Peggy Elliott, a non-denominational minister who has tried to advance the conversation on racial diversity in Wichita since 2004, will leave the city to start a ministry in Kenya later this year.
Elliott, 63, currently heads Peggy Elliott Ministries, and has written eight non-fiction Christian self-help books.
Before she leaves town, she will be signing her most recent book, “I Am Finally Free: Seven Steps to Overcoming Emotional Bondage,” Saturday at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 8021 W. 21st St.
She said she arrived at her decision to leave Wichita through prayer and meditation.
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“All my life, I’ve been an equipper and a trainer,” she said. “I’ve started things that I’ve had to hand off. Im leaving Wichita and handing off something that was going on before I came but that is at a much greater level now – prayer ministry.”
In 2006, Elliott started a prayer walk to demonstrate against gang violence in Wichita. Over the years, she has mentored young, black Wichitans, she said, as well as spending time at the Kansas Leadership Center.
She also ran for a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives in 2008, losing to current Rep. Roderick Houston, D-Wichita.
“I mentored in helping cultures understand different doesn’t mean deficient,” she said. “There’s so many ways we’re different – it’s not by accident our skin colors are different. There are many things we have in common also.”
Elliott said she is cautiously optimistic about the future of Wichita.
“Wichita is a wonderful place to retire – the cost of living is fairly good – but I have a concern about the growth of Wichita,” she said. “I have a concern that most of the eggs are put in one basket. I have a concern about the phenomenal gap between the haves and the have-nots. I have a concern about Wichita not being able to keep not only young people but many professionals of color.”
After leaving Wichita on April 1, she will return to her hometown of St. Paul, Minn. From there, she will leave for Nairobi, Kenya, in September.
In Kenya, she will start both a prayer ministry and a ministry to aid businesspeople with leadership skills, she said.
She has already sold all of her furniture – all she has left at her home is a bed, she said.
Her car is the next to go, she said.
“It’s a whole new journey,” Elliott said. “I’ve been a missionary to Haiti, Argentina and South Africa, and there’s something totally different about going on a mission trip March 1 through March 15 than there is to get a one-way ticket, not knowing when you come back.”
If you go
Peggy Elliott book signing
What: Peggy Elliott, who has been a minister in Wichita since 2004, will be signing copies of her new book, “I Am Finally Free: Seven Steps to Overcoming Emotional Bondage”
When: 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 8021 W. 21st St.
Why: Proceeds from sales of the book will go toward Elliott’s upcoming move to Nairobi, Kenya