Thursday, August 22, 2013
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Around Your Conference

Notes From Davida...

This summer marks a major turning point for Shannondale and the Missouri Mid-South Conference, which has been

Wes Hurt, MMSUCC Conference Council Moderator, signing the Shannondale Carbon LLC documents.

the founder and steward of this important property and mission for the past 84 years. In late July, the Shannondale Carbon LLC documents were approved, signed, notarized and recorded in Shannon County, thus culminating almost four years of painstaking work on the part of Jeff Fulk,Pastor/Director of Shannondale, Rev. Jeff Whitman, and your Conference Council and Officers. The process of registering the forest with Climate Action Reserve is still underway, and we anticipate that we will "go live" with the carbon credits early this fall. As your Acting Conference Minister, I consider it a great privilege to be here while this is happening!


So, my friends, you are the first religious entity in the United States to dedicate your 4,000 wooded acres to serve for the next 100+ years to offset the impact of carbon emissions. This ensures that this jewel of a forest will not be developed, that it will continue to be sustainably harvested, and that Shannondale can strengthen its mission of providing an economic base and other forms of support for the people of Shannon County. It also means that you are helping to clean the air and to reduce carbon emissions, an important environmental ministry. This is your ministry and you should be proud!


Both of these purposes are important to understand. The Shannondale Community Center and its forest ministry make a huge difference in the lives of the people of the county. It provides seasonal work at the time of timber harvest, using local companies who employ local residents. It offers educational support for children from kindergarten through eighth grade in after school programs and special experiences like field trips out of the county. It brings together work teams to help neighbors with winterizing their homes, siding, roofing and painting, and outdoor maintenance for elders and those who live with disabilities.


Jeff Fulk, Pastor/Director of Shannondale was the first fire chief in that area of the county, and about six years ago, you gave three acres to the community to build and equip the first firehouse there. Not long after that, it was clear that Shannondale had to become financially sustainable on its own. Jeff prayed and prayed, and asked God for a "sign" of the best way to do that. Then one day, he said, "a neighboring lumberman came by and asked me what I knew about carbon credits. I said I didn't know about them but started on the research right away. And there it was, the way to financial viability!"  It was Jeff's idea to look into carbon credits as a way to sustain good environmental practices there and be a good global citizen. Without his initial research and ongoing enthusiasm, this project would never have happened.


The second purpose is as important as the first. This project participates with government in putting a price on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, and thus creates an incentive for corporations that emit greenhouse gases to reduce their emissions. As Christians, we look forward to the day when such emissions are truly minimal and God's earth is secure from the deleterious impact of our human actions. Until then, we need to use every tool available to us to reduce that impact and to clean the air. One of our hopes is that with Shannondale entering the carbon credit program, other forest owners nearby will choose to do the same and will convert to more sustainable management techniques as well.


One of my hopes is that as we move into this phase of the carbon credit program, you will use this as a moment in your personal life to inventory your own emission of carbon through your travel, heating and cooling, plastic purchases, etc., and to commit to reduce your own carbon footprint. General Synod adopted a resolution to encourage churches to become carbon neutral, and I was very impressed at the way churches in Minnesota (the originator of the resolution) are making progress on that. Here's a link to that resolution: http://uccfiles.com/pdf/gs29-2.pdf We could double the impact of this decision if all of us took our own steps to stop contributing so many emissions of our own! Perhaps now is the time for this Conference to launch an Environmental Covenanted Ministry Team!


Our General Minister and President, Rev. Geoffrey Black, got to talk with Jeff Fulk recently, and I overheard him say the same thing I said: "I've been around the United Church of Christ a long time and I've never heard of Shannondale! What an amazing story!" If you have never visited Shannondale, now's the time. Go to canoe/kayak the Current River, to birdwatch during the migration season, to join forces with others and do a work camp for residents or for Shannondale itself. Take your youth, take your church leaders, send adults on a retreat. You will come away inspired for your own lives and ministries.  

jeff f
Jeff Fulk, Pastor/Director of Shannondale.



History of Shannondale

Shannondale's ministry was founded by the German Evangelical Church in 1929 when the Rev. Paul Wobus traveled the region with the intent of starting new churches. He established what is now the Shannondale United Church of Christ. Shortly after that, Rev. Vincent Bucher arrived to serve as the pastor, and it was he who established the ministry of service to the community, including developing the forest as a means of support financially to residents there. Later Rev. Bucher researched and developed the plan for sustainable harvesting that is still used today: the 4,000 acres are divided into 200 plots of 20 acres each and each plot is harvested in an annual rotation. Today your woodland at Shannondale is the oldest continuously owned Tree Farm in Missouri, and the only surviving forest of the first ten Missouri Tree Farms designated by the state in 1949.


What does all this mean?

One important impact of this decision is that Shannondale Carbon LLC will be able to sell carbon credits and thus ensure an income stream for Shannondale. At this time, we plan to wait to sell carbon credits until their value increases. Of the initial dollars that are received a good portion will need to be set aside to ensure our ability to meet the standards that maintain the viability of the forest as a carbon sequestration project. It will have to be re-inventoried on a regular basis and re-certified as well, and there are costs connected to that work. In addition, if we were to have an event categorized as an "intentional reversal", we would be responsible to repay the carbon credits related to that event, so we must be prepared for that possibility even though we will do everything we can to prevent it occurring.  

Another amount will be invested so that the steady stream of income will support better maintenance and facilities at Shannondale. It is important that everyone understand that although this will help with Shannondale's future, it will not take the place of your regular support of its mission. Your Conference Council will be taking action on recommendations about this in the next several weeks.


It is also important that we all understand some other factors: the program we are entering, unlike some in the international market, requires ongoing validation of the forest and its proper, sustainable maintenance. This ensures that we are connected to other programs that are equally responsible and are being appropriately managed. The broad coalition of groups participating in the program include The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, and forest industry companies as well.


On our website, we have placed an updated version of Frequently Asked Questions about Shannondale and the carbon credit program. We hope this will answer questions you may have about some of the technical matters related to the program.


Rev. Dr. Davida Foy Crabtree

Acting Conference Minister 

A Current Need at Shannndale

We learned this week that the old tractor/mower system that has been in use at Shannondale for years will require major repairs that are going to take some time. Meanwhile we've had to buy a back-up mower large enough to handle the job. This is not just about appearance, but about safety because ticks and other wiggly creatures can live in tall grasses, so it could not be put off. However, we don't have the dollars to cover the cost. I just know there is an individual or a church out there that could help. We need to raise over $4,000 to make this right. Think of it as $1 for every acre that is ministering in Christ's name and yours in Shannon County!

Thank You and Goodbye to our Davida goodbye


Goodbyes are as much a part of life as the seasons of the year.                   


The story of gain and loss, of joy and sorrow, of life and death, of union and separation, is inside each one of us. . .

The word goodbye-originally "God-be-with-ye" or "Go with God"- was a recognition that God was a significant part of the going. ~ Joyce Rupp in "Praying our Goodbyes."


Although it comes far too soon for many of us, it is time to say farewell, goodbye, "God be with you" to our Acting Conference Minister, Rev. Dr. Davida Foy Crabtree.  Davida has been a most significant part of our life together in the Missouri Mid-South Conference since she came to us from Connecticut in late May.  We have been blessed, enriched, challenged, and strengthened by her pastoral presence, wisdom and encouragement.


All in the Conference are invited in a time of leave-taking and celebration of Davida's altogether-too-short ministry in our midst.  Please place the date on your calendar:


Saturday, September 7th  

2:00 to 4:00 pm 

Columbia United Church of Christ, 3201 I-70 Dr. NW, Columbia, MO 65202 


On behalf of the Conference Council, we hope that you will be able to join us and be present!  If you are unable to attend, expressions of appreciation and well wishes may be sent to the Conference Office to be shared with Davida on September 7th.   

MoVal Golf Fundraiser - Play Golf for a Great Cause! (Or Just Come Enjoy a Great Dinner!)

Only 8 days left to register for the Camp MoVal Golf Tournament -
Saturday, August 31, 1:30 Shotgun Start. The Landings at Spirit Golf Course, 180 North Eatherton, Chesterfield, MO 63005 


Don't play golf? That's okay! Come for dinner and other fun activities! Golf and dinner - $100.  Dinner - $20. Golf Ball Drop & Raffle. Please help publicize this special event!  Donated  items are also needed for raffle baskets!    


Volunteers are also needed.  For more information on the fundraiser and to volunteer, contact Adam Rustige, 314-699-8948  rssl2000@hotmail.com.   


For a registration form please click here.


Any golfers from the WA and EA can stay at MoValfor free on Saturday night, please contact Jeremy Force.  


Boundary Training at Eden Seminary, September 6 Eden logo

Eden has added a boundary training session on Friday, September 6, 2013, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in room 201 in the Press Building on campus.


The workshop will be led by Jane Porchey and Bruce Moeller of the MMSUCC. Registration fee is $50, lunch will not be provided. To register please contact Chris Davis, cdavis@eden.edu / 314.918.2547.


If you need to fulfill your boundary training requirement, please click here for the 2013 MMSUCC sponsored sessions.  Hurry, only 3 dates remaining!   

Register NOW for the Persons in Ministry Retreat, September 16-18  


Click here for all registration materials for the PIM Retreat on September 16-18 at The Resort at Port Arrowhead,3080 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Lake Ozark, MO  65049.  


All MMSUCC and Mid-America Region clergy are welcome.  If you are a lay person, please encourage your church to send your pastor to this worthwhile annual event.  It not only promotes spirituality, but also contributes to our continued partnership with the Disciples of Christ.   


The theme of the retreat is "Honest to God Prayer: Being Still while in Motion" and will be led by Kent Ira Groff. Kent is a spiritual companion for journeyers and leaders, a retreat director and a writer poet living in Denver, Colorado. Honest to God Prayer is his tenth and newest book. Dr. Groff is founding mentor of Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development, Camp Hill, Pa. With experience as a pastor of congregations, a chaplain, and a seminary teacher, he describes his work as one beggar showing other beggars where to find bread.  


The annual PIM retreat is a fabulous place to relax, renew and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.    

We Need YOUR Vision To Move Us Forward


Are you the type of person who can look ahead and see the future clearly?  Do you think outside of the box?  Do you color outside of the lines (which is highly encouraged, by the way!)?  Maybe you're not an idea person but you can execute and implement plans with ease, or you are yearning to work in a diverse group environment for the betterment of our Conference.  If yes, then YOU need to apply for our Visioning Team!  Click here to apply online via our website, or email us the name of someone you feel would be perfect for this team and we'll contact that person.  We need varying viewpoints, we need excitement, we need to listen to each other, we need to move forward and enlighten our minds.  Help us help you and our Conference.  Let us know how great you are and apply for the Visioning Team today!

treesQuotes For Your Week

"To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed." 
-Theodore Roosevelt
"A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people." 
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
"We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature."
-Henry David Thoreau
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Missouri Mid-South Conference United Church of Christ  314-962-8740 or 877-877-5884  
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