and her husband, Bill Koehnline, have two daughters and a son.
graduated in 1950 and married Bill later that year.
...Phyllis received a master's degree in 1952, and Bill a doctorate in 1966.
...Shortly after settling in Skokie, Phyllis Koehnline entered McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago to begin studies that eventually led to a master of divinity degree in 1977, and to being ordained as pastor of Evanshire Presbyterian Church and the only woman pastor in town.
Soon after her
ordination, Skokie was in the news.A small group of Neo-Nazis in Chicago threatened to make an appearance there.Why Skokie?Almost certainly because that community had become known as a "safe haven" for Jews who had fled from Hitler's
Germany and arrived in the Chicago area.By the late 1970s, Skokie had become home to more than 70,000 Jews, some 7,000 of them survivors of Hitler's death camps.Koehnline
church were part of an inter-faith group of religious communities that realized how devastating any suggestion of a Nazi presence would be in Skokie.Great solidarity grew between Christians and Jews during that time that still continues.The threat was never carried out and the survivors were spared. While pastor of Evanshire, Koehnline was moderator of the Chicago Presbytery one year and a member of the board of trustees of McCormick Seminary. "My claim to fame," she said, "is that I chaired the search committee which selected the Rev. Cynthia Campbell to be president of McCormick, the first woman to lead a major seminary."
After retirement, the Koehnlines decided to move back to Chapel Hill and moved into a villa at Carolina Meadows
"We love being back 'home,'" she
said, "with so much to enjoy from Carolina Meadows
, the church, UNC campus, and Chapel Hill in general.There's no place like it!"
...In 2000, Phyllis, with the help of other Carolina Meadows residents from University Presbyterian, began worship services at Carolina Meadows for those who were unable to get to church on Sundays, especially those who disabilities make it almost impossible to enjoy regular services in town.
"We started the services because there was a need for it," Phyllis
The meetings started with a small group that would meet in the Carolina Meadows
Health Center.Over time, the congregation had grown so much in both size and spirit that it had to be moved to the Carolina Meadows
auditorium.It meets on the second Sunday afternoon of each month, with communion whenever there is a fifth Sunday.In addition, Koehnline
continues to teach a monthly Bible class in the health center.The congregation greatly appreciates her
"I'm grateful still to be able to do what I love doing," Koehnline
said."And we all like the fact that nobody comes in to lead these services for us; they're all in-house."
Last year she
agreed to preach monthly at Carol Woods, where residents there do all the preparation.