of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Mark D. Anderson, President and CEO
January 2019

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Our Mission

Following God’s call, the National Benevolent Association exists to inspire and connect the people and ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), to accompany one another in the creation of communities of compassion and care, and to advocate for the well-being of humanity.

Our Core Values

Serving as the Disciples health and social service general ministry for more than 130 years, NBA’s mission has been, and continues to be, responsive to the needs of the church and society. Over this long history, we have had the joy—and the challenge—of supporting the church across a rich array of issues. As the NBA, we are grounded in core values that focus our work:

  • Rooted in Compassionate Care: We celebrate those who have served before us in creating a just world. The NBA’s mission and work emerged from the faithful witness of six Disciples women seeking to address the needs of children and families in need. We value this legacy of serving the “least of these” and endeavor to root all our initiatives in the value and dignity of human life and in serving a world that God so loves.
  • Accountability: We claim our duty to be effective stewards of the resources entrusted to us. We are fiscally responsible and acknowledge our accountability to our partners and the communities we serve. We treat others with respect and strive to conduct our work in the spirit of transparency and openness. Where there is brokenness, we strive for reconciliation.
  • Collaborative Partnerships: We believe that meaningful results to build compassionate and caring communities happen only when we can work in partnership with God and a wide diversity of others – individuals, communities, churches and organizations. We affirm that by working with partners, as well as those we serve, and by practicing humble leadership, we have what we need to make a difference.
  • Accompaniment: We value the creative voice and mind of all people as we seek to heed God’s call, especially in developing solutions through creative and innovative efforts designed to address personal challenges and systemic oppression. As we assume a posture of openness, we find in each other’s company the “bread” that will sustain us all. As we share life’s joys and struggles, at times picking up one another’s load and going the hard way together, we create communities of compassion and care.
  • Forward Leaning: We commit to learning and adapting as we move into the future. We understand that during times of change and new directions, the path forward often involves uncertainty and challenges. Through our shared efforts of advocacy, education, pastoral response, and professional care and services, we move towards the health and well-being of all.

NBA Mission and Ministry Grant Program

2018 was the second year of NBA’s Mission and Ministry Grant Program, supporting Disciples congregations and health and social service ministries working with older adults and at-risk children and youth across the life of the church. Utilizing approved, purpose-restricted funds in these two areas, grants are available for Disciples congregations and health and social service ministries across three categories/amounts:

  • Catalyst Grants: $1,000 – $5,000: These are startup funds to get projects up and running and/or to expand an existing project to a new area/initiative.
  • Innovation Grants: $6,000 – $15,000: These funds should help move an established project to a new level of effectiveness and impact.
  • Impact Grants: $20,000+: These funds should be used for major leaps in project areas with a proven plan for how these will move the organization to a new level of sustainability and impact.

The Grant Committee accepted applications during the summer/fall 2018, and grantees were announced in December 2018. For this second cohort, the NBA granted a total of $157,900 to 20 Disciples projects located across 13 Disciples regions. Of these 20 selected projects, nine are focused on at-risk children and youth; six are focused on older adults; and five are intergenerational, serving both communities. Eight of these grantees also received Mission and Ministry Grant funds from NBA last year. Stories and impact reports from these grantees will be shared throughout the year.

 Our Ministries and Partners

Serving as the church’s health and social services general ministry, the NBA partners with congregations, regions, general ministries, and a variety of Disciples-related health and social service providers. Our shared work advances care for and with others in our communities and raises awareness of needs that are often overlooked and forgotten—needs such as affordable housing; spiritual care for the incarcerated and returning citizens; children and family services; programs for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities; care and advocacy for older adults; hunger and food security; mental health and wellness; and other needs as they emerge.

Today’s ministries of the NBA are grounded in our historic mission of “caring for the least of these.” Our missional vision is to inspire and invite people of faith into this shared work and ministry responding to God’s call to be compassionate listeners, organizers, and advocates. Together, we create communities of compassion and care.

 NBA Incubate Initiative

The NBA Incubate Initiative strives to encourage and support the development of new and innovative health and social service ministries and organizations by Disciples. These ministries, in turn, inform and inspire fellow Disciples throughout our communities and across the life of the church. Together, we expand the church’s understanding of and capacity for health and social service ministry as part of Christ’s work in the world. The goal of this initiative is to support and empower new Disciple-related health and social service organizations, projects, and ministries—what we’re also calling social enterprises—to focus on their growth, strengthen their impact, and work toward sustainability.

As of January 2019, nine ministries are formally affiliated with the NBA as part of the NBA Incubate Initiative. We help these entities strategically strengthen areas such as board development, capacity building, administrative mentoring, marketing and communications, fundraising and development, bookkeeping services, sustainability, Disciples relationships, and more. Two of NBA’s first Incubate Partners, Reach Beyond Mission and Tulsa’s Table, have concluded their formal Incubate affiliation with NBA, while two new Incubate Partners are beginning: Garden of Eden Health Center, operating in Jayuya, PR, and New Communion, in Winston-Salem, NC.

In March 2018, the NBA hosted its fourth Incubate Retreat for emerging Disciples-related health and social service ministry leaders to create intentional space for rest, renewal, and equipping for the ministry of social entrepreneurship. In September 2018, the NBA again hosted the SENT Seminar: Equipping Social Entrepreneurs for Leadership and Change. This training brought together 21 Disciples-related health and social service ministry start-ups to learn and share in a variety of topics, including leadership coaching, legal principles for faith-based entities, marketing, and fundraising.

The NBA Incubate Initiative also continued our Social Enterprise Resource Bank, an online clearinghouse featuring blogs, webinars, and other resources to help support Disciples social entrepreneurs and ministries across the life of the church. Virtual learning opportunities include an expanded webinar series, with topics in 2018 including fundraising, community transformation, mission/vision/values, board development, and succession planning.


In 2018-19, we are now in our fifth year of NBA XPLOR, a 10-month, faith-based residency for young adults who are exploring the intersections of the life of faith and the work of justice. The Residency provides 10-months of leadership development and vocational discernment for 21- to 30-year-olds to live simply in community and engage in direct service and justice work. In 2018-19, NBA XPLOR placed 19 Residents at six host sites—St. Louis, MO; Hiram-Mantua, OH; Tucson-Marana, AZ; Spokane, WA; Dallas, TX; and Charlotte, NC—the latter serving as a new, second-year Residency experience called XPLORmore.

The cohort begins with an intensive week of orientation and anti-oppression training, called XPLOR Laboratory, held in St. Louis in late August before the XPLOR Residents travel to their host communities. There, NBA XPLOR Residents serve six hours a week with their host congregations and about 30 hours a week through community engagement site internships spanning a variety of health, social services, and social justice ministries and organizations.

NBA XPLOR Residents are currently working with low-income families, unhoused individuals, people with disabilities, older adults, vulnerable children, and undocumented persons, among others. They are learning grant writing, event planning, community advocacy, and much, much more. These professional and leadership skills make a huge impact. Through their dedicated work, spiritual practices, and exploration this year, these young adults are now discerning calls to social work, education, community organizing, medicine, military, ministry, and more.

In February 2018, we hosted an NBA XPLOR Reunion, gathering with 25 Alumni Residents and three Spiritual Companions who had completed XPLOR in the past three program years. The weekend reunion included worship; free time for fellowship and renewal; conversation and resources around personal and professional development and leadership opportunities across the life of the church; and a visual story-building exercise allowing XPLOR Alumni to continue processing the impact of the XPLOR experience on their lives. We are grateful to the Theodore and Beulah Beasley Foundation for the grant funding that made this event possible, and we look forward to reuniting with future cohorts of XPLOR Alumni in the coming years.

Advocacy and Activism

We also continue to deepen our engagement in Advocacy and Activism to transform the root causes of social injustice. In NBA’s strategic planning for 2018-2021, we named Advocacy and Activism as a strategic priority, flowing from NBA’s mission to “advocate for the well-being of humanity.” Following the trajectory of the work begun with the Ferguson Justice Initiative, these efforts utilize relationships, wisdom, and processes built and tested through that work.

Through a 0.5 FTE Program Coordinator for Advocacy and Activism, the NBA nurtures engagement strategies to equip and train partners to address the critical social justice issues most relevant to their work, and collaborates with NBA staff to cultivate partnerships across the life of the church to coordinate efforts related to social justice theology, action, and advocacy.  In 2018, this position focused on three initiatives:

AR/PR Mid-America Project:

The pilot project explores what a new decentralized model for Disciples justice infrastructure could look like in a region. The work grows out of NBA’s early investment in local clergy in St. Louis during the Ferguson movement. The merger of the St. Louis Racial Justice Group and AR/PR Justice Ministry of Mid-America has happened, adding a 2.0 Community Organizing Training to the traditional 1.0 Basic Anti-Racism Training. In 2015, the NBA hosted the first Racial Justice Summit in Mid-America. In 2018, Mid-America hired a conference organizer and assumed the continuation and ownership of that conference in the region. Approximately 60 people, including all three Regional ministers, were in attendance as the group mapped initial justice action plans and work in the region. 

Advocacy and Activism Peer Group:

This new peer group aims to bring together a new generation of activists and advocates to share, learn, and grow in their ministries and relationships. The group launched in August 2018 and will end in August 2020, meeting virtually and in-person with a particular focus on social justice issues; language and the theological foundations of social justice; and direct action and advocacy efforts.

Disciples Public Presence Working Group:

The Standing Rock Protests and other social justice crises led to the creation of Disciples Public Presence, a Facebook group and advocacy platform to give Disciples a common place to share their life in current justice movements. In October 2018, the first Disciples Public Presence Conference and Working Group were formed, gathering more than 60 Disciples and 25 working group members committed to strengthening the justice infrastructure by implementing priorities in worship/theology, communications, mass mobilization and sustained organizing. The NBA, along with several other justice-related ministries, provided staff time and programmatic support to ensure the forward momentum of the movement.

Prison and Jail Ministries

The NBA connects collaborative communities of Disciples working together on particular health and social service justice issues. Through Prison and Jail Ministries, the NBA supports Disciples engaged in spiritual care and advocacy ministries with those who are or have been incarcerated and their families. This area of work centers around education, inspiration, and advocacy. The Prison and Jail Ministries webinar series continued in 2018, with topics including immigration detention, how to start a prison congregation, restorative justice, and moving beyond the labels to the humanization of God’s children. Webinar topics planned for 2019 include bail reform, voting rights, immigration detention of children and families, and a spotlight on The Marshall Project.

Prison and Jail Ministries Peer Group:

The first cohort of this peer group concluded its time together in April 2018, after meeting and serving together for two years. They focused on public narrative—how to share their stories and clearly convey the significant impact of ministries through the context of prisons and jails. NBA Prison and Jail Ministries helped participants workshop and prepare their narratives, and then recorded and produced videos with each ministry.

In August 2018, NBA launched the second cohort of the Prison and Jail Ministries Peer Group, welcoming 10 members to this two-year peer group experience, which focuses on: 1) education through peer-to-peer learning and sharing experiences, expertise, and resources on prison- and jail-related issues; 2) inspiration through spiritual renewal practices and self-care; and 3) advocacy by engaging in a collaborative service or advocacy project. This cohort will give some particular attention to the issues of immigration and detention.

Mental Health Initiative

The NBA takes seriously its call to create communities of compassion and care through dialogue and action centered on issues related to mental health. With hopes to support the prioritization of mental health and wellness in the life of the church, the Mental Health Initiative aims to establish the necessary awareness and understanding required to counter stigma and change the landscape of conversation regarding mental illness and disorders within the church. The Mental Health Initiative’s five main vision areas are to cultivate welcome by countering stigma; provide resources and educational support; collaborate and connect with Disciples congregations, health and social services ministries, and other mental health and wellness providers; encourage the sustainability and innovation of mental health ministries in congregations, regions, and the general church; and support clergy mental health and wellness.

This shared work supporting mental health extended to regional ministry through the Regional Mental Health Initiative with the Christian Church in Georgia (GAMHI), providing education, support, and infrastructure development to Disciples leaders and congregations in the Georgia Region. This pilot partnership concluded in 2018, with the Georgia Region and NBA reporting on the impact of this shared work in January 2019. The GAMHI will continue beyond this pilot partnership, with a full slate of regional programming in 2019 and beyond.

The NBA Mental Health Initiative continued to be present at a variety of church-wide gatherings, learning opportunities, and self-care retreats in 2018, including with Week of Compassion, Pension Fund, Obra Hispana Asamblea, National Convocation Biennial Session, NAPAD Convocation, Hope Partnership’s Leadership Academy, the Rocky Mountain and Capital Area Regional Assemblies, the Women in Ministry Conference, Hispanic Ministries Young Adult Leadership and Development Conference, and more.

The Mental Health Initiative webinar series also continued in 2018, with topics including immigration trauma, how to start a mental health ministry with your congregation, and clergy mental health and wellness. Webinar topics planned for 2019 include grief and loss, suicide post-vention, and children and trauma. In 2018, the Mental Health Initiative also focused its efforts to support ministries in becoming adept at identifying and addressing issues related to mental health and congregational life, through a Liturgical/Theological Resources Task Team and a Mental Health Justice Task Team. The Resources Task Team produced a video for Mental Health Awareness Sunday in May 2018 and released a series of Advent reflections and worship resources in December 2018.

Chaplains Peer Group:

The Mental Health Initiative is making the final preparations for a new Chaplains Peer Group to launch in early 2019. The vision of this peer group is to provide an opportunity for likeminded individuals living out their call through chaplaincy to focus on: 1) education through peer-to-peer learning and sharing experiences, expertise, and resources on chaplaincy related issues; 2) inspiration through spiritual renewal practices and self-care; and 3) advocacy by engaging in a collaborative service or advocacy project. Influenced by the needs of the cohort, this peer group will also give particular attention to the issues of mental health, personal spiritual devotion practices, and healthy work/life balance formation.

Disciples-Related Health and Social Service Ministries

The NBA continues to support and partner with a network of care providers and justice-minded individuals who serve as the “hands and feet of God” in their communities. Our goals are to connect, resource, and amplify these ministries, providing access to a constellation of support and services, such as marketing and development consulting, executive coaching, back-office accounting, and executive searches, as well as networking with other partners through webinars, educational trainings, and peer learning and wellness group opportunities.

The Connect Conference for Disciples-related Health and Social Service Ministries was held in October 2018. This conference offered educational, connectional, inspirational, and advocacy opportunities to support direct service providers in “Making connections in the 21st Century.” We welcomed 20 attendees from 14 partner ministries and organizations. Highlights included a session on “Common Sense Technology Solutions for Non-Profits,” and a dinner gathering at the home of the NBA President and CEO Mark Anderson. Ideas for ongoing connection with this group include regional and issue-based affinity groups and quarterly online Wisdom Garden conversations.

Executive Leaders / Marketing and Development Peer Groups:

The first cohorts for the Executive Leaders Peer Group and Marketing and Development Peer Group cohorts concluded their time together in summer 2018. The vision of these peer groups is to provide an opportunity to cultivate support and encouragement, mutual dialogue, spiritual renewal, and peer-to-peer learning. There has been time for rest, joyful shared conversation, and group learning with others who truly understand the challenges and gifts of health and social service ministry and faith-based nonprofits in the current environment. The second cohort of the Executive Leaders Peer Group will launch in early 2019.

 A directory of Disciples-related health and social service ministries connected with NBA follows this report. For more information about all NBA ministries, and for stories, upcoming events, and worship and study resources, please visit




A Small Hand
Ann McBroom, Executive Director
Edinburg Christian Church
210 Center Street, PO Box 117, Edinburg, Virginia 22824-0117
(540) 933-6313

A Small Hand provides age-appropriate food, diapers, and hygiene essentials to infants in need from newborns to 36 months in the Shenandoah County of Virginia. The focus of our ministry is to serve as a specialist pantry providing care to the youngest and most vulnerable members of our community. All of our clients are enrolled in government supplemental feeding programs (SNAP/Food Stamps or WIC). As these programs were never designed to provide a full month of nutrition, families and infants often do not have enough for non-food essentials such as diapers, feeding bottles, pacifiers, and hygiene essentials. These are the gaps that A Small Hand fills. As an all-volunteer agency, the vision and goals of A Small Hand are that children can reach their full developmental potential.

Chain Reaction Ministries
David Finklea, Executive Director
Memorial Drive Christian Church: 11750 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas 77024
First Christian Church: 3700 N. Walker Avenue, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73118
(713) 789-0060

Chain Reaction Ministries provides freedom of transportation to those in need through a ministry of bicycle recycling. Started at Memorial Drive Christian Church in Houston, Texas, CRM recycles bicycles by linking donors with identified needs in the community. CRM had humble beginnings in 2009 by answering a call by Westside Homeless Partnership for used bikes for kids in their program. People have an emotional attachment to their bicycles. It was their first bike, or their kid’s first bike – and they don’t simply want to set it on the curb, or donate it to a large, faceless charity. They want to know that their bike can provide the same freedom and hope to a person in need that they experienced.

Child Saving Institute
Peg Harriott, President and CEO
4545 Dodge Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68132
(402) 553-6000

Child Saving Institute provides a safe haven and healing for thousands of innocent young victims of family crisis, neglect and abuse. We offer the vital services necessary to make at-risk children safe and fractured families whole through programs such as early childhood education, foster care, adoption, an emergency shelter, parenting classes and therapy. Our mission is “responding to the cry of a child,” but it is our vision that guides us as we work to give the children we serve safe, happy childhoods. Our vision is that all children have homes where hope is kindled and dreams can be achieved. This is our work, and they are ALL our children.

Christian Care Communities
Mary Lynn Spaulding, President/CEO
12710 Townepark Way, Suite 1000, Louisville, Kentucky 40243
(800) 662-1738

Christian Care Communities is the oldest provider of older adult care related to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We are Kentucky’s largest faith-based provider of housing, long-term care, adult day centers, and community based services for older adults. We serve approximately 3,000 individuals and their families throughout Kentucky. We actively work with churches helping them with older adult ministries.

Christian Church Homes (CCH)
Don Stump, President and CEO
303 Hegenberger Road, Suite 201, Oakland, California 94621
(510) 632-6712

At Christian Church Homes (CCH) we build and manage affordable housing communities where seniors can live and thrive in the comfort of their own homes, because we believe doing so is better for communities as a whole and the seniors we serve. Having served more than 100,000 seniors over 50 years, CCH has now grown to 57 caring communities that are More Than a Home to residents in seven states.

Christian Services for Children in Alabama
Gerri Johnson, Board Chair
1792 Highway 14 East, Selma, Alabama 36702
(334) 875-0608

Christian Services for Children in Alabama strives to be an organization that has a positive, recognizable, long-term impact on ALL children and youth in our care by providing professional, cost-effective, and timely services. CSCA is a pioneer for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Alabama/Northwest Florida in promoting ministries that nurture, restore, and reclaim those children who have experienced various types of abuse and neglect. We provide opportunities for families and individuals (who wish) to share their love, time, and resources to nurture vulnerable children and youth toward independence and enriched lives.

Cleveland Christian Home
Charles Tuttle, CEO
1400 West 25th Street, 2nd Floor, Cleveland, Ohio 44113
(216) 671-0977

Cleveland Christian Home exists to be a haven of hope and healing for children, youth and families struggling with mental illness, abuse and neglect. Cleveland Christian Home will be a center of excellence providing the highest quality services to meet the physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural and spiritual needs of children, youth and families.

Columbia Area Older Adult Ministry
Rev. Sally A. Robinson, Chaplain
101 North Tenth Street, Columbia, Missouri 65201
(573) 819-5043

The Columbia Area Older Adult Ministry (CAOAM) provides spiritual and emotional support to the growing elderly population in long-term care and retirement communities in the Columbia, MO, area. Though this is an ecumenical ministry, it is recognized as a ministry of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Columbia, MO. Currently CAOAM provides spiritual support in seven long-term care and retirement communities on a regular schedule.

Disciple Homes Management Group
Karen Wardlaw, Administrator/CEO
327 Eden Drive, Longview, Texas 75605
(903) 845-7638

Disciple Homes has been providing quality affordable housing for senior adults (age 62 years or older) and their household since 1972 in Northeast Texas. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, rental assistance is available to all of our residents that qualify. Qualified residents pay 30% of their adjusted income for rent and utilities. Disciple Homes Management Group provides social services and housing to meet the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of person, in the loving and caring spirit of Christ.

Disciples Retirement Community of Oklahoma (DRCO)
Sallie Spillman, Board Member
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma
301 NW 36th St., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73118

Disciples Retirement Community of Oklahoma (DRCO) provides funding to assist Disciples older adults living in Bradford Village senior living community in Edmond, OK.

Florida Christian Center
Rev. Kimberly Weir, Executive Director
1115 Edgewood Avenue S., Jacksonville, Florida 32205
(904) 981-3095

The Florida Christian Center provides ministry, pastoral care, worship services, classes on faith and aging and other programs and services focused on the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of the senior and disabled residents in our community. Serving more than 300 residents in three buildings—Sundale Manor Apartments and Florida Christian Apartments provide subsidized housing for senior and disabled adults, along with Edgewood Condominiums, a senior community on-site—and with a full-time Activity Director and full-time Chaplain/Executive Director, FCC seeks to provide an array of services that honor the body, mind and spirit.

Garden of Eden Health Center
Alicia Rodriguez Davila, Founder/CEO
2833 Eagle Eye Court
Kissimmee, FL 34746
(407) 414-5511

The Garden of Eden Health Center (GOEHC) is a vision of a future community health clinic; a faith-based health education program focused on women, infants, and children; and a senior and therapeutic health center, deep in the heart of the central mountain range (Cordillera Central) of Jayuya, Puerto Rico. As a not-for-profit healthcare organization, GOEHC aims to provide quality healthcare, preventive medicine, and holistic health education to higher risk communities (rural residences, women, children, and seniors), while also providing local work and volunteer opportunities for children, youth, and families.

 HER Faith Ministries
Rev. Elaine Y. Sanford, Executive Director
3396 Park Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38111
(901) 324-3705

HER Faith Ministries is a 501(c)(3) Christian charity that provides assistance to homeless and needy women and children. The ministry provides emergency food, clothing, transportation, dental assistance, and housing to impoverished women and children. HER Faith also provides family counseling and programs for ministry and reading to incarcerated individuals.

Hiram Farm
Leeanne Saro Jereb, Executive Director
PO Box 157, Hiram, Ohio 44234
(330) 569-3441

Hiram Farm is a nonprofit organization, agricultural setting that serves developmentally disabled adults, with an emphasis on adults on the autism spectrum. The Farm provides opportunities for these adults to grow, learn, and work in a setting focused on respect and support for individuals and the environment. Here, farmers can develop both professional and social skills and accomplish meaningful work. The program began serving six adults with autism in June 2009. Today, the Farm has grown to provide meaningful work for 24 farmers.

Juliette Fowler Communities
Nicole Gann, President and CEO
1234 Abrams Road, Dallas, Texas 75214
(214) 827-0813

Juliette Fowler Communities is a neighborhood of choice and connection, of caring and service, of faith and fulfillment. Founded more than 120 years ago as an intergenerational community, Fowler serves children, youth and seniors, as well as their families, at our East Dallas location. As a continuing care retirement community, Fowler’s residential services and care offerings for older adults include: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Support, Health and Rehabilitation, and Affordable Senior Housing. As an intergenerational community, Fowler’s residential offerings for children, youth and young women include: Foster-to-Adopt and The Ebby House.

Manistee Manor Apartment Homes
Debi Windahl, Administrator
7987 N. 53rd Avenue, Glendale, Arizona 85301
(623) 915-5039

In the loving and caring spirit of Christ, Disciples House of Glendale Inc. and Manistee Manor are passionately committed to exceed the needs and expectations of our residents by providing quality senior housing and other services to enhance the lives of those we serve in a friendly family-style community environment. A place our residents are proud to call home. Manistee provides apartment home rentals for our low-income senior residents in a safe and caring environment where they can continue to age in place independently (with or without the help of out-side services) in an active senior community.

Mission Behind Bars and Beyond
Rev. Dean Bucalos, Executive Director
PO Box 22-34, Louisville, Kentucky, 40252
(502) 396-3543

Mission Behind Bars and Beyond is a nonprofit, faith-based organization providing community based mentoring programs for those released from prison and returning to communities in Kentucky. In conjunction with a Disciples of Christ congregation, New Life in Christ Christian Church, which is located in a women’s halfway house, we minister to those incarcerated, train outside volunteers to form Nurture, Support and Accountability Groups (NSAG) and connect returning citizens with a NSAG which will then walk alongside each person for six months to a year to equip them for a successful re-entry into the community to which they are returning.

New Communion
Rev. David Harrison, Jr., Director
2320 Country Club Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27104
(336) 722-2714

New Communion is a faith-based organization with the goal of enhancing community relationships and diminishing the impacts of hunger and food insecurity. We are committed to providing nourishing food and being in relationship with those experiencing food insecurity and hunger in the communities we serve. Through the model of Asset Based Community Development, New Communion emphasizes shared abundance in ways that transform individuals and systems of poverty. We function as an interfaith organization and utilize interdisciplinary practices in order to promote healthy food systems through shared abundance and redistribution of resources. Currently, New Communion is feeding over 150 local families a week, and would like to continue to grow, increasing the number of families being fed, using shared abundance and expanding our food and financial sponsorship to support securing healthy nutrition for all.

Oakland Peace Center
Rev. Sandhya Jha, Executive Director
111 Fairmount Avenue, Oakland, California 94611

As an emerging social entrepreneurship nonprofit model of ministry, the Oakland Peace Center exists as a physical space (40,000 square feet gifted by First Christian Church of Oakland) and a network of people and organizations (over 40 Bay Area based nonprofits). It brings together more than 40 direct service, advocacy, youth empowerment, art and culture-shift nonprofits to connect and collaborate with each other in the struggle for peace and justice.

Oklahoma Family Empowerment Center (OFEC)
Rev. Sharyn Cosby, Executive Director
1020 South Garnett Road, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74128
(918) 551-6017

Oklahoma Family Empowerment Center, a related organization of In the Spirit Christian Church, is a not-for-profit agency that seeks to provide resources and assistance to individuals and their families that will empower them to live a successful and purposeful life. In an effort to reduce the disparity of minority contact with law enforcement, Oklahoma Family Empowerment Center has entered into an agreement with the City of Tulsa and partnered with various state, local, and community agencies to implement the Tulsa County Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Community and Strategic Planning Demonstration Project through a grant funded by the Office of Juvenile Affairs.

Patchwork Central / Sozo Health Ministry
Rev. John Rich and Amy Rich, Co-Executive Directors
100 Washington Avenue, Evansville, Indiana 47713
(812) 424-2735

Patchwork Central has worked to serve its neighborhood through flexible and innovative programming that matches the talents and interests of those involved to the needs of our community. Today, Patchwork serves individuals and families with a food pantry (since 1982), neighborhood hospitality (a cup of coffee, telephone usage, someone to listen, etc.), a community garden (created in 1995), low-rent facilities for other community organizations, a bicycle program for the homeless, a Health Ministry, and unique art/education programs (Arts & Smarts) that have been available free of charge to at-risk children and youth since 1980. As part of the community fabric, Patchwork Central changes the lives of those it serves by giving them a sense of hope, a place of acceptance, and a bright outlook for the future.

QC Family Tree
Rev. Helms Jarrell and Rev. Greg Jarrell, Executive Directors
2910 Parkway Avenue, Charlotte, North Carolina 28208
(704) 654-7429

QC Family Tree’s mission is to be kinfolk rooted in discipleship in West Charlotte, NC. They embody this mission through creativity, prayer, and welcome. The Family Tree offers hospitality in their homes to neighbors who are in transition. Participants enjoy family-style meals each evening with neighbors and guests and gather for prayer every weekday morning and midday. The ministry has grown to include: Freedom School summer literacy camp, Wednesday evening dinner and devotionals for youth and children, twice monthly community meals, arts activities, young adult leadership development through internship programs, edible gardens, community outreach activities, and microbusiness in order that provides employment to neighbors as well as sustainable income to their nonprofit.

Reach Beyond Mission
Rev. Mary Lu Johnston, Executive Director
15907 Braesgate Drive, Austin, Texas 78717
(512) 218-4335

Reach Beyond Mission is a fully planned youth mission/poverty education experience. Youth join youth from other churches across the country to explore issues of culture, gender, and poverty in an urban setting. Participants volunteer at numerous metropolitan area nonprofits working with the homeless, low-income families, children, people with disabilities, and the elderly. Summer mission week focus on food justice, housing, or advocacy. RBM provides speakers, age-appropriate activities, and discussion starters to help young people explore the biblical, theological, economic, social, and political issues related to poverty. Our goal is to help youth begin to explore how to spend a lifetime changing the systems that sustain poverty through their votes, career choices, and how they spend their money.

Recovery Café San Jose
Ken Goldstein, Executive Director
80 South 5th Street, San Jose, CA 95112
(408) 294-2963


Recovery Cafe San Jose is a healing community for those traumatized by homelessness, addiction, and mental health challenges. We are founded on the belief that every human being is precious, worthy of love, and deserving of the opportunities to fulfill his or her potential. Located in the heart of downtown San Jose, Recovery Cafe San Jose members come for long-term support in a safe, sober, and supportive environment. Program elements include Recovery Circles (small, peer-support groups), School for Recovery classes in job and life skills, group meals, guest speakers, creative activities, and connections to community resources. Through the Cafe, members gather the skills and strength needed to gain and maintain employment and housing, and achieve their goals in health, family, and sobriety.

Safe Haven Day Shelter
Joni Laurence and Donna Hawley, Co-Coordinators
6165 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Virginia 22044
(703) 532-8220

Safe Haven in Falls Church, VA, is a drop-in program working together with Northern Virginia Family Services to provide a welcoming environment for those experiencing homelessness and poverty. This program began as an outreach program at First Christian Church to an average of 15-20 individuals and has grown to a drop-in program serving more than 100 clients weekly, now an interfaith coalition of faith-based communities contributing hot meals and volunteers to the program.

Serra Center
Lisa Senadenos, CEO
2610 Central Avenue, Suite 120, Union City, California 94587
(510) 477-1000

Serra Center offers three types of support services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF-DDH) provides 24-hour care and supervision in six-bed homes in residential neighborhoods. Individuals in Supported Living Services live in the environment of their choice, with care and support based on their individual needs. Independent Living Services provide services focusing on specific identified living skills, working toward eliminating the need for services when the skills are mastered. All individuals served are active during the day either at jobs or in a day program

SHARE (Sharing Hands: A Respite Experience)
Rev. Tom Jones, Executive Director
3500 N. A Street, Suite 2200, Midland, Texas 79705
(432) 818-1253

Upon the diagnosis of a child’s disability, families find themselves on a lonely journey in which they are isolated from friends, other families who care for children with special needs, and the community. The constant care demands of the child’s disability create stress and leave little time for relationships and personal care. SHARE provides respite care for these families, including parent support groups, counseling services, family events, and programming for siblings. SHARE cares for the whole family because strong families are needed to provide care for the person with special needs—now and well into the future.

Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth, Inc.
Jamie Himes, Executive Director
860 East River Place, Suite 104, Jackson, Mississippi 39202
(601) 354-0983

SCSCY provides services through 11 different statewide locations including therapeutic group homes for children and youth, a transitional living facility for older teens who are homeless, an array of adoption, therapeutic foster case, and post adoption services, and education services that include independent living preparation for teens in the foster care system, and abstinence education for at-risk youth.

SquareOne Villages (formerly Opportunity Village)
Rev. Dan Bryant, Executive Director
458 Blair Boulevard, Eugene, Oregon 97402
(541) 606-4455

As we grow into an organization with multiple projects, Opportunity Village Eugene has recently evolved to SquareOne Villages. Our mission continues to be to create self-managed communities of low-cost tiny houses for people in need of housing. SquareOne Villages has two projects: Opportunity Village Eugene, which provides transitional shelter for approximately 35 people, and Emerald Village Eugene, an affordable housing project of 22 tiny homes being built in fall 2016. Both communities provide stable, safe and sustainable places for people in need of housing through alternative, cost-effective approaches.

StoneSoup Community Venture / Tulsa’s Table
Rev. Christy Moore, Founder and CEO
2232 S. Nogales Ave. Tulsa, OK 74107
(918) 984-8225

Tulsa’s Table is a project of StoneSoup Community Venture, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established in 2010. Our identity springs from the heart of the stone soup folktale, in which community members provide valuable contributions that turn a soup of stone into a nourishing, sustainable meal. The mission of Tulsa’s Table is to provide enriching, seed-to-table educational experiences as solutions to hunger and poverty for youth living in at-risk communities in Tulsa. Our objective is to nourish community for a purpose by providing opportunities for youth to obtain solid job and life skills through the learning laboratory operations of a food production garden and our pay-what-you-can community café. The long-range goal is for our garden and café to be fully operated by graduates of our programming who develop a sense of ownership in the operation through their learning experiences at Tulsa’s Table. The garden will supply fresh, locally-grown food to the café that will function five days per week, serving lunch or dinner to everyone on a pay-what-you-can basis.

The Summit
Gina Meadows, Executive Director
1400 Enterprise Drive, Lynchburg, Virginia 24502
(434) 941-7606

The Summit is a senior living community providing an environment for each resident to be engaged in life. We provide services, amenities and facilities that support an active lifestyle in Independent Living for each individual. As residents’ needs change, The Summit’s campus has a continuum of care available through Assisted Living and The Summit Health and Rehab Center.

Tennyson Center for Children
Ned Breslin, CEO
2950 Tennyson Center, Denver, Colorado 80212
(303) 433-2541

Tennyson Center provides 24-hour intensive residential care, day treatment, special education and home/community based services for approximately 150 children and their families every day. Children with severe behavioral and mental health problems along with educational delays are the primary client population. The families of these children have experienced or are experiencing extreme trauma, physical and/or sexual abuse, mental illness, substance abuse, or extreme poverty and/or homelessness. Tennyson is a leader in advocating for the needs of all children and families in need in Colorado through legislative and policy development.

UrbanMission Community Partners
Rev. Al Lopez, President
810 S. White Avenue, Pomona, CA 91766
(909) 764-8054

Located on the campus of UrbanMission (a UCC/DOC new church start), UMCP is a community-focused nonprofit organization that seeks community wholeness, resilience, and sustainability in the Pomona area of Los Angeles County, California, by working with families and individuals at risk from poverty, hunger, homelessness, incarceration, and/or inadequate education and healthcare. In cooperation with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the United Church of Christ, as well as other denominations, faith communities, neighborhoods, community organizations, and public/ government entities​, UMCP​ actively seeks out and develops opportunities to empower and walk with our community towards a brighter tomorrow. This includes but is not limited to: Social service provision to individuals, families, and neighborhoods at risk from poverty, hunger, homelessness, incarceration, and/or inadequate education and health care. Other opportunities for UMCP’s intended work include involvement in nonviolent civic engagement; advocacy for social uplift in local, state, and national legislation; urban agriculture; supportive and transitional housing for vulnerable populations; and deeply inclusive neighborhoods

Mark Palmer, CEO
1405 Hathman Place, Columbia, Missouri 65201
(573) 881-9840

Woodhaven is a caring team advocating for those with disabilities. Its Community Living program supports more than 100 men and women in more than 50 apartments and homes, and its Community Connections program provides opportunities for individuals who do not work during the day. Our mission is not just about providing supports; it is about working toward a fundamental shift in how the community perceives people with disabilities. Every day, the men and women we support are living full, independent lives as active members of the community. With every shirt they buy, hour they work, and life they touch, they’re changing the face of ability.


NBA Board of Trustees
Jackie Compton Bunch, Chair, Columbus, Ohio
Bob Cooper, Vice Chair, Denver, Colorado
Mary Lou Kegler, Secretary, Kansas City, Missouri
William Jennison, Treasurer, Spokane, Washington
Cindy Kim Hengst, At-Large, Chicago, Illinois
Jabari Butler, Atlanta, Georgia
Alex Cooper, Cleburne, Texas
Jacque Foster, St. Louis, Missouri
Willie Garcia, Yonkers, New York
Ariel Kidwell, Dallas, Texas
Audrey Jackson, Cleveland, Ohio
Lisa Legeer, Jacksonville, Florida
Cristian Marin, Eureka, Illinois
Suzanne Quenette, Austin, Texas
Darren Phelps, Washington, D.C.
Orlando Scott, Norcross, Georgia
Mark D. Anderson, St. Louis, Missouri*
Terri Hord Owens, Indianapolis, Indiana**
Michael Readinger, Cleveland, Ohio**
*Ex-Officio with Vote

**Ex-Officio without Vote


NBA Staff
Mark D. Anderson, President and CEO
Dietra Wise Baker, Program Coordinator for Advocacy and Activism
Jordan Bles, Director of Development
Ben Bohren, Mission Specialist, NBA XPLOR
Dean Bucalos, Mission Specialist, Prison and Jail Ministries
Dani Loving Cartwright, Vice President of Operations
Lesley Durham, Director of Operations Accounting
Angelica Santiago Gonzalez, Administrative Assistant, Operations
Rebecca Hale, Executive Vice President
Héctor J. Hernández, Coordinator, NBA Connect Ministries
Monica Wedlock Kilpatrick, Director of NBA Connect Ministries
Christine Koetting, Associate Vice President of Accounting
Virzola Law, Mission Specialist, NBA XPLOR
April Lewton, Vice President of Development and Marketing
Larry J. Morris III, Program Associate, NBA Incubate Initiative
Bonnie Osei-Frimpong, Director of NBA XPLOR
Kara Whitehouse, Executive Support Manager
Angela Whitenhill, Mental Health Initiative Manager
Kasi Zieminski, Director of Marketing
Gary Zimmerman, Vice President for Administration and CFO




General Board Report
January 2, 2019
Rick Lowery, President DCHS

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A stable foundation for the future

Disciples of Christ Historical Society has been in a period of transition the last few years, as we have relocated from Nashville, Tennessee, to Bethany, West Virginia. The move is now complete, and DCHS is well positioned to accomplish our mission to preserve and proclaim the story of Disciples of Christ within the broader Stone-Campbell tradition, with its distinctive witness to the essential unity of the church as sign and “harbinger” of God’s transforming work of justice and peace in the world.

Our finances are stable. Our budget is balanced. Our future is bright.

Thanks to the strong leadership of our Board, the prudent investment strategy of Christian Church Foundation, which now manages the bulk of the investments that help fund our ministry, and the competent and rigorous accounting of Treasury Services in the Office of the General Minister and President, we are financially secure and transparent in our stewardship of resources devoted to this important ministry. We have strict and reasonable rules in place for the responsible management and growth of our endowment. Our finances are audited as part of Treasury Services’ annual audit. We are living within our means. We are hopeful about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

In 2017, the Historical Society conducted a national search for a new president, following the Executive Search Process established by the General Board (rev. 04-08-2013). I was called and subsequently installed as president on November 5, 2017, at National City Christian Church in Washington, D.C., an event that coincided with the dedication of DCHS’s Oscar Haynes Exhibit on African American Disciples History, on permanent loan to National City. In 2019, we will update that exhibit with additional papers, photographs, and other important artifacts that chronicle the historic contribution of African-American Disciples to the life and witness of our church.

Under the leadership of archivist Shelley Jacobs, a team of part-time workers, including several Bethany College students, continues to organize the archival collection and unpack our extensive library of books and journals related to the Stone-Campbell movement. We continue to receive and process files and documents from congregations, regions, and various ministries from the three major “streams” of the Stone-Campbell tradition.

In the coming months we will begin the long, careful process of checking and digitizing our card catalog and making it available online. We are, in the normal course of responding to research requests, scanning materials and increasing the number of documents, files, and photos stored in digital as well as physical form. That process will continue and, we hope, accelerate in the future. Our goal is to make the collection more accessible to researchers who may not be able to travel to Bethany, WV.

In 2018, we responded to research requests from scholars and other researchers from around the world from all three streams of the Stone-Campbell movement and from a variety of other Christian and religious and non-religious backgrounds. For example, we hosted and assisted a prominent Church of Christ historian writing a new biography of Alexander Campbell, and, in the process, discovered what we believe is a never-before-published image of Campbell. We provided access to materials for use in books, articles, genealogical research, and televised documentaries. In August, for example, in collaboration with Global Ministries, we hosted a television crew from Nanjing, China, making a documentary about Disciples mission workers Lewis Smythe and James McCallum, who helped protect Chinese civilians during the Nanjing Massacre in 1937-1938 and later filed affidavits with their diaries and letters to document the atrocity. DCHS preserves many of their papers and diaries. This documentary, which aired recently on Chinese television, was a follow-up to an earlier documentary that also featured materials from DCHS about Nanjing Disciples mission workers Minnie Vautrin and Miner Searle Bates who, in an effort to protect civilians, also stayed in Nanjing when the Japanese army entered the city. (A striking bronze relief of Minnie Vautrin facing off soldiers to protect Chinese women and girls behind her outstretched arms is prominently featured in the Nanjing Massacre Museum in Nanjing.) Preserving and telling these and other stories of courage and faith is the beating heart of our mission at DCHS.

In 2018, we closed our “Welcome to Bethany!” Capital Campaign, which brought more than $300,000 of gifts and pledges to complete renovations to the Bethany facility and thus support the work of the Society. DCHS is especially grateful to our capital campaign chairs, Peter and Lynne Morgan, whose good names, diligent work, and unyielding faith in the mission of the Historical Society inspired the many contributors who made the campaign such a resounding success.

We are continuing to improve our website, having accomplished a major overhaul in 2018. We plan in 2019 to add features that will increase the usefulness of the website for online research.

In 2018, the DCHS Board took the initial step toward a strategic planning process with a day-long session immediately before our fall Board meeting. We anticipate refining the results of our initial conversation in preparation for our Board meeting in March of 2019.

Additions to our 12-person Board of Trustees, effective in January 2019, enhanced diversity, giving us 50-50 gender balance and increasing representation by persons of color to 33.3%.

Collaboration among the three “streams” of the Stone-Campbell tradition

DCHS has a distinctive mandate to promote collaboration between the three major streams of the Stone-Campbell movement: Disciples of Christ, Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, and a cappella Churches of Christ.

To embody that mandate, our ByLaws require that we have at least one representative from the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ and one representative from the Churches of Christ on our Board of Trustees. We are in compliance with that requirement and cherish the insightful contributions and dedicated work of these Stone-Campbell partners.

In other ways as well, we have worked to maintain and strengthen ties with all three streams of the movement. In June 2018, I attended and staffed a DCHS booth at the North American Christian Convention in Indianapolis. Also in 2018, DCHS participated in a National Endowment for the Humanities grant proposal led by Abilene Christian University to digitize and connect backlist titles related to Stone-Campbell history. Our hope, should the grant proposal succeed, is to create a place on the web where researchers can locate and access basic resources in the various Stone-Campbell collections. This effort is consistent with the explicitly stated desire of our Board that DCHS encourage collaboration between the various libraries and archives of the three streams of the Stone-Campbell tradition.

Here at Bethany, we continue to arrange for tours of the Campbell Mansion for pastor’s classes and other visitors from congregations representing all three streams.

Among constituencies within the Disciples stream of the Stone-Campbell movement in 2018, I represented DCHS at General Board and General Cabinet meetings and at the biennial assemblies of National Convocation, Obra Hispana, and NAPAD.

In 2018, I covered both ends of the Stone-Campbell historical spectrum, giving the Founder’s Day Address at Bethany College in March and the Cane Ridge Heritage Day address at Cane Ridge Meeting House in Kentucky in June. In these lectures, I explored the morally mixed legacy evident in the writings and practices of Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone with regard to the abhorrent American practice of human enslavement.

Telling stories suppressed, ignored

An especially important part of the mission of DCHS in the next period will be to help recover and tell stories that have been by default or design suppressed or under-reported in the overall telling of our story as a church.

We will take a significant step in that direction at General Assembly this year.

In the 1880s, Preston Taylor, an African-American Disciple born in 1849 as an enslaved person in Louisiana, started a funeral business and bought land for a cemetery on the top of a hill in Nashville, Tennessee, the current site of the historic Greenwood Cemetery. It was a humane and revolutionary act, because African Americans had severely limited access to proper funeral care and burial in Nashville at that time. In fact, cemeteries there typically had rules explicitly forbidding the burial of people of African descent. Taylor also created an amusement park on the property he bought that allowed African-American children to have access to recreation otherwise available in Nashville to “whites only.” Taylor also organized the first black bank in Nashville and took the lead in creating the Tennessee State Agricultural and Industrial Normal School for Negroes (later, Tennessee A&I State College), which is now Tennessee State University, an historically black state land grant university that today serves a diverse population of students from Middle Tennessee and around the world.

In 1917, Taylor was instrumental in forming the National Christian Missionary Convention (NCMC), an auxiliary organization to the International Convention of Christian Churches (ICCC), to serve needs of African-American Disciples being inadequately addressed, he and others thought, in the agencies and structures of the ICCC. Taylor served as president of NCMC from its founding until his death in 1931.

In the mid-1950s, under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. R.H. Peoples, pastor of Second Christian Church in Indianapolis, NCMC began to develop a process to eventually merge the work of NCMC with that of ICCC and the United Christian Missionary Society.

In 1968, Disciples approved two historic documents. The first, “A Proposed Recommendation on Principles for Merger…” (commonly called “The Merger Agreement”) formally brought together NCMC and ICCC, to bring to full fruition a process that had already begun in 1960. The second document, The Design of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),” was, effectively, the constitution of our denomination. In 1969, the restructured church held its first biennial General Assembly in Seattle, Washington. The 2019 General Assembly marks the 50th Anniversary of that first General Assembly of the new church that emerged from the Merger Agreement and The Design.

On Tuesday evening of the 2019 General Assembly, we will commemorate these two historic documents and look to the “second fifty years” of our life as a denomination. DCHS is collaborating with the Office of the General Minister and President and the General Assembly worship committee to plan and conduct this liturgical celebration of our past and our future at this key moment in our church’s history. As part of this evening celebration from the main stage of the Assembly, we will show a brief video of interviews with people who were close-up eye-witnesses to The Merger Agreement and The Design.

At this General Assembly, we will also sponsor a panel discussion evaluating The Merger Agreement and The Design at the half-century mark.

DCHS is also collaborating with Chalice Press to publish a book centered around transcriptions of audio-taped interviews conducted in 1990-1991 by James Seale, former president of DCHS, with a number of key figures in the process of Restructure that led to the Merger Agreement and The Design. The book, co-edited by myself, Duane Cummins, Peter Morgan, and Lawrence Burnley, will include comments on the broader social-historical context of Restructure, as well as reflections by Disciples leaders today on where we stand as a denomination at the half-century mark. This will be the first volume in the new James and Mary Dudley Seale Series on Disciples and Public Engagement. It will be available for purchase at General Assembly.

There, we also will launch the multi-year “Make Disciples History” audio archive project. Modeled on NPR’s “StoryCorps,” “Make Disciples History” will invite people to record about 5 minutes of response to the questions, “What difference does my church make in my life?” and “What difference does my church make in the world?” We are particularly hopeful that this project will highlight the racial-ethnic diversity of our church and give voice to those who often have been underrepresented in published histories of our tradition. In concert with this project, we are offering a workshop on storytelling.

We also are joining with the Council on Christian Unity for an evening meal at General Assembly featuring the Rev. Peter Marty, publisher of The Christian Century, who will speak about Disciples minister C.C. Morrison, who bought the failing Disciples publication in 1908 and refocused it as a “nondenominational” magazine committed to the “social gospel” understanding of Christian faith. Marty will explore how Morrison’s vision of faith for the public good plays out today, particularly in issues of interfaith understanding and collaboration.

A final word

My colleagues in the General Cabinet have been wonderfully supportive of the Historical Society and of me personally as I have worked to get up to speed in the job. I particularly appreciate the leadership and support of the DCHS Board and of our General Minister and President Terri Hord Owens. I am honored to serve in this important ministry of remembrance and ongoing recommitment to the core values that have sustained and defined us a movement for wholeness in this fragmented world.

Respectfully submitted,

Rick Lowery




 Inclusive of Board of Church Extension
dba Disciples Church Extension Fund
Erick D. Reisinger, President
Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation
Gilberto Collazo, President

1099 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
P.O. Box 7030, Indianapolis IN 46207-7030
Telephone (800) 274-1883; en español (866) 534-1949; FAX (317) 635-6534
Web sites:;
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In 2018, Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF) and Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation (Hope Partnership), under the umbrella of Church Extension Financial & Missional Resources (CEFMR), partnered with Disciples in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rio and, in some cases, other Christian denominations throughout the U.S. and Canada to find new and innovative ways to transform communities through service-driven mission and ministry.

Congregational vitality and sustainability are, in part, the result of effective stewardship of capital and leadership resources. These are the missions of DCEF and Hope Partnership. Our ministries recognize that a church is much more than a building or a once-a-week service. At its best, it is a manifestation of the divine at work in the world, of people living the teachings of Jesus Christ and, through service and celebration, connecting both with God and neighbors. For this reason, our services and programs are focused on helping congregations look beyond themselves and their own immediate, internal concerns to the larger world and a future vision of the role they may play in transforming their communities.

In this way, the question most often asked by the local ministries with whom we partner evolves from “How do we survive?” to “Why do we exist?” Answering this different question, through collaboration with DCEF and Hope Partnership, has established new and enhanced existing mission and ministries wherever Disciples can be found.

Disciples Church Extension Fund

Disciples Church Extension Fund inspires and empowers congregations to create Holy Places where people connect with God, each other and their community.

Disciples Church Extension Fund is the primary Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) ministry that provides congregations with building planning and capital funding services. In part, this is done through loans for new construction, renovation, repair, accessibility improvements, “green” initiatives, special facility projects, relocation, and more. Our mission is to partner with congregations and ministries as they create, re-create, fund, and use/re-use their Holy Places (conventional or other, owned or not) as instruments for connecting with God; places to gather as Christians who are called to love and serve each other and their neighbors, inside and outside church walls.

Despite late year market volatility, 2018 was a year of generally positive financial trends for DCEF, including continued growth in the number of churches seeking loans for capital projects and purchases. This was the second consecutive year of such growth in loan demand and the second highest advance total in the last ten years. After deferring routine maintenance and delaying facility improvements for nearly a decade of recession in the U.S. economy, many congregations are now feeling more confident about the future. We anticipate this trend to continue. For this reason, DCEF will endeavor to significantly increase investor participation in 2019 so that we have the liquidity needed to fund the growing excitement of Disciples to reimagine and revitalize their Holy Places for mission and ministry.

DCEF offers investment opportunities to Disciples congregations and individuals at competitive interest rates through our demand and term Notes. Our investors benefit their Church by providing funds that allow us to make loans and provide capital services to Disciples ministries, and benefit themselves by earning good rates of return.

October of 2018 kicked off a year of commemoration for Disciples Church Extension Fund and its predecessor organizations as we began celebrating our 135th year of service. Back in 1883, at the 34th annual meeting of the American Christian Missionary Society, Convention Secretary Robert Moffett raised the issue of material aid to new churches. He said to those assembled there, “Your Board thinks it advisable to begin the creation of a fund, the principal of which shall be loaned on easy terms to such weak churches and mission stations as may stand in need of such aid.” Ultimately, the convention concurred and so began both the Church Extension Fund and its Board of Church Extension, now known as DCEF. In the intervening years, the fund has grown from $2,605 to more than $167 million; made more than 13,500 interest-free and interest-bearing loans; and, provided a total of more than $926 million in funds used to benefit churches and church-affiliated organizations.

Even more amazing, at age 135, DCEF continues to evolve to better deliver its ministry. Glendale Mission and Ministry Center of Glendale, AZ serves as a case in point and pilot program of established and new DCEF services. A collaborative vision of the former First Christian Church Glendale (FCCG), the Arizona Region, and Disciples Church Extension Fund, the center has worked creatively to help those in the Glendale community by enhancing established ministries and starting new ones. The congregation of FCCG voted to cease its worshipping ministry in the Fall of 2017, naming the Christian Church in Arizona as its successor and empowering its Chair of Trustees to negotiate its final desires, one of which was “to promote an outreach center at this location.”

DCEF is partnering with the Arizona Region to honor this request, helping to ensure that dedicated Disciples can continue to benefit their communities even if their congregations cannot. The building evaluation for the former First Christian Church Glendale was conducted in September 2017 by Disciples Church Extension Fund, which is now providing on-going property management for the facility.

Now, from its three-acre, five-building campus, Glendale Mission and Ministry Center serves more than 820 free lunches and distributes 110 emergency food bags and 60 hygiene kits, plus clothing, to the area’s poor and homeless each month. The center also supports various local non-profits with meeting and office space, houses a much-needed Head Start Program run by Catholic Charities, and provides a Holy Place of worship to three congregations who nest there including Iglesia Hispana de Glendale, and Iglesia de Cristo Sion which has used the space for 20 years. DCEF is very grateful to participate in this exceptional example of a mission-driven investment in a community for the good of its people.

Last year was also one of recovery for many Disciples congregations. In 2018, 15 congregations received immediate facilities assistance from a DCEF advisor through our Disaster Response Service after their buildings were damaged by natural disasters such as fire, flood, and hurricane. These congregations are located in eight states throughout the country including Florida, North & South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, and California.

Off-shore, recovery continues in Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Within weeks of that storm, DCEF President Rick Reisinger and Hope Partnership President Gilberto Collazo, a Puerto Rican native, flew into San Juan as participants in a meeting of the Joint Commission of US and Puerto Rican Disciples. Other Joint Commission members included General Minister and President Terri Hord Owens, Lori Tapia, Julia Brown-Karimu and Angel Rivera-Agusto. Representatives of other general ministries and Week of Compassion were also in attendance. All met with the leadership of Iglesia Cristiana (Discipulos de Cristo) en Puerto Rico, toured the island, and visited many of the church facilities as their damage was being assessed. This resulted in a $1,000,000 unsecured line of credit from DCEF for emergency repairs and rebuilding projects. In the year since, a great deal of progress has been made but much is left to do. For this reason, DCEF has committed to providing on-going support and partnership, including an additional $300,000 increase to the line of credit to cover more extensive damage than was originally assessed.

In addition to the preceding highlights, 2018 was a year of increased capital fundraising activity and increased loan participation among our ecumenical partners. Because the need to reimagine our Holy Places as evolving instruments of God’s work is not unique to Disciples congregations, DCEF has established and continues to enhance relationships with our ecumenical and para church partners. We all bring unique gifts to finding solutions to the capital planning and funding challenges of creating Holy Places where connections to God, each other and community occur. The church extension funds of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), The Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), and the United Church of Christ (UCC) represent some of the denominations that have come together with DCEF and Hope Partnership in 2018 to host and participate in ecumenical events. In these settings, congregational leaders explore creative ways to design and use our Holy Places for mission and transformational change.

Three DCEF services in particular are effective in helping congregations answer the question of how best to utilize their assets to empower mission and ministry:

  • Building Evaluation – This service sends an expert DCEF advisor or contractor with a background in facility and construction management to assess the condition of a congregation’s facility and to recommend a plan that addresses building condition, maintenance issues and requirements. By engaging church leadership throughout the evaluation process, this service teaches “Building Know How 101” so that each congregation will be able to internally recognize and address facility issues in the future.
  • Building Planning – Effective planning is essential to ensure that mission is driving the design, use, management, expenses, location, and even ownership status of our Holy Places. This service helps to ensure that a congregation’s overall facilities strategy is based primarily on building relationships and connecting with God, each other and community. The strategy often includes a ministry plan, developed in cooperation with Hope Partnership’s Mission Pathways service, which puts mission priorities at the center of any project to create, re-create or situate a Holy Place.
  • Capital Fundraising – With DCEF’s counsel, a congregation generates funds for special projects or needs, using processes that involve identifying a purpose/vision that relates to a church’s ministry; clearly defining and articulating the project/need and case for support; discerning the most effective fundraising methodology and sources of revenue for the need; developing themes, timelines and goals based on capacity; and, determining leadership responsibilities.

In addition, DCEF also offers services designed to help congregations with more specialized projects: Architectural Consultation is an advisory service provided by experienced church architects selected by DCEF, and Relocation Services assist congregations with relocating their ministry to a different venue.

This past year, our Advisors had more than 60 General Consultations with congregations; reached out to more than 350 local churches through the end of November; and, held 12 Shine Events to let our congregations know what services are available to them as part of DCEF’s ministry.

Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation

Hope Partnership empowers courageous leaders to guide the Church into life-giving expressions of ministry for this era of God’s mission.

Since its formation in 2012, Hope Partnership has been dedicated to achieving its goal of empowering and equipping clergy and lay leaders so that their congregations can be strengthened and the lives of people inside the church and out in the community can be transformed. Our services engage congregations in conversations of informed discernment that most often result in empowered churches offering community-transforming ministries. Whether by planting a new faith community or transforming an existing congregation, Disciples leaders are boldly guiding the Church to new possibilities for life-giving expressions of mission and ministry. Hope Partnership is called to walk alongside these courageous leaders by offering services and programming designed to train, nurture, and coach faith leaders. Hope Partnership is also the general ministry home to New Church Ministry and transformational leadership programming.

Over the past six years, Hope Partnership has served more than 1,300 congregations in the US and Canada. Utilizing feedback loops, data-monitoring and customer evaluation surveys, we are constantly improving our services so that congregations can more effectively make bold decisions and step out in faith to meet the needs of the evolving, real world.

For clergy and lay leaders in established church contexts, Hope Partnership’s transformational services offer training and support through proven procedures and protocols that promote conversations about future mission and vision. Congregations within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have transformed their ministries and connected with their communities in new and innovative ways after engaging with Hope Partnership through these services:

New Beginnings – For the congregation that knows it can’t continue “as is” but doesn’t yet know what to do. More than 1,000 congregations have engaged in the New Beginnings process, with 99% finding clarity and embracing a new vision for their future ministry. This six-to-eight month process helps churches clarify their context, explore ministry options, and make an informed decision about their future missional direction.

Mission Pathways – For the congregation that wants to move forward and needs a plan. The Mission Pathways process shows congregations how to use the capital, relational, and spiritual assets they currently have to be a transformative force in their communities. During the approximately three-month, self-led process, church leaders identify current resources and create a road map for their future ministry plan.

Epiphany – For the congregation longing to become a transforming presence both inside and outside of their church walls. The Epiphany service is designed to help churches imagine, and then live into, a new vision for mission. During the one-plus year process, congregational leaders will shift the focus from “what” the church is doing to “why.” By finding clarity on why they exist, a congregation will discover innovative ways to do ministry to transform their community.

Because the need for leader development crosses denominational lines, as with DCEF, Hope Partnership has established and continues to enhance service relationships with a number of ecumenical partners, who now represent a growing portion of our services portfolio. In fact, 2018 has been a year of significant growth in this area and Hope now works with churches in the United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church (USA),  Presbyterian Church (Canada), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Episcopal Church.

One innovation that developed in 2018 is a new ecumenical partners service offering called Mid-Level Judicatory, or The Partnership Option. It is a way for our ecumenical partners to utilize proven Hope Partnership resources with clusters of congregations within a Region/Conference/Synod. We provide the mid-level judicatory with infrastructure, training and administrative support for the delivery of our services to their congregations. Individuals from the mid-level judicatory offices are trained to work directly with their congregations as facilitators and coaches.

Combining aspects of the New Beginnings and Epiphany services described above, The Partnership Option guides groups of congregations through discernment that results in intentional decisions concerning “how” each congregation would like to re-develop (the New Beginnings service). It is anticipated that several of these congregations will then continue to work through elements of the Epiphany process engaging in coaching and additional services that support their plan implementation.

There are multiple advantages to this new service offering for both the ecumenical partner and for Hope Partnership. Unlike with our traditional transformational services in which Hope Partnership facilitates directly with the congregation, congregations benefit from a proven process provided by their own denomination’s representatives with The Partnership Option. In this way, the Region/Conference/Synod has more engagement with congregational successes and congregations see their denominational leadership as providing the service. In addition, as of this writing, Hope Partnership President Gilberto Collazo reports that he is in serious conversation with two Disciples of Christ Regions for Mid-Level Judicatory consideration in 2019.

We continue to work closely with our sister ministry Disciples Church Extension Fund whose Board of Directors recently approved a $100,000 contribution toward Hope Partnership’s operating costs in 2019. In addition, DCEF has allocated $85,000 of its 2019 budget for grants to qualifying Disciples congregations to cover up to 50% of the cost of Hope services, thereby making these proven transformational programs more accessible to the churches who need them most.

It is an exciting time for New Church Ministry which continues to be integral to the work of Hope Partnership, because the stewardship of leaders and developing congregations are at the center of the Disciples’ new church movement. Under the 2020 Vision, we have grown the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) family by welcoming many new and affiliated faith communities into the fold. Our partners in these communities are eager to answer God’s call to share the gospel in new ways and places. The 2018 Year Book & Directory reports an additional 14 new congregations ‘in formation’ through November, 2018.

A key tactic for growth is continued connection with our Regions/Areas. For this reason Terrell L. McTyer, the Minister for New Church Strategies, has visited 21 regions and participated in gatherings of the National Convocation, Obra Hispana and North American Pacific/Asian Disciples.

In addition, in 2018, Hope Partnership . . .

  • hosted the Coaching Academy in Indianapolis, IN May 17-19. The event brought together clergy and lay leaders to train a team of coaches to walk alongside the leaders/pastors of both new church and transformational church projects. The three-day event featured coaching demonstrations, in-depth training on coaching procedures and best practices, and educational sessions with keynote speaker Robert E. Logan. Logan is the founder of Logan Leadership and co-author with Sherilyn Carlton of Coaching 101: Discover the Power of Coaching.
  • conducted Leadership Academy in September which brought together 35 registered trailblazers from across the life of the church to share leadership experiences, wisdom, and training. Pastors, leaders and new church planters gathered to collaborate with colleagues in church development, including headliners like DOC General Minister and President Terri Hord Owens; Eric Law, Executive Director of the Kaleidoscope Institute; and Angela Whitenhill, Mental Health Initiative Manager of the National Benevolent Association.
  • continued to engage in strategic conversations with Regions and Areas, National Convocation, Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries, and North American Pacific/Asian Disciples about how we can work together to collaborate with new churches, often through coaching, to improve our 60+% new church sustainability rate (at the five year mark).

Through the Pentecost Offering, which benefits both New Church Ministry and regional new church work, Hope Partnership continues to encourage the wider Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to become more involved in supporting courageous new church planters, whose vision and energy are so vital to the future of God’s Church.

Moving forward

Looking ahead, the offices of Disciples Church Extension Fund and Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation are preparing to say ‘good-bye’ in 2019 to some long-term and highly valued partners in ministry. Ellen Mitchell, COO and Corporate Secretary for DCEF and Hope Partnership, will retire in March after nearly 39 years of service. Mary Beight, DCEF and Hope Partnership Vice President, Treasurer and Assistant Secretary, will retire in June, 2019 after an amazing half century of service. And, Rick Morse, Vice President, will retire this coming August following 18 years of serving both DCEF and Hope Partnership. Though we plan to give each a celebratory send-off, their dedication to mission and service will be sorely missed.

Still, Disciples Church Extension Fund and Hope Partnership remain committed to delivering our ministries in close collaboration with each other and with our Disciples of Christ partners, supporters and friends for the benefit of congregations currently struggling with a variety of issues. In 2019, we will continue to dedicate our various resources, expertise, perspectives and experience to live in the teachings of Jesus Christ and live out God’s call to help Disciples in the real world, in real ways – enabling congregations to thrive and communities to transform.

And, because this need to redefine and reimagine ministry opportunities is not unique to Disciples congregations, DCEF and Hope Partnership have expanded our exciting collaboration with five building funds that serve four of our closest ecumenical partner denominations, including The Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Under this new collaboration, each church extension fund will contribute financial and operational support to train and coordinate the expanded ecumenical network of assessors and facilitators needed to deliver transformational services to member churches. Continuing to grow in 2019, our transformational and capital services will now be available to a wider ecumenical network of congregations than ever before.

Living into our foundational calling as Disciples to let Christian unity be our polar star, Hope Partnership and DCEF are committed to collaborate with our ecumenical partners in this exciting and evolving way. However, we remain resolute, first and foremost, in our devotion to the principle of ‘Disciples helping Disciples’ wherever and whenever needed, today and tomorrow.





Including the Office of General Minister and President

Teresa Hord Owens, General Minister and President

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Office of General Minister and President


I am pleased that the Rev. Lee Hull Moses will join the OGMP staff in February 2019 as Chief of Staff.  Rev. Moses most recently pastored a congregation in Greensboro, NC, and brings expertise in non-profit management and fundraising to her ministry with the OGMP.

Regional and Congregational Ministry Engagement

During 2018, I attended and preached at the majority of Regional Assemblies across the church, including Canada.  I was honored to preside at the installations of new regional ministers: the Rev. Dr. Andy Mangum, (Southwest); Bishop Valerie Melvin, (North Carolina); the Rev. Dr. Betsy Goehrig, (Florida) and the Rev. Chris Morton, (Nebraska).  When possible, I have preached at a local congregation at the conclusion of Regional Assemblies.   I have also preached at several congregational milestone anniversary celebrations.  It has been important to engage as widely as possible across the whole church in order to hear and learn, and to bear witness to local ministries, local challenges, and connect with Disciples where they are.  As I stated in my Advent message, despite the challenges we face, the spirit of hope permeates our church.

I continue to work closely with the College of Regional Ministers in support of regional minister search processes, and as part of the CRM itself in its regular meetings.  The focus of Several regions are in search for a new Regional Minister, including Pacific Southwest and Arizona, with Virginia having just completed a search.  The Ohio region has collaborated with the four contiguous regions for congregational, clergy and Commission on Ministry support. A new Regional Transitional Team leads the work of visioning the future for Ohio.  I, along with general ministry leaders, have been engaged as Ohio charts a new course.

I am working with the College of Regional Ministers (CRM) on a church-wide education plan to revive and renew spiritual practice across the church, particularly Biblical literacy.  The goal is a collection of resources across various media that can be utilized by congregations to promote spiritual formation and practice, and theological reflection.  A small group of Regional Ministers will work with me to identity resources and prepare to launch the program.

Data Initiative

I have convened a small group of Disciples laypersons with information technology and data backgrounds.  We have identified 2 phases of priority: 1) the Yearbook data gathering and data mining functions, and 2) gathering data to assess clergy well-being and flourishing.  We are preparing a proposal for external funding for this venture.  The Yearbook phase will include database and query design, including standardized reports.  Access must be both easy and useful, and providing congregations with valuable feedback is a key objective.  We are also benchmarking with other mainline denominations to see what currently exists elsewhere.


We are working with a communications firm to help assess the clarity and consistency of our messaging, and to help improve both our communications across the church, but also our messaging in the public square about the ministry of the Disciples of Christ.  A series of interviews with Disciples, lay and clergy, across expressions of the Church has highlighted that common language such as the identity statement, and other historical “mantras” are widely known and used.  We also understand ourselves to be theologically diverse, welcoming all to the Lord’s table, and striving to live in the tension that that diversity and welcome often bring.  We do , however, struggle with how to share that message beyond these formulated statements.  We will continue to work on the messaging in preparation for a wider roll-out in the coming year.  This consulting engagement is not just to deliver a new “campaign”, but rather to work with us on an ongoing basis to optimize communications re: key issues and events.

On another front, Communications Ministries will be reviewing and revising our web presence in the coming year to improve access and navigation across the site as we strive to make information more readily available across the church.

Racial/Ethnic Ministries

I attended the National Convocation, the Bi-Lingual Hispanic Assembly, and the NAPAD Convocation this summer.  The leaders of these ministries are planning to co-locate their assemblies in 2020, as we all seek to live into our calling to be a church that reflects the family of God.

I was honored to preside at the installation of the first woman to lead La Obra Hispana as the National Hispanic Pastor, the Rev. Lori Tapia. I also presided at the installation of the Rev. Chung Seong Kim as the Executive Pastor of NAPAD.


The HR Task Force, comprised of General Ministry representatives, drafted language to be submitted to the General Board and General Assembly as recommended minimum standards for General Ministry policies on harassment, including sexual harassment.  The Cabinet approved the recommended draft language, and some general ministries have already revised their HR policies accordingly.  This language is presented to the General Board as a resolution for adoption and referral to the General Assembly.

Justice Ministry

The participation of Disciples in the Poor People’s Campaign during 2018, both within state-based campaigns and Disciples’ ministries, has generated organic energy for social justice advocacy and ministry.  Not only were Disciples present in state Poor People’s Campaign actions, but Disciples were collectively present on several occasions with the national Campaign in Washington, DC.  In September, Disciples who have been engaged in local justice work were invited to meet in Iowa at the “Disciples Public Presence” conference.  Having witnessed the power of our collective presence and work, the goal was how to organize so that we can educate about social justice issues, informed by people in their own local contexts, and leverage our work together across the church.  A team of small groups is working now to create a plan for future communication and collective action around social justice issues.

Disciples continue to engage in advocacy around immigration policy, across many expressions of the church.  While there are specific human impacts on US soil, we also seek to educate and advocate about the root causes of global migration.

Recent trips to Good Samaritan Ministries (a ministry of the Southwest Region) in Texas, as well as to Tijuana, Mexico, with Global Ministries Partner, the Daniel F Romero Center for Border Ministries and Strategies (Centro Romero) allowed opportunities to see the challenges ministries face to provide relief and assistance as global violence, war, and poverty force many to seek safety and peace for their families.

Ecumenical Ministry

Along with Paul Tche, President of the Council on Christian Unity, and Jen Garbin, Regional Minister in Canada, I attended the General Council of the United Church of Canada.  They approved our proposal to enter into a full communion relationship.  A resolution is before the General Board and the General Assembly to approve this relationship in 2019.

I will attend the Puerto Rico Disciples Assembly later in February 2019.  I will also attend the United Church of Christ General Synod.

I will be the Sunday Morning preacher for the Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, DC, in April 2019.  I continue to be active as a representative of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the US and Canada at meetings of the National Council of Churches, and the World Council of Churches.

General Assembly

The work of the General Assembly Futuring Task Force has been key to the planning of the 2019 General Assembly in Des Moines. In addition to working to keep costs down and raise sponsorships, we have added value via educational offerings. Pastors who need boundary training or anti-racism training to maintain their standing can get those classes at the event. Commissioned ministers can get their Disciples history. Elder training and classes for college students navigating campus life are planned. That is in addition to the many workshops on administration, Global Ministries and even a panel discussion on the first 50 years of The Design.

Other innovations for this assembly include:

  • Opening and closing celebrations
  • Starting on Saturday afternoon and ending Wednesday morning to potentially save one night’s hotel cost
  • An open call for sermon submissions
  • MissionFest! in the exhibit hall where congregations and ministries can share their ministry successes with other congregations and ministries looking for inspiration.

Recommended Action

The General Board receives the report from the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) including the Office of General Minister and President and forwards it to the 2019 General Assembly for consideration and discussion.


Center for Faith and Giving
General Board Report
Spring 2019

Our Vision: To create a culture of generosity across the life of the whole church

Our Mission: To provide resources that teach stewardship as a spiritual discipline and a whole life response to the abundance of God.

Standing Committee Members: Eric Farris (LWM Kentucky); Denise Bell (CBF Georgia); Samuel Ramirez (CHM California); Melissa St Clair (CWF Central Rocky Mountain); Daphne Gascot Arias (CHF California). Serving ex officio: Randy Johnson (CWM Indiana); Sotello Long (CBM G-COM); Terri Hord-Owens (CBF G-COM).  Bruce Barkhauer, Director (CWM, G-COM)

The Center celebrates with the church our ninth anniversary and the many ways we have been privileged to serve you.  2019 marked our sixth year of producing annual campaign materials for the church, including two years of partnership with the United Church of Christ (2017 & 2018) and our current partnership with the Ecumenical Stewardship Center.  These popular resources offer complete guidance in the task of developing a successful annual fund in congregational life and encourage strong biblical and theological study through sermon and small group curriculum.  They have also provided a necessary income stream for supporting the Center’s operational budget, only 48% of which is projected to be underwritten by Disciples Mission Fund in 2019.  We are grateful for the many partnerships we enjoy that strengthen our witness and provide the resources to empower this particular mission of the Disciples of Christ.

We are pleased to report that CFG was awarded an Oreon E Scott Grant to work extensively with congregations in the Ohio Region  Following the economic crisis in Ohio, the Center’s leadership felt a keen awareness to join with other parts of the church that have come together to support these congregations and pastors while the Ohio Region reorganizes.  Our efforts will focus on delivering stewardship and fiduciary “best practices” education for clergy and laypersons, including “generosity coaching” in up to two dozen congregations who apply for Generosity Plus.  Participants will receive two intensive study sessions at the regional camp ground (one spring, one fall, two days each session) that include the pastor and at least two lay people from each church.  For those that do not apply for Generosity Plus, a series of six webinars will be available for all of the Ohio Disciples during 2019 and the first half of 2020.  The goal is to improve both clergy and congregational financial wellness and to equip future leadership for regional and general church service on boards with administrative responsibilities. Increased financial health will expand the capacity to practice generosity at the local, regional and wider expressions of the whole church, in keeping with our stated vision.

The Generosity Plus program is being piloted in Ohio and will become available to both regions and individual congregations in 2019. This fee for service coaching platform will allow the CFG to expand its capacity and provide a deeper level of assistance for parts of the church that wish to increase their generosity profile.  We will still continue to provide our high-quality level of resources to the whole church via our website, in addition to this new program.  We have hired (on a contract/part-time basis) the Rev. Janet Long, past Moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who has just retired from her 33 1/3 years of service to Washington Avenue Christian Church in Elyria, Ohio.  We are excited to have her join our Generosity Plus team.

Our Director continues to impact those studying for the ministry and vocational service to the church through teaching at several of our Disciple seminaries, including Lexington Theological Seminary which requires students to take a stewardship and church finance course in order to graduate in the MDiv program.  In May of this year, Rev. Barkhauer will give the 4th James Reed Seminar on Stewardship, as a part of the Stalcup School of Theology, one of several recognitions that speak to the respect the Center for Faith and Giving has developed across the life of the church and amongst its peers.  He has worked in consultation with the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving at the Indiana University School of Philanthropy, assisting in both the NASCEP (North American Study on Congregational Economic Practice) Study and the redevelopment of their ECRF (Executive Certificate in Religious Fund Raising) Certificate program.  He also has participated as a mentor over the last three years to participants of Indiana Flourish (a clergy and congregational financial wellness program funded by the Lilly Foundation).  Additionally, Rev. Barkhauer was recently elected President of the Board of Directors of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center.  Bruce will complete the necessary requirements to earn his ECRF designation this spring.  He continues to be a sought after speaker and presenter among our ecumenical partners in the field of generosity and stewardship, particularly as it relates to the biblical and theological practice of stewardship as a spiritual discipline.

The Standing Committee bids farewell to the Reverend Erin Wathen who has completed a five-year term and twice served as chair.  We welcome the Reverend Daphne Gascot Aries as she begins her term that will end in 2023.  Our gratitude goes to those willing to serve and lead in this capacity.


Christian Church Services
PO Box 1986, Indianapolis, IN  46206
Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens, president
Rev. Dr. Todd Adams, board chair
John Goebel, financial services
Cherilyn Williams, interim staff

Christian Church Services (CCS) is the umbrella corporation that coordinates the shared services of the Disciples Center such as building lease, phone system, reception and insurance. Since the last report to the General Board in April of 2018, longtime staff Sharon Coleman moved to another position within the Disciples Center in June 2018. Cherilyn Williams and John Goebel have filled the gap until the anticipated arrival of a chief of staff for the Office of General Minister and President, Rev. Lee Hull Moses, in February 2019.

The board met in June and December of 2018 to review operations. The following are highlights:

  • A new phone software system task force, led by Pension Fund’s Rick Mahoney, selected Level365 as a vendor. The software transition occurred in December 2018.
  • Meetings also included updates on finances, procedures, manuals and training cycles as well as schedule of holidays for the building.
  • Gary Kidwell was elected as board chair for 2019-2020.


College of Regional Ministers Report
President Greg Alexander, Kentucky
President Elect, LaTaunya Bynum, N. California-Nevada
First Vice President, Nadine Burton, Great River
Second Vice President, Bill Rose-Heim, Greater Kansas City
Secretary, Christal Williams, Tennessee

The College of Regional Ministers is made up of lead staff members of each of the 32 regional churches and the leaders of the three Ethnic Ministries and meets 2-3 times annually for spiritual renewal, mutual encouragement, continuing education, and matters of church oversight and service.

On non-General Assembly years, the CRM holds a meeting in the summer which includes the Moderators of each of the regional churches for community building and skill building.  The CRM also meets for a meal function at each General Assembly and invites the former members of the CRM and their spouses to the function at a reduced cost to continue the ties of friendship and fellowship within this group of church leaders.

The officers of the CRM, known as the CRMX, meet 6-8 times a year online for business between the formal meetings of the CRM.  Officers of the CRM are elected for a two-year term of service during the off General Assembly year gathering in the summer.

The CRM is divided into five fellowship groups based on geography.  The Fellowship Groups meet in person once a year for community building and program coordination.  Two of the five groups are currently meeting together for this function.

The funds of the CRM are managed by the OGMP Office.  The CRM work is funded through annual dues contributed by the regional churches, invested funds, and regional church budgets through voluntary work done by its members.

One of the challenges/opportunities of the CRM is the high level of turnover in the membership.  The report submitted to the 2018 General Board listed this range of service of the regional ministers in regions by their amount of tenure. Add a year to each category for 2018.

  • Five regions have been served for 14-22 years;
  • Six regions have been served for 6-11 years;
  • Six regions have served for 3-4 years;
  • Seven regions have been served for 1-2 years;
  • Two regions called permanent staff in February 2018,
  • Six regions are served by interim ministries/strategies.
  • In addition, two regional churches have changed their models to have multiple regional ministers as teams. This reality means adding five more persons using the title of Regional Minister for ministry. While the college only has one member per regional church that attends its meetings, this still translates into exceptional transitional movement in the CRM.

Highlights of 2017-2018

  • The CRM developed “An Ethical Covenant for Regional Ministers.” The members of the CRM believed Regional Ministers must be held accountable to appropriate ethical standards. At the February meeting of the CRM, all the Regional Ministers will participate in a signing service in the context of worship.
  • John Mobley (Alabama NW Florida) works as Chairperson of the Calling, Advisory, and Orientation Committee to assist Regions in leadership transition.  He works with the General Minister and President to recommend persons to serve in positions of interim leadership.  He assigns CRM members to partner with search teams in Regions that are seeking new regional ministers.  Since the beginning of 2018 the following Regions have benefited from this assistance:  Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Mid-America, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northeast, Ohio, Pacific Southwest, South Carolina, Southwest, and Virginia.  Currently five regions are in various stages of search processes and are working closely with members of the CRM in the process.
  • Five of the CRM members serve on the General Commission on Ministry.
  • Teresa Dulyea-Parker (Illinois Wisconsin) and Bill Spangler-Dunning (Upper Midwest) represent the CRM on the Administrative Committee.
  • The CRM maintains a webpage for the public to learn about their work with a private area for confidential business. The CRM also maintains an active listserv system for fluid and quick communication.
  • Susan Gonzales-Dewey (Pacific SW) represented the CRM in the planning and implementation of the July 2018 FORM (Fellowship of Regional Moderators) meeting in Birmingham, Alabama in the days preceding the National Convocation gathering. The CRM meets in the same time frame with part of the time spent with both groups together. This date and location allowed many of the CRM members to stay for all or part of the Convocation.  A strong and vibrant network of the Regional Moderators emerged that will continue to develop identity and purpose in this next biennium.
  • The CRM is preparing to address some challenging conversations that it must have. The CRM has become very intentional to build greater degrees of trust and transparency into the developing relationships among all its members. These conversations will address the deeper systemic issues of institutional racism that still haunt the structures of our denomination; the challenges facing our current regional structures and the need to explore alternatives that will carry our witness and work forward for generations to come; the changing landscape of congregational life and its impact on our current ministry structures (education, ministerial identity, recruitment, and Search and Call).
  • Twelve of the General Units have at least one Regional Minister on their Board of Directors/Trustees. Regional Ministers serve on all of the Ethnic Ministries boards, Disciples Women Leadership, Reconciliation, Week of Compassion and General Commission on the Ministry. Four Disciples Colleges and six Disciples Seminaries have Regional Ministers on their boards.
  • The four Regional Ministers from the five contiguous regions to the Ohio Region (Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania/West Virginia) have entered into a covenant to provide Regional Ministry support services to congregations/ministers of the Ohio Region during this time of transition and renewal for that Region. Four geographic areas have been identified and one assigned to each of the four Regional Ministers.
  • The eight regions of the Southeast Regional Fellowship (AL/NWFL, FL, GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, and VA) received a grant from the Oreon E. Scott Foundation to bring key leaders and regional staffs together at Christmount in a three-day retreat to explore areas where ministry/resources could be shared among the eight regions. A follow-up retreat is planned for late February, 2019.
  • WWOW Event – In April 2018 The Wild Women of the West event was a multi-regional event that included worship, workshops, good food and good fellowship. Joined by women from the Office of Disciples Women, leaders of the Disciples Women’s Leadership Conference, and General Minister and President the weekend was rich in community and enhanced by visitors from Puerto Rico and Latin America. It was a wonderful weekend. Another Wild Women of the West gathering will take place in June 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Goals moving into 2019 – 2020 remain the same as for 2018-2019 as they are a continuation of intentional self-reflection and the actions they call forth:

  • Continuing to form a deep and collegial relationship with the new GMP;
  • rewriting our training manual for regional ministry;
  • reengaging at a deeper level our anti-racism work;
  • re-examining the distribution strategy of the regional church pool of DMF;
  • creating innovative methods for regional churches to work together in new partnerships;
  • taking better advantage of on-line meetings to share resources and training;
  • initiating a monthly online conversation about one aspect at a time of regional ministry work;
  • creating a covenant around search and call practices with representatives from CRM and all three Ethnic Ministries’ leadership;
  • rewriting the CRM bylaws;
  • redefining the CRM identity in light of new emerging models of regional ministry leadership; and
  • continuing to find ways forward in collaboration with all the ministries of our whole church that we may be a CRM that helps to bind together the work of the whole church and the congregations through mutual relationship, vision and action.

Rev. J. Gregory Alexander, President
January 31, 2019

Communication Ministries
PO Box 1986, Indianapolis, IN 46206
Cherilyn Williams, Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications
Emily Martin, Communication and Disciples Mission Fund Coordinator

General communications

  • Supported the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival via social media, web page and e-letters, as instructed by the 2017 General Assembly resolution
  • Began work with grassroots Disciples Public Presence group based in the Upper Midwest region; attended conference in September
  • Began work with West End Strategies Team on communication audit and additional communication projects
  • Convened general ministry communicators for a retreat and monthly meetings that included targeted discussions of shared challenges such as social media practices and policies
  • Consistently distributed of Disciples News Service weekly and Disciples Together bi-monthly e-letters for general and pastor audiences respectively
  • Posted daily on Facebook and Twitter general accounts, consistently posted and monitored special interest groups: General Assembly, Disciples Local Impact and Disciples Exchange
  • Produced original stories for Disciples News Service highlighting a number of notable congregational and other ministries
  • Gathered data on audience response for electronic communications. Now that we have approximately 18 months of consistent data we will be able to begin a more careful analysis of audience preferences.
    • Statistics (January-November 2018)
      • Facebook: 1,559 new page likes in 2018; 3.2% average engagement rate (industry average is 0.17%)
      • Twitter: 534 new followers; 2% average engagement rate (industry average is 0.055%)
      • E-mail open/click rates:
        • Disciples Together: 37% average open rate; 13.7% average click rate
        • Disciples News Service: 33.1% average open rate; 14.5% average click rate

(industry average for religious organizations: 26.3% open rate, 7.3% click rate)

Website traffic:

  • org: average 2,349 page views per month, 425,176 total. The most clicked link from the home page is Our Identity
  • org: average 195 page views per month, 25,332 total. The most clicked links from the home page are What Is DMF and Special Day Offerings

Disciples Mission Fund

  • Implemented new practice of featuring related stories in Disciples News Service during offering periods; coordinated the production and distribution of Disciples Mission Fund special day offering materials (Easter, Pentecost, Thanksgiving, Christmas)
  • Set strategic goals for DMF development; at the time of this report, we had exceeded goal for increasing number of new individual donors in 2018
  • Refreshed Disciples Mission Fund website organization, creating two new pages for worship resources and online giving
  • Increased touch points with Disciples Mission Fund donors (both congregations and individuals) by sending quarterly letters and email solicitations
  • Developed informational Disciples Mission Fund brochure

Year Book & Directory

  • Supported the Year Book & Directory operations of gathering data and updating records, in partnership with regional ministers, and in layout and print production of final product.
  • Connected with Year Book staff of several other denominations to compare best practices and share ideas
  • Revised year book form and data gathering plan for 2019 cycle

General Assembly

  • Coordinated 2019 General Assembly preparation of
    • Bible studies
    • Educational offerings
    • Promotional mailings, ads and videos
    • Website update
    • Local Arrangements Committee, including missions
    • Sponsorship solicitation and ad sales
    • Exhibit booth sales
    • Initial space allocations for education, child care, etc.
    • Mobile app for the event via a third-party vendor


The Disciples Center for Public Witness
December 2018 Report for the OGMP
Rev. Dr. Ken Brooker Langston
Executive Director

Introduction:  The Disciples Center for Public Witness (DC4PW) is a justice advocacy ministry within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada.  Originating as a shared ministry of National City Christian Church and the Christian Church Capital Area, DC4PW is now a shared ministry of seven founding congregations and several other partner congregations.  (We are continuing to reach out successfully to new congregations).  DC4PW has official status as a recognized organization through the Office of the General Minister and President; and our finances are handled by Disciples Home Missions.

The mission of DC4PW is two-fold:  to use our denomination’s passion for justice and vision of true community to evaluate and influence the laws and policies that affect all of us—especially marginalized persons and communities—in the United States, Canada, and around the world; and to inform, connect, and empower Disciples and other people of faith for ecumenical and interfaith justice advocacy in the United States and Canada.  Our larger goal is to promote and help achieve the Beloved Community envisioned by Dr. King, a vision based on the Biblical promise of shalom and Jesus’ proclamation of the inbreaking reign of God.

 Overview:  This year has been a year of increased investment in increased capacity and further expansion, especially in two areas of our ongoing work:  communications and fundraising.  With the help of consultants, contracted staff, and volunteers, we have increased our social media presence, revised our website, published weekly enewsletters, and developed a database that better allows us to segment and communicate with our donors and grassroots advocates. Two of our contracted staff have taken fundraising courses, and the executive director has been helped on a regular basis by both a fundraising coach and an informal network of fundraisers within the denomination.

At the same time, we continue our program activities in many issue-areas, including racial justice, gender justice, worker justice, health care, mass incarceration, gun violence, domestic violence, torture (including solitary confinement), religious liberty, drone warfare, Cuba, and Palestine/Israel.  In most of these issue-areas, we work with our ecumenical, interfaith, and secular partners.  We also work with our denominational partners on racism, immigration, refugees, women and children, criminal justice reform, and care for God’s creation.

Special Programs:  Two special programs of DC4PW are the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative (EPI) and Let Justice Roll (LJR).  EPI is an anti-poverty ministry of DC4PW that is shared with the ecumenical community.  It pulls together national and local religious leaders to work on a variety of racial and economic justice issues:  exposing the negative effects of pay day lending, opposing budget cuts to programs that help people who are struggling economically, opposing the increasing debt for college students, and promoting more equal distribution of the resources available to public schools.

Let Justice Roll (LJR) is currently a virtual organization that uses its online presence and social media to inform and empower people of faith to do three things:  promote a living wage on the national level, get more involved in state campaigns that are working to increase the local minimum wage, and oppose disparities in pay between different ethnic, racial, and gender groups.  LJR’s motto is: “A job should keep you out of poverty, not in it.”

Special Projects:  In addition to our regular activities and the activities associated with EPI and LJR, there were a number of special projects in which DC4PW was involved this year.  One of these was Journey to Justice (J2J), a project in which a new pastor of African descent was given the opportunity to learn more about diverse forms of social witness by engaging in three areas of witness:  public policy advocacy, justice-oriented networking with other church leaders, and faith-based activism.

Another special project was Labor in the Pulpits.  In this project, we encouraged Disciples to invite labor leaders or people of faith involved in some form of worker justice ministry to speak in their congregations on or around Labor Day.

Still another special project was our involvement in Torture Awareness Month.  Throughout the month of June, we encouraged congregations to do three things:  give a sermon and/or host a discussion on torture; show a film about U.S. participation in torture; and hang a banner declaring opposition to torture.

Finally, we were actively engaged in Faithful Democracy, a project where we collect and distribute useful information about voter registration, voter education, and voter mobilization to regions, congregations, and faith-based groups.

We were able to accomplish the work necessary for the success of these special projects with the help of college students participating in our summer internship program.

Campaigns: DC4PW has been very involved in three major campaigns:  The Poor People’s Campaign:  A National Call to Moral Revival, where we attended planning meetings and participated in public gatherings and events in Washington, DC; the National Council of Churches’ ACT Now, which began with an event on the U.S. National Mall in which DC4PW organized and staffed a Disciples booth that received a good deal of traffic from participants in the gathering; and MLK50, where we encouraged participation by Disciples in events around the United States that were sponsored by the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN.

Collaboration with other Disciples ministries:  In terms of DC4PW’s collaboration with other Disciples ministries, we worked with Refugee and Immigration Ministries and the coalition to which it belongs, the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, to oppose such things as the separation of undocumented immigrant children from their families, the tearing apart of immigrant families by our current immigration policies, the severe limiting of the number of refugees who are allowed to enter the United States, and the changes in statutory and regulatory definitions that make it even harder for immigrants legally to enter our nation.

We also worked closely with Green Chalice with and through the coalition to which we both belong, Creation Justice Ministries, on clean air and water, the preservation of national parks and monuments, the protection of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWAR), a quicker transition away from fossil fuels, and opposition to both the Keystone Pipeline and increased offshore drilling.

And, finally, we worked with Family & Children’s Ministries with and through the coalition to which we both belong, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence. Alongside other people of faith, we actively promoted universal background checks, the banning of assault weapons, restrictions on high capacity ammunition magazines, and making gun trafficking a federal crime.

DC4PW also collaborated on a number of projects and events with Reconciliation Ministry, Week of Compassion, the National Benevolent Association, the Council on Christian Unity, the Division of Overseas Ministries, the Office of the General Minister and President, and the National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Conferences in which DC4PW actively participated:  Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice, Black Ministers Retreat, the National Convocation, Winter Talk, the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Asamblea Nacional Hispana Y Bingue, the Christian Unity Gathering of the National Council of Churches, Festival of Homiletics, National Immigrant Integration Conference, MLK50 Gathering for People of Faith.

Regional Assemblies where DC4PW had a strong presence:  Canada, Florida, Tennessee, and the Christian Church Capital Area.

Coalitions with and through which DC4PW works: The Poor People’s Campaign:  A National Call for Moral Revival, Interfaith Worker Justice, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Creation Justice Ministries, Paycheck Fairness Coalition, Coalition Against Religious Discrimination, International Religious Freedom Roundtable, Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, Heads of  Washington Offices of the Washington Interreligious Staff Community, Washington Working Group on the International Criminal Court, Domestic Human Needs, Coalition on Human Needs, Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare, School of the Americas Watch, Medicaid Coalition, Jubilee, USA, Bread for the World, the Interfaith Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, the Interfaith Health Care Coalition, and the Committee on Religious Liberty.


European Evangelistic Society
PO Box 24560
Indianapolis, Indiana
Tony Twist, President
2018 General Board Report

The European Evangelistic Society (EES), incorporated in 1946, has now been in existence for 70 years.  The Institute for the Study of Christian Origins was established in Tübingen, Germany in the early 1960s. Its purpose is to encourage and guide research in the earliest church and to focus the application of that research on the church today. Over the years the Institute has gained the respect of the faculty of theology at the University of Tübingen and as a result occupies a place of honor among scholars of the New Testament and early church history around the world.

The mission of EES in its 70 years of history has not changed.  It remains:  To develop Christian leaders for significant service through higher learning. The vision of EES is that every nation has effective leaders of disciple-making movements making a global impact on their churches, cultures, and countries for Christ. This vision reflects the common mission priorities of the Disciples of Christ as a movement for wholeness that welcomes all to the Table, and fulfills the last command of Jesus – “. . . as you are going, make disciples of all nations immersing them into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching obedience to all that I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

The mission of EES is focused on this concern of leadership development necessary to realize the Four Priorities of the Church as outlined in the 2020 Vision of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  EES views its priorities in terms of developing Christian leaders and future Christian leaders that have unique access to the University for significant service, especially international students who are coming in increased numbers.  This is done through providing practical assistance, counsel, and hospitality when they arrive on campus in order to establish relationships; then through prayer, fellowship, and studies as they get more involved.

Through the Institute for the Study of Christian Origins at the University of Tübingen, Germany, EES is actively involved in research supervision and publication. In conjunction with the Protestant faculty, a doctoral colloquium is offered in which international doctoral students have the opportunity for research supervision at a major European University. This mission expresses itself in three primary areas of ministry:

  • To develop international leaders through advanced studies
  • To assist emerging leaders in research and publication of relevant national articles, books, and other materials
  • To help encourage the establishment and development of churches, colleges, and agencies focused on evangelism and disciple making.

At the present time, the educational ministry at The Institute for the Study of Christian Origins, led by Director Dr. Beth Langstaff, continues to function alongside Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, Germany. The Institute has a long and productive relationship with the prestigious and influential University. The influence of this ministry has been felt all over the world, as international students have come to the University for academic purposes and have been a part of the Institute.  It pursues basic New Testament research, offers colloquia through the academic year, and engages in continuing dialogue with professors and students from around the world.

The English-German Colloquium in New Testament serves as a forum for visiting professors and scholars to read works in progress. The Colloquium also provides an opportunity for doctoral students to present their work (dissertation proposals, chapter, conference papers, etc.) and to receive feedback. Moreover, it offers an unusual opportunity for scholars at all levels—master’s students, doctoral candidates, post-doc fellows, and professors—to meet and to discuss current research with one another.

A few special lectures in 2018:

  • In January, colloquium members went on a guided tour at the Bible Museum in Stuttgart, which had a special exhibition on “Gott und Geld (God and Money)”. In the evening, Professor Marius Reiser gave a guest lecture on the intriguing topic of “The Bible and Money.”
  • Another fascinating and timely topic—German theology during the Third Reich—was addressed at a well-attended guest lecture in June; Professor Anton Segev, from the Philosophy Dept of Loyola University in Chicago, read a paper on “Gerhard Kittel: Religion and Politics”
  • In July 2018, Gregory Fewster from the University of Toronto gave a talk on “Origen, the Alexandrian School, and Critical Philology of the corpus Paulinum in Egypt”.

Courses in Theological German and Theological English are taught at the University with some translation and linguistic work.  The classes include readings from a variety of Christian authors, in addition to Scripture, all with a view toward deepening relationships with God and others.  Both classes and colloquia provide good opportunities for probing questions as well as opportunities to meet outside of class for deeper discussions.  Increasingly the colloquium is serving international scholars as well.  The position that the Institute has by being part of the University officially gives them a great advantage and status as they develop these ongoing relationships.  In order to serve more effectively as Bible college professors, presidents, mission directors, and in other high capacity positions, many from these networks will need the type of advanced preparation that EES can provide.

The Theological German class has included students from all over the world: during the past year, the participants came mainly from the UK and USA. In the winter semester (2017-18), we read and discussed the 2012 book, Jesus, written by the famous Catholic theologian Hans Küng, who has spent many years here in Tübingen. In the summer semester, we focused on the writings—poems, notes, sermons, prayers—that Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote during his imprisonment from April 1943 to his execution in April 1945.

The Theological English class is made up mostly of German students, some of whom are preparing to head overseas for an exchange semester/year. During the winter semester (2017-18), we explored “Theologies of the Global South”—getting to know a range of Christian theologians from Peru to Papua New Guinea, from South Africa to South Korea. The topic for the summer class was “J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: Story and Theology”; we discussed theological motifs such as creation, good and evil, death and eternal life, and redemption in their fantasy writings. The Tolkien/Lewis class was so large that we had to use a seminar room at the University—and it included a good number of native English speakers, as well.

During the past year, the Institute has also offered guest accommodation to visiting scholars, such as Ronald Heine, one of the speakers at the Symposium on the Lord’s Prayer, who was here in Tübingen with his wife Gill.

The Institute for the Study of Christian Origins is being positioned to help develop dedicated leaders for significant service throughout Europe, Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and beyond.

EES Goals:

  • Develop relationships between EES and other universities to help provide access to resources and research opportunities for the growing number of graduate students needing advanced studies.
  • Provide more doctoral mentoring, supervision, and opportunities for graduates and others through the EES networks.
  • Provide opportunities for
    • Mentoring doctoral students
    • Teaching theological English and theological German to students at Tübingen University
    • Preparing students from Eastern Europe and Central Asia to conduct research, write, and publish quality materials in their own languages
  • Continue to conduct the Doctoral Colloquium in conjunction with Protestant Faculty at Tübingen University.

On the basis of the respect earned by EES, the Institute has been able to sponsor, with the help of Tübingen’s New Testament faculty and that of the University of Munich, two symposia with scholars from around the world. These meetings help to fulfill the mission of the EES to stimulate study of early Christianity among scholars so our movement to restore New Testament Christianity can be taken seriously at the highest level. The volume of papers from the 2014 Symposium (“Make Disciples of All Nations”) is being published by Mohr Siebeck. A third symposium was held in Tübingen in October 2018. The symposium focused on the Lord’s Prayer in the context of Judaism, the New Testament, and early Christianity. The symposium was organized and sponsored by Prof. Michael Tilly (Universität Tübingen), Prof. Loren Stuckenbruck (LMU Munich) and Dr. Beth Langstaff (Institute for the Study of Christian Origins). Once again, speakers were invited from other regions of the world (e.g. Eastern Europe, North America, Israel, South Africa) and from a variety of religious traditions (Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish).

Although EES does not work specifically in any one congregation, it seeks to promote the cause of reconciliation throughout the world by developing leaders who will demonstrate our commitment to the idea of a faithful, growing church that exhibits true community, deep Christian spirituality, and a passion for justice. The work of EES in Germany at the University of Tübingen is truly a multi-cultural community. Since 2000, doctoral colloquium presentations have been given by visiting professors and doctoral students from Australia, Canada, Germany, Finland, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, South Africa, The United Kingdom, and the United States. EES seeks to be an international witness for the Christian gospel in one of the most significant theological settings in the world.  In keeping with the original vision of the European Evangelistic Society, the goal is to see churches thriving and flourishing throughout the world by equipping capable leaders to serve.

EES is characterized by a deep and abiding interest in the oneness of the Body of Christ.  The original purpose of the organization was to effect a channel through which it might cooperate in accomplishing the divine mission transmitted to the Church through the New Testament, and that its fraternity in this cause should be recognized as a fellowship for advancing the Christian mission. That interest has not changed with the passing of 70 years of ministry. The European Evangelistic Society is one of the few ministries among Stone-Campbell churches that has historically sought to work among all three streams of the American expression of this ideal.  For over half a century, the dream of a united Church, bound by its commitment to the New Testament as the revelation of God about the person of Jesus Christ, has been the unchanging focus of its mission.


General Commission on Ministry
D. Newell Williams, Chairperson

The General Commission on Ministry [GCOM] of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is composed of members appointed by the General Minister and President in consultation with various constituencies across the life of the church.  In odd-numbered years, the General Minister and President may present a slate of members to the General Board for confirmation.

In 2018, the following persons served on the General Commission on Ministry:  Cynthia Adcock, pastor, Northwest Christian Church, Columbus, OH; Greg Alexander, Regional Minister, Christian Church in Kentucky; William Almodovar, local pastor, Indianapolis, IN; Linda Brown, layperson, Main Street Christian Church, Parker City, IN; LaTaunya Bynum,  Regional Minister, Christian Church in Northern California; Eugene Fisher, Pension Fund Representative; Pam Holt, Regional Minister, Christian Church in Oklahoma; Eugene James, Regional Minister, Christian Church in Michigan; Timothy James, Associate General Minister and Administrative Secretary of the National Convocation; Chung Seong Kim, Executive Pastor of the North American Pacific/Asian Disciples; Sotello Long, Disciples Home Mission President; Holly Miller-Shank, United Church of Christ Representative; Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President, ex-officio;  William Rose-Heim, Regional Minister, Christian Church of Greater Kansas City; Matt Rosine, Pension Fund Representative; Glen Stewart, retired Regional Minister, Nashville, TN; Lori Tapia, National Pastor for Hispanic Ministries; D. Newell Williams, Seminary Representative [President, Brite Divinity School, Fort Worth, TX]; Tom Yang, pastor, Glenview (IL) Christian Church.  In addition, Warren Lynn, Director, Office of Christian Vocation, met by invitation with the Search and Call Committee to share information directly related to his work and Beth Sullivan, Executive Assistant to the General Minister and President, provided staff support to the Commission as a whole and in particular to the Support Committee which reviews applications for ministerial standing.

GCOM meets twice per year. In 2018, we met February 12-13 in Indianapolis and August 27-28 via electronic conferencing. By the time this General Board gathers, GCOM’s first meeting of 2019, January 7-8 in Indianapolis, will have concluded.

Since GCOM last reported to the General Board, it has addressed the following issues:

  • Policies and Procedures for Responding to Clergy Misconduct: Several editorial changes were approved for the sake of increased clarity. This document is reviewed annually. The Commission approved a motion that the current document be reviewed by legal counsel.
  • Revision of Standing Form used by the Commission: The Commission recommended that all persons applying for standing from the Commission be sent a link to two documents: Policy and Procedures for Responding to Clergy Misconduct and Ministerial Code of Ethics, and that applicants be required to check a box for each of the documents indicating they have read the document. Since August, this addition has been included in the standing forms used by the Commission.
  • Standing for retired regional ministers: GCOM affirmed that standing for retired regional ministers is held in the region where the retired regional minister resides.
  • Potential benefits across the church of a “Ministers’ Registry” distinct from Search and Call that could be created by a standardized annual minister’s standing form adopted by all regions: GCOM appointed Greg Alexander to request the College of Regional Ministers (CMR) to take this issue under consideration.
  • Use of Search and Call by racial/ethnic pastors and congregations: Challenges include: language barriers, length and content of the current profile, regional differences among commissions on ministry and policies of search and call, and overlapping responsibilities of regional and racial/ethnic pastors that can create tension and confusion.  Three action steps were approved: 1) Issue to Suran Systems a request for development (RFD) by which a pastor entering Search and Call could fill out multiple language profiles to be circulated simultaneously, allowing congregations to review their profiles in their native languages and allowing pastors to be considered in congregations beyond their native languages; 2) Initiate a conversation within the CRM about the development of a shorter and more appropriate Search and Call Ministerial Profile; 3) Request the CRM to name those elements they have in common in doing Search and Call and elements that could be done in a more consistent format to bring more consistency to our practices.
  • Standing granted to clergy for whom Standing is lodged with GCOM: 166 clergy were granted Standing. Specific joys and needs were noted and responded to, as well as requirements for Boundary Training and Diversity Training.

We welcome your input, comments, questions, ideas, and concerns.

Respectfully submitted, Newell Williams, Chairperson


National Christian Missionary Convention
Donald K. Gillett, III, President
Timothy M. James, Corporate Secretary

And its Subsidiary
William Lee, President
Dwayne Bell, General Manager

The National Convocation Board of Trustees is elected by the General Assembly as the Trustees of the National Christian Missionary Convention, Inc.  The Trustees are basically tasked with the oversight of the resources bequeathed to the National Christian Missionary Convention by our founder, Rev. Preston Taylor.  From these resources, funds are contributed to the Black Disciples Endowment Fund and to the continued growth and development of Greenwood Cemetery.


The funds of NCMC are invested with the Disciples Church Extension Fund and Christian Church Foundation.  Transactions related to NCMC operations are handled in the office of the National Convocation.

The Black Disciples Endowment Fund is owned by NCMC. The BDEF is purposed to strengthen the ministry of Black Disciples.  The BDEF assists in sponsoring the African American School of Faith and Life, offered during the Biennial Session of the National Convocation.  The fund sponsors scholarships and funds for Black Disciples congregations and leadership development.

A portion of the Lillian Merchant Fund held by Christian Church Foundation is allocated to the BDEF for ministerial recruitment and nurture.  The Office of African American Clergy and Leadership Development recruits and nurtures prospective ministers and work to continue the training legacy of our founder through the Preston Taylor Institute, William Lee, Director.

Trustees of the National Christian Missionary Convention are:  Donald K. Gillett, President; Irie Session, Vice President; Pamela Dubose, Secretary; James Vertreese, Treasurer; Milton Bowens, Ken Brooker Langston, Delesslyn Kennebrew, Joanne Walker Flowers, William Smith, Cicely Staton-Holt, Juanita Greene, and Beverly Goines.  Ex-Officio officers are: Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President; Sotello Long, President Disciples Home Ministries; and Timothy James, Corporate Secretary.


The Greenwood Cemetery of Nashville, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation organized to manage the cemetery properties owned by NCMC.  Under the able leadership of Dwayne Bell, the cemetery operates three separate sites which are becoming well known by its historic significance.  It has become more attractive to the people of Nashville and we would like for it to be  recognized and used by more Disciples of Christ.

Members of Greenwood Cemetery Board of Directors are: William Lee, Chairman; Freddie Lawton, Vice Chairman; Juanita Greene, Treasurer; Pat Penelton, Dale Braxton, Norman Reed, John Tiggle, Beverly Dickason, Ahmed White, Marvin Owens.  Ex-Officio Officers: Timothy James, Corporate Secretary; John Foulkes, Investment Committee Chair; and Dwayne Bell, General Manager.


National City Christian Church Foundation
John Arterberry, Chairperson
Stephen Gentle, Senior Minister
5 Thomas Circle, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Telephone: (202) 232-0323
Web site:

National City Christian Church was created to live out Alexander Campbell’s vision to uphold a momentous church facility in the city known for its national and world leaders so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ might be proclaimed. National City Christian Church Foundation is honored to be one of the recognized organizations of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. The Foundation holds in trust the ownership of the church property and its facilities on behalf of the wider church. It is led by a national Board of Trustees and reports to the General Assembly. The Foundation is yoked in partnership with the congregation of National City Christian Church to provide a national facility for worship, study, ministry, and mission in the U.S. capital.

The Foundation of National City Christian Church (“The Foundation”) exists for the purpose of maintaining the financial and physical assets of the Foundation so that the congregations and/or wider ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) may pursue mission at 5 Thomas Circle. In order to accomplish this, the Foundation shall: preserve and grow the endowment; manage its facilities and property to maximize its use by tenants whose purposes are consistent with the values of the Foundation and its donors; and maintain the facilities in a manner that protects the Foundation’s assets and honors perpetual care agreements. For the purpose of reporting to the 2019 General Assembly, the following information includes activities in 2017 and 2018.

Richard L. Hamm led the Foundation as the chairperson for the Board of Trustees from 2009 to 2017. In November, 2017, National City Christian Church thanked Dr. Hamm for his eight years of distinguished leadership which has brought the Foundation to a place of strength and vitality. The Foundation is grateful for Dr. Hamm’s continued service on the Board of Trustees. John Arterberry became the new chairperson following many years of dedicated service as the vice chairperson. Mr. Arterberry, now residing in Nashville, Tennessee, is the retired Deputy Chief for the Department of Justice Fraud Section and longtime member of National City Christian Church. For Mr. Arterberry’s depth of institutional knowledge and longstanding, gifted leadership in the Foundation and the congregation, National City Christian Church is truly grateful. In March, the Foundation was delighted to welcome Steven Baines to the Foundation staff as Senior Strategist for Foundation Development, Outreach, and Spiritual Formation. The Foundation is appreciative and humbled by the remarkable leadership and generous support from the Board of Trustees, Disciples of Christ leadership throughout North America, the National City Christian Church staff, and the congregational leadership.

National City Christian Church Foundation, in partnership with the congregation, completed a two-year capital campaign called “Renew and Transform” with the purpose of addressing deferred maintenance and repairs to the facilities. The goal of $800,000 was overwhelmingly supported with over 1.1 million dollars being raised. The following projects were completed: boiler replacement, Beasley Building roof replacement, air conditioning repair, security entry system installation, carpet for the Sanctuary and the Beasley Building, courtyard pavers replacement, courtyard fountain repair, portico railings replacement, flat roof of the Sanctuary repair, exterior Sanctuary doors restoration, and the front steps received some much needed repair to its damaged limestone. The Foundation is grateful to the capital campaign leadership team led by chairperson Kathleen Burger Gerada and consultant James Powell. In conjunction with the capital campaign, the congregation launched a new permanent fund policy for legacy gifts that will support both Foundation and congregation in its future work and ministries. Christian Church Foundation Vice President Randall Johnson gave superb leadership and skilled guidance in this endeavor, and the congregation commends the work of Christian Church Foundation to all congregations interested in establishing permanent funds.

The Board of Trustees is in the midst of a discernment process concerning the sale of the 64-year-old education building that was formerly occupied by a public charter school. With expert assistance from Rock Creek Properties, the Foundation has been able to successfully navigate the complicated D.C. requirements of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, the Zoning Board, and the Historic Preservation Board. Presenting before each board or commission, we were delighted to hear board members and commissioners speak so highly of National City Christian Church and its contributions to the Washington, D.C., community. We were impressed that municipal organizations valued our ministries and wanted to preserve – what one commissioner described as – “the jewel of Thomas Circle.” The education building has been cleared, and the asbestos abatement and other demolition work has been accomplished.

The Foundation is grateful to the staff and congregational leadership that is engaged in ministry and mission in the greater Washington, D.C., area. In 2018, the congregation entered into a time of strategic planning with Hope Partnership through the Epiphany program. The congregation has enjoyed many highlights, including the 175th anniversary of Disciples of Christ worshipping in Washington, D.C., the ordination of Chaim Abramowitz Rodriguez and his installation as Pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Nacional, and the PhD graduation of Assistant Pastor Beverly Janet Goines. National City opened its doors to share with many neighbors: 10,000 bags of food were distributed to those who were hungry; hundreds of persons were welcomed with hospitality and face-painting at the church booth at Capital Pride; and many neighborhood pet owners and their canine companions joined in the annual blessing of the animals on the portico steps. In 2018, the congregation began hosting “My Neighbor Ministry” to employ an advocate to work with the poor and teach members how they can extend greater hospitality and care to those who live on the streets.

The first weekend of November, 2017, was yet another historic moment for National City Christian Church. Newly-elected General Minister and President Teresa Hord Owens preached a challenging message on the importance of knowing one’s history. The Foundation dedicated the Oscar Haynes Exhibit on permanent loan by the Disciples of Christ Historical Society. This new exhibit celebrates 100 years of the African American Convention movement that is now called the National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Associate General Minister and National Convocation Administrative Secretary Timothy James, Central Rocky Mountain Regional Minister Joan Bell-Haynes, National Convocation Board President Patricia Penelton, and Historical Society President Emeritus Peter Morgan each spoke eloquently and powerfully on behalf of the National Convocation and the Oscar Haynes family. During that same weekend, National City was honored to host the installation of Historical Society President Richard Lowery and the Kirkpatrick Lecture presented by the Reverend Dr. Delores Carpenter.

The facilities of National City Christian Church continue to be a gathering place in the U.S. capital for Disciples of Christ and ecumenical partners. Some of the gatherings and significant events that have occurred in the past two years have included:

– Disciples Home Missions Board of Directors meeting; Higher Education and Leadership Ministries Fellows annual training; U.N. Youth Conference of the Ohio region, Moral Revival of the Poor People’s Campaign teach-in led by William J. Barber II and James A. Forbes; Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice, National Interfaith Prayer Service for Marriage Equality, National AIDS Conference, National Masonic Day of Thanksgiving and Remembrance, and D.C. Interfaith Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service with Sister Simone Campbell speaking.

– The Festival of Homiletics welcomed 1,600 clergypersons to National City Christian Church for four days of preaching and worship, lectures and fellowship. During one of the evenings of the Festival, Sojourners hosted Reclaiming Jesus candlelight vigil, filling the sanctuary with nearly 1,000 people and hundreds more listening out on the steps of the church building. Disciples speaking that evening included Teresa Hord Owens, Sharon Watkins, and Dick Hamm, along with other impressive ecumenical leaders including Bishop Michael Curry, Jim Wallis, Barbara Williams-Skinner, Richard Rohr, James Forbes, Walter Brueggemann, Otis Moss, and Tony Campolo.

– National City hosted several musical events, including weekly Friday organ concerts for the community and quarterly two-day Heritage Festival choral adjudication events for high school groups from across the U.S. Musical groups from around the community also performed in the sanctuary: the 120-voice Congressional Chorus, Fessenden Chamber Ensemble, Heritage Signature Chorale, Thomas Circle Singers, and the National Children’s Chorus (which is housed at National City).

– Partnering with the Christian Church Capital Area, National City hosted a region-wide leadership training event called “Salt and Light” and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worship service with CTS Professor Frank Thomas preaching.

As a partner with the General Church, National City is pleased to provide offices and meeting space for the Disciples Center for Public Witness, Disciples Home Missions’ Refugee and Immigration Ministries, the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative, and the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. In 2017, National City Christian Church shared worship materials for the Sunday before the U.S. Presidential Inauguration that were made available to Disciples congregations and ecumenical partners for worship experiences.

Church Historian Peter Morgan and Videographer John Scott Williams have created a four-part educational DVD on the history of National City Christian Church in the context of the Stone-Campbell movement. Copies of the DVD may be obtained by contacting Church Administrator Colleen Walsh at

As a multiracial/multicultural, bilingual, open and affirming congregation, National City Christian Church enjoys welcoming and worshiping with Disciples from all around the world. National City is your church in the U.S. capital. Tours of these facilities are available during the week upon request. All are invited to learn more about this unique Disciples witness at or by visiting 5 Thomas Circle, N.W., in Washington, D.C.


Reconciliation Ministry
2019 General Board Report

Mission StatementReconciliation Ministry advances the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)’s journey toward wholeness by empowering each expression of the Church to implement structural change to address historic fractures caused by racism and the systems that perpetuate it.


As one of the four mission imperatives of the 2020 vision, “becoming a Pro-Reconciling and Anti-Racist Church”, we are well on target to achieving this identity.  The Church is living a new normal, a church that is both transformed while it is transforming.  We have made significant qualitative and qualitative progress toward embracing this identity.

Ministry Highlights

Equipping:  Training in the analysis of anti-racism has become embedded in our institutional identity.  In the 12-month period that encompasses this reporting period, our ministry has facilitated full day or two-day training events in every regional expression of the Church.  At this juncture in this component of the equipping program of our ministry, over 75% of our Regions have an anti-racism educational requirement either for clergy and leader standing or as part of their Region’s healthy boundaries cycle. Of the seven Regions that do not currently require this educational element, all are intentionally addressing ways to incorporate an ongoing commitment to AR training.  We have officially turned a corner in developing the capacity for self-examination of our policies and practices as well as building our capacity for structured dialogue about the continuing impact of our racialized histories.

Engaging:  Two of our newer projects were designed to invite Disciples to creative engagement toward our anti-racist identity.  One Bag of Tea, One Conversation, One Relationship, launched at the 2017 General Assembly, has provided opportunities for our congregations to learn about their own socio-cultural history as well as that of their inter-faith and ecumenical neighbors. It has had a warm reception and a moderate implementation.  Congregations have also been invited to make this conversational model their own.  A follow-on project from One Bag of Tea launched last Fall was our “What’s the Tea with Reconciliation?” bi-monthly podcast.  It has featured guests included Terri Hord Owens, our General Minister and President, Rev. Debbie Griffin of Downtown Disciples in Des Moines, IA a new church start, and Phil Snider, Pastor of Brentwood Christian Church and author of Preaching Resistance published by Chalice Press and has been shared broadly on social media.

Empower:  We have spent significant social media bandwidth re-presenting Reconciliation as a mission fund.  This means that the most visible presence of our ministry rests in our capacity to fund anti-racism and pro-reconciliation activities and projects in the three expression of the Church through our granting program.  We awarded four diverse projects that included intentional dialogue between four historic Disciples congregations in Atlanta, GA; a racial justice conference and an organizing and equipping training in Mid-America; a mentoring program with NBA Prison and Jail ministries; as well as a story-telling project in the Coastal Plains area of the Southwest Region. Part of empowering the saints for a pro-reconciling identity has allowed us to also support an immigration attorney in collaboration with Disciples Home Missions and other ministry partners through this granting program.

Funding:  Attention to promoting Reconciliation Ministry as a Mission Fund resulting in a small increase in overall giving. This in light of Disciples simultaneous generosity during a devasting hurricane season in September.

Opportunities:  As we live into this new reality of equipping, engaging and empowering the Church to embrace our 20/20 vision’s missional identity, we are inviting Disciples to pray and support our future-ing efforts to build capacity to continue to interpret reconciliation in every expression of the Church.  In order to accomplish this re-visioning of our current and future reality, the Reconciliation Ministry Commission with our ministry partners will begin a planning process to structure a response to Resolution 1721 – “A Renewed Commitment to Reconciliation Ministry.”

Submitted by,

Rev. April G. Johnson
Minister of Reconciliation
January 2019


Treasury Services

John Goebel, Vice President of Finance


OGMP Treasury Services’ (TS) team has grown to 7.5 members as a new position (Controller) was created.  Our HR consultant, Gregory & Appel, has been a great assistance in hiring the Controller, improving our evaluations, job descriptions, and professional development. We look forward to enhancing our ministry to the church.

We are thankful for the following partnerships as we provide accounting services:

  • seven ministries of OGMP (as Year Book and Promotion merged with TS & Communication Ministries (CM)),
  • six general ministries: Council on Christian Unity, Christian Church Services, National City Christian Church Foundation, College of Regional Ministers, Disciples of Christ Historical Society, and Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries, and
  • 20 regions: Florida, Greater Kansas City, Upper Midwest, Illinois-Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Northwest, Mid-America, Capital Area, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Central Rocky Mountain, Southwest, Oklahoma, Great River, Ohio, Arizona (2018), Michigan (May, 2018), Nebraska (September, 2018) and Virginia (2019).



United Christian Missionary Society
1099 North Meridian Street,
Suite 700, Indianapolis, IN 46204-1036
PO Box 1986, Indianapolis, IN 46206-1986

Sotello V. Long, President
Julia Brown Karimu, Vice-President

The United Christian Missionary Society continued to furnish financial support for the Division of Homeland Ministries, dba Disciples Home Missions (DHM), and the Division of Overseas Ministries (DOM), by investing and managing its endowment and permanent funds for the benefit of the two Divisions.

During 2018, there were three gift annuity contracts released. The total residual released amount was $9,904. There was no activity on released life income contracts. When gift annuities or life income agreements are released, the funds are either distributed outright to DHM and DOM or added to the permanent endowments of the Society depending on the beneficiary designation. The Society received $84,625 through 8/31/2018 in Miscellaneous Unrestricted Receipts with $15,000 each distributed to DOM and DHM and the remainder is invested in the pool of the Campbell Multi-Strategy Fund and Beasley Growth Fund at the Christian Church Foundation. A small undesignated mineral interest in Lincoln County, OK was also received. The Society received $16,616 in Estate Distribution from the Ethel Hartman estate designated for overseas ministry and the Cloe Kelly Estate was $1,402.

The Society continued to be involved with ethical issues which related to its investments and was active with the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). ICCR is an ecumenical organization of 17 Protestant denominations and approximately 200 Roman Catholic orders which cooperate concerning ethical and social concerns as expressed by actions of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

The Society, which has eight trustees and four officers, has no active employees. Beginning in 1993, the Society contracted with the Christian Church Foundation, Inc. to perform the treasury services for the Society. The current officers of the Society are as follows: Sotello V. Long, President; Julia Brown Karimu, Vice President; Kathy Watts, Corporate Secretary, and Lonna Owens, Treasurer. Four trustees are nominated by each of the two Divisions served by the Society. They are elected by the General Board of the church and serve a term of four years. Their responsibilities are to oversee and determine policies concerning the investments of assets owned by the Society. The protection as well as the income realized from these assets is of paramount concern for the trustees. Their invaluable service is recognized and this report is submitted on their behalf.

The Society distributed the following from the investment pool in 2017:  DHM – $735,710; DOM – $1,038,021; and other entities – $59,205.

The Society distributed the following from the investment pool in 2018:  DHM – $726,429; DOM – $1,022,942; other entities – $59,000.


Week of Compassion
Cindy Kim-Hengst, Chair, Board of Stewards
Vy Nguyen, Executive Director
P.O. Box 1986, Indianapolis, IN 46206

Mission: As the relief, refugee, and development mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Week of Compassion works with partners to alleviate suffering throughout the world.

Vision: A world where God’s people transform suffering into hope

Core Values:

CONNECTION-                 Partner with individuals, congregations, and organizations to serve the needs of the world

INTEGRITY-                      Honor the commitment to faithful stewardship, ensuring gifts entrusted to Week of Compassion are making the most impact

ACCOMPANIMENT-          Embody God’s grace by committing to a long-term presence with communities in need

As the number of displaced people worldwide rises daily as a result of natural disasters and civil and political conflicts causing millions of people to seek refuge, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), through Week of Compassion, stands in solidarity with these families and communities.  By working with international partners we not only provide immediate and long-term relief, but also we continue to be the church serving and caring for our most vulnerable neighbors at home and around the world.

Severe natural disasters and global conflicts continue to displace more people every day.  By the end of 2018, we were faced with the highest levels of displacement on record—an unprecedented 68.5 million people (an increase of 2.9 million since our last General Assembly in 2017). Among them are nearly 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.  According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, about 44,400 people a day are forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution; that is roughly one person every two seconds. This has been largely fueled by new crises in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Myanmar, as well as the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Week of Compassion is grateful for our partners, especially Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, Disciples Home Missions’ Refugee and Immigration Ministries and Legal Counsel, Church World Service, and ACT Alliance. These ministries work closely on the ground with internally displaced people and refugees here in North America and around the world, especially in Bangladesh, Myanmar, the Middle East, and the Horn of Africa. Through these partnerships, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) accompanies those forced to flee encroaching danger by walking with them as they seek refuge in different countries. In Central America, many mothers and children are fleeing imminent threat and severe poverty by walking thousands of miles to reach our southern border, only to be turned away. Our partners at Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries in South Texas and Global Ministries partner, Centro Romero Center in San Diego continue to provide emergency medicine, food, shelter, and protection for these individuals.

At home in North America, Week of Compassion continues to respond to myriad small- and medium-scale disasters that affect communities where Disciples have a presence, as well as to large-scale disasters. In the fall of 2017, powerful Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria impacted Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, causing extreme flooding and destroying billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure and homes. 2018 saw another damaging hurricane season with Hurricanes Michael and Florence causing extreme damage in Florida and North Carolina. Today, Week of Compassion is working with communities in these places to help rebuild through Disciples Home Missions’ Disciples Volunteering and other partners.  With Disciples Volunteering, we have established a mission station at First Christian Church, Texas City, Texas, that continues to receive volunteers. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, our response has been through the Disaster Recovery Support Initiative, a collaboration among Week of Compassion, Disciples Volunteering, United Church of Christ Disaster Ministries, and Brethren Disaster Ministries to provide support, mentorship, and encouragement in the development of local Long-term Recovery Groups through a sustained on-site presence.

In Puerto Rico, we continue to provide grant support to the Seminario Evangélico de Puerto Rico,  a bilateral partnership through the Division of Overseas Ministries. This grant supports repairs to buildings and campus infrastructure, cash-flow assistance (due to decreased tuition income),  tuition assistance for students, and emotional and spiritual care for students, staff, and faculty. Home repairs continue through the Programa Edifiquemos of the Iglesia Cristiana (Discípulos de Cristo). With Week of Compassion’s support, ICDCPR hired a full-time program director, Jose Molina, and a part-time construction manager, Rev. Rafael Rivera Bidot. They have created and assessed work plans for more than three dozen homes and have acquired materials for at least half of those projects. Our partners in Puerto Rico continue to be in need of more volunteers, and they are ready to receive Disciples from the mainland to help rebuild.

Climate change is creating more powerful hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, and other major disasters on a more regular basis. In the fall of 2018, one wildfire in Northern California wiped out 95% of the town of Paradise, while two other major wildfires simultaneously roared in the southern part of the state. In Zimbabwe and Kenya, extreme droughts block communities’ clean water access, forcing many to migrate to new areas. In India and Bangladesh, severe flooding continues to destroy homes and roads, making rebuilding more challenging for volunteers. We are grateful for our partners at ACT Alliance and Church World Service who are on the ground providing relief and long-term recovery in many of these areas. Disaster response organizations, especially in the United States, have collected concrete data showing that destructive natural disasters have increased in the last several decades. A comprehensive report was recently released stating that climate change could soon imperil our way of life, changing every part of the world, imposing frustrating costs on the global economy, and harming the health of virtually everyone. Climate change will have a major impact on Week of Compassion and how we will be able to respond to many of these ever-stronger disasters, thus making our disaster preparedness initiatives more crucial in the near future. It is vital to help many of our churches, regions, and general ministries prepare to serve communities when severe disasters hit.

Our partners continue to provide crucial, sustainable infrastructures that are improving lives in many communities. Week of Compassion’s Women’s Empowerment Fund has provided vital resources to many women who have gained entrepreneurial skills that have lifted their families and communities out of extreme poverty.  Our partner at IMA World Health has been providing vital health services in Africa to women, while our partner at Prosperity Catalyst is providing livelihood skills to Iraqis to generate revenue to support their families.  From providing access to clean water in Mexico, to girls being able to go to school in Cambodia, to mothers receiving loans to open up businesses, the impact the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) through Week of Compassion is making a difference in creating peace and justice around the world.

Financially, Week of Compassion continues to remain strong due to the many generous donations from local churches and individuals, enabling this ministry to have an important impact in vulnerable communities. As of the end of November 2018, Week of Compassion’s year-to-date undesignated giving totaled over $1.7 million, a decrease of 19.14% from the prior year’s giving.  This is a result of the extremely generous giving in 2017 for the various hurricanes in the Caribbean. Comparing the undesignated giving of 2018 to our budget, Week of Compassion giving is slightly up, by less than .10%.  Designated giving at the end of November 2018 is at $550,000, a decrease of 75% from the prior year.  Again, the designated giving in 2017 was for major hurricanes, which accounted for that significant difference.

The nature of relief, refugee response, and sustainable development continues to shift and change in significant ways. Week of Compassion continues to build strong partnerships and position itself to respond to the greatest needs in our world.  In 2019, Week of Compassion welcomes a new full time Associate Director for Communications and Marketing to help us better share our impact, stories, and resources with our partners and congregations.  As we work together through this life-saving ministry, we serve as a vital, visible sign of our witness to Christ in the world, so that we can bring healing, reconciliation, and wholeness in a fragmented world.


World Convention
Gary Holloway Executive Director/General Secretary
PO Box 50998, Nashville, TN  37205-0998 USA
Phone: +1 (615) 830-7210 Email:
Home Page:


Plans for Global Gathering

In 2018 World Convention continued its mission of embodying and encouraging fellowship, understanding, and common purpose within the global family of Christian-Churches of Christ-Disciples of Christ churches in 199 countries and territories. We did this through personal visits to national meetings, through our website and newsletters, and through planning for our next Global Gathering.

As I reported last year, the World Convention board approved holding our Global Gatherings more frequently. They accepted an invitation from churches in Swaziland to have our next Global Gathering in Manzini, eSwatini, April 18-21, 2019. However, internal tensions among Churches of Christ in southern Africa made it impossible to have our planned Global Gathering in eSwatini.

Our board has accepted an invitation from our churches in Poland to have our next Global Gathering there in June 2021.

Third Global Christian Forum

World Convention related our churches to other Christians in many ways in since our last meeting. The most notable was participation in the third gathering of the Global Christian Forum, held in Bogota, Colombia April 24-27, 2018. Paul Chimhungwe, President of World Convention, and I were blessed to attend, along with 251 other Christian leaders from 64 countries and 24 church families. Paul Tche and Angel Luis Rivera-Agosto from the Disciples Ecumenical Consultative Council were also there.

The Global Christian Forum (GCF) is a unique gathering of global Christian churches and organizations bringing together all the major streams of world Christianity. The GCF is an open space where all Christians can meet to nurture unity by fostering mutual respect and understanding as well as by addressing together common challenges.

The formal sessions in Bogota were of great benefit. Some of the greatest blessings were informal discussions around meals and between sessions. For me, these included:

  • A Christian from China sharing how the church has been faithful there even though local political leaders are destroying church buildings and Christian schools.
  • Testimony regarding a woman who walked four hours to receive a Bible in her own language for the first time.
  • Christians in Athens, Greece who feed 2500 hungry people each day.

The list of blessings goes on and on, from uplifting worship together to sharing our faith stories to fellowship around dinner tables to discussion of how to work together.


Year Book & Directory
PO Box 1986, Indianapolis, IN 46206
John Goebel, Vice President of Finance
Cherilyn Williams, Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications
Emily Martin, Communication and Disciples Mission Fund Coordinator

The editorial team worked to review many of the data collection and production processes as the 2018 Year Book & Directory was produced. Generally, Treasury Services staff process orders, financial data and relate to the database providers. Communication Ministries staff gather congregational data and produce the final document. Regional ministers and staff are vital partners in connecting directly with congregations.

Changes in 2018 included:

  • Inclusion of the 2018 General Board reports. In past years, those reports have not appeared until the following year. The 2018 book included both the 2017 and 2018 reports. The 2019 Year Book will include the 2019 General Board reports.
  • Payment for Year Books occurred at the point of order, saving invoicing and collection costs.
  • Fonts and format were updated slightly for legibility.
  • Forms were translated into both Spanish and Korean.
  • No CD versions of the year book were produced. Electronic access is provided via PDF files of the various sections of the book.

Changes in processes for 2019 include:

  • Additions to the reporting form to include information about mission participation and giving that has not been requested before. There are also a few opportunities to connect to ministries for additional information.
  • Elimination of full page pre-filled forms mailed to congregations that will be replaced with postcards encouraging online submission (Paper forms can still be downloaded.)
  • More frequent information provided to regional staff to assist in raising response rates and offer opportunity to connect

General Minister and President Terri Hord Owens is encouraging several ministries of the Church to integrate the data that makes up the Year Book with the hope that we will be able to access real-time data in the next biennium. This will involve cooperation between the databases currently maintained in at least four formats and locations.

With sadness, we report that our communion had some losses in numbers for 2018.

  • 7 were removed by their region for inactivity (lack of reporting or contact with the region or general ministries)
  • 14 were reported as closed
  • 16 formally withdrew

With great joy, we report that we have added to our numbers with 20 congregations recognized in the following regions:

  • Alabama/Northwest Florida (3)
  • Canada (1)
  • Central Rocky Mountain (1)
  • Florida (1)
  • Illinois-Wisconsin (1)
  • Kentucky (1)
  • Mid-America (1)
  • North Carolina (2)
  • Northwest (2)
  • Oklahoma (1)
  • Oregon/Southwest Idaho (1)
  • Pacific Southwest (2)
  • Southwest (2)
  • Upper Midwest (1)








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At the 2015 General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio, GA 1524 called for a task force to be formed by the Office of General Minister and President, Disciples Home Missions and the Division of Overseas Ministries for the purpose of:

“…bringing to the 2017 General Assembly, meeting in Indianapolis, IN, a jointly sponsored process for discussion of and education about important religious, ethical and social issues.”

The resolution stated “the task force shall include representatives of, but not limited to”: Central Pastoral Office for Hispanic Ministries

  • Council on Christian Unity
  • Disciples Home Missions
  • Diverse congregations throughout the United States and Canada Division of Overseas Ministries
  • General Board
  • Historic justice and peace advocacy groups in the church
  • National Convocation
  • North American Pacific/Asian Disciples
  • Office of General Minister and President

The Social Witness Task Force made a progress report at the 2017 General Assembly in Indianapolis, IN, (GA-1731) with the intent to present a finished proposal to the General Assembly in July 2019. The Task Force met via video and conference call on multiple occasions over the past 2 years.

A small working group worked to ensure that various issues and concerns with regard to the previously developed and reported working document were noted and addressed. However, there are still elements of the working document upon which the Task Force has yet to achieve consensus.

The Task Force has continued to discuss the working document, and work through issues upon which there is not agreement. The Task Force will continue its work with the intent to bring a finished proposal by the 2021 General Assembly.

The Social Witness Task Force

Task Force Members

Robert Cayton
Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder
Shannon Dycus
Jeff Goodier
Sekinah Hamlin
Richelle Himaya
Mark Johnston
Julia Brown Karimu
Fiyori Kidane
Scott Kinnaird
Ken Brooker Langston
Rebecca Littlejohn
Sotello Long
Terri Hord Owens
Vangie Perez
Dean Phelps
Katherine Raley
Paul Tche
Tawanda Wilson


The General Board has reviewed GA-1921 Report from the Social Witness Task Force. The report is submitted to the General Assembly for presentation and discussion. No action is required. (Discussion time: 12 minutes)

GA-1731 report