44th Annual Hike Against Hunger

IMG_1022.jpeg

On Saturday, April 28th Memorial Boulevard Christian Church held its 44th annual Hike Against Hunger. A group of about 18 hearty souls gathered to embark on a 20k walk through the neighborhoods of St. Louis. Walkers represented not only MBCC but Webster Groves CC, Florissant Valley CC, and Liberty CC near Kansas City. Also present for the event were two representatives from Week of Compassion to speak briefly about the event's impact.

This year's goal is to raise $12,000 to support Uganda's Farm STEW Project, and over $5,500 has already come in toward that end. Over the years the Hike has raised a total of $475,782.92 over 31,072 miles walked in support of the various worthy causes selected by organizers. 

Read the full summary of the day by MBCC's Mary Kay Campbell.

 

 

Disciples Men Retreat

31956141_10212321495094135_1791126333095411712_n.jpg

Mid-America men could not have asked for a nicer weekend to commune with nature and each other for the annual Disciples Men retreat at Shannondale, deep in the Ozarks in Shannon County.  Men from Arkansas and Indiana joined Missouri Disciples, UCCs, Catholics, and Baptists for an incredible time of hiking, canoeing, grilling, service projects, relaxing, bird-watching, wildflower observing, and especially personal sharing. 

31961805_10155233426576637_5157741464586813440_n.jpg

Long-time Shannondale Ministries director Jeff Fulk was surprised with a special blessing for his 20 years of service and dedication as well as his son, Nathan Fulk, who was surrounded by prayer as he takes the helm of leadership.  This followed Regional Minister Paul Koch's program on identifying the "King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover" in each of us.  All four qualities emerged in the incredible collection of men (and one woman guest - Regional Minister Katrina Palan).

Thanks to Paul Koch for this story and photos.

Fifth Sunday Song Fest

Resized952018042995154438.jpg

On Sunday afternoon, April 29, three Mid-America congregations gathered at First Christian Church in Bonne Terre for a 5th Sunday Song Fest. Host Pastor Russell Alexander led the group from Festus, Hematite, and Bonne Terre in the singing of old hymns. He also shared information about the history of the hymns. 

Resized952018042095192330.jpg

In addition, the group enjoyed two soloists. Bonne Terre member Beth Slusser sang “Were You There?” and “Halleluiah,” and Festus church member Keith Osterberg sang an original song he wrote this year using Pastor Lari Grubbs’ Maundy Thursday sermon notes. Afterwards, the group adjourned to the fellowship hall for some delicious finger foods. Everyone had such a good time that they’ve decided to hold another similar event in the future.

Thank you to Rev. Dr. Penny Ross-Corona for this information and photos.

Exhorter Ordination Service at World Mission CC

20180318_122905.jpg

On Sunday, March 18, World Mission Christian Church in St. Charles held an Exhorter Ordination Service for Myung Heo, Mina Raithel, and Anshim Kim. Pastor Young Noh explained that World Mission has recognized that these three faithful church members have been given the spiritual gift of exhortation. They have the unique gift of encouraging and edifying others…of coming along side of others and developing a relationship with them for the purpose of encouraging them in their spiritual growth. 

20180318_115810.jpg

Rev. Chung Seong Kim, Executive Pastor of the North American Pacific/Asian Disciples (NAPAD) brought the morning sermon. In addition Rev. Kim, Pastor Young Noh, and Regional Minister Penny Ross-Corona participated in the laying on of hands for the new Exhorters. 

 

 

20180318_125314.jpg

Rev. Jesus Marrufo (pastor of the House of Prayer which nests at World Mission Christian Church) brought the prayer for the delicious traditional Korean meal that followed the service. House of Prayer, which is a Spanish speaking congregation, and World Mission Christian Church, which is a Korean speaking congregation, enjoy learning about each others’ food and culture.

Thank you to Penny Ross-Corona for this story and to Young Noh for the photos.

Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism Happenings

PRAR training at UCC.jpeg

Our Pro-Reconciliation / Anti-Racism team returned to service on Friday, March 9 for our semi-annual offering to clergy and laypersons looking to provide "a movement for wholeness in our fragmented world." The 6-hour training was held at Columbia UCC with some from our sister denomination present to learn as well. Around 30 people participated in all. The team is looking forward to the next PR/AR training to be held Saturday, September 22 at FCC in Carrollton.  

 Back row left to right: Paul Koch, Jeff Moore, DeLois Guess, Dwight Bailey, Michael Riggs, Derrick Perkins. Front row left to right: Jacque Foster, Matthew Capestro, Kathryn Wilson, Katrina Palan, Martha Herrin, Dietra Baker, Leslie Dotson, Nadine Compton.

Back row left to right: Paul Koch, Jeff Moore, DeLois Guess, Dwight Bailey, Michael Riggs, Derrick Perkins.
Front row left to right: Jacque Foster, Matthew Capestro, Kathryn Wilson, Katrina Palan, Martha Herrin, Dietra Baker, Leslie Dotson, Nadine Compton.

The leaders of such PR/AR sessions had to undergo a minimum of two-days' intensive training themselves to be certified to lead others. This last weekend, representatives of our General Church Reconciliation Ministries visited Mid-America to conduct such a session. Participants in this 'train-the-trainer' seminar included two of our Regional Ministers, six other CCMA clergy, our new Racial Justice Conference Organizer, and three guests from other Regions. Thank you to Compton Heights CC for hosting.

With the wealth of leadership across our region, the PR/AR team extends itself to accepting invitations from congregations who wishes to host a training for members in your own church and community. The content will be based on conversations to tailor the needs just right. Please contact Paul Koch, Regional Minister at 636-221-7065 or paul.ccma@sbcglobal.net to learn more.

Thanks to Paul Koch for this information and photo
and to Joe Jimerson for additional photo.

Disciples Visit the Capitol

John Bennett.jpg

Regional Minister Paul Koch and Rev. John Bennett (pictured) were among the ten Mid-America Disciples clergy who walked the halls of the Missouri capitol on February 20th to have Missouri Faith Voices heard. The purpose of the event was to lift up the needs of the people to elected officials because "as people of faith, we must not only pray for our leaders, we must also bring a prophetic voice to the issues that impact the lives of all citizens which includes the most vulnerable among us."

Here is the text of Rev. Bennett's sermon.

Bruce Barkhauer Visits Mid-America

20180125_095603.jpg

Last week Mid-America hosted Bruce Barkhauer, Director of the Center for Faith and Giving. Bruce spoke at several churches in the Region on the topic of transformative ways for congregations to think about stewardship.

His engagements began with preaching at Community Christian Church in Manchester on January 21st. Later that day, he attended a pot luck dinner and spoke at Celebration Church in St. Peters. Monday brought a clergy cluster gathering at Central Christian Church in Moberly. The Monday evening event planned at First Christian Church in Kirksville unfortunately had to be cancelled due to widespread illness and potentially dangerous local road conditions.

Tuesday brought another clergy cluster meeting, this time in at First Christian Church in Warrensburg. Then the evening was spent at First Christian Church in Troy with a pot luck dinner and presentation. Bruce spent Wednesday with our United Church of Christ partners in the Missouri Mid-South Conference office.

The final stop on his schedule was the annual clergy "Super Cluster" gathering in the Southeast, this year held at Community Christian Church in Manchester. 

Thank you to all who hosted Bruce during his stay. 

Photos courtesy of Rev. Young Noh, pastor at  World Mission Christian Church in St. Charles.

Community CC Partners with Elementary School for Christmas Party

Community Christmas photo.jpg

The members of Community Christian Church “adopted” all the students and classroom teachers at Columbia Elementary School in St. Louis for Christmas. Members donated books, toys, puzzles, crayons, markers and more. In total, 216 gifts for children and nearly 20 teacher goodie bags were wrapped by 34 CCC members after church on December 17th. On December 20th, Santa Claus and 16 CCC members helped distribute the gifts at the school for all students and teachers. In addition, 150 books were donated to the school to have for classroom use and in the library, and thirty-four $10.00 gift cards were donated for those families in transition. The school surprised the volunteers who helped at the Christmas party with a lovely luncheon to say thank you. Volunteers from CCC continue to provide mentoring at the school several times a month.

Thanks to Beth Bean for story and photo.

A Farewell Message from Rev. Dr. G. Mike Weinman

Mike’s Moment…

This has been the heading for my articles since I was a summer intern at the First Christian Church in Borger, Texas, in the summer of 1970. I will use it one more time to extend a word of gratitude for the 14-years, 11-months, and 16-days, I have worked with you. But who's counting? 

Mike retirement photo.jpeg

We had a wonderful worship [leadership Dr. Phil Snider, Brentwood, Spfd] followed by a great reception [leadership, Vickie Sower, Bolivar, along with the members of Central CC, Spfd], and I thank all for the great time we had together. And this past week I have an “exit interview” which must mean the day of retirement and closure is approaching quickly.

In fact on December 31, I officially retire as a member of the Regional Minister Team (RMT). I remember starting as Area Minister for the Ozark Lakes Area of the Christian Church of Mid-America and now concluding as Regional Minister Team member; it has been a wonderful and challenging adventure in faith and community. 

For all the words and prayers of encouragement, for the fun of fellowship, and the challenge of crisis, I have enjoyed the work we have done together for the mission and ministry of the congregations within the Mid-America Region. I ask your forgiveness when I have stumbled on our journey, and thank you for the graciousness when you lifted me up. I know God’s blessing has sustained us, and beckoned us forward in the path we have followed with Christ. It is at this time I step back from the responsibility of the RMT and the congregations of the Region. I know your love and care for me will smoothly and swiftly move to embrace the ministry of Rev. Katrina Palan. 

I pray God’s presence and love continue in each congregation, across this Region, and surrounding the whole creation of God. For your words and cards, for the worship and reception we shared together, for the gift received (that will probably go for many green fees in the next years), for all expressions of love and care, I thank you. And I pray God’s blessings on you and yours in the years to come as you share in the mission and ministry of the Christian Church of Mid-America, together. So…Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

And now allow me to begin this new journey that God is placing before me….

Thank You!
and the Peace of the Season Bless you!…

G Mike Weinman, 
Regional Minister Team
Christian Church of Mid-America
Southwest Office

Mid-America Center for Ministry Graduation

The Mid-America Center for Ministry graduated its final class on Friday, Nov. 10 at Broadway Christian Church.  More than 100 people gathered to honor twelve graduates who completed many rigorous classes to receive their Certificates in Pastoral Ministry - a necessary requirement for Commissioning in the Mid-America Region. 

MCM graduation 2017.jpg

We salute four Mid-America pastors who each received their certificate and white pastoral stole.  Pictured on the front row, second to left, Rev. Randy Robb, Clark CC, and on the far right, Rev. Terry Overfelt, Broadway CC and Eric Holmes, Mokane CC.  Not pictured is Rev. Priscilla Nicholson, Huntsville CC. 

 

While the last MCM graduation was bittersweet, there was great excitement as its successor program, the Phillips Seminary Ministry Training Center revealed a very comprehensive 20-course offering for 2018.  Prospective new students are encouraged to contact Leslie Robb LeSieuer at office@m-acm.org for enrollment information.  All courses continue to be on-line and can be completed regardless of the student's location.

Story and photo courtesy of Rev. Dr. Paul Koch.

FCC Festus Annual Coat Giveaway

coat giveaway102117.jpg

First Christian Church in Festus held its annual coat giveaway Saturday, October 21, 2017.  They gave away over 1,200 coats and items of warm clothing to over 218 people during the day.  In addition they gave another 200 items to the Veterans to share with homeless vets and a women's abuse shelter.  Not a bad day for this band of disciples who gather at First Christian Church in Festus, MO!

Thanks to pastor Lari Grubbs for this story and photos.

FCC in Mt. Vernon Celebrates 150 Years of Ministry!

Mt. Vernon 150 anniversary.jpeg

On Sunday September 17, 2017 more than a 160 members and friends gathered to celebrate this milestone with a formal worship celebration. Speakers included Jean Berg, a 3rd generation member, who spoke to the historical significance of the church.  Dr. G. Mike Weinman, Regional Minister Team member, spoke to the role of the church today and the importance of welcoming all to the table.  Dr. L. Brent Cantrell, Timothy of the church, spoke to the church's witness and ministry moving forward. There was also special music by the Adult and Children's choirs, Bell Choir, God's Rods (youth Sticks ministry of the church), and guest pianist Carl Cunningham who grew up in the congregation, and Harpist, Elizabeth Mosher. The gathering also recognized oldest and youngest members and presented a proclamation on behalf of the Missouri Senate. This special service was followed by a group photo and catered lunch. Thanks be to God for a wonderful day!

Disciples Care Team Meets

 Pictured left to right are Dan Kercher, Murrell Arnett, and Larry Colvin.

Pictured left to right are Dan Kercher, Murrell Arnett, and Larry Colvin.

Disciple Care Team (DCT) had their semi-annual gathering September 23 at Broadway Christian Church in Columbia. The team members are pastors, retired pastors, and lay folk who volunteer to visit and represent CCMA and/or CCMA Regional Minister Team. They share happenings in the region, celebrate special events, and bring care.

DCT is also shares in learning. Many participate in boundary training, pro-reconciliation/anti-racism training and other educational events. Each semi-annual gathering also includes a learning component. At the September gathering, Rev. Frank Proctor discussed issues surrounding the closing of congregations. He has studied/shared in the process for several years and is preparing a team to walk along with churches in the process.

Regional Minister Team member Dr. Larry Colvin presented a certificate of appreciation to Murrell Arnett of First Christian Church in Macon for his many years as chairman of DCT. He is a charter member of DCT and, even in stepping down, will continue with the team for an additional three year term. Retired Pastor Dan Kercher of First Christian Church in Cameron was unanimously selected as the new chairman.

Article by Dr. Larry Colvin
Photo by Diane Hall

Parishioners Celebrate Ash Grove Pastor's 20th Anniversary

DSC_0315.JPG

On Sunday, July 23, 2017, current and former members, friends and family gathered, filling the sanctuary, to show their love and appreciation to the Rev. Dr. Tom Geer in celebration of his 20th year serving as minister to the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Ash Grove. Before worship, the morning service focused on an expressive, yet humor-filled recognition of Tom’s dedicated pastorate both to the church and in the community. A picnic style lunch followed honoring Rev. Geer with the theme, “With Tom, Life is a Picnic! 20 years and counting…”

Congratulations!

Story and photo courtesy of Marilyn Smith.

 

Enjoying the Eclipse

BARN 3.png

August 21st is a day Missourians will long remember, not in infamy, but with smiles generated by fellowships with people from many varied parts of the world.  In the northwest portion of the Region resides a Disciples farm we call The Pulliam Farm.  We are incorporated as The Center for Lifelong Learning and Spiritual Development.

BARN 1.png

We served a meal of hotdogs and hamburgers to over 200 eclipse chasers from both coasts and many states in between.  We counted at least twelve states represented on the farm.  Kids played volleyball, badminton, and croquet, while waiting for the eclipse to commence.  During the showers preceding the eclipse many came in our barn and played cards, dominos, quilted, and just sat around fellowshipping with total strangers.

God split the clouds during the buildup to total darkness, then covered the totality for a really dark 2:38 minutes.  It was a wonderful day!

Thanks to Richard Canaday for this story and photos.

Youth from FCC Edwardsville Attend Bigstuf Camp

IMG_1503.jpg

The Youth Group from First Christian Church in Edwardsville, Illinois recently attended a week at Bigstuf Camp in Panama City, Florida along with fifteen hundred youth from various churches across the United States.  Our annual trip to Bigstuf is one that the youth and adult sponsors look forward to attending.  We not only get to know one another better but we also witness some of the many ways that the Holy Spirit works in our lives and in the lives of others. 

While at Bigstuf, the youth attended morning and evening worship services, participated in small groups, and enjoyed time on the beach together.  The theme of Bigstuf 2017 was "Filters.”  The youth were exposed to lessons about how the filters we use in life change how we see people, each other, and the world.  They were encouraged to see different and to be different, to see others as Jesus saw others, and that the best things in life require a fight.  The youth also learned about making wise decisions, choosing friends that bring out the best in them, and that our actions speak loudly to others.  The speakers did a great job delivering the message to the youth, but it was also a great refresher for the adults in attendance.  

IMG_1429.jpg

Following each of the worship sessions, the youth split up into small groups and discussed what they learned from the session.  It was great to hear them speak with one another about the many ways that they hope to impact the lives of others.  One of the ways the youth planned to impact others was to take what they learned at camp and do something with it back home.  Each of the youth left Bigstuf with a challenge card which contained a doable example of how they could filter Jesus to the people around them.  

We plan to attend Bigstuf in 2018 from June 4 through June 8.  Registration opens on September 14 if you have any youth that may be interested in joining us.  

Story and photos courtesy of FCC Edwardsville
Associate Minister Rev. Jeff Wrigley.

Florissant Valley CC Treats the Community with Ice Cream

On Sunday, August 6, Florissant Valley Christian Church members set up tents and tables on the church lawn and offered free ice cream treats to those driving by. Roughly 100 people stopped to enjoy the treats and have fellowship with church members.

To provide ice cream treats for the event, the church engaged an ice cream vending truck.  The congregation gave away roughly $360 in treats. Church members brought sack lunches and paid for their own ice cream treats, and visitors were greeted with a welcome and free treats.

Pastor Mike Dixon commented to one of the visitors, “After I preached this morning about Jesus feeding the Five Thousand with free bread and fish, we fed the community with free ice cream.”  Burma-Shave style signs and the church sign advertised the event ahead of time, and church members and children stood at the sidewalk waving towels and shouting “Free Ice Cream!” helped draw visitors. Church kids and visitor’s kids played lawn games, chased each other, and had a good time, while church members had friendly conversations with the visitors, handing out refrigerator magnets with the church card on them.

The purpose wasn’t to attract new members, though that would be a desired side effect, but to give back to the community and to help visitors discover that Flo Valley is a warm, friendly, and hospitable church. The other purpose was just to make people happy and to create smiles—mission accomplished!

Story and photos courtesy of Interim Pastor Rev. Mike Dixon.

A Leap of Faith for Faith Adventures Camp

In 2014, four ministers from the Ozarks Lake Area met to consider the idea of forming a week long Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) summer camp for youth of all ages attending in one week at one location, that would be closer to Southwest Missouri and less expensive than other summer camps. That July, 57 campers and 23 volunteers started “Faith Adventures Camp” at Lake Pomme de Terre.      

 Directors L/R: Brian Knight-CYF (Appleton City FCC), Kay Johnson-JYF (Hermitage CC), Jack Daniel-Coordinator (El Dorado Springs FCC), Vickie Sowers-Try-It (Bolivar FCC), and Sara Compton-Chi Rho (Disciples CC Nevada)

Directors L/R: Brian Knight-CYF (Appleton City FCC), Kay Johnson-JYF (Hermitage CC), Jack Daniel-Coordinator (El Dorado Springs FCC), Vickie Sowers-Try-It (Bolivar FCC), and Sara Compton-Chi Rho (Disciples CC Nevada)

This year, Faith Adventures Camp celebrated its fourth year of camp fun and faith during the week of July 24th -28th. What started out as a leap of faith four years ago has grown into a giant leap in campers, staff, and faith experiences. The Disciples of Christ camp is located at Camp Hebron, a non-denominational church camp and retreat facility on Lake Pomme de Terre, near Pittsburg, Missouri. 2017 Faith Adventures Camp included 132 campers, 45 volunteer staff, and 22 churches from across the Mid-America Region. Rev. Jack Daniel, pastor of El Dorado Springs First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is the coordinator, running all four camps in one week. Rev Daniel says, “Our hope is that all who attend camp, Try-It (K-2ndGrade), JYF (3rd -5th), Chi Rho (6th-8th), CYF (9th-12th Grade) and the many adults involved, will grow in faith and understanding. Our greatest hope is that everyone's lives will be transformed by the Living Christ. My personal saying is ‘Come as you are...leave a changed person.’”

 Jack invites Rachel to address the group.

Jack invites Rachel to address the group.

The 2017 Theme was “Unchained…the Adventures of Paul.” In aligning with the “Unchained” theme, the mission project for the week collected $1,174.22for Camp David of the Ozarks, a camp for children of incarcerated parents, located near Rolla. Rachel King from Camp David of the Ozarks spoke to Faith Adventures’ campers about the mission of the camp. The money raised will go toward helping youth with incarcerated parents attend Camp David’s Angel Tree Summer Camp.  

 Matt Limback, Regional Co-Coordinator of Youth and Summer Ministries for Mid-America Region and JYF counselor for the week

Matt Limback, Regional Co-Coordinator of Youth and Summer Ministries for Mid-America Region and JYF counselor for the week

 

Faith Adventures Camp is a part of the Summer Ministries of Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ). To view this year’s Faith Adventures Camp video or for more information about Faith Adventures Camp, visit their website at www.faithadventurescamp.com.

 

Thanks to Barbara Walsh for this story and photos.

FCC Mt. Vernon Celebrates 150 Years of Ministry

First Christian Church of Mt. Vernon celebrates 150 years of ministry in their community. An old-fashioned tent revival was held on June 24th with guest speaker Pastor Jack Daniel of First Christian Church of El Dorado, who provided an inspiring message. Blue-grass musicians "That Dalton Gang" entertained the crowd. A free BBQ meal, bounce house, and face painting were provided as a way of saying "thanks" to the community.

Chuukese Youth Rally Held in St. Joseph

The annual Chuukese Youth Rally was held in St. Joseph June 15-18.  This four-day  rally brought together between 500 and 600 Chuukese youth (youth being understood as young adults in the Midwest) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) from across the US and Micronesia. The entire event was punctuated with praise, joyous singing, and dancing. 

This year’s theme was: “Come Follow Me,” with four sub-themes, “Value People, Connect People, Serve People, and Influence People.” The theme was incorporated in all parts of the rally but was a particular focus of sessions held on Thursday and Friday. Rev. IS Phillik, Pastor of Chuukese Christian Church in St. Joseph and one of the organizers of this year’s rally; Rev. Terrell McTyer of Hope Partnership; Rev. Brian Kirk, pastor of First Christian Church in St. Joseph; and Regional Minister Team member Dr. Larry Colvin delivered messages and/or presented workshops.

Saturday was devoted to sporting competitions, games, fellowship, and other interactive events which included good food. Even a Midwest thunderstorm with heavy winds and hard rain did not dampen the festivities.

Closing worship Sunday was a day of exuberant celebration. In addition to the continuation of praise, singing, and dancing, there was much more. A feet washing was performed in order to prepare leaders from various states so they are able to lead as all join to, “Follow Me.” There was a blessing of women as they were celebrated for the special ministries they perform in families and congregations. A laying on of hands and prayers were offered for nine new pastors as they begin their ministries across the US and Micronesia. Of course, all celebrated in the sharing of the Lord’s Supper. In all, the four days was far too short.

Article by Dr. Larry Colvin
Photos by Dr. Larry Colvin, Rev. Terrell McTyre, and Debbie Colvin