First Christian Church
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Disciples of Christ in Dexter, Missouri
September 30, 2020
Building capacity - building beloved community
Anyone who has stood in front of a group to speak knows the importance of preparation. Facilitating anti-racism sessions are no different. Planning to facilitate group learning about dismantling systemic racism can be a daunting task that requires passion, patience, and good collaborative partnerships to establish a solid grounding in the subject.
Our Church has intentionally addressed the sin of racism for more than 50 years with much of that activity directed by Reconciliation Ministrythrough training events. Reconciliation Ministry, funded almost exclusively through the Reconciliation Offering, is always looking for ways to expand its ability to resource the Church on the journey to dismantle racism.
Reconciliation Minister April Johnson said, “Events in the United States have highlighted the importance of the ministry of reconciliation. Ten years ago, at our peak, we were facilitating five to seven anti-racism events annually. Today, on average, we facilitate that many events monthly. We have made much progress in changing hearts, minds, and practices. We have very far to go.Building capacity by adding to the number of trainers and the types of training available are critical needs right now.”
This fall, Lexington Theological Seminary and Reconciliation Ministry partnered to offer a two-week online course to train new trainers to effectively lead anti-racism workshops. As more and more regions and ministries require anti-racism training as part of their leadership development objectives, these facilitators are in great demand. Enrollment for the course entitled, Facilitating Our Reconciliation: Facilitation Skills for Anti-Racism Trainers, reached capacity within 48 hours of its announcement.
Participants are engaging historical and systems analysis and instructional facilitation methods in this new two-week online program. At the end of the course, 22 new trainers will be added to our capacity.
Through the power of partnership and the generosity of Lexington Theological Seminary, this online opportunity is providing flexibility in our capacity to resource our congregations and leaders for pertinent ministry. “I’m excited about the possibilities presented with this model of an online train-the-trainer offering,” Johnson said. “We are learning what works in this setting and how we might build on this success.”
ICYMI - Anti-racism town hall recordings available
The anti-racism town halls, Love is an Action Word, presented over the summer and fall are recorded and collated in a playlist on the Disciples YouTube channel
These would be great background and discussion starters for your congregation's small group studies, Sunday School or youth group. You could watch together or assign them as homework before your group meets. 
You can find more anti-racism resources on or (And don't forget - the Reconciliation Ministry offering is received in most congregations Oct. 4.)
Note: You can register for each of the remaining town halls by going to the event calendar on Search for "Love is an Action Word" and click on the event to reach the registration link.
Disciples Home Missions' Refugee & Immigration Ministry celebrates 40 years
Disciples have responded to welcome refugees for over 75 years, since near the end of WWII. See stories HERE, that have appeared during RIM’s “#40for40” campaign, in honor of the 40 year anniversary of the US Refugee Act of 1980!
Refugee Resettlement Numbers have been reduced by 80 percent in the past three years—and the next year’s resettlement numbers will be decided THIS MONTH! Learn more HERE about what you can do in your own area, as we celebrate how 10 Disciples leaders from six key leadership decision states of Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado, Utah, and Iowa participated this month in National Refugee Virtual Advocacy Days.
Thanks to each one, who raised their voices for compassion for refugees to their legislators who serve in key roles making decisions regarding refugee resettlement:  Revs. Alan Dicken, Allison Lanza, Mark Pumphrey, Vinnetta Golphin, Feliberto Pereira, Joan Bell-Haynes, Laurie Anderson, and Debbie Griffin, together with Disciples Immigration Legal Counsel Natalie Teague and RIM Director Rev. Sharon Stanley-Rea.
Please raise your voice by calling your senators and representatives to ask our US Refugee Resettlement numbers be returned to our historic average of 95,000 per year! Go HERE for a sample script and guidance for your calls. And remember, most important is sharing your own faith values and stories of how your life and congregation have been affected by relationships you’ve had with refugees!
Give your pastor a break for Week of the Ministry in October! 
Phillips offers ready-to-stream worship service
Phillips Theological Seminary is providing churches meeting online an opportunity to take a break from the weekly creation of worship by providing a ready-to-stream downloadable service.
The seminary has created the complete digital service as a gift to pastors, congregational leaders and musicians needing a break after months of being out of their church buildings.
“The Advancement Office staff felt that our friends and colleagues across the nation might need a respite from the weekly work of crafting remote worship,” said Phillips Vice President of Advancement Terry Ewing. “When we shared this idea with others at the seminary, they were eager to contribute to the digital service.”
Members of the Phillips community contributed to the service, with President Nancy Claire Pittman preaching the sermon on Ecclesiastes 2:18-26.
In addition to offering the full service, each component of worship is available for download as its own file. This means congregations in need of a specific part of worship can pick and choose what they need.
The worship components include: Welcome and Introduction, Prelude Music, Morning Prayer, Words of Confession and Assurance, Special Music, Scripture Reading, Sermon, Mission Moment & Offering, Prayers of the People, Communion, Doxology, Benediction, and Postlude.
Registration to receive a link to the worship service download is available now on the Phillips website. A link to the files will be sent Sept. 17 to everyone who signs up. Technical questions about the video files or downloading should be emailed to Kurt Gwartney, senior director of communications at Phillips.
CLICK HERE to register for the worship files download.
CLICK HERE for technical questions or download issues.
Applications are being accepted to serve on the General Youth Council
If you are a youth or adult who is interested in serving on the General Youth Council please visit the GYC website to get information and fill out an application. Applications are being accepted from now through TODAY, for terms beginning Jan. 1, 2021, and ending Dec. 31, 2022.
Young Adult Commission applications are being accepted
If you are interested in connecting and empowering Young Adults to engage in the ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), you can fill out an application to serve on the Young Adult Commission. The next term of service begins January of 2021 through December of 2023 and applications are being accepted until October 30, 2020. Go here to see the expectations for those who serve on the committee. Come serve with us!
Other News
Stay connected in anxious times with new devotionals & books from Chalice Press 
Stay connected with your community this fall and Advent season with devotionals and other inspiring resources to help us join together in difficult times.
Apply for a grant with the National Benevolent Association
The National Benevolent Association is currently running two grant programs. We invite disciples-affiliated organizations whose ministries have been detrimentally impacted by COVID-19 to apply for a COVID-19 NBA Response GrantThis grant was created to support new and changing projects created in service to those suffering because of the pandemic. Applications for this grant are rolling.
You count!
Future planning by governments, nonprofits and others is directly affected by the numbers from the census, so in spite of the pandemic and because of the inequities in how communities are resourced, General Minister and President Rev. Teresa Hord Owens reminds us that 2020 is a census year in the United States. Fill out the quick form at to make a difference for your community for the next 10 years!
(And don't forget to register to vote in upcoming elections! Join Disciples ministries in their get-out-the-vote education efforts.)
Help get out the vote!
On Aug. 13, Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner did a Disciple-specific webinar to support efforts for TurnOut Sunday. The National African American Clergy Network and Lawyers and Collars teamed up to provide the resources.
The webinar recording and resources are on
COVID-19 resources available
The Office of the General Minister and President has compiled a collection of resources and statements from Church leadership in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are updating this page with more resources as available.
Rev. Terri Hord Owens will be continuing the Wednesday Facebook Live prayers throughout the summer. She will also be continuing her Friday meetings with pastors and chaplains via Zoom. Register here
Advocacy Toolkit from Disciples Justice Ministries
Hopefully you found a justice ministry this summer that piqued your interest. (Review stories linked from this page.) Well, there's something more you can do and do it right now! Many legislators are listening more closely to their constituents in this election season so it's your opportunity to bring up what matters to you in a virtual legislative visit. You can find out how to make effective visits with this advocacy tool kit that includes a video from our Disciples in Washington who are well-practiced.
More opportunities to put ministry into action

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