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Our cover features (from left) the Rev. Dr. Jane Florence and Associate Pastor Kirstie Engel, whose all-female leadership at St. Paul United Methodist Church at 12th and M streets is living up to the church’s progressive reputation.

Florence became St. Paul’s first female senior pastor last July after 11 years at a church in Omaha. She joined Engel, who was a “first” herself when she arrived at St. Paul’s as associate pastor a few years earlier.

The two women were following different paths before their calls to the ministry. Read the details and how they ended up serving together at St. Paul’s in Cynthia Peterson’s cover story on pages 18-19.

We thank John F. Keller for contributing this month’s cover photo, and also an Ask Dr. Photo column (pages 30-31), which highlights changes in the world of photography in the past decade along with some of his amazing photos.

Around town …

It has been an entertaining month of covering fundraising events around town for L Magazine. It began with the UNL Friends of Opera Gala, which raised over $27,000 for UNL Opera student scholarships. I was amazed at the quality of the students’ performances. UNL Opera students have received national and international honors in recent years due to that talent, but also because of the generosity of Friends of Opera members who pay the costs so the students can compete. See my coverage of the Gala on pages 6-7.

Next was the Around the World fundraiser, which raised over $30,000 for the nonprofit GIRLPowR. In addition to the work GIRLPowR does to support girls’ education and empowerment locally and in Nicaragua, founder and executive director Julie Reager said such generous support encourages her to continue to explore expanding the program to additional countries such as Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria and beyond. The event’s global focus included ethnically influenced hors d’oeuvres, dance performances by the Orgullo Latino group (Mexican folkloric dance) and Impundo Troop (traditional Rwandan dance), live music by Gerardo Meza & The Dead of Night, and more. See my article and son John’s photos on pages 8-9.

The next evening, I got my “fur fix” along with 425 other supporters at the 32nd annual Tails ‘N Ties event, which raised over $100,000 for the Capital Humane Society. The funds help support the Pieloch Pet Adoption Center and the Admissions & Assessment Center. See my article and photos on pages 10-11.

I appreciate your ideas

I’d like to know what kinds of stories you want to see and any other suggestions you have for L Magazine. Please email those to mschwaninger@journalstar.com or call me at 402-473-2644. As always, I appreciate your “Likes” and comments on the L Magazine Facebook page as well.

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