Mid-America Center for Ministry Announces John Bennett and Rural Church Awardees

Mid-America Center for Ministry is proud to announce to announce that Ms. Donna Ross, former pastor of Zion United Church of Christ, St. Joseph, MO will receive the John Bennett Award for Ministry.  Before retiring to Oregon, Donna served Zion as a licensed minister.  While at Zion UCC she was a gifted preacher and spiritual leader.  In addition, she is also an advocate for LBGTQ issues.  She led Zion UCC’s Gay-Straight Christian Fellowship in planning the first ever St. Joseph LGBT Pride Fest in 2012.  This since has become an annual event hosted by the community of St. Joseph.  Donna is also a 2011 graduate of Mid-America Center for Ministry’s Certificate in Pastoral Ministry program.


Receiving the 2014 Rural Church Award is First Christian Church, Kennett, MO, pastored by Rev. Doug Cripe.  First Christian has an active Christian education program to nurture the faith of all ages.  They have discovered the joy of intergenerational activities.  Numerous young families have joined the church through the evangelism and personal invitations.  The congregation is also active in several community organizations, including Helping Hand (food pantry), the Community Garden, Virgie’s Place, and the Delta Children’s Home.  Through volunteers, board members and monetary support, the congregation strives to help those in need in the community. 

Both of these awards will be presented at Mid-America Center for Ministry’s Annual Dinner on November 7th at First Christian Church in Columbia, Missouri.  Registration and welcome begins at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m.  Reservations for the dinner are required; to attend contact krystal@m-acm.org.

The Mid-America Center for Ministry is an ecumenical organization with roots in the former University of Missouri School of Religion that provides basic and continuing pastoral education for pastors and lay leaders.  Every year in September an invitation is extended to nominate individuals for the John Bennett Award and congregations for the Rural Ministry Awards.  The John Bennett Award celebrates pastors whose work promotes social justice in the communities they serve.  The Rural Ministry award is given to recognize the transformation work of congregations in rural communities.  Nomination forms for 2015 awards may be requested next year from Krystal Jacobs.