Wednesday, November 26, 2014
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Around Your Conference

Allen's Message to You... 

But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.


Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

                                                            Mark 13:24-27


Dear friends and colleagues in the Gospel,  


            We could not know what would come of the grand jury decision rendered last evening. For some, it meant a limited form of justice; for others, a frustrating dissonance with the truth as they see it. How you see the decision probably depends upon your whole orientation as a human being, but is there more to see?


            Mark's Gospel lesson for this coming Sunday talks about people seeing more than they once were able to see. They see the Son of Man, who gathers the beloved of God, but not until a great cataclysm has occurred, when the powers of the heavens themselves are shaken. I do not take such words as literal predictions. Cataclysmic visions, in biblical times as well as our own, are reflections of actually witnessed events.  


            The disruption of the order of the world in Mark's little apocalypse is described as the climax of a time of great suffering, as though the heavens themselves give testimony to the wrongfulness all around, and there is a bursting of the firmament, which is now dissolved, and then, in new clarity, the bearer of God's incisive truth breaks through with light and a brand new truth.


            Beloved, we need a brand new truth! We need something better than a grand jury truth, better than an assumption that real justice can be rendered in a setting where privilege and disadvantage go unremedied and unseen, better than all the efforts to find someone to blame. There is great sorrow for the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, but the greater sorrow is for the many young men who live today in hopelessness, because their future is bleak in the cities of America; and the greater sorrow is neighborhood businesses destroyed by a rage that is nurtured in people convinced that they have no place, and nothing to lose, within the economy of their urban setting; and the greater sorrow includes as well those law enforcement officers who walk fearful in their neighborhoods, because they are assigned to patrol hostile streets where they do not live, that are created by years of social neglect.


            First there was a moment of death that became a symbol, then the appearance of regarding it as nothing; then the anger; then the blaming; then the usual official reaction; then the protest and more blaming; then the verdict; then the fire and the looting; then the endless interpretations. Now we need a brand new truth. We need to be a part of it.


            "After that suffering...Then they will see... " May it be so.  


Pray this week for two pastors of the United Church of Christ who have been appointed to the Ferguson Commission by the Governor of Missouri: Traci Blackmon, Pastor of Christ the King Church in Florissant, and Starsky Wilson, Pastor of St. John's Church on North Grand and Executive Director of the Deaconess Foundation. May each of our churches lift them up in prayer this Sunday, and thankfully commission them for this special sacred ministry to which they have been called. They honor us by their faithful witness.


Pray for the young people of Ferguson and other urban neighborhoods, where the dangers of childhood and the alienation of youth are daily challenges to hope.


Pray for the shopkeepers whose life dreams are destroyed by acts of vandalism.


Pray for the residents of neighborhoods made tense and untrusting by social forces beyond their control.


Give thanks for those who are bringing help and comfort in these difficult times - our CHSSM agencies, our parish nurses, our pastors who interpret, march, comfort, preach nonviolence and seek justice, and our friends and neighbors who engage in sacred conversations about race.


This is a day for re-envisioning, for seeing what we could not see before, for gathering with one another from the four winds of our differences, for sharing and volunteering and engaging one another in the ongoing ministry we share.



Allen Fluent, Acting Conference Minister
2014 Contributions Deadline!
All contributions for 2014 must arrive at the Conference office by January 15, 2015.  All remittances received after this date will be considered 2015 donations.  Please share this information with your church treasurer or anyone at your church who handles the Conference contributions.  Thank you.

Please click here if you need a 2014 Remittance Form.   
If you have questions please contact Lorraine Brooks, Conference Bookkeeper at 314-918-2606 or email

Engaging in Spiritual Practices - to refresh and ground you


Spiritual practice can take many directions including a practice that one engages in every day at the same time, perhaps throughout the day, while walking or doing daily tasks, in silence, or meditation.  There is not a 'one size fits all' for the what, when or how of spiritual practice in one's life.

You can do this spiritual practice with a newspaper or other sources of world news.

Intercessory prayer is the act of praying on behalf of someone else. When you read your paper, read or hear your news online, or catch the news on TV or radio, take time to pray for the people in the news. You may want to pick one or two stories that touched you deeply and lift up the persons involved or the country they are in. For example with the ebola virus outbreak in West Africa you could pray for the infected individuals, their caregivers, their families and all those who are working to contain the problem. You might also pray that the fear people are experiencing will be relieved so that may seek care. If you hear a story about war, you could pray for peace, for the leaders to gain wisdom, for those suffering from ravages of battle and so forth.  And obviously pray for the most recent unrest in Ferguson - which has occurred in our own backyard. 


We are often bombarded by so many stories that break our hearts. Know that God's heart is also breaking and our prayer connects us to God and to each other in powerful ways. Using this as a spiritual practice also makes us aware of the many concerns the world over, reminding us that as God's creation we are all connected. When one suffers we all suffer; when one rejoices we can all rejoice together. Through this practice God may also reveal additional ways to serve.


Devoree Crist, Spiritual Director

Camp MoVal 2015 Schedule

The 2015 Outdoor Ministry theme is "Power Up, Living in the Spirit". Campers will learn more about how to live as a follower of Christ powered by the Holy Spirit. Camp MoVal continues to provide quality Christian education and faith formation alongside with many camp activities, outdoor education, and faith building all in a safe and caring environment.  Click here to see the schedule. 


New programs for the 2015 program season are a camp for college students and young adults during the summer season along with a winter camp experience for junior and middle school age campers. MoVal continues to develop programs to meet the needs of all and if there is something you would like to see added to our program schedule, please let us know.


Camp MoVal is an accredited camp of the American Camp Association. This means Camp MoVal maintains the highest level in camping standards and deliver a very high quality program and ministry in a safe and sacred space. For more information, please contact the camp office at 636-583-2730. You can also visit our website, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. 

Weekly Prayer Time

Please keep the following churches and clergy in your prayers during this upcoming week:  


Prayers for November 30-December 6, 2014


Immanuel UCC - Sedalia, MO

St Lukes UCC (Garden Light) - St Louis, MO

Bethel UCC - Kansas City, MO

St Matthew UCC - St Louis, MO

New Life Christian Church United - Popular Bluff, MO

St Paul UCC - St Louis, MO

Ebenezer UCC - Levasy, MO

Kirkwood UCC - St Louis, MO
Camp MoVal Fall Work Day, 12/6

Come and join us for our Fall Work Day at Camp MoVal on December 6 from 8am to 1pm. Work projects will include general site clean up, raking and burning leaves, trail maintenance and much more. All are welcome to participate, and please make sure that anyone under 18 attends with an adult chaperone. We also ask that you please let the MoVal office know in advance of your attendance to make sure we have enough food for all of our volunteers and so we can plan an effective and efficient work day.


I thank you in advance for your support of Camp MoVal and our Outdoor Ministry programs. It is your support that makes our ministry possible. To confirm your presence at the Fall Work Day, please email Jeremy Force or call the Camp Office at 636-583-2730.



Camp MoVal Young Adult Retreat, 12/28-30


This holiday season, Camp MoVal is offering the first Young Adult Retreat between the Christmas and the New Year's Holiday. This retreat is for adults 18-26 years. Come for a time away, to connect with old camp friends and to  make new ones. The retreat will start Sunday afternoon December 28 at 3pm and conclude Tuesday December 30 around 2pm in the afternoon.

The retreat theme will have a focus on Sabbath time and how to maintain your faith connection. College and young adult years are a time of great growth and exploration for young persons. This is a time in a young person's life when they complete the formation of who they are, and it is the time for us to keep then engaged in their faith and to help them to continue to grow in their Christian faith. Please come and join us for this retreat and relax and reconnect with others and your faith. Registration information is available on the Camp MoVal website or by calling the Camp MoVal Office at 636-583-2730.

-Jeremy Force
Eden Seminary Annual Christmas Concert, 12/3

The Eden Theological Seminary Choir will present its Christmas Concert on December 3, 2014 in Wehrli Chapel in the Press Building at 10:00 am. The Eden Choir, "Voices of Eden", will share a variety of seasonal music.


The choir will process into the chapel singing the carol, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". The processional itself will be done in a rather unusual fashion which promises to open the concert in an interesting and unique way. Eden logo  


One highlight of the concert will be Felix Mendelssohn's "Behold a Star from Jacob Shining" from his final oratorio, "Christus", based on Numbers 24:17. Other musical selections for the concert include: "Do You Hear What I Hear", "We Three Kings", and a calypso lullaby from the West Indies. Small vocal ensembles and instrumental groups will be featured as well.


Concert attendees may notice a theme of "stars" running through many of the musical selections. As Donita Bauer, Director of Music at Eden, was developing the program, it became evident that "stars" was becoming a central theme for the concert. So we will be following some of those stars!


Continuing with long-standing tradition, Eden alumni will be invited to join with the choir in singing the Christmas spiritual, "Jesus, Jesus, What a Wonderful Child".


The annual concert is an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and friends of Eden to gather together to celebrate the joys of Christmas as a community. All are invited to the reception following the concert. We hope you will come and join in the festivities!

Annual UCCOSSN Fundraiser

The Annual UCCOSSN (United Church of Christ Office Support Staff Network) Fundraiser is up and running - all you need is a shopping list and a keyboard and you're ready to go!  The dollars you spend assist the UCCOSSN in a variety of ways...  everything from providing scholarships to those who can't afford to attend the yearly meeting to helping pay for our keynote speakers, meals, goody bags, workshop leaders, etc.  All money raised remains within the UCCOSSN. 


Here's how it works - for every purchase you make from the items offered, a percentage of the sale is then donated back to the UCCOSSN, thanks to our very generous vendors.  The percentages range from 15% to 60% - so the more you buy, the more you support the network.  Also the percentage made on each sale is the amount that you can take as a personal tax deduction.  It's a win-win for everyone!  


And you do not need to be a member of the UCC or UCCOSSN to take advantage of the fabulous items offered, so please share this opportunity with your friends, family, co-workers and church members. The more the merrier!


So are you ready?  Get out your credit card, limber up those typing fingers, and SHOP!  Click here to visit the Conference website fundraiser page.  Have questions - just contact Renee.  Thank you! 


Renee Cordes,  

UCCOSSN Vice Chair & Fundraising Committee Chair  

"When Pigs Fly" Buy-a-Bird Fundraiser

Be a part of this ministry tradition!  Your generous donation of $20 will buy a turkey or ham for someone in need, and a donation of $30 will cover the cost of an entire meal.  Isaiah 58 Ministries is depending upon people like you to help make the holidays meaningful for families who are less fortunate.  You can help them celebrate the joy of the season as you actively participate in making their holiday season abundant and joy-filled.  Isaiah 58 Ministries anticipate serving 300 families both at Thanksgiving and at Christmas, which means they need to raise $18,000 to cover the total cost of the baskets.  Will YOU help?

This fundraiser will continue through December 31st.  Click here for a printable flyer to share with your congregation or office. 

Checks should be made payable to:  Isaiah 58 Ministries, 2149 S. Grand Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63104.  Please write "Buy a Bird" in the memo line. Or you can make your donation online by visiting their website
Employment Opportunities
Employment postings will run for one month, unless otherwise specified.

PT Organist & Choir Director, St. Peter's UCC-New Haven, 11/13/2014  

St. Peter's United Church of Christ, 607 Maupin Avenue, New Haven, Missouri is seeking a part-time Organist and Choir Director (5-10 hours per week). Salary is negotiable based on education and experience. Responsibilities include playing the organ at our 8 & 10 a.m. worship services and directing an intergenerational choir (Sept.-May). During the summer months, the organist and choir director would play for our 9 a.m. worship service and provide support to individual vocalists and instrumentalists (June-August). Send resume to We would like to fill this position before the start of the Advent season.
Conference Quick Links
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                        2015 Clergy Compensation Materials

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Contact Us

Missouri Mid-South Conference United Church of Christ  314-962-8740 or 877-877-5884  
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