"Happy Friday" Celebrates 15 Years!

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Compton Heights Christian Church in St. Louis celebrates 15 years of “Happy Friday” outreach!  “Happy Friday” started in 2004 when one of our Elders, Madeline Haraway, was leading a devotion. In it, she shared the story of a minister in Washington State who took his pot of coffee out to the road to share with whoever walked by.  Madeline’s sharing of that story started a conversation that resulted in “Happy Friday.”  The leaders, Kathy Mead and Madeline Haraway, have maintained the energy and created the foundation for these 15 years of outreach.

The purpose of  “Happy Friday” is very simply to greet and build connection with people passing by the church on Friday mornings. It is to extend love and care, to be present and build relationship. Sometimes there is conversation about faith, but most often not. There is always welcome and a sense of fun. And there is always coffee! 

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A small group of church members gather on Friday morning a bit before 7 am to set up a folding table with coffee, hot chocolate, and cups with lids to go. Holding up large hand-made signs that say  “Happy Friday,”  those who gather just stand in front of the church on S. Grand, from 7:00 to 8:00 am waving and sometimes shouting out “Happy Friday!” to people passing by in cars. (S. Grand is a busy street with people traveling to work and to school). There is a bus stop next to the church, so people getting off buses and waiting on buses often have coffee. People walking to work or school stop by.  Some people just drive by and honk and wave!  Some cars pull over and church members meet them at the car window to take their coffee or hot chocolate order.  

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There are often longer conversations with those walking. Over time, people get to know each other!  Some have shared news of new jobs, or graduations. One man came just to let us that know that his wife had twins!  Some share a struggle in their lives and ask for prayer. Some choose to stop and take part in greeting others!

For the first several years, we were there, rain or shine, in cold and snow! That is part of what caught the attention of the community! In recent years, our group has decided not to go out when it is below freezing, or in significant rain.   

There have been some who have come to worship and have become a part of the congregation. One woman who eventually became an Elder, said “I kept passing you on my way to work, and I just wanted to find out what was going on in that church with the ‘crazy’ people out on the street!” Some never become a part of the worshiping congregation, but are definitely a part of our community. Deep relationships have been built such that many of us gathered at one of the apartment buildings nearby to have a memorial service for one of the “Happy Friday” community who died to this life. Over the years we have received letters and phone calls from people we’ve never met, telling us that their job is hard, but on Friday mornings they get to work and find themselves still smiling because of our greeting. 

Recently we received a piece of mail for the church addressed simply to “The Happy Friday People”  2149 S. Grand Blvd. 

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We give thanks for those devoted ones who have kept “Happy Friday” going all these years – a consistent expression of joy and God’s love on S. Grand. Thanks to Madeline Haraway, Kathy Mead, Walt Tarde Jr., Arlene Arbogast, Darrell Hughes, Marilyn Koncen, Bud Obermiller, and all along the way who have greeted others with such delight and joy!


We know that other congregations have been inspired to create their own. Memorial Blvd. Christian Church in St. started “Happy Thursday” and then it branched into serving a meal!  Faith Christian in Memphis, TN took up the practice a number of years ago! So – create your own!  Don’t overthink it – keep it simple;  just head out to the street ready to greet!  God is already there!

Thanks to CHCC pastor Rev. Dr. Jecque Foster for this story.
See their
Facebook page for more photos.

Blue Theology

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As July turned to August at the end of Summer, 16 High Schoolers and adults from Broadway Christian Church set out to Pacific Grove California. We went to be a part of meaningful service project and energetic learning experiences inspiring us to invest in the future health of the ocean. Rev. Deborah Streeter and Rev. Dan Paul run an amazing Disciples Home Mission Station out of the Christian Church of Pacific Grove. 

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This amazing congregation has been welcoming groups to their space for over a decade helping many from all over the country care for our oceans. This fun and inspiring program that they call “Blue Theology” which offers tremendous hands on learning and serving opportunities. We got to roll up our sleeves and clean up beaches, help with sand dune restoration with native plants, collect important data on sand crab and limpet research, as well as explore the Elkhorn Slue via Kayak, take a whale watching tour through the bay, and get a first hand prayer pilgrimage at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

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On this trip, we explored what it means to be good advocates for a healthy ocean. We discussed and learned about how all waterways are ultimately connected to the ocean and how over 2.4 millions pieces of plastic end up in the ocean every day! Yet, we can be a part of a movement to correct this problem. After studying at the Monterey Bay Aquarium we were encouraged to do several beach clean ups where we picked up hundreds of cigarette butts, plastic bottles, caps, and other mostly small discarded items that ocean life can easily mistake for food. One of our students reflected “its scary just how much plastic we use and how easily something simple like a plastic grocery bag can look like a jellyfish in the ocean and get eaten!” That same student continues to pursue a plastic bag-less life back home in Missouri, realizing that she usually can just carry the items or put them into her backpack. It is small realizations that were at the heart of the Blue Theology experience. Sometimes the numbers and circumstances of climate change can seem overwhelming, and yet, we can and should make daily choices about how we consume and what we do with our trash.

Faith formation was a big part of the process where through nightly reflection and creativity, we were taught how to write poetry, do interpretive art projects, and make Blue Theology banners that we’ll proudly hang in our Loft Space at Broadway. We had several folks who felt like these creative processes were outside their comfort zones, yet the faithful members of CCPG and teachers at Blue Theology continue to make it accessible to all of us. Kimberly was particularly encouraging and a great companion to our learning.

We sang, laughed, created, ate, and worked together connected to the beautiful ocean that was literally a block away! Sharing in the joy of how we can face the challenges of ocean stewardship and together with God’s help and many hands we can help the ocean thrive once more. One of the amazing recovery stories was the sea otters’ that are at their highest concentration in the Bay. It was thought at one time there might have been only a few hundred of these keystone species left in the world, and yet with change in the way the bay was cared for and advocacy by local groups, there are thousands of these otters blessing each visitor to the bay with the joy of watching them frolic, feed and play in the ocean.

If you’re looking for a youth mission station, a clergy renewal retreat, or to take an intergenerational group, make sure you contact Pastor Dan (http://bluetheology.com) so that you too can experience the beauty, joy and transformation as you breathe in the salty air.

Thanks to Broadway CC’s Rev. Nick Larson for this story and photos.

Disciples Christian Church Participates in Festival of Sharing

Youth from Disciples Christian Church in Nevada, Missouri assembled twenty school kits for Church World Service. Items in the kits were donated by members of the congregation. The kits were delivered to ShareFest in Republic on Saturday, September 21 by congregation members. This is the twelfth year that the congregation has participated in the festival.

The Festival of Sharing is a cooperative response to world hunger, poverty, and injustice. These concerns motivate actions to raise awareness of the causes and generate solutions. The goal is to promote and support projects and programs by providing funding and resource goods. When people of faith come together and share, we can make a positive and powerful difference in the lives of people in need. Seven regional ShareFest events are being held throughout Missouri this September and October. These interfaith gatherings of resources connect the state of Missouri with a common goal: providing resources for our neighbors in need. 

Members from Disciples Christian Church at 125 North Prewitt volunteered at ShareFest receiving donations and loading items that were distributed to qualifying southwest Missouri agencies.

Thank you to DCC Pastor Harold Hicks for this information & photos.

Oasis Christian Church Launch

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Oasis Christian Church, the newest congregation in the Mid-America Region, is unique in many ways. However, it also resembles a typical Disciples of Christ congregation.

  • Oasis practices communion each time it meets…When the church gathers on the 1st and 3rd Sunday, it always gathers around the Lord’s table. Yet communion is not taken all at once but woven into the fabric of the worship gathering. Additionally, while Oasis remembers the sacrifice of Jesus as it shares the bread and the cup, communion is seen as a time of celebration, abundance, and resurrection so you won’t find a quiet, solemn event but instead a lively, joyful act.

  • Oasis engages in mission with the local community…Like other churches, Oasis takes advantage of every opportunity to love its neighbors through giving to the local food pantry, hosting community hospitality events, and giving to people in need. Oasis sees local mission as an opportunity to engage in intentional partnership. Rather than own or rent a building, the church has partnered with the local city government in Corder to utilize the Community Building in exchange for making improvements to it so that the building may better serve the community. This building consists of an old gymnasium, small cafeteria, kitchen, office, and stage. Oasis meets in the cafeteria/kitchen and has plans to open the gym for use during the week. While Oasis does sponsor and host some big community events, it also walks along side other service organizations in the community to help them with their projects.

  • Oasis believes that all are welcome to the table…The Disciples of Christ vision is the vision of Oasis Christian Church that we welcome all to the table because Christ first welcomed us. The church sees this welcome as more than being friendly or inviting, but as an opportunity to reflect on what it is that helps a person feel truly welcomed and uninhibited from coming to the table. Oasis does this through declaration and training. Worship gatherings are highly conversational in nature. Open discussion and conversation is welcome so long as it does not dehumanize others. The church upholds that all people are created in God’s image. Difficult topics are often discussed and addressed within the congregation and this is made possible by the above litmus test. This is coupled with leadership training. All of the leaders of Oasis have had training to listen intentionally and have been given tools to facilitate healthy dialogue.

 There are many other ways in which Oasis Christian Church is both the familiar yet new. That said, the overall goal of the people of Oasis is that, with the Spirit’s leading, they might be able to help churched and unchurched people alike - that resurrection is always possible. The old can always become new, life, love, and grace truly can prevail, and that Jesus can be made known to us in a simple act of breaking bread and sharing the Good News.

 As the congregation progresses, it hopes to be able to provide educational opportunities to clergy and laity alike so that they might be emboldened to re-envision their communities of faith in their contexts. For now, Oasis asks for your prayers in its mission that it might live into this new, old way of being a faith community. If you would like to help support the work Oasis Christian Church is doing, you can contact them at oasiscorder@gmail.com or find them on Facebook. The church also is looking for some items that other congregations might have hiding in a backroom that they would be willing to gift to a new church. They are in need of the following: liturgical altar cloths; altar ware such as crosses, candle holders, etc; chalices; and a children’s size table and chairs.

Finally, Oasis officially launches on Sunday, October 6th at 5:00pm. The church extends an invitation to anyone who would like to participate in the inaugural gathering. They do ask that if you plan to attend to RSVP to oasiscorder@gmail.com with how many will be attending.

by Rev. Matt Limback,
pastor Oasis Christian Church

FCC Mexico Helps Celebrate Recovery

First Christian Church in Mexico MO is part of a community of churches participating in Celebrate Recovery.

Celebrate Recovery is a specifically Christian 12-step program designed to offer relief from “hurts, hangups, and habits.” The program began in 1991 as a way to help people struggling with addiction or codependency. Since then, its scope has expanded and there are now meetings in churches all over the United States. According to the Celebrate Recovery website, there are now 35,000 Celebrate Recovery churches around the world.

The program is modeled on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and on eight principles based on Jesus’s Beatitudes. These are basically a restatement of the 12 steps in New Testament terms. For example, the third principle, corresponding to AA’s “Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understood him,” becomes “Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control. ‘Happy are the meek.’ Matthew 5:5.” The Celebrate Recovery program is “based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory.”

The group guidelines are also very similar to AA, emphasizing sharing without crosstalk, offering support over giving advice, maintaining anonymity and confidentiality, and maintaining a respectful environment. In addition to regular group meetings, members with the same problem are encouraged to form smaller groups. The members of the group act as each others’ “Accountability Partners,” keeping each other on track and away from temptation.   

First Christian has been instrumental along with Centennial Baptist and Genesis Church, all of Mexico, in getting the program started. Leaders had to go through the 12 steps and be willing to access what "Hurts, habits and hang up" they individually struggle with. Leaders for the small groups and worship times have come from these churches as well as meals for the fellowship time.

Because of anonymity rules we have not included any pictures of the group meeting.
If you have any questions feel free to contact Zane Whorton at zanew78@gmail.com.  

Thanks to Rev. Zane Whorton, pastor of FCC Mexico for this information.

Webster Groves Christian Church Welcomes a New Partner

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Webster Groves Christian Church (WGCC) has spent the last few years working to find ways to use its building and other resources to serve the wider community. One of the congregation's emphases has been education - especially younger children. Several years ago the congregation began Project NOW, a weekend supplemental nutrition program for children and their families from a local Head Start preschool. Project NOW provides weekend meals and snacks, including fresh fruits, vegetables, and eggs, to about 15 families (60 people).

WGCC has now begun to partner with their local school district to help initiate KSD NOW, a program providing weekend supplemental nutrition to food insecure students in the elementary schools of the Kirkwood School District. WGCC is providing space for the storage, packing, and distribution of the food to teams of volunteers who deliver the weekend packs to the various elementary schools each week.

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School district families, staff members, and local service clubs such as Kiwanis and the Optimist Club have partnered with Webster Groves Christian Church and parent teacher associations to help begin the program, which has already surpassed its first fundraising goal of $10,000 - raising approximately $14,000 in just a few weeks! This initial generosity of the wider community ensures that at least 50 students will receive a bag of nutritious food every Friday, and provides stability for this vital program.

Over 100 community participants attended the Kickoff Event and first packing party on August 28 at Webster Groves Christian Church. The event included family activities, and even a free dinner from the Amigos Restaurant Taco Truck!

Thanks to WGCC pastor Rev. Dr. Jeff Moore for this information and photos.

Mission at Shannondale

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The Shannondale Community Center, in Shannon County, Missouri, received some Ozark Christian Church love June 23-27. While our numbers were down for unexpected and sudden illnesses/hospitalizations, civic duties, and family emergencies, you would have never known it by the work that was accomplished and the connections made.

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Sunday evening was spent getting settled, and having a group devotional in the Shannondale United Church of Christ, as the threat of rain prevented our first planned community activity. As daylight broke on Monday, the overnight group was joined by several “day trippers” and the work began: the ladies constructed and installed ten wooden benches for the outdoor chapel, and had everything but the cleanup finished before lunch! Meanwhile the men were busy with the chainsaws, cutting up three large trees that had fallen in storms a few days before we arrived. Some of the ladies helped the men after the bench project was complete, while others began preparations for the Community Dinner & Movie Night. By late afternoon, with everyone cleaned up, it was time to focus on our evening guests coming from the Shannondale community. Hamburgers and hotdogs, along with sides, cookies and drinks were plentiful, and with everyone’s appetite satisfied, it was time to settle in for the movie, a kids’ favorite, “Finding Nemo.” Before the movie started, we talked with the kids about unconditional love, and even taught them a few signs in sign language for fish, Jesus loves me, I love you, and other simple words/phrases. As the night ended, several of those attending were already looking forward to the next community dinner and movie night – they wanted to make it a monthly event.

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Tuesday saw the 2.5 miles of Highway 19 between Timber Lodge and Shannondale Community Center being cleaned of roadside litter.  In addition, the makeover of the Timber Time after school program room began. Both projects were completed by day’s end, and there was even time for a swim in the river and a visit to beautiful Round Spring, as well as the Shannondale tradition of “fireside vespers” led by Shannondale’s Executive Director, Nathan “Nate” Fulk.

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We started Wednesday with the “big reveal” of the Timber Time classroom to Nate (he was impressed with the new look and functionality), then headed out to tear down and rebuild a fence around a community member’s front yard and garden.  After the work was finished, we treated ourselves to ice cream in Eminence and a visit to gorgeous Alley Spring. Our night ended again with “fireside vespers” led by Nate.

Our final day, found our team numbers thin, but still impacting the community with our Highway Snacks and Goodie Bag Giveaway. Several cars stopped to get a snack, a Bible and/or a bag full of household goodies. For those that didn’t have time to pull in, they responded in force to our “Honk 4 Jesus” sign.

Shannondale and all of the people we met and worked with are now a part of OCC’s heart, just like all of our other mission trip locations and contacts. God blessed OCC with hard workers with big hearts, and it is our prayer that we, in turn, blessed Shannondale with the same.

Thanks to Ozark Christian Church for sharing this story and photos.











FCC of Odessa Sponsors Car Show for Mission

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First Christian Church of Odessa has again sponsored a car show the first weekend of August as part of the Odessa Puddle Jumper Days. Approximately 3,000 people enjoy the car show which features over 150 vehicles in categories of Motorcycles, Pre-2000 Cars, and 2000 to Current Day Cars.

Lyn Mefford, Elder and Car Show Chairman, pulls together a committee of 15-20 volunteers that puts in countless hours planning for the event and works hand-in-hand with the city and event planners. This is the premier event for the city each year and is an event that everyone looks forward to.

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Since 2014 the Car Show Committee has made a profit of approximately $5,000 annually. This allows donations to be made to activities and organizations such as: Special Olympics, Trails Regional Library, FCC Youth Fund, Honor Flight, Odessa Police K-9 Unit, Veterans Patriot Feature, the BackSnack Program, CASA, the Odessa Senior Center and Building, House of Hope, and the Odessa downtown Christmas Lights.

The committee has also given to assist with medical bills for a child in town who was mauled by a dog, assisted in sponsorship of a young lady for a cultural trip to Jerusalem, assisted in the medical bills of a young girl from our church, adopted families at Christmas, sent children to summer church camp, and given scholarships to six church graduates for college.

It should also be noted that FCC also hosts a quilt show and an art show/competition in the church building at the same time. All these activities make for an exciting weekend, with many tired congregants afterward! It is, however, a well-run event that benefits the community in countless ways.

FCC in Odessa is shepherded by Pastor Russell Alexander.

Thanks to Pastor Russell Alexander for this story
and to FCC member Tim Baggs for the photos.

MID-AMERICA PILGRIMAGE EMBARKS ON A LIFE-CHANGING JOURNEY

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The Mid-America Disciples Civil Rights Pilgrimage lasted six days, August 8-13, 2019, and took 23 pilgrims plus a very engaged driver to landmarks in the Deep South.  The first stop was Memphis with a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination.  The exhibit, as all that were encountered, was beyond moving.  Every emotion from sadness, anger, frustration, dismay and joy was tapped.  The exhibit began with establishing context for the journey, then took us to days of slavery, Jim Crow and every step along the way of the Civil Rights era defined as from 1954 with Brown v. Board of Education to 1968 at the death of Dr. King.  Many people exclaimed, “Every person needs to experience this!”  We are glad that the 2020 Disciples Summer Mission will be in Memphis and plans are underway to take Mid-America youth and sponsors there.  The day ended with a “blues pilgrimage” to Beale Street.

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Day 2 was encountering Living History in Selma, Alabama. We investigated every site and angle in Selma and were blessed that many townspeople provided firsthand accounts from 54 years ago since Bloody Sunday. Our day was beyond rich and concluded with our own march across the Edmond Pettus Bridge.  By God’s grace, we ran into Rod West. His family lived adjacent to Browns Chapel AME, and were part of the movement that housed the leaders including the white “northern agitators” including two martyrs, James Reeb and Jonathan Daniels. Rod is the boy in the famous photo with Daniels prior to his death. We got lots of inside perspectives including from three white girls who were there.

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Here is our group photo of Civil Rights Pilgrims standing in front Brown's Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama, headquarters of the voter registration movement and Pettus Bridge response after Jimmie Lee Jackson's murder by state trooper Klansmen. We were the talk of the town.





Our takeaway was the extreme sacrifice that enable us to vote today. People were beaten, bludgeoned, shot and murdered for what many take for granted. I hope you vote!!! The sad thing is how racists are succeeding in taking away voting rights today and making it harder if not impossible for people to head to the polls. They will continue until we muster enough people who care to vote them out.

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Mid-America Disciples Civil Rights Pilgrimage Day 3: Living the Life and Death of Jonathan Daniels. A story from 54 years ago had the energy of 'presente' as 300 people gathered in an Alabama courtroom to unite for social justice. The saints and martyrs still guide us today. Testimonies and processing by people who were jailed, shot and closely connected resonated deeply. Dear spiritual friends Kerry Holder Joffrion, Zara Renander, and Dale Braxton were our spirit guides at Snow Hill Christian Church deep in Lowndes County.

Mid-America Civil Rights Pilgrimage Day 4: Montgomery. We were welcomed with overwhelming love at Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. Our 23-person delegation was met by a 140 person strong Women in Red caravan from California. Many hugs were exchanged. What a worship! The National Museum for Freedom of Justice was next that revealed how horrors of our present-day penal system mirrors slavery and perhaps is worse than Jim Crow. The day ended with visiting Maya Lin's fountain at SPLC.

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Mid-America Disciples Civil Rights Pilgrimage Day 5: Rosa Parks, Fred Shuttlesworth, 16th Street Baptist Church and Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham. The Rosa Parks Museum was fabulous and is down the street from a beautiful fountain that sits on top of the slave market auction block. In Birmingham we had an incredible presentation at Bethel Baptist Church that give laser insight on how blacks were treated. For instance, playing checkers with a white or rolling your eyes would land you in jail and thus months of involuntary servitude in the mines or plantation. Children were not allowed in stores to try on school clothes... We don’t know the depths of life just a few decades ago.

Our delegation returned safe and sound.  Now the work has begun.  A pilgrimage has no expected outcomes but one who journeys must be open to be changed.  Come hear our stories at a special sharing at Broadway Christian Church in Columbia on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 12:30.

The Pilgrimage was sponsored and supported by the Mid-America Anti-Racism/Pro-Reconciliation Justice Ministries, Broadway Christian Church, and ecumenical partners.

Thanks to Regional Minister Paul Koch for this account of the trip.







FCC - Troy Mission in Maryland

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On June 28, 28 youth and adults from First Christian Church-Troy set off on a 15-hour road trip to Millersville, Maryland. Their mission: to connect with 300 other youth and adults to improve the living conditions for many families. This meant painting, drywalling, constructing of decks and fences, roofing, and even pulling weeds. But their mission went even deeper than that. They created relationships with the residents of these homes, youth they worked with, and each other. But most importantly, they strengthened their relationship with Christ through mission, worship, and fellowship.

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 This trip was planned and organized by Group Mission Trips. Each year, Group organizes many different mission sites around the country. In 2018, Troy, MO was a host of one of those mission sites. FCC-Troy has been going on Group mission trips since the mid-1990s. These trips allow individual churches to cross theological and ideological divides to unite as the hands and feet of Christ. The 330 youth and adults in Millersville, MD were from Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic, Methodist, and Disciples of Christ churches. For a week their denominational affiliation was less important than their desire to serve Christ and others. They did not know it, but they were living out the mission of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to be “a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.”

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There were 26 homes worked on in Millersville. Crews of 6-12 youth and adults traveled to these homes each day to complete their projects. All supplies and materials were delivered to these homes prior to the group’s arrival. The host church, Nichols-Bethel United Methodist Church, organized the delivery of supplies. Each project had a Site Coach. Site Coaches are Group Mission Trip volunteers who have experience in construction and home improvement. There were many other volunteers, called “Red Shirts” (because they wore red shirts all week) who cleaned the living spaces, planned and led worship services, and much more. There were multiple worship and devotion times worked into the daily schedule. Every night concluded with youth group discussions, which were major bonding moments for the group from FCC-Troy. Wednesday was a half-day of work, and then each church group had free time. FCC chose to explore the downtown area of Annapolis. They also enjoyed a local delicacy: Chesapeake blue crab.

Mission trips are a vital part of the faith development of youth and young adults. They create “holy space” where God becomes the focus. FCC-Troy looks forward to many more mission trips in the future.

Thanks to FCC pastor Rev. Dr. Jeff Moore for this story and photos.

FCC Sedalia Mission Trip

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On Monday July 22nd the youth group of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Sedalia returned from their mission trip to Cincinnati, Ohio. With nineteen youth and five adults, these dedicated disciples were able to serve in a variety of different ways through a variety of different ministries. They served the ministries titled: Master Provisions, Matthew 25 Ministries, BLOC Ministry, and Church Under the Bridge.

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They also visited the Ark Encounter and Cane Ridge during their trip. On Sunday morning the youth visited the Cane Ridge Meeting House, and conducted a run through of Worship they would lead later in the evening at a Ministry called Church Under the Bridge, in Lexington, KY. This Church Under the Bridge Ministry is a place where many of the homeless come to worship. All of the youth opened themselves up so that God could use their gifts throughout this service through personal testimony, song, the playing of the saxophone and violin, prayer, and the power of presence. Throughout their time in Cincinnati and Kentucky the Holy Spirit was overflowing their souls with God’s love, and that love spilled out into their entire ministry. We celebrate that these youth spent a week to be one with God’s Spirit and God’s people.      

Thanks to their pastor, Rev. Dr. Chad McMullin for this information and photos.

Disciple Summer Mission 2019

The Granville crew built this wheelchair ramp for Services for Independent Living.

The Granville crew built this wheelchair ramp for Services for Independent Living.

Among the 250 youth and adults participating in the Disciple Summer Mission at Springfield, MO were groups from South Joplin Christian Church of Joplin and Granville Christian Church of Paris. The week included five worship services, and manual labor and relational ministry for a number of non-profits in Springfield.  Tasks included carpentry, painting, landscaping, warehouse work and other tasks.

This group from Granville CC worked with FCC in Buckner at a recycling center for clothing and shoes. The center is operated by Big Brothers/Big Sisters to fund their work. The clothing is baled and recycled and the shoes are sorted and sent overseas to be sold to support their mission of mentoring children and teens.

This group from Granville CC worked with FCC in Buckner at a recycling center for clothing and shoes. The center is operated by Big Brothers/Big Sisters to fund their work. The clothing is baled and recycled and the shoes are sorted and sent overseas to be sold to support their mission of mentoring children and teens.

The group also attended a Springfield Cardinals Game on Thursday night.

The 2020 DSM will be held in Memphis, TN.  

Thanks to Rev. Fran Schnarre of Granville CC for this information and photos.

Wyatt Park CC Mission Trip

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During the week of June 17, high school youth and adult sponsors from Wyatt Park Christian Church in St. Joseph served in Jesus' name in Appalachia, specifically in southeast Tennessee near the town of Copper Hill. Most of their work was at an elementary school, but they also worked with a community food program.

Wyatt Park youth have gone on mission trips every year since 1996. This year's group was the largest yet: 25 youth and 7 adults.

Thanks to Senior Pastor Scott Killgore
or this information and photos.

Mission in Action 2019

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The South Joplin Christian Church Mission Team was on the road again just recently. The Team traveled to Van Buren, MO May 5 -10 to help with the continuing recovery work the area experienced from the floods in December 2017.  In the past teams from SJCC have traveled to Moore, OK, Clarksdale, MS and Rowlett, TX with work assignments through Disciples Volunteering and Church Extension. In Van Buren the Team volunteered through Catholic Charities.

During the planning process those interested in participating made the decision to stay close after learning of the ongoing recovery work in Van Buren. Since the Joplin tornado and the outpouring of love and generosity from others near and far, the congregation has remained committed in its efforts and desire to bless the lives of others by sharing that same love and generosity. Recovery is a slow process and often times the masses of volunteers decrease to a trickle after 18 months or so. But there are those families who are still trying to recover and rebuild long afterwards who sometimes feel forgotten, some still attempting to find enough resources to build or rebuild. Understanding the reality of such played a role in the final decision to travel to Van Buren. While there we learned from the Director of Catholic Charities that funds to help flood victims in the area were close to depletion, leaving little hope for helping any additional families. Ironically, as we arrived in the Van Buren community that Sunday afternoon the Current River and Big Springs were overflowing their banks and moving rapidly.

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Prior to the Team’s arrival the SJCC construction lead was told the work assignments included siding and roofing on two new home builds. And what the South Joplin Mission Team found in the Van Buen community were two families who continued to maintain hope that they would one day have a place to call home again. The Team had the pleasure the early part of the week of installing siding on a small one bedroom home, completing the window and exterior trim and painting the skirting for the home to be installed later. Pam, the home owner, was overjoyed with tears and gratitude the days she visited and saw the exterior of her new home (interior still under construction). “It is so beautiful and it is mine.”  Pam’s previous residence, a large trailer, had been damaged by high water and was no longer habitable. Her dog Dozer who stayed on the property 24/7 guarding it faithfully was overjoyed himself each morning when we arrived.

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Mid-week the Team moved to the second property, the home of Lisa and Shawn to complete the roofing job and install all of the windows. Again, the Team found a family who was full of gratitude and so excited to see another phase of their home being completed. This family’s home was totally washed away during the flood. With the assistance of Catholic Charities they were able to find another parcel of land on higher ground. 

Although only a small team of six “we were pleased to have been able to serve these two families in Van Buren and being a witness of God’s love in the community. It was hard work but thanks be to God we completed our tasks.”

The South Joplin congregation strives daily to live into its five faith practices of Genuine Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-Taking Mission and Service and Spirit-led Generosity. Our motto for mission: “Mission in Action – Being the hands and feet of Jesus.”

Submitted by Rev. Kathryn Wilson, Minister of Mission and Outreach

 

Cleaning Up Community

Hundreds of people from across our community spectrum came out to Community Christian Church in Jefferson City for two days of storm cleanup this past weekend. Transformation has begun and what a difference hundreds of hands (times two) can make. 

The canopy of trees surrounding the church was largely decimated so a great deal of limb and brush clearing was necessary, which needed to be separated from the asphalt tiles, insulation and fiberglass debris from across the vicinity mixed in. Shards of glass littered the lawn which had to be extracted with fine tools and gloved hands.  

Volunteers were not able to work in the church building until evaluation reports from structural engineers and asbestos abatement teams were in, but there was plenty to do outside. Once reports are in, the congregation will evaluate and announce next steps with prayerful consideration. Temporary worship and office space have been secured.

Shout out to South Calloway HS students and coaches who came out on their first day of vacation to help in the cleanup effort, the Firley YMCA whose staff cleared pieces of glass across the parking lot so volunteers could come, the several churches who were represented, Affordable Towing who appeared to remove fencing, an anonymous donor who left a big check, and love 2 nourish that fed all. 

The prior Wednesday, Rev. Dr. Paul Koch, Regional Minister, led the Community folks in Way of Council Healing Circles. This was preceded by a community-wide prayer service held at First Christian Church on Sunday. Both were widely attended.

On Thursday, June 6 at 3:00 at Second Christian Church in Jefferson City, a brief "Acts of God" Celebration Service to offer thanksgiving for all recovery volunteers, the resilience of the Community Disciples, and all churches who have lent assistance, prayers and donated to Week of Compassion will take place. All are invited.  Rev. Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President; Vy Nguyen, Executive Director of Week of Compassion; and Josh Baird, Director of Disciples Volunteering will be on hand to offer praise and to thank all personally. During the service, congregations and all persons affected by floods and the tornadoes will be lifted up.  

Story and photos by Regional Minister Paul Koch.


Mother's Day Mission at Affton CC

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For Mother's Day the kids at Affton Christian Church had a stuffed animal drive. All 227 animals collected will be donated to The Little Bit Foundation and passed out at a community event for neighborhood children. Thanks to everyone who supported them and donated! There were so many they had to be divided into two locations so worship leaders could still use the communion table during worship and bless the toys before they are sent to their new homes!

Story and photo courtesy of ACC Minister to Children, Youth, and Families Becky Piening.

Burlington Junction Church in the Community

On April 28th the First Christian Church of Burlington Junction held their Church in the community day. Among the project choices were picking up trash along the highway, planting flowers in public space flower boxes, and packing hygiene packets for the Children & Family Center of Maryville. When the work was done they returned to a wonderful meal of burgers & hot dogs with all the sides to go with them.   

“Serving God through our actions”

Thank you to Pastor Terry Robison
for this story and photos. 

Lenten Love Project of Central CC

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For Lent this year, Central Christian Church in Moberly took on a new mission project. During the season when many give up something, the congregation was encouraged to pick up something – extra groceries for their local food bank.

The idea grew out of the success the church has had with a similar endeavor over the last two Advent seasons. They have participated in a ‘reverse Advent calendar’ whereby, instead of receiving a chocolate or other treat each day, they donate a food item for someone who needs it.

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The church procured a list of the needed items from the local Christos Center food bank, of which Central CC was a founding congregation, and where several of their members still serve as volunteers. The twelve staple items are the foundation for each bag that the Center provides to its clients.

As a congregation, they were able to fill 71 bags which will be delivered to the Center for distribution after Easter!

Thank you to Pastor Mark Tisch for this information and photos.

FCCE Refugee Mission

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First Christian Church of Edwardsville has partnered with the International Institute of St Louis to help a refugee family arriving from Afghanistan.  

The Mission Ministries of FCC Edwardsville have grown from regular financial support of denominational and local opportunities.  A few years ago, the congregation felt called to seek larger opportunities to serve.  Part of the motivation was seeing the impact of mission trips on the church youth group.

A hallway conversation between Barb Small (church member) and Dr. Brooks (Lead Minister) led to two “Remodeling” missions at a local homeless shelter.  The congregation remodeled a bedroom (new flooring, new ceiling, paint, furniture, etc) that would shelter a family of four.  The next year, the kitchen of the homeless shelter was remodeled.  By now the church was using a combination of budgeted funds and “over and above” donations for these projects.

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Kevin Paur and his family began participating in FCCE and the mission efforts.   Mr. Paur had experience volunteering with International Institute.  Dr. Brooks had memories of his home congregation resettling two families of Vietnam Boat Refugees.  The US State Department contracts with the International Institute (a secular organization in St Louis) for a variety of refugee services.  The International Institute brings experience and connections to provide meaningful services beyond those funded by the US State Department.

Kevin Paur, Barb Small, and the Mission Team reviewed options to participate with the International Institute.  It was decided that a first step would be committing to provide the contents of an apartment and groceries.  Adding to the excitement, the arrival of a refugee family and their needs (such as number of family members, ages, etc) are only known with a few weeks notice. 

FCCE donated the contents of an apartment for four people (furniture, groceries, linens, etc).  A team from the church delivered the items and set up the apartment.  This team transformed a barren apartment into a welcoming home.  In addition, the congregation donated funds to help with future rent, groceries, and other needs of the family.  

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Tracy Wetzel, Board Chair, and the Board of Directors have been passionate supporters of this effort.  The missional efforts of FCCE are seen as a leading of the Holy Spirit.  A faith community committed to youth & children’s ministry followed the example of the youth & children.  FCCE has been able to engage well these mission opportunities because of the movement of God’s Spirit leading us beyond the walls where we worship each week.  We are simply blessed with this opportunity to serve our neighbor.

The refugee family from Afghanistan has arrived safely and is joyful with the apartment.  For more information please contact either FCCE [info@fccedwardsville.org or 618.656.7498] or Kevin Paur [kevinpaur@yahoo.com]

~ Dr. James R. Brooks, Lead Minister
Find more photos on the
church’s website.

Chicken Pies for Mission!

The First Christian Church of Brookfield recently hosted their 116th Annual “Chicken Pie Supper” on Saturday, March 23rd, 2019! 

The Chicken Pie Supper began in the early 1900’s as a weekly dinner served every Saturday night, while the stores were open, for 25 cents a pie. These early dinners helped the congregation of that time fund and build the Linn Street Building in 1907. The Chicken Pie Supper later became a yearly tradition for the First Christian Church of Brookfield. Preparations for the supper begin a week ahead as they prepare pie crusts, make slaw, peel potatoes, cook chicken, prepare the chicken and finally assemble the pies. 

This year the group made 100 Chicken Pies and served people in their fellowship hall during the event, as well as made deliveries and filled to-go orders throughout the evening. The Annual “Chicken Pie Supper” has become a community favorite and our local church is know for its delicious Chicken Pies!  All proceeds from the supper go towards the Missions of the Disciples Women’s Ministry as they support God’s work both locally and around the world.

Thanks to Pastor Mandy Wiedeman for this story and photos.