CRY Cabinet Meeting/Mission

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The Christian Regional Youth leadership team met in Marshall this past weekend. They spent Saturday evening in leadership development training and meetings, preparing for a brand-new winter event. After a few hours of rest, several members of the team remained to join Marshall First Christian Church in their semi-annual S.O.S. Sunday. A brief worship service takes place prior to church members conducting Service Outside the Sanctuary, doing construction, yard work, household maintenance, and delivering home cooked meals to the home bound. Although it was cold and rainy, it didn't stop the team from raking leaves and cleaning up an overgrown yard!

The regional youth team are excited to announce WINTER FEST, a weekend winter retreat for high school-aged youth on January 19-21st in Fulton, MO. Watch the Regional website for a flyer and registration information, coming soon.

Thanks to CRY Adult Leader Kris MIlliron
for this information and photos.

Youth of FCC Maryville Doing for Others

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For the past two years, a small group of the youth ministry mission team from First Christian Church in Maryville have traveled down to Perry, KS for two different week long service missions at the Alpha Christian Children’s Home. Alpha is a ministry that houses children in need and provides them an education on campus as well during their time at Alpha. Alpha is 100% privately funded and relies on the donations of churches and volunteer labor to keep the 170-acre property going for the children and staff who reside there.

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Our first summer visit was in July of 2017. Our team worked side by side with the VIM (Volunteers in Mission) to help rebuild the main staff house (it will also serve as respite care for the children) which had been destroyed in a fire from a lightning strike a couple of years prior to our visit. Our children were taught how to hang cement board siding, install windows and doors, put in flooring and walls, and run a variety of power tools necessary for the jobs. While there, we had the opportunity to share meals and games with the children and families of Alpha, as well as prayer for and with the mission director each night during devotion. Prior to our trip, the youth had also collected a van load of food and supplies donated from our church family and matched by the youth mission team. Over 100 items and $400 was given to Alpha as a result of their donation drive. This was the beginning of a beautiful relationship and a life-long love for the ministry being provided at Alpha.  

Our second trip out was this past summer of 2018. This time we worked on gutting a few rooms in a house recently being renovated on the property for one of the school staff members. The mission team tore out an old fireplace, the bathroom, and flooring during the afternoon. The mornings were spent clearing out areas around the house outside. As part of the clearing job, the team took down play equipment and moved it near the school house.  They also disassembled a goat pin and then reassembled it at the main staff house as a dog pin. Again, we got the opportunity to share a meal and evening of water games with the families of Alpha. Prior to this trip, donations were once again gathered and a $1 per mile challenge completed allowing us to bring a large amount of supplies and over $300 to donate.

Submitted by Tana Wymer
Youth In Ministry Director
First Christian Church in Maryville

Clinton CC Making A Difference

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During the month of September the church family of Clinton Christian Church opened their hearts and their wallets and donated many needed items to the local animal shelter, Clinton Animal Rescue. Here in Clinton our pets are part of our family and we have big hearts for animals at the shelter. The items donated were : 190 pounds of dog food; 206 pounds of cat food; 11 bottles of laundry detergent; 5 bottles of unscented bleach; 3 boxes of dog treats; 8 feeding bowls; 10 leashes, and 2 dog toys. These items were presented to volunteers of the animal shelter at our annual Fall Fling Flea Market held in our parking lot on October 13th. We also donate a booth space to the animal shelter at our flea markets so they can show off some of their animals that are up for adoption. In the picture are two members of our Church in Society committee (the committee in charge of the outreach project), three volunteers from the animal shelter, and 2 of the dogs that are up for adoption.

The Bigger Picture

We have a Spring Fling Flea Market on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend and our Fall Fling Flea Market some Saturday in early October. We sell booth spaces for $20 and the money raised goes to the membership committee for any outreach they want to do.  Our CWF group has a concession stand at the flea market (biscuits and gravy and cinnamon rolls for breakfast, hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch) to raise money for any outreach project they want to pursue. The flea market has been well received by the community. This past one we had 28 outside (the church) vendors participate. We will also have church members bring items to sell and the church has a booth; usually those monies go toward our youth program. We have been doing this for 3 years now.

The Church in Society Committee (CIS) has an outreach project most every month. We collected school supplies for Festival of Sharing and sent 72 school supply bags to Tipton. This month we are collecting 950 boxes of cake mix for the Samaritan Center, our local food pantry, for their Christmas Cheer project.  CIS is also hosting a Trivia Night on Friday, October 26th to raise funds to help buy books for the Clinton Elementary School kids. Last year we raised $1000 for this project with Trivia Night.

Thank you to Pastor Tim Wessley for this information and photo.

Older Adult Ministries Workshop at Millersburg CC


The Rickman Legacy Leadership Grant is funding the second year of Older Adult Ministry training programs across our Region. Eighteen people representing seven congregations gathered at Millersburg CC in Fulton on September 30 to explore and discover biblical perspectives on aging, ways to manage change and loss, and to explore older adult ministry models. Bible passages and personal stories uncovered some ways our stereotypes about old age can limit our perspectives. We looked at the big picture and some of the details about changes in our outlook and abilities.


Through a devotional and discussion mode, we reinforced our hopes and wishes for growing older with a focus on God and an attitude of flexibility. Affirming that we are all interdependent, we discussed how our congregations might recognize, develop, and cultivate programs especially for intergenerational groups or specifically for older adults.

After the program, a pastor offered, “Your talk inspired me to think about possibilities of tapping into my own background and gifts in this area of spirituality. Perhaps a community focus would bring in some of those unchurched Baby Boomers who are ‘spiritual but not religious.’”  

There is a final event this year in Mt. Vernon on October 27 from 9am to 1pm. The session is free but registration is required. For more information, contact Paul Koch or Jan Aerie

Thanks for Jan Aerie for this information. 

Racial Justice Summit 2018


It was an eventful weekend at Webster Groves Christian Church where faithful and insightful, young and old came together for worship, education, and koinonia. 

WGCC and the Justice Ministries Team hosted a Racial Justice Summit on October 6th, consisting of expert panels, lively conversation, and brainstorming organizing efforts. Disciples members from across the Mid-America Region joined together at this Summit, in hopes to dismantle racism in their home communities and churches. Our Regional Ministers Paul Koch, Katrina Palan, and Penny Ross-Corona were all in attendance.


The Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, former General Minister and President, started off the weekend with an inspiring and captivating sermon based on Romans 8:37.  Three members of the Christian Regional Youth (CRY) Leadership Team led worship alongside our Disciples mentor. 

Two panels, comprised of organizational representatives leading efforts on the ground, shared their expertise, answered questions, and shared recommendations.  The Summit later offered participants the opportunity to split up into one of four different groups to discuss organizing voter education, PR/AR training, water clean-up in East St. Louis, and Prop. B canvassing. The Summit concluded with a worship led by a diverse team of ministers and youth. 

The CRY Leadership Team met into the wee hours of the night, planning to lead not only the CRY Festival 2019, but also a brand new Winter Retreat for high school youth, scheduled for over the 2018 Christmas break. 

On Sunday morning they helped lead worship at WGCC, where all were excited to welcome the Rev. Dr. Jeff Moore back from his three-month sabbatical.

A special thank you to the following leaders who made this weekend and the Racial Justice Summit a success:

Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, former Gen. Minister & President
Rev. Dr. Jeff Moore, WGCC
Rev. Dr. Derrick Perkins, Centennial CC
Rev. Maureen Dickmann
Laura Barrett, Coalition Director of Raise Up Missouri
Tim Gibbons, Missouri Rural Crisis Center
Rev. Dr. Dietra Wise Baker, NBA
Jamala Rogers, The Organization for Black Struggle
Qu'Naya Falls, Christian Regional Youth President, Marshall FCC
Khotso Moore, Christian Regional Youth Secretary, WGCC
Shelby Parrott, Christian Regional Youth Member, Brentwood CC
Carole Hughes, Youth Spiritual Mentor, WGCC
Hospitality Team of Centennial Christian Church
Staff Coordinator Matthew Capestro

Story and photos courtesy of CRY leader Kris Milliron of FCC Marshall.

Affton CC Mission at Fisher House

Affton Christian Church (ACC) has been providing a monthly meal to the St. Louis Fisher House since 2012.  The Fisher House is a non-profit organization that provides a place to stay for military families, so they can be close to a loved one during hospitalization.  Several years ago, a member of ACC received medical treatment out of state and their spouse stayed at a home like the Fisher House. The kindness expressed to them through the gift of a hot meal after a long day at the hospital was their inspiration to begin the Fisher House meal program.

Each month, church members sign up to bring an item on the menu or make a monetary contribution towards the meal. Food can be dropped off at church or brought to the Fisher House on the last Wednesday of each month, where they can also help to prepare, serve and eat a meal with the Fisher House residents. The meals are usually “comfort food” including entrees such as fried chicken, beef stew, chicken and dumplings, and sloppy joes. Of course, there are always wonderful desserts!

A special part of each evening spent at the Fisher House is sitting down to eat the meal with the residents. We get to hear their stories and fellowship together. Recently, a family with several children arrived at the Fisher House right as we were serving dinner. They had just driven in from Washington state. The father shared that his family would be staying for quite a while because his father-in-law had just entered hospice. They were happy to have a hot meal waiting for them after such a long drive. Several ACC members answered questions for them about the area and tried to make them feel at home.

There are several residents that receive monthly treatments at the VA hospital that schedule their appointments around our meals. It is a privilege to know them and catch up with them each time we get to see them.

We are very grateful that the Fisher House has allowed ACC to volunteer at their facility for so many years. It is a blessing to be the “Hands and Feet” of Christ in this small way.

Thanks to ACC’s Deidra Woods for this story and photos.

Don't Miss Ministries With and For Older Adults Programs

Choosing a priority of focus, balance and flexibility in our mission and ministry as care-ers is exemplified by an activity with feathers in a session last year.

Older adults have a lifetime of experiences to share. By working with older adults and enabling them to be advocates for their own successful aging, we all have much to gain. Mid-America Region’s training process identifies priority social issues for older adults, and offers a forum for these views to be a catalyst for service by congregations.

The Rickman Legacy Leadership Development Fund is providing funding for the second year of leadership training for churches across the Region who wish to address their older adult population with pro-active steps. Jan Aerie is leading programs this fall at three sites:

  • Millersburg Christian Church, September 30, worship at 10:30am and continuing 1 – 3 pm

  • Monroe City Christian Church, October 13, 10am – 3pm (note this time change from previous schedule)

  • First Christian Church, Mt Vernon, Oct 27, 9am - 1pm

Each of the sessions is unique, but all explore biblical perspectives on aging and ways congregations can minister with older adults.

Millersburg’s program will emphasize tips for managing personal loss and learning strategies for facing fears and anxiety. The second section is a discussion of ministry models for all congregation sizes.

Monroe City will emphasize caregiving and care-receiving of older adults, by discussing managing worries about aging parents, and balancing priorities in the family. Then intergenerational ministry models will be explored.

Mt Vernon will delve into ways to plan for individuals’ change and transitions, and how to become wise while sharing our life’s gifts. Steps in developing ministry models will also be discussed.

A participant in one of last year’s programs reported, “I learned about how to look beyond my limitations; and the importance of remaining flexible and focused.” A pastor reported, “Older adults struggle with changes when they feel they are not needed or included.” Program participants were empowered to advocate for older adults. They found their voice in conceiving of their church’s ministry outreach while affirming older adults’ challenges and joys. 

The events are free of charge to all congregations, but registration is required.

If you are interested in holding a program or have questions, contact
Paul Koch at: or 636.221.7065
Or Jan Aerie, or 216.870.1557
Register online now.

Thanks to Jan Aerie for this information and photo.

Hope Hutch: Take What You Need - Give What You Can

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First Christian Church of Mt. Vernon has partnered with the Hope Hutch to help those in their community that need a little hand up. Started as a community effort this past May, the Hope Hutch is stocked with donated hygiene products and non-perishable food items. It is located on a corner of the church parking lot and is available to all.

Members of the congregation have embraced the project and decided to designate love offerings received in July to the effort. They collected and contributed over $2,100, as well as some of the items needed to stock the hutch.


Pictured are organizers Dennis Rodgers, Brandy Jameson, and Holly Gaddy who made a presentation at the church inviting the congregation to participate in this simple, but so effective way to make a difference.

Thank you to FCC’s Sherry Curtis for
this information and photos.

Christian Discipleship in Ghana

Regional Minister Penny Ross-Corona recently participated in a Global Ministries pilgrimage to Ghana and South Africa. She was one of six Regional Ministers and two GM staff members to visit some of our ecumenical mission partners in these two countries. 

One such partner was the Christian Council of Ghana, which has established a wonderful ministry in a fishing village on the Atlantic coast outside the capital city of Accra.

In this village, fishing is the only way of producing food and income, and the culture is such that only men can fish.  If there is no man in the household (or if he is sick or disabled), there is no income to provide for the simplest survival needs of the women and children. 

So Global Ministries and the Christian Council of Ghana worked to economically empower these women and assisted them in starting up their own business. The women now have a system in place for buying fresh fish from the fishermen and then preserving the fish (through a drying and smoking process) in order to sell them at market for a small profit. 

The fish are dried on huge racks on the ground. Then a wood burning oven is used to smoke the fish. The women tend the fire on the ground under the oven, while the fish are smoked in racks on top. Then the preserved fish are packaged and sold. Profits are small during the fishing season, but much greater when the season is over.

The group asked the women (through an interpreter) what it is that makes them want to get up in the mornings. The reply was, “I want to get out of bed, because I now have my own business…I can now support myself and my children.”   

Thank you to Rev. Dr. Penny Ross-Corona for sharing this story of our connectedness through Global Ministries. Please remember in prayer former Transitional Regional Minister Larry Colvin and his wife Debbie, who will be starting their work in Ghana in just a few weeks.

Perry Christian Church Youth Stock Food Pantry

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On Sunday July 28th, a four part series centered on John 6:35 was begun at Perry Christian Church. The Young Disciples, during their message, were challenged to remember how many people in their own community lacked basic needs such as bread. Pastor Nancy gave each a paper bag with instructions to decorate as they saw fit and then solicit the congregation and their friends and neighbors for food items for the Perry Food Pantry, housed at First Baptist Church in Perry. On the 26th of August, the bags were delivered to the Food Pantry by the Young Disciples before their Sunday school classes. They were given a tour of the pantry and thanked for their gift of giving that would benefit many people in their community. After the Sunday morning service, everyone was invited to a pizza party in the church basement to celebrate the wonderful outreach of our young people. As you can see, much more food was collected than could fit into their artfully decorated bags! Thanks to these young servants of God! 

Thanks to Pastor Nancy Kellstrom for this story.

Back to School Party at Centennial CC

Centennial Christian Church in St. Louis recently held their 13th annual Back to School Party and it was quite an extravaganza! Completely free and open to the whole community, this event sends children back to school with supplies, medical care, and loving support from the congregation. Jennifer Randle is Centennial's Communications and Technology Ministry Chairperson, and shares this account of the day's activity.


Our Outreach Ministry chairperson, Clint Potts and event chair, Jacqueline Dyer have worked tirelessly every year to make this a premiere event at Centennial Christian Church. They began months ago by soliciting donations from community partners and businesses and, while our members donate school supplies to put in the backpacks, we also accept donations for the bikes, gift cards and monetary gifts from community businesses. This is our 13th year providing backpacks and bicycles for children in our community as well as access to community vendors. Those vendors include Faith Communities United that provide HIV/AIDS testing, CHIPS which provides student physicals, Saint Louis Public Schools, St. Louis Public Library, Urban League Head Start, Sickle Cell Anemia Association and many more.  

Additionally, 131 book bags were given away, 11 HIV/AIDS tests were performed, and 19 children received physicals.  

Entertainment included music, horse and pony rides, games, magician, free snow cones and food. Additional giveaways included gift cards and six bicycles. 


FCC in Burlington Junction Provides School Supplies

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On Sunday, August 12 First Christian Church of Burlington Junction blessed the school supplies that they had collected for the West Nodaway Elementary School. For the third year in a row, one of their mission outreach projects has been to supply the school with all the crayons, colored pencils, and pencils they will need for the year.

Members are shown here reading scripture and praying over the 200 boxes of crayons, 65 boxes of colored pencils, and 2,700 pencils which will benefit about 150 students this year.

Thanks to pastor Terry Robison for this information and photos.


Ozark Christian Church 2018 Mission Trip


What do you get when you combine a mission trip with a local destination, and throw in 32 Ozark Christian Church members physically participating at sometime over a three day period? A very successful and rewarding experience that crossed off every item on the lengthy “to do” list, and saw over 50% participation from the residents at the location. That is exactly what occurred when OCC members traveled the short distance to Freedom’s Rest Family Violence Center in Ozark, July 19-21.


Each morning started with the group gathering at the church for a hearty breakfast prepared by the mission trip food crew, then journeying ten minutes up the road to begin the work day.  Work consisted of skilled construction labor, yard work, painting (inside and outside), cleaning, assembling furniture, hauling away trash, as well as many other tasks. The first two days were challenging due to the tremendous heat indexes, but everyone took breaks when needed, worked in the shade or indoors when available and focused on the reason for being there.  Lunch breaks back at the church were a good way to recharge for the afternoon (especially when the food crew brought out ice cream, fudgesicles, and popsicles).

The OCC team held an afternoon kid’s camp and separate women’s activities for the residents of Freedom’s Rest. The kids enjoyed three days of lessons, crafts, activities, snacks and of course, games, involving every imaginable form of water, because everyone wanted to get wet due to the heat. In the meantime, the ladies were bonding through testimonies, discussions, crafts, baking lessons and journaling lessons, in the cool air conditioning of the facility’s kitchen. Mission trip team participants outnumbered resident participants, so several team members continued with the physical labor in the afternoon, as well. All work was completed in time to gather back at the church for a delicious evening meal, as well as a devotion and discussion time.

The team hosted an onsite BBQ for the residents and staff on Saturday, as a special “thank you” for allowing the mission trip participants to be there for three straight days. After saying their goodbyes at the end of the day, the OCC team left with a sense of accomplishment from not only the completion of the items, but from relationships built, memories made and hearts touched. The first time participants, as well as the veteran mission trippers, also learned that being the hands and feet of Christ is extremely rewarding, no matter where the mission trip takes place.

Thanks to Marna Strahl for this story and photos.
In memory of Amy Johnson, Mission Trip 2018 Destination:Ozark participant.

Broadway Youth Find Themselves in Chicago


This July Broadway Christian Church's rising 8th graders through High School seniors traveled to Chicago for our annual youth mission trip. We worked with a partner organization called Center for Student Missions.  Through this trip we got to know the section of the city on the north west side of the city. We stayed in Albany Park, which I learned, is one of the most diverse zip codes in the United States. We got to see and serve in places like Humboldt Park (the only Puerto Rican neighborhood in the continental united states), Ravenswood, Uptown, and Lawndale just to name a few of the neighborhoods.

We got to know the area and its history, we looked at the way these neighborhoods had grown and changed over the last 40-50 years. We saw the effects of gentrification, neighborhood improvements, and poverty stricken areas, we learned about gang culture in these neighborhoods and those yellow safe passage signs which kids have to get walked to and from school just so they can do it without being harassed.

We spent time bonding with kids growing up in the midst of all of this in Lawndale at a YMCA and the Albany Park Community Center. I sat and listened to a 4th grader tell me about how his sister was murdered 6 months before, as his voice trailed off and the ache hung in the air. We served dinner in Ravenswood at All Saints church ( where they do it family style with honestly some of the best food I’ve ever eaten prepared at a church. We served dinner in a formerly condemned building where they do 3 meals a day, year round to friends and neighbors who are experiencing homelessness or staying in their now whole block of buildings converted into shelters. We played bingo in an elderly low-income housing building where most of the folks didn’t speak English but they smiled and shouted for joy when one won a silly dollar-store clapper that we had brought as a prize.

Through it all we learned, that the city of Chicago had so much more to teach us than we could bring it. We saw that relationships are what it is all about, and that generosity and God’s spirit are found everywhere, especially in places that you might not expect to find it.

As representative of our trip, I want to tell you a story about our last night together on the trip. We were gathered in for dinner and worship with all the other groups from around the midwest who were serving in Chicago that week. I think there were 9 churches, and when gathered together we were well over 100 folks. We sang a few songs and we had volunteers share where their group saw God while serving.

Then they introduced our guest speaker for the night. Pastor Jonathan Brooks, otherwise known as Pastah J. At least that’s what he told us to call him, cause that’s what everyone in his neighborhood calls him. He shared about how he grew up in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago, and he left, he got several master degrees, and then found that God led him back to serve his community. He shared about how the neighborhood had lots to teach him as well. Then he shared something that I think will stick with all of us who served that week.

He told us, “We’re so glad you’re here, but we don’t need you.” Pastah J hit us like a bag of oranges to the gut. He started telling us about how God was already doing amazing things in neighborhoods like Englewood or Lawndale or Uptown. He was really glad that we got a chance to hang out in their great city, and to learn from it, but then he reminded us that Chicago isn’t ours to fix. That’s God’s job in partnership with the folks in those neighborhoods that God is already using. And that our calling was back wherever we came from, that our role was to see that playing with and mentoring kids is something that needs to happen there (for us in Columbia), that there are lonely senior citizens who could use a group of teenagers to play bingo (for us in Columbia), that there are people experiencing homelessness there (in Columbia).

Pastah J wasn’t taking it easy on us, but he was preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was reminding all of us that no matter how hard you want to fix something, that change isn’t always in our hands. God is the one who transforms lives, we just need to be on the lookout for what God is already doing around us everyday and joining into it.

It was a great Mission Trip, but more importantly was that for the 19 of us who went, it was a reminder that we already have a mission field. And so do you.

Story and photo by Broadway CC Associate Minister Rev. Nick Larson.

Mission News from Troy

First Christian Church Troy had an exciting and very successful VBS program in June with over 500 in attendance the week of June 18-22. They also collected $750 for The Key (a new homeless shelter for teens being built in Troy) and collected some 170 jars of peanut butter for the local Buddy Bags program. Additionally, the Keystone adult Sunday School class donated a new microwave oven to The Key.

This past week, Troy Story II took place in Lincoln County. FCC-Troy is one of the major sponsors and had approximately 30 youth and adults participating. This event brings more than 400 youth from around the country to work on rehabbing projects for homes in the county. FCC-Troy is involved with hosting GROUP leadership, helping with the Sunday night meal, providing their 3 buses for transport of work teams, 100 dozen cookies for mid-week, and the Praise Team "Blind Faith" as well as Rev. Dr. Jeffrey T. Moore will be a part of evening worship each night.

Thanks to FCC Troy Sr. Minister Rev. Dr. Jeff Moore for this story
and to Church Administrator Sherri Stark for the photos.

FCC St. Joseph at Urban Mission Inn

When you attend a mostly-white church and live in a relatively segregated community of 78,000 people where eighty-eight percent of the population is white, how do you engage the issues of racism and reconciliation? An intergenerational group from First Christian Church in St. Joseph, Missouri, decided to tackle this challenge by journeying together to inner city St. Louis, ground zero for the struggle with racism in our country. This group of youth and adults spent a week at The Urban Mission Inn, a ministry located at Union Avenue Christian Church. This historic church sits on the “Delmar Divide,” a literal geographic dividing line in St. Louis City between black and white, affluent and poor. The Urban Mission Inn offers not only housing in this urban setting, but also a schedule of volunteer and educational opportunities for groups of all ages.

The St. Joseph team spent their week in a variety of hands-on ministries. They helped with prep work for vacation Bible school at an inner city Salvation Army.  They sorted donated items at The Angel Boutique, a resale shop where all the proceeds go to provide social services to youth and seniors. They worked with children at Kingdom House, an inner city outreach to youth, parents, and the elderly. They volunteered their sweat equity at the Washington Park Cemetery. This historically important and racially segregated cemetery, relocated due to an expansion of Lambert Airport, was severely neglected.  Most of the graves on the site, many dating back to the 1800’s, are now covered over by woods. The group worked with other volunteers to clear a small portion of the site, helping to make more of the graves accessible to loved ones.

In addition to hands-on work, the team also engaged in educational and awareness activities. They participated in a drum circle, learning about music and dance from the Congo.  They walked “The Delmar Divide,” seeing first-hand the economic and racial segregation of the inner city, and discussed the historic implications of racial injustice in St. Louis. They took a special guided tour of the civil rights exhibits at the Missouri History Museum and engaged in a challenging discussion about justice, white privilege and direct action.

At the end of the week, the St. Joseph team sensed a call to share their experiences with the church members back home, looking for new ways to engage in hands-on ministry in their community as well as new opportunities to look more deeply at the racial and justice issues in their own city.   

Thanks to FCC pastor Rev. Brian Kirk for this story.

Republic FCC at Disciples Summer Mission

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A group of 7 youth and 2 adults from Republic First Christian Church traveled to Lexington, KY to join 170 other youth on the Disciples Summer Mission trip. The theme for the week, was "Back to our Roots". While there we worked at Quest Farm, a farm for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We partnered with The Woodlands Christian Church in helping restore the farm's greenhouse and cleaned out storage sheds. The second day the group worked on the grounds of the Cane Ridge Meeting House, prepping the grounds' 20+  picnic tables for painting. We were able to hear from the curator the history of Cane Ridge and how the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ came to be. 

The third day the group worked all day at Lexington's newly opened 2nd Habitat for Humanity Restore, sorting through and pricing donations. Lexington's Habitat Restores have raised over $3 million for Habitat. Each evening found us at Crestwood Christian Church for an amazing time of worship. All in all it was a great trip and we are excited about DSM coming to Springfield next year (June 24-28).

Thanks to Pastor Lee Young for this information and photos.

The Lakota Experience of Olivet Christian Church

Olivet Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Columbia, MO, participated in a Cultural Immersion experience during the first week of June at the Pine Ridge Retreat Center in Pine Ridge, SD on the Oglala Lakota Reservation. It created memories forever etched on the hearts of the 11 attendees, as well as strengthened our great respect for the Lakota People and their culture. I learned about the Pine Ridge Retreat Center from a dear friend who attends St. Andrews Evangelical Lutheran church in Columbia. A group from St. Andrews had returned from a stay at the Retreat Center several years ago, and I attended their church presentation. Every person who attended the retreat spoke with total enthusiasm about their experience. It was then that I felt the Creator nudging me forward. When Rev. Wes Knight became Olivet's new minister, we discovered within the first five minutes of conversation that we both shared a great respect for the Lakota Native Americans living on the Pine Ridge reservation, the poorest county in the entire United States, and voiced a common desire to help in some way. Olivet's Native American Ministry was born.

To enter the Pine Ridge Retreat Center's front door, one must walk under an open-air wooden structure built to resemble a tipi. Hanging from the inside center top of that tipi shape is a large empty wooden cross. Walking under this structure several times each day, one got the feeling of being "blessed" in our coming and going. We knew we were where the Creator wanted us to be, ready to grow, experience and share God's love in the week ahead.

During our five day stay, after a good breakfast each morning, our group visited a location significant to the Lakota People. We visited the wonderful Oglala Lakota College and Historical Center, as well as the Red Cloud Indian School and historical cemetery. Our visit to Wounded Knee was an emotional day when we showed our respect at the mass grave where the bodies of 150 plus Lakota adults and children massacred at Wounded Knee had been literally dumped into a trench on that bitterly cold December day  in 1890.  We also had the honor to visit with the greatly respected medicine man and Lakota elder, Basil Brave Heart and eat lunch with him.  We were all greatly impressed and encouraged to visit the Lakota based Community Development "Thunder Valley" located in Porcupine.


After lunch back at the Retreat Center we prepared for Kids' Time each afternoon when 20-25 Native youth from ages 5-12 came to enjoy activities like arts & crafts, games, and listening to guitar music and storytelling shared by our own Larry Brown. Each evening meal was followed by a presentation by a Lakota artist /craftsman such as Kevin Poor Bear and his inspirational charcoal drawings or Valery Brown Eyes' colorful porcupine quill jewelry. Friday night featured a local art show where we were able to purchase native artwork and crafts. Our last night at Pine Ridge ended with our attendance at a colorful, exciting Pow-Wow right there in Pine Ridge. The final activity of each day was a Talking Circle where we shared our thoughts and insights of that day's activities. The week was over in what seemed like a blink.

The Lakota embrace the expression, "Mitakuye Oyasin" which means, "We are all related; we are all connected." It is an important component to Native spirituality. We heard that often at the Retreat Center. In fact, Colton, our Retreat Leader, had that very statement tattooed on his inner forearm. Olivet's Cultural Immersion team experienced exactly that kinship throughout our week at Pine Ridge. Our hearts and eyes were opened to the challenging, resilient, inspiring journey of the Lakota People. We left Pine Ridge with "Mitakuye Oyasin" forever tattooed on our hearts. 

Story by Fran Webb DeMaster
Photography by LF Graue

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.


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


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.