AM

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