Disciples Day at Cane Ridge

On Saturday, June 23, Disciples from many Regions, including Mid-America, gathered at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, to honor and commemorate an important part of Disciples history. The Cane Ridge meeting house – the sight of the 1801 revival led by Barton Stone and several ecumenical colleagues – hosts this gathering of Disciples every year. Participants came together in the old log structure to sing hymns, listen to guest musicians, enjoy a picnic lunch, and hear a lecture by the Rev. Dr. Richard Lowery, President of the Disciples Historical Society, and a sermon by former General Minister and President Sharon Watkins who is now working with the National Council of Churches.

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Lowery reminded the congregation that God is a God who liberates slaves, and Watkins assured hearers that God’s power for sight can transform people even when they are blinded by social injustices and oppressive structures. 

Both Lowery and Watkins spoke about the importance of the history of the Stone-Campbell Movement, and our call to be open to the same spirit that empowered our forebears in the faith. They reminded participants that our “movement for wholeness in a fragmented world” requires faithful decisions and difficult choices, but that we can learn from those who went before us – both their successes and their failures – about what it means to seek out and stand for justice for all people, and live the unity to which we are called as members of the Body of Christ.

Thank you to Webster Groves CC's
Pastor Jeff Moore for story and
member Denise Pahl for photos.

June 20th is World Refugee Day

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On June 17th many of us celebrated Fathers' Day. Many also observed Refugee & Immigrant Welcome Sunday as a special day to lift up refugee and immigrant contributions and challenges. 

As June 20th is World Refugee Day, please take some time to learn about and support some of the important ministries that strive to bring more safety, peace, and wholeness into this fragmented world.

Many of these resources have helpful background information, links to other organizations, and lots of concrete suggestions and guidance for how to get involved.

C.R.Y. Mission

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High school youth across the Mid-America Region are excited about a culmination of a year’s worth of hard work, planning, prayer and preparation.

The 25 members of the Leadership and Development team of the Christian Regional Youth Cabinet will celebrate their accomplishments at the annual C.R.Y. Festival on July 23-26, 2018 at the Marianist Retreat Center in Eureka, MO.

 Adrienne Layton of Marshall pitching in!

Adrienne Layton of Marshall pitching in!

This team of CRY Cabinet members meet quarterly throughout the year, staying at host churches across the Mid-America Region. During these 24 hour meetings, they engage in mission and service work in the community, and occasionally justice work such as the March for Our Lives demonstration. The team also participates in leadership development training and role-playing scenarios. A large portion of the time is spent planning, praying, preparing and working together to create an annual Festival where all are welcome and celebrated. To finish off their meetings, the Cabinet attends and typically presents or leads a portion of the worship service at their host church.

The Christian Regional Youth Festival has been an integral part of the Mid-American Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for over 40 years. The Festival has historically met at one of the four Disciples of Christ colleges in Missouri, but has recently begun branching out to new locations.

 Kris Milliron & Glen Clemens are also helping at this Saline County BBQ lunch service.

Kris Milliron & Glen Clemens are also helping at this Saline County BBQ lunch service.

In 2016, CRY-goers participated in Mission First with the greater church of the United States and Canada, drawing the attention of then General Minister and President Sharon Watkins as one of few youth gatherings involved in the initiative. Mission and service now have become a priority with CRY participants, and have been incorporated into each of the quarterly gatherings and at the Festival itself. Members serve in a variety of ways: in their host communities, at organizations, in letter-writing campaigns, outdoor work, and at their host campuses.

 

The CRY Festival, because of its emphasis on youth leadership and spiritual development, has a significant percentage of alumni that pursue religious studies through higher education. Disciples of Christ affiliated colleges and universities across North America offer excellent scholarship opportunities for CRY alum.

Youth completing grades 8-12 are invited to the CRY Festival, where youth (and adult sponsors) lead a four-day Festival filled with abounding love, fellowship, friendship, education, worship and prayer, and plenty of fun.

The CRY Cabinet invites you to experience this life-changing event this summer! The early registration discount has been extended to June 15th so check it out and register today!

Thanks to CRY adult leader Kris Milliron of FCC in Marshall for this story and to
CRY adult leader Carole Hughes of Webster Groves CC for the photos.

Four St. Louis Congregations Serve Others Together

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On Thursday, May 31, four St. Louis area Disciples congregations helped purchase, prepare, and serve a BBQ lunch for residents and staff at Cooper House, a residential care facility for people living with HIV and AIDS.  Cooper House is a part of Doorways, a St. Louis-based organization providing “Housing, Health, and Hope” for people living with HIV.  

 

 

More than twenty members of Centennial Christian Church, Memorial Boulevard Christian Church, Union Avenue Christian Church, and Webster Groves Christian Church helped cook and serve hot dogs, brats, hamburgers, BBQ chicken, and BBQ ribs.  Church members also brought delicious desserts for the event.  Residents, staff, and volunteers had a great time, eating, talking, and getting to know one another.  Doorways staff and members of the four congregations have already begun discussing the next event!

Thanks to Rev. Dr. Jeff Moore, pastor of WGCC, for information and photo.

Maysville Goes Live!

How does a very small rural Church in Northwest Missouri have a reach that stretches across our nation and even to India and China? I am the part-time Pastor of First Christian Church of Maysville, MO. We are a very small county seat congregation, averaging around 15-20 people each Sunday in attendance; however, this week, we have had about 120 people joining with our worship so far, and that number is still growing. How do we do that? Facebook Live.

Over the last year or so, I’ve come to realize that many people, especially younger people, simply are not going to come visit our Church on their own. We live in the age of the internet, and it has become the go-to source of information and first contact for a large percentage of people – especially younger generations. I was skeptical, at best, of the idea of “Doing Church” online. After all, one major part of Church is fellowship, which admittedly lacks in online Church; however, it opens a door to fellowship in the future that otherwise may never open. And, besides, live streaming our service? Certainly beyond our budget, right?

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Wrong!  As a techie, (I have spent most of my 37 years in the ministry as a music/technology minister) I was totally in the dark when it came to live streaming. The last time I looked into it was several years ago, and the cost was huge. Now, though, hardly a day passes that I don’t see a friend on Facebook, “Live.” So I reached out to a few and found out just how easy it is. And so, one Sunday, we just did it, to try. All I needed was my iPhone (Android phones are OK too), an internet plan with enough data (about 8 GB per month), and a way to hold the phone.

For the first Sunday, the “trying it out”, I grabbed a fast food large drink plastic cup, turned it upside down, cut a notch about 1½ “deep, put my phone in it, and set it on our DVD player in the second row. Then I launched my Facebook, started a post, clicked on video, then “Live Video”, switched to the rear camera, and had my projection person hit the “start” after our contemporary music (due to copyright issues). Up front cost - $0. We had a board meeting right after that service and we decided to continue it and purchase a tripod. That week, I bought an inexpensive tripod and another small tripod with a smartphone mount, put the mount on the larger tripod, and we’re set up. The total cost of that was about $70.

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The next step is to get the membership on board and get them to “share” the video each week, which dramatically increases your “views”. We have family members of mine and others in our Church who live in other states, from Minnesota to Texas, joining us live every Sunday morning - going to Church “with us” even though they are hundreds of miles away. I have friends on the east coast and Indiana who join us either live or later during the week. And, because I run a computer and cell phone repair business, I am Facebook friends with sales people and owners of parts suppliers and distributors in places like India, China, and Saudi Arabia. I have received messages from some in India and China that they have viewed our video and enjoyed it! Our next step is that we just started a Tithe.ly account, where viewers can participate in the offering as well. 

If your congregation is thinking about doing this and you need to talk about it or ask technical questions, reach out to me by email at prcsonar@att.net.

Thanks to Pastor Paul Cockram for this story and photos.

 

Canned Fruit Month at Clinton CC

Clinton Christian Church has been supporting the Samaritan Center for over 20 years and has a large group of volunteers that work there every Wednesday. The center is a not for profit organization that helps those less fortunate with food and utility assistance in Clinton.

 The church newsletter shared this photo of "The Queen of Canned Fruit perched on her throne."

The church newsletter shared this photo of "The Queen of Canned Fruit perched on her throne."

Given this long history, and her long-standing desire to help others, Pastor Tim Wessley's wife Tina turned her 50th birthday into a congregational challenge that helped a lot of people!

As her milestone day approached, Tina reached out to the coordinator of Samaritan Center donations to see what was most needed. At the time, the item was canned fruit. All right, then - how much? Requesting that the congregation collect 50 cans of fruit was clearly not much of a challenge. So she set quite an ambitious hope before the church - the donation of 1968 cans to this worthy cause. She made the year of her birth the goal and turned March into Canned Fruit Month!

Members really pitched in, extended the donation deadline, and in the end had collected 1,857 cans. What a creative project and terrific accomplishment!

Thanks to Pastor Tim Wessley for this information and photo.

The Pantry

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The Pantry is a unique food assistance organization that provides healthy, inexpensive food, simple instructions for its preparation, and the support of a true partnership between its volunteers and its guests. The idea came to life four years ago at one of Mid-America's new churches, Table of Grace, in Jefferson City. When they realized the scope of food insecurity in their local area, founders were motivated to do something about it. They also quickly identified a desire to provide more than pre-packaged, odd, or even expired food,  and to eliminate the hassle and indignity that can sometimes meet visitors at a food pantry. 

Inspired by the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, one of the founding members, Stephanie Scott-Huffman, explains her view of what happened that day: "It’s pretty amazing he was able to get a large crowd of people to give what they had and others to take what they needed and then in the end, there was plenty left." That's the true miracle. 

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Now in its third home and serving about 400 people each month, The Pantry continues to provide not just a random assortment of food items, but the ingredients and instructions for a planned menu. This model results in much healthier meals for the guests, a shopping list of items needed which takes the guesswork out for donors, and a collection of recipes and other tips that guests will be able to use to stretch their food budget. All of this takes place with no burden of guest qualifications, documentation, or proselytizing.

Though Table of Grace has closed, this ecumenical ministry and community effort continues with the simple desire of everyone involved to help their neighbors.

 

There's so much more to know about The Pantry!
- Visit their website.
- Read the whole, impassioned description of The Pantry's history by Stephanie Scott-Huffman.
- Check out their coverage in Her online magazine (complete with recipes!).
- Read the most recent article about their new location in the News Tribune.

Day of Service in Poplar Bluff

 Mark Richardson, Stanley Pinkston, and Jack Maxwell serve up a meal for a Bread Shed guest.

Mark Richardson, Stanley Pinkston, and Jack Maxwell serve up a meal for a Bread Shed guest.

The First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Poplar Bluff Second Annual Day of Service is in the books.

The church members were living out the command in James’ letter to the early church of having both faith and works to show the gospel to the people.

James writes to the early church, “So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.”

This year the church members partnered with Bright Futures and the Bread Shed to give back to the community.

April 29th was designated as Undie Sundie by Bright Futures to collect underwear for students in the Poplar Bluff R1 School District. Two hundred thirteen pairs of underwear were collected for students and the Poplar Bluff school system. Nine pair of socks were also collected.


Later one hundred fifty meals were served at the weekly meal for community members at the Bread Shed.

Our next Day of Service will be the second Sunday of July when we will grill hot dogs and hamburgers for our city and county police, state police, firefighters, and first responders.

Doris Chlastak waits to serve desserts for Bread Shed guests. >>


Thanks to the church's pastor Rev. Frank Chlastak
for this information and photos.

 

Spirituality - A View from Chiapas, Mexico

Dr. Larry Colvin, Regional Minister; Dr. Tim Carson, Pastor at Broadway Christian Church in Columbia; and Rev. Kathryn Wilson, Minister of Outreach and Mission at South Joplin Christian Church took part in a People-to-People Spiritual Pilgrimage to Chiapas, Mexico, April 17-26. The three were met  by Global Ministries Mission Co-Worker Elena Huegel who serves through Instituto de Estudios y Investigacion Intercultural (INESIN)  in San Critabol. She prepared the pilgrimage and was host.


Each day the group shared in an understanding of spirituality from one or more traditions. On the first day, Pastor Martin Guerrero, Director of INESIN, presented an ecumenical and intercultural introduction of various spiritual practices in the  Mexican context. He also placed these spiritual understandings in the context of the history, politics, culture, and social settings in Mexico and in particular, the State of Chiapas.

Two days were devoted to learning about the traditions of indigenous peoples who are of Mayan decent. Though many of their spiritual practices were long forbidden by Catholic authorities and outlawed by the Mexican government, in recent years they have resurfaced and are now allowed to be practiced. Many blend aspects of their Mayan spirituality with their Catholic or Protestant spirituality. As an example, there are four colors of corn which is native to the land. The four colors of corn may often be seen shaped into a cross and laid on individual altars found in homes. Evergreens are used on the altar as a reminder of eternal life, just as Christians use evergreens in winter to remind us of eternal life. Many times the altars are in the form of a circle to remember that God is also eternal. Flowers are used as a sign of God's creation. Candles, used more by Catholics and not Protestants, are a symbol of the light of God and continuation of prayers to God.

On the final day, the group gathered for individual prayer and shared their individual spiritual understandings. They also discussed how faith and spirituality have been both challenged and strengthened through the pilgrimage.

In the coming weeks Dr. Carson and Rev. Wilson will each share personal reflections of the days together. 

Thanks to Dr. Larry Colvin for this information and photos.
Read Elena Huegel's Spring newsletter.

Dr. Tim Carson shares his reflections.

Ready for Sanctuary at Rock Bridge Christian Church

"As people of faith, it is our responsibility to stand in solidarity with undocumented people living in fear of being separated from their families." This is the idea that, back in September, led Rock Bridge CC in Columbia to become a sanctuary church. The vote took place after a four-month discernment process. Read their complete announcement and learn more about this national interfaith sanctuary movement.

Being only the second church to make such a statement in the Columbia area, RBCC's decision was covered by local news agencies KOMU and the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Now the congregation has one final project to complete in order to be ready to host someone in their building. They plan to upgrade their accessible bathroom with a shower and washer. With a price tag of $4,800, this last improvement will enable them to host someone under threat of immediate deportation because of their immigration status. Learn more about their short-term fundraiser challenge.

Faith Adventures Pre-Camp Rally

 Large group singing led by Mark Houser, Hermitage CC and Jack Daniel, El Dorado Springs FCC

Large group singing led by Mark Houser, Hermitage CC and Jack Daniel, El Dorado Springs FCC

Even with the mixture of snow, sleet, and rain, Faith Adventures Camp held its 4th Annual Pre-Camp Rally on Sunday afternoon, April 8th at Hermitage Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Activities for the afternoon included fun ice breakers, crazy camp songs, fun games with M&Ms, and watching videos from past camps.  Nearly 80 youth, adults, and pastors from DOC Churches in Appleton City, Butler, Clinton, El Dorado Springs, Hermitage, Nevada, and Springfield South Street were in attendance. Despite the cold, dreary weather, the Son was shining inside.

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The afternoon started out with introductions by Rev. Jack Daniel, coordinator of Faith Adventures Camp, and then moved on to ice breakers for the whole group, along with some singing and magic tricks by Mark Houser. The theme for Faith Adventures 2018 Camp will be “Beyond Belief.” Rev. Daniel gave examples from real life and from the Bible where things were beyond belief.

After the ice breakers, everyone divided into breakout groups of JYF youth, Chi Rho, and CYF. Students in the older group played Never Have I Ever and did some acting with Skits in a Bag. The younger group did get to know you with tennis balls and played Minute to Win It games. The event concluded with more singing and a meal of hot dogs, chips, and homemade cookies served and grilled by the men and women from the Hermitage Christian Church.     

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Some of the youth attending the rally had been to camp every year since the first year of Faith Adventures Camp in 2014. Others had never been to camp, but plan on attending for the first time this summer. Faith Adventures Camp for 2018 will be held July 23-27th at Camp Hebron in Pittsburg, MO. For more information about Faith Adventures Camp, visit www.faithadventurescamp.com.

Thanks to FCC El Dorado's Barb Walsh for this information and photos. 

Find information about all of our other summer programs here.

Florissant Valley CC Commissions Short-Term Missioners

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On Easter Sunday, April 1, Pastor Michael Dixon led a commissioning service at Florissant Valley Christian Church for four of its members to go on an eight-day mission trip to Guadalajara, Mexico. For the last several years, Jim and Kay Christian and David and Janet Camarota have made this trip for Wheels for the World, which provides wheelchairs and other mobility aids for people who need but can’t afford them. Wheels for the World is a mission of Joni and Friends. Wheelchairs are collected, repaired, and sent to the sponsoring congregation in Guadalajara, and the team from the US works with a local team to fit the wheelchairs to people’s needs. People come from many miles around to gain mobility for children, youth, adults and seniors. Each year the Christians and Camarotas come back with beautiful stories of their opportunities to work and witness for Jesus Christ.

The congregation supports the mission by collecting free-will offerings that go for the purchase of supplies and orthopedic equipment, and through prayer.

Thanks to Michael Dixon for this information and photo.

Now THAT'S Neighborhood!

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On March 17th, Friendship Christian Church was destroyed by fire. On March 22nd, neighboring Tulip Christian Church raised over $5,000 to help. What an amazing (and fast!) response to this tragedy. Here's how one of the organizers describes the event, which took place at the Centralia Fairgrounds.

 

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Tulip Christian Church and Friendship Christian Church are located 2 miles apart in a rural community. After the fire on Saturday, our minister asked us to all think about what we could do for the Friendship congregation. Some of us talked about doing a free will donation lunch. We put it together in four days because we wanted to get it done before farming season. The food and supplies were mostly all donated by church members, so it did not cost Tulip much in expenses. We used social media as the primary source of advertisement as well as a few fliers placed around town. 

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The outpouring of generosity from the community was surprising and a humbling experience. This was a great faith and community building experience for Tulip. We were able to raise a little over $5100, that will be donated to Friendship Christian Church, to use as they wish.

 

Thank you to Robin Reynolds and Rev. Fran Schnarre
for sharing this story and photos.

Community Socials at Wheeling Christian Church

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Members of Wheeling Christian Church welcome their whole community to a ‘senior dinner’ twice a month. This ministry, which is in its third year, began as the congregation no longer had participants in a children/youth ministry program, but had more elderly members.

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As the idea for a new meal/fellowship time began to take shape, members were surveyed and it became clear that the best time for such a gathering would be mid-day due to the fact that many potential attendees did not drive at night. The hope for that very first meeting was maybe 15 participants, but 35 came and had a wonderful time!

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Now the dinners take place every first and third Tuesday of the month, from April to November. Volunteers plan, prepare, and serve the meals. Each meeting has about 45 participants who are not all church members, but from the wider community as well. This special fellowship time offers a good meal, bingo and other games with prizes, a celebration of birthdays and anniversaries, and a true sense of support and belonging for all.

Funded by the church initially, this program is now self-sustaining, with participants often making donations.

Thank you to pastor Leon Bryant and coordination team member
Paula Grozinger for this information and photos.

Ecumenical Mission Trip

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The youth group from First Christian Church of Edwardsville, IL and the youth group from Mt. Joy Missionary Baptist Church of Edwardsville, IL just returned from a mission trip to Nashville, TN.  This mission trip served as a wonderful ecumenical opportunity for two youth groups from the same community to not only serve together but also to enhance our relationship with God and one another.  

While in Nashville, the youth and adults who attended served at three different organizations.  Some of our volunteers spent one-on-one time with shoppers assuring them they are cared for and that they are important at The Little Pantry that Could.  Others spent the majority of their time doing some much-needed cleaning and organizing at the domestic violence shelter, Morning Star Sanctuary.  Our third group who volunteered at End Slavery Tennessee learned about the very real problem of labor and human trafficking while assisting with an annual fundraiser to promote the healing of survivors and to confront slavery in Tennessee.  

These service projects helped us to open our eyes and see the many struggles that individuals are facing on a daily basis.  It is easy for us to get wrapped up in our own problems which can often overshadow the problems and needs of others.  It is our hope that we can share our mission trip experiences with others while highlighting the importance of caring for and serving those who need to experience God’s love throughout the world.  

Thanks to Rev. Jeff Wrigley,
Associate Minister at FCC Edwardsville,
for this story and photos.

Mid-Americans Headed to Mexico - & You Can Help!

Three people from CCMA will be participating in a Spiritual People-to-People Pilgrimage to Chiapas, Mexico April 17-26. Regional Minister Larry Colvin; Kathryn Wilson, Mission/Outreach Minister at South Joplin Christian Church; and Tim Carson, Senior Minister at Broadway Christian Church in Columbia, will be visiting our mission partners and sharing with Mission Co-Worker Elena Huegel. In addition, time will be spent sharing culturally different times of worship and prayer as they relate with indigenous persons, as well as immigrants and refugees from Central and South America.

A link from Chiapas will be part of the mission sharing at the CCMA Regional Assembly in Hannibal on day 2 of the April 20-21 event.

Parts of Chiapas were devastated last year by a series of earthquakes, and the team will join those who have lost homes and loved ones. In 2017 a challenge was made to Disciples Women of CCMA to contribute $4,000 for the purchase of relief kits for immigrants and refugees. Later CCMA DW adopted the Global Ministries' request to redirect those funds to the Roots in the Ruins relief effort. Now, because of the severe need of assistance by victims as earthquakes continue to strike, we are again inviting donations to purchase the relief kits. 

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Although the original challenge was for Disciples Women, anyone who wishes may contribute to the purchase of kits. A check made out to CCMA and noted for Chiapas Kits may be sent to CCMA at 475 E. Lockwood Ave., St. Louis, MO 63119. Please send no later than April 2. The money will be sent to Global Ministries for the purchase of kits. As with all designated gifts to Global Ministries, 100% of the gift will be used as designated.

Story by Rev. Dr. Larry Colvin.

First Christian Church in Seymour Opens Diaper Pantry

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In January, First Christian Church in Seymour opened its new diaper pantry and helped nine local families on its first day. The idea came to Maggie Daugherty at the 2016 Regional Assembly in Springfield. She learned that many families struggle to afford diapers, and that government supplemental assistance programs don’t provide them.

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Describing herself as just somebody who saw a need and jumped in, she got the project rolling and now many members of the church are involved. Shelves have been built at the church to store the infant, toddler, and adult diapers, as well as additional personal care items like toilet paper and soap, which are also not covered by assistance programs. Volunteers will staff the space on the third Saturday morning of each month. Even more volunteers package the diapers into bundles of 18 each for distribution. They’ve also been in contact with the Ozark Diaper Bank and have cloth diapers available for loan.

The new program has been highlighted by the local newspaper and television. Maggie says she is amazed with the response and looks to the future saying, “We’ll see what God does with this!”

Mission at First Christian Church in Kennett

Where to begin? In choosing to be a missional church without borders- First Christian of Kennett is a hard congregation to nail down when trying to determine the types and numbers of mission projects that they are engaged in. That being said, that doesn’t mean that they are not fully engaged- because they are. However, by choice- they have chosen a path less focused on specific projects- earmarked and done annually; and more directed on meaningful service in the community- in whatever way that should be manifested.

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One such community based organization that they are currently working in partnership with is Helping Hands. It is a group administered by the local Ministerial Alliance. They provide emergency food boxes, clothing, housewares, and other items to families in need. One of the food items most requested by the director of Helping Hands has been- a continuous need for peanut butter. Thus, in the month of December 2017 alone, First Christian Church collected over 130 jars of peanut butter and 40 boxes of crackers. The church is doing the same this month (January 2018), along with its monthly financial commitment to the organization. One person at Helping Hands has affectionately called First Christian “the peanut butter Church.”

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Another organization the Church has partnered with is The Delta Children’s Home- which operates two foster homes in Kennett and which has been changing the lives of children in Southeast Missouri for many years. Back in October of last year, the youth created a piece of art which was auctioned at their Delta Children’s Home Bake Sale and Auction. A month later, the Church women collected crib sheets for the same group.

And in cooperation with the local high school, the Church has been a regular supplier of toiletry items for a project called “Indian In-N-Out,” which allows students come and take whatever they need from a caring cabinet, without the embarrassment of having to tell others about their predicament and enable them to focus on their studies.

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As was said earlier- where to begin! Over the last several months- First Christian of Kennett have helped both financially and materially to NightLight, which addresses the issue of commercial sexual exploitation- especially in the Tri-Lakes area; a Chemo Care-Kit Drive (the collection of fuzzy socks for those individuals undergoing chemotherapy);  collecting baby supplies (diapers and baby wipes) for Virgie’s Place- a community based organization helping new mothers; conducted a Children’s Sabbath worship service- conducted by the youth of the Church (centered on empowering young people), varied Christmas outreach endeavors as well as….countless other projects both locally and beyond.

In 2017, the First Christian Church also saw its giving to denominational special offerings- Week of Compassion, Pentecost, Reconciliation, and Christmas grow dramatically- in many cases, more than 100 percent. One of the things shared by many of the Church’s members- is the fact that the greatest percentage of mission dollars, donated for mission is used for mission by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Our national organization already has the infrastructure to both administrate and distribute, and doesn’t spend a large amounts of mission dollars for the advertisement of mission programs.

Sometimes, at First Christian they can say "we sometimes know what God is like" ....in seeing the Good News…..of lives being changed through mission…God mission.

Please check the following web-link for additional information:http://www.kennettchristianchurch.org/outreach.html

Thanks to Interim Pastor Rev. Jim Wilson
for this story and photos.
Edited from original version 1/22 8:40pm.

FCC Odessa Reaching Out

Following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, First Christian Church of Odessa, MO desired to help. Naturally we promoted the Week of Compassion (of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as an agency prepared to assist. Donations could be sent with the assurance the gifts would be used for direct relief.

 Elder Billy Smith with the check for University CC.

Elder Billy Smith with the check for University CC.

A few weeks later a member inquired regarding directly assisting a sister congregation in the Houston area. The inquiry led to a contact with a former pastor who had served in Houston for 16 years. His suggestion was to contact Peggy Edge, Coastal Plains Area Minister. The Reverend Edge then put us in contact with the University Christian Church, a smaller transforming church, who had sustained damage.

FCC made contact with The Reverend Darnell Fennell learning more about the congregation's needs. On December 3, 2017 a check exceeding $2200 was blessed during worship at FCC. It was mailed to University Christian Church the next day.

Of the $2200, a portion represented a gift from Outreach. But the majority of the gift came from individual members' contributions. We want to remain in contact with our sister congregation to learn of other ways we might be of support and assistance.

Thanks to Interim Minister Rick Butler
for this story and photo.

World’s Largest Christmas Stocking

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First Christian Church in Sedalia’s team has the new world record stocking!! We unveiled the worlds largest stocking to a crowd of over 300 people at the Mathewson center on December 19th. Official measurements were taken by a certified agent and results are being sent to Guinness book. 

 

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The Guinness World Record’s largest Christmas stocking was held in Carrara, Tuscany, Italy since 2015. To win the title back to the USA and small town America, Sedalia, MO, the stocking needed to measure more than 168 feet 4.65 inches in length and 70 feet 11.57 inches in width (heel to toe). When I was approached by Charlie Thomas, radio host from our local radio station KDRO about this project, I immediately became very excited about being involved. Mr. Thomas knew the reputation of our congregation as being very involved in outreach and leadership in our community. He reached out to the Outreach Team of First Christian Church to be the design and sewing team for the project.

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The stocking was made in conjunction with the Community Santa project that has been in existence approximately 35 years in Pettis County. The Community Santa provides toys, books and games, donated by individuals from Sedalia and surrounding area, for more than 1200 children, elderly and the disabled every year. Persons receiving assistance fall below the poverty level guidelines designed by the Department of Family Services. Community Santa, KDRO and the Sedalia Democrat (our local newspaper) used the production of the stocking to help stimulate more participation from the community in giving toys so that every child in our community has the promise of a magical day.

First Christian Church, Sedalia, MO (Disciples of Christ) has adopted a vision, “Spirit Guided, Mission Minded.” We are encouraged to develop ministries that enhance relationships with our community, whether it be within our church or beyond our doors. This project has provided opportunity for our church to work with businesses, individuals and media in our community and develop new relationships between our own members. New relationships have developed between intergenerational persons ranging from 94 years old to 8 years old.

JoDee Buso
Outreach Team Leader
First Christian Church
Sedalia, MO