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In This Issue


April 20-23Faith Forward Chicago, IL


April 23 Early Bird Registration Deadline for Summer Camps


April 23 CEA Big Country Cluster


April 27 TRA Mountain Clergy Cluster Retreat Morning Norbertine Retreat Center, Albuquerque


April 28 - May 1 Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry


May 1 TRA Elementary Camp Regular Registration Deadline

May 9 Reflections of Disciples History, Chalice Abbey

May 10 Mothers Day

May 11   CEA CYF Conference Regular Registration Deadline

May 11-13 Clergy Spiritual Retreat at Ceta Canyon

May 13 MW Chi Rho Regular Registration Deadline

May 18 TRA Border Cluster

May 21 HPA North Clergy Cluster

May 23 HPTRA CYF Conference Regular Registration Deadline

May 25 Memorial Day

May 28 CEA Big Country Cluster

May 29 CEA Grand Beginnings Regular Registration Deadline

Clergy Spiritual Retreat 
May 11- 13 at Ceta Canyon

Please consider joining us on  May 11-13 at Ceta Canyon Retreat Center3720 FM 1721, Happy, TX, at Cline Lodge. Cost is $150 to attend.



It is important to Mission West to provide clergy an opportunity to separate out 48 hours from their busy  schedules to find renewal through exercises led by a trained Spiritual Director, David Hargrave, and the fellowship and  support of colleagues in ministry.



Please also mark your calendars for the fall retreat on October 12-14.   


If interested, contact the Mission West office for more information or to register.  Call 806-358-9590, email, or register online.  For further questions, Charlotte Hoppe at choppe@ccsw.org


Tell us about your ministry
Please  Email Karakay with   your ministry stories and experiences by the 25th of each month to be included in future newsletters. 
Where in the West is Charlotte? 
To see where Charlotte is traveling over the next few months, see our calendar page

The Mission West calendar is being added to daily.  Please email if you would like your event added to this calendar.
April 21, 2015

If you have been watching social media, the general church has been putting out some pretty neat video's in preparation for general assembly with #DisciplesSoar as the tag line.  You could be featured during worship at the General Assembly if you share your thoughts and tag it with #DisciplesSoar.  

You could be featured during 
General Assembly Worship!
How are we CALLED?
How are we CALLED?

 The worship planning team would love to have your input on the many themes found within Isaiah 40. This week's theme is "Called?" Simply record your video response and post it to Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag "#DisciplesSoar" so we can find them. Ready.... set.... POST!

Reflections of Disciples History and Polity in the Church Today May 9th in Amarillo from 

9 am to 3 pm with Dr. John Imbler from 

Phillips Seminary

Please don't forget to register for the May 9th class

"Reflections of Disciples History and Polity in Church Today"

with Dr. John Imbler from Phillips Theological seminary at 

The Chalice Abbey and Mission West office, 2717 Stanley St., Ste. A, Amarillo, Tx 79109. 

Class will begin at 9am and conclude at 3pm. 

Registration deadline is Saturday, May 2nd.  Contact the  Mission West office  to register by calling 806-358-9590 or  emailing  or register  online Event costs is $75 per participant. A spouse may register for $15. This includes cost for the program and a light lunch. Mail payments / checks payable to:  Mission West,  2717 Stanley St. Ste A, 
Amarillo, TX 7910.

Come and learn about all that makes up a Disciples Congregation, Including:


Structures of the Church: 

Theology and Ecclesiology

(The Design, Cummins, Osborn)

Regional and General Church

Ecumenical Church

 Structures of the Congregation: 

Elders, Diaconate, and Lay Leadership

(The Design)

Congregational governance - yesterday and today

Boards, cabinets, committees

 Orders of Ministry: 

Commissioned and Ordained

(Policies and Criteria, Williams, The Design, Yearbook)

Certification and standing

Ministerial ethics


People of the Table: 

Sacraments and Worship

(Cartwright, Harrison and Duke, Williamson)

Campbell and Stone

Worship practices


 This class has four items as required reading including:  

1. Disciples: Reclaiming Our Identity, Reforming Our Practice by Michael Kinnamon and Jan  Linn Chalice Press, 2009  from  Amazon  or from  Chalice Press
2. The Disciples: A Struggle for Reformation by D. Duane Cummins, Chalice Press,  2009  from Amazonor from Chalice Press.
3. The Design  from www.disciples.org and


John Imbler serves as Associate Professor of the History of Christianity and Disciples Studies at Phillips Theological Seminary. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Dr. Imbler serves on the regional ministerial commissions of Kansas and Oklahoma. Executive Vice President of PTS, he is also the seminary's director of Disciples of Christ ministerial formation. He currently is chair of the committee on Religious Understanding of Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry and sits on the board of United Campus Ministry of the University of Tulsa. A member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Association for Higher Education, and the Disciples of Christ Historical Society, he joined the PTS faculty in 1993.

In addition to numerous scholarly articles, he is the author of several books including:

  • 60 year history of Phillips Theological Seminary...
  • "Disciples of Christ Hymnody" article and biographical sketch on Daniel B. Merrick in The Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology" ed. by J. R. Watson and Emma Hornby, 2013.
  • A Passion for Christian Unity, ed. (Chalice Press, 2009)
  • "The Council of Agencies" and "The Louisville Plan," in The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, ed. Douglas A. Foster, et. al. (Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005)
  • "Disciples of Christ Colleges, Universities, and Seminaries," in Religious Higher Education in the United States: A Source Book, ed. Thomas Hunt and James Carper (Garland Publishing, Inc., 1996), 
  • Discerning the Call: Advancing the Quality of Ordained Leadership, co-edited with Linda Plengemeier (Chalice Press, 1992)
  • Beyond Buffalo: Alexander Campbell on Education for Ministry (Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 1992) 
  • BA, Butler University, 1967
  • MDiv, Christian Theological Seminary, 1971
  • STM, Christian Theological Seminary, 1981
  • DD, Columbia College, 1987
  • DMin, Phillips Theological Seminary, 2013
This class is also offered on September 12 in Albuquerque at Los Altos Christian Church and 
o n October 24 in Abilene at the First Christian Church.
Hi Plains Area Call for Nominations
The HPA Executive board is seeking nominations for several two two year terms beginning July 1.  A member at large and assistant treasurer are open positions.  Primary duty of the assistant treasurer would be the signing of checks in the absence of the treasurer so it would be desirable for the individual holding this position to live in the Amarillo area.  HPA maintains offices in the Chalice Abbey located in Amarillo.   The board  provides support and direction  for Area staff and ministries and oversees Area finances,  The board encourages representation from both laity and ministers while maintaining both geographic and church size diversity.  The board generally meets quarterly via conference call but occasionally, more frequent meetings are required. Nominations or questions may be submitted to any board or staff member by May 21st.
Current HPA Executive Board Members

Dan Anderson Pastor FCC Perryton - drev33@ptsi.net
Wyatt Fenno Pastor Westmont , Lubbock - wyatt.westmont@gmail.com
Darlene Ford Member FCC Liberal - alwaysbusy.24712@yahoo.com
Linda Pitman Member FCC Canyon - lfpitman@gmail.com
Dick Snyder Member FCC Amarillo - amaslim@aol.com

Ex Officio Staff
Karakay Kovaly Mission West Minister of Youth and Communication kkovaly@ccsw.org member FCC Spearman & Chalice Abbey
Charlotte Hoppe Mission West Area Minister choppe@ccsw.org Monte Vista Christian Church

Quick Links
Rescheduled Commissioned Minister Classes

The Disguise of the Ordinary: Finding Spiritual Goodness Hidden in Plain Sigh with Stephanie Shepherd in Amarillo. From October 3rd to November 7th.

Creating a Culture of Generosity, Bruce Barkhauer - Abilene From February 14 to August 29th

Reflections of Disciples History and Polity in Church, John Imbler- Albuquerque From February 28 to September 12 
Churches seeking pastoral leadership
First Christian Church
Hooker, OK

First Christian Church
Plainview, TX

Associate Minister of Youth and Small Group Development
First Christian Church, Perryton, TX

First Christian Church, Miami, TX

Youth Minister
First Christian Church,
San Angelo, TX

First Christian Church
Canyon, TX

First Christian Church
Stinnett, TX

First Christian Church
Albany, TX

First Christian Church
Stratford, TX

Inquiries for more information should be directed to:
Lead Minister, Mission West

Congratulations to Brook Hollow Christian Church for the unanimous vote to call Pastor Penny Biddy and Pastor Chesna Riley as their co-pastors!

Congratulations to FCC Alamogordo for calling Rev. Jeff Swanson, ELCA Lutheran retired military chaplain as their interim. 
Prayer Requests
John Givens, pastor of Community Christian Church in Lubbock is home from the hospital and back serving the church.  Please continue to lift him up for healing during his recovery.

Prayers for retired minister Bill Hendrix, as he recovers from another heart episode late last month.
Cricket Harrison needs our help!
Rev. O. I. "Cricket" Harrison   suffered a severe diabetic/ blood pressure event in September of 2013. 

S ince that time she has been recovering and has recently completed  physical  therapy. She continues to have mobility issues and is in need of having the  bathrooms in her home remodeled to accommodate  a wheelchair, add grab bars, and replace the fixtures. She receives approximately $760 a month in disability, which over one half of it is used to purchase her medications.   Your donation  will be used to remodel her bathrooms and help with her monthly living expenses.

Please consider giving back to a Disciple's Clergy person who has done so much for our denomination and our local churches.

Updates on Area Assemblies
Plans for spring Area Assemblies have been put on hold as conversations continue with each Area board and council as to how to share in the business of the Areas, while visioning new ways to do ministry together. 

An annual meeting for each Area is important for member congregations to be able to participate in ministry decisions and will be announced sometime in 2015.  Most likely the Area annual gatherings will be held in conjunction with some other education or ministry gathering.  We will make Area business and governance reports available on the Missions West website,  missionwestccsw.org. Watch our newsletter for future announcements, or share your ideas with each Area Moderator:

Central Area - Greg Porterfield -  greg735@gmail.com

High Plains Area - Dick Snyder -  amaslim@aol.com

Tres Rios Area - Patrick Crocker -  arkhanon@yahoo.com

2015 Camp Information Early Bird Registrations deadline is April 23rd

It's time to start registering for camp!  We are excited to see what God has in store for us this year through our youth and outdoor ministries.


In this packet you will find:
  • Guidelines for registrations
  • Grid for post mark deadlines, costs, and who to make checks payable
  • What to do in your congregation
  • Postmark Deadline for Registration & Payment Policy
  • Refund Policy
  • Director Contact Information
  • Campground Information
  • What to Bring and Not Bring to Camp
  • Roster Registration Forms
  • Camp Registration Forms
  • Camp Flyers (in separate downloads listed below in the grid)


                                 Guidelines for Registrations


We are continuing with roster registrations as they 

have proved helpful in simplifying the registration process for our churches, campers, parents and staff.   Rosters will be filled out and sent into the Mission West office in accordance with the deadlines listed in the grid below  Campers will still fill out registration forms and turn them into you, the local church, but instead of mailing them into

 the office, you or your representatives will bring them to the event.  Your church is financially responsible for the number of participants you sign up for on your roster.  


It is the preference for the roster registrations to be sent

digitally in the xls spreadsheet, then sending 
a paper copy along with payment to the office.  Payment must reach the office within postmark deadline to be eligible for that tier of payment. Please be sure to make

checks payable to the area hosting the  event.  


Below you will find the event dates, type and location of each camp, the appropriate grades associated  with each event, postmark deadlines for early bird, regular 

registration,  late registration, and who the check should be
 payable to. 

, April 23rd and To be eligible 
Please note that the early bird registration deadline is 
for this tier  you or your congregation must pay 1/2 down .




Grid for post mark deadlines, costs, and who to make checks payable


TYPE/Location (Click to download flyer)


(just completed)

Early Bird Price  (Must pay 1/2 down)


(Full Amount Due)


(Full Amount Due)

Check Payable to

June 8-13

CEA CYF Conference, LBCR

9th to 12th Grades

$350 by April 23

$380 by May 11

$405 after May 12

Central Area

June 10-14

Mission West Chi Rho Camp, LBCR

6th to 8th Grades

$310 by April 23

$335 by May 13

$380 after May 14

Mission West

June 17-20

TRA Elementary Camp, BRCL

1st to 5th Grades and their Families

$250 by April 23

$275 by May 1

$300 after May 2

Tres Rios Area

June 21-26

HPTRA CYF Conference, BRCL

9th to 12th Grades

$320 by April 23

$345 by May 23

$370 after May 24

Mission West

June 26-28

CEA Grand Beginnings, LBCR

4 years old to 3rd Grades with Parents or Grandparents

$100 by April 23

$125 by May 29

$150 after May 30

Central Area

July 6 -10


3rd to 5th Grades

$300 by April 23

$325 by June 15

$350 after June 16

Central Area

July 13-17

HPA JYF Camp, Ceta Glen

3rd to 5th Grades

$320 by April 23

$345 by June 22

$370 after June 23

Hi Plains Area


All adult & steward registration forms must be sent into the office & received by the regular registration deadline to ensure annual background checks are completed & that the individual has completed child abuse awareness training in the last two years.

What to do in your congregation

Please make copies and distribute them to all eligible youth in your congregation/community.   Procedure for registration is as follows:

  1. Publicize event well in advance by posting/mailing flyers and related materials.
  2. Hold a camp Sunday promotion in your congregation.
  3. Each student  must complete a registration form, a medical form with release, copy of their insurance card, camp covenant and release.
  4. Sponsors and Stewards must complete a registration form, a medical form with release, copy of their insurance card, camp covenant, release, 3 references (one being a pastor or board chairperson from the sponsoring congregation), Code of Ethics and Rules for Camp Stewards/Sponsors, and background check form.  All adult and steward forms must be received by the regular registration deadline to ensure annual background checks are completed and that the individual has completed child abuse awareness training in the last two years.
  5. Please send roster registrations along with proper remittance to the Mission West office at 2717 Stanley St., Ste. A, Amarillo, TX 79109 by the postmark deadlines.  Make event checks payable to who is hosting the event (See Grid attached in this letter).
  6. Keep the original camper registration forms and insurance cards and take them to camp with you and deliver them at the registration table.  
  7. Notify event director(s) directly for any late registrations.   The director must confirm acceptance after the regular registration deadline. 

Post Mark Deadline for Registration & Payment Policy

  • All roster's and payments are to be postmarked by the postmark deadlines. 
  • In order to receive the early bird discount, at least 1/2 of camp fees per person must be postmarked and paid by Thursday, April 23, 2015.
  • If a church or individual sends in their roster, without payment after the postmark deadline for any tier, the next tier fee's will be assessed per registrant. 
  • Individual directors do not have the authority to wave this fee. 
  • Roster Registrations may not be accepted after the postmark deadline at the discretion of the director.

 Refund Policy

  • 100% less $25.00 for medical emergency cancellations up to the beginning hour of the rally/retreat/camp or with 7 days advance written requests;
  • 50% less $25.00 after the beginning hour of rally/retreat/camp for medical emergency cancellations only.
  • No refunds for non-emergency cancellations after the beginning hour of rally/retreat/camp (i.e., no shows).
  • No refunds or proration will be granted if a child/parent or adult decides to cut a camp short -whether the decision is made before, after, or during a rally/retreat/camp starts.
  • If the camp decides that a child must go home due to illness or some other condition, up to the midpoint of camp, fees may be prorated with a cap of 50%. After the midpoint of camp, no refund will be granted.


This policy has been established because the camp programs incur costs in planning for any child or adult to be present at the camp.  Food is purchased ahead of time as well as supplies for crafts and other events. Mission West/Areas are charged for every meal and night's stay per person enrolled.


For questions or concerns specific to these events, please contact the director listed on the event flyer for the specific event.  For questions or concerns regarding other issues related to youth ministry or our Mission West/Area camping program, please contact Karakay S. Kovaly or a member of your Children and Youth Ministry Committee or Outdoor Ministry Committees.


We look forward to your participation!

FCC Las Cruces program Kaleidoscope Las Cruces to help fill gaps in community need
Kaleidoscope Las Cruces is a program of First Christian Church in Las Cruces, New Mexico that collaboratively harnesses community character and assets to create solutions that fill existing community needs.
Kaleidoscope Bicycle Expedition 2015 | #KBE2015
Kaleidoscope Bicycle Expedition 2015 | #KBE2015

Continuing the churches long-held tradition of social justice advocacy and work in our community, Kaleidoscope Las Cruces is a program of First Christian Church in Las Cruces, New Mexico. 

At Kaleidoscope, we believe in the importance of bringing people of all backgrounds together by creating spaces of inclusion, respect and compassion.

The purpose of Kaleidoscope Bicycle Expedition 2015 (#KBE2015) is to ride between Las Cruces, NM, and Yellowstone National Park to foster new relationships and to engage in community building.

To make this very important trip happen, we are requesting your assistance through individual donations and sponsorship's from businesses and organizations looking to engage in creative partnership with the community.

For opportunities for financial partnership, please contact us by clicking here.

Pastoral Letter from the College of Regional Ministers
Concerning excessive force against unarmed African American Men

April 9, 2015


To our Sisters and Brothers in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),


Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ. The College of Regional Ministers of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is writing this open letter to the church on a subject of deep concern to us. As Disciples of Christ, we have spoken of our calling to become an Anti-Racism/ Pro-Reconciliation church. This letter invites you to seek God's leading with us to answer this call.


For over two centuries, the Disciples of Christ movement in North America has lived amidst great promise and great disparities. Throughout most of this history, the opportunities of citizenship came to some rather than to all. Immigrants from Europe and their descendants routinely enjoyed greater access to resources at the exclusion and expense of Native peoples, people taken from Africa to live as slaves, immigrants from other lands, and the descendants of each of these groups who often lacked full standing in the laws of the land. Christians could be counted in large numbers, both among the oppressors and the oppressed.


Most recently the struggle around racial reconciliation has been centered upon justice or the lack thereof mediated around police shootings and the deaths of unarmed African American young men. The aggregates of protesters-mostly young adults in Ferguson, MO, New York, NY and other urban cites across America-are waging a fight for justice regarding excessive force resulting in the deaths of Travon Martin, Michael Brown, Tony Robinson, Eric Garner, Jon Crawford, Tamir Rice, Anthony Hill, Rumain Brishon, Kajieme, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Tyree Woodson, Johnathan Ferrell, and Walter Scott-the list goes on.


Our heritage as Christians includes times when the church has acted decisively to uplift the needs and rights of all. In 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the "I Have A Dream" speech as part of the March on Washington. In the next year, the U.S. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, barring discrimination based upon race, color, religion or national origin, which was signed by President Johnson, who was himself a Disciple. In 2015, thousands of marchers walked across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Alabama, remembering that 50 years earlier state troopers had attacked non-violent marchers who were demanding voting rights. The Rev. Denise Bell, Regional Minister of the Christian Church in Georgia, observed that "

some marched believing that nothing has changed in 50 years, some marched believing that at the feet of the first African American president, we live in a post racial society, and some marched cognizant of the gains that have been made while realizing that the beloved community that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others marched and died for has not yet been realized."  


Your Regional Ministers believe that much more work remains both in church and society to counter the effects of racism. Our own congregations too often reflect or experience little of the diversity found nearby. In society, the news has brought a series of calamities where unarmed, young African American men have been killed by police or others, often with no indictment to follow. While leaders in other arenas have sought to address the issues, the church as a collective has not given to voice to the heinous acts of discrimination and disregard for human life. We, the College of Regional Minsters of the Christian Church (DOC), believe that "Black lives matter."


The Department of Justice has called for local communities in Ferguson, MO and many other cities to rectify the strained relationships between their police forces and their citizens. We note with alarm the high rates of incarceration, racial profiling, poverty and unemployment among people of color in the U.S. We are further grieved by current daily expressions of racism, whether privately by a basketball team owner or publicly in fraternity meetings. These incidents underscore the continuing presence and damage of racist attitudes in society, much like the thief described by Jesus who comes only "to steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10).


To pursue our calling to more abundant life as an Anti-Racism/Pro Reconciliation Church, the College of Regional Ministers calls upon the Church, as:


General and Regional Ministries

  • to form Anti-Racism teams to develop strategies and training for pro-reconciling action, consulting with the Disciples' Reconciliation Ministry;
  • to review the goals of each ministry to confirm that pro-reconciling objectives are implemented and realized; and
  • to utilize the Executive Search Model as recommended by the Office of the General Minister and President when preparing to call new executive leaders.

Congregational Ministries

  • to work in partnership with other congregations, ecumenical ministries, schools and community organizations to become reconciling agents between law enforcement and communities of color, and to support the health, security and education of at risk youth;
  • to give full and fair consideration to pastoral candidates of varying race and cultures;
  • to reach out to a congregation of another culture for both fellowship and shared community action; and
  • to work in partnership with your regional church as pro-reconciling strategies are developed, and with your general church by interpreting and supporting our Reconciliation Ministry in the local church.

Individual Disciples

  • to pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit in moving the Church beyond the normal comfort zones to build up all of God's people;
  • to advocate for public policies that respect and empower all people;
  • to pray for and support Disciples Reconciliation Ministry financially and to participate in Anti-Racism/Pro-Reconciliation training when offered in your region; and
  • to speak up when you see or hear something that demeans people through racist individual comments or institutional practice.

Jesus prayed for the church to be one, that the world may believe (John 17:21). As 21st century Disciples, we are shaped by a history of racism, by the legacy of those who have courageously stood for justice, and by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who lived, died and rose with love for all and who promises to sit at the table and break bread with all who would seek a new and redeemed future (Rev.3:20). We now share the responsibility to make choices that will shape the character of Disciples witness as our third century unfolds. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada, much like the two nations in which we reside, is becoming a much more racially diverse body. While some may react to these demographic changes with isolation, fear or aggression, we see tremendous potential for the Church to glorify God. The way of Christ leads us to more abundant life following the One who breaks down the dividing wall of hostility (Eph. 2:14).


For all of your faithful witness and service as a Disciple of Christ church, we give thanks. We pray that " you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we may ask or think, according to the power at work within us. To God " be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen" (Eph. 3:17-21).



In the Name of the Christ who is our Peace,

College of Regional Ministers

Meeting April 9, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri


Christian Church in Alabama and Northwest Florida

John P. Mobley, Regional Minister


Christian Church in Arizona

Dennis Williams, Regional Minister-President


Christian Church of Northern California-Nevada

LaTaunya Bynum, Regional Minister


Christian Church of the Pacific Southwest

Don Dewey and Susan Gonzales Dewey, Regional Co-Ministers


Christian Church in Canada

Rev. Richard E. (Rick) Hamilton, Interim Regional Minister


Christian Church Capital Area

Bob Perry, Interim Regional Minister


Central Rocky Mountain Region

Rev. Dean Phelps, Interim Executive Regional Minister


Christian Church in Florida

Juan Rodriguez, Regional Minister


Christian Church in Georgia

Denise Bell, Regional Minister


The Great River Region

Barbara Jones, Executive Regional Minister


Christian Church in Illinois and Wisconsin

Teresa Dulyea-Parker, Regional Minister & President


Christian Church in Indiana

Richard Spleth, Regional Minister


Christian Church in Kansas

Paxton Jones, Regional Minister


Christian Church of Greater Kansas City

Donna Rose-Heim, Intentional Interim Regional Minister


Christian Church in Kentucky

J. Gregory Alexander, Regional Minister


Christian Church Michigan

Rev. Eugene James, Regional Minister


Christian Church in Mid-America

Penny Ross-Corona, Southeast Gateway Area Minister and Lead Regional Minister


The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Montana

Ruth A. Fletcher, Regional Minister


Christian Church in Nebraska

Katrina Palan, Interim Regional Minister


Christian Church - Northeastern Region

Mary Anne Glover, Regional Minister


Christian Church in North Carolina

John Richardson, Regional Minister


The Northwest Regional Christian Church

Rev. Sandra Messick, Regional Minister and President


Christian Church in Ohio

William Edwards, Regional Pastor and President


Christian Church in Oklahoma

Pamela Holt, Regional Pastor


Christian Church in Oregon and Southwest Idaho

Doug and Cathy Myers Wirt, Regional Ministers


Christian Church in Pennsylvania


Christian Church in South Carolina

Sotello V. Long, Regional Pastor


Christian Church in the Southwest

Acting Regional Minister: Coretha Loughridge


Christian Church in Tennessee

Beth Dobyns, Interim Regional Minister


Christian Church in the Upper Midwest

Bill Spangler-Dunning, Regional Minister & President


The Christian Church in Virginia

Lee Parker, Regional Minister


The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia and Pennsylvania

Thaddaeus B. Allen, Regional Minister and President 

FCC El Paso in the News
"As U.S. community garden numbers increase, El Paso follows suit"

By Victoria G. Molinar comment: @whatsupweekly | 



El Pasoans living in the Rio Grande neighborhood with little gardening space will now have the chance to grow their own vegetables and herbs at the new Arizona Avenue Community Garden (AACG).


"That area has been designated as a food desert by the federal government, which means there aren't any nearby grocery stores in that neighborhood," said Arizona Avenue Community Garden co-founder Stephanie Welch. "Combine that with relatively low income levels and a lot of people who don't have their own vehicles, and you have an area where people don't have good access to fresh food."


Recognizing the neighborhood's dilemma, board members of the First Christian Church, located on 901 Arizona Avenue, decided to obtain permission to turn the church's front lawn into a space where neighborhood residents of all backgrounds could tap into their inner farmers.


This new project reflects the current trend in increasing community gardens throughout the country. According to a 2014 report by the National Gardening Association, community gardens in the U.S. tripled from 1 million in 2008 to 3 million in 2013.


Other organizations in El Paso have also worked towards building community gardens, including the El Paso Permaculture Group and Desert Eden.


"It's something that a lot of other bigger cities have been doing," co-founder Rebecca Glaser said. "I lived in Philadelphia, where there were wait lists to get into community gardens."


Welch, an attorney at the non-profit Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, and Glaser, a social worker at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, already lead careers that serve the community. When they learned that First Christian Church was interested in starting a community garden, Welch and Glaser teamed up with Kelly Memorial Food Pantry and dedicated the next year to raising the funds to build it.


"Stephanie is the true architect, the true heart of this garden," Glaser said. "She wrote all the grants and got all the materials. She wanted to see through to the end, and it's really happening."

Money raised went towards purchasing gardening tools, organic soil, seeds, and individualized irrigation systems for each gardening bed.


So far, 12 gardening beds have been made earlier this year with the help of members of University of Texas at El Paso organization Project MOVE. On Saturday, March 21, AACG will need volunteers to help build over 20 more.


Those interested in having their own space in the garden must pay an annual upkeep fee for plots ranging from a 4-foot diameter circle to a rectangle measuring at 4 by 20 feet. Prices currently range from $15 to $50, but Glaser said the group will assist those who cannot afford the fees.


"No one should not apply because they don't feel like they have the funds, so we are going to be doing fundraising for people who can't afford the full price," Glaser said. "If anyone wants to have a space, there will be a space for them."


First Christian Church board member Marta McLaughlin bought a medium-sized plot in which she plans to 
grow herbs, artichokes and carrots.  "I just bought a house in the neighborhood last fall, and this is the first time I've had a garden plot," McLaughlin said. "It's really cool being there from the ground up and participating and seeing it grow."


AACG members are currently seeking experienced gardeners willing to lend their knowledge and to conduct workshops in both English and Spanish at the site. So far, they plan to reach out to the El Paso County Master Gardener Association.


As for other areas in El Paso, Glaser encourages locals to envision underutilized pieces of land as future community gardens.


"Who would have thought the front of the lawn of a church would be used for 35 plus garden beds?" Glaser said. "We hope other communities will want to support their neighborhoods and go out and get involved. If there's land, there's opportunity."

Arizona Avenue Community Garden, 901 Arizona Avenue, El Paso, TX For more info, visit facebook.com/aacgep or call 915-383-8722.

Christian Church leaders hopeful with possible changes to Indiana Law
Reflections from the General Minister and President, Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins. 

Message from Sharon re: 2017 Assembly

04/13/15 from  Sharon's Blog

April 13, 2015

Dear Disciples,

The General Board has determined that the 2017 General Assembly should take place in Indianapolis "as a continued witness for wholeness".

Two weeks ago, the board authorized a move away from Indianapolis due to a new Indiana law called The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SEA101 or RFRA). This law raised concern that some of our members and friends might not be welcome in Indiana businesses.

Following a groundswell of opposition to the bill - including our own action to move our assembly - the concerns raised by the General Board have been addressed. SEA101 has now been amended so that it cannot be used to open a new door to discrimination. There is a newly invigorated statewide understanding that Indiana needs improved laws and ordinances protecting all people from discrimination. Disciples will be part of that movement - a clear voice of faith.

The events around the Indiana RFRA have left some feeling bewildered and even hurt. The first stand was a bold move against discrimination in the guise of religious freedom. There is concern that the second decision undermines that bold stand. Locating our assembly in Indianapolis, now that our concerns have been addressed, positions us more strongly as a moral voice in the movement for equal protection under the law for all.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will continue to advocate for wholeness and dignity for all people. We are a church of an open table where all are welcome in Christ's name.

Indianapolis is now a more welcoming place for all our assembly-goers than it was when we originally decided on Indianapolis for our 2017 site.

My prayer is that through our presence and action, our church and our communities will be stronger representatives of God's love for all people. May the power of the risen Christ be in us all for life and love in Jesus' name.

 watkins signature


General Minister and President

Information page including timeline

DHM Family & Children's Ministries New Website
DHM Family & Children's   Ministries New Beta Website  is up and running 
You should check it out at:   http://familiesandchildren.wix.com/familiesandchildren    

You can also connect with them online.  They love hearing about you and your local ministry. Share with them so they can share what you are doing with others:
  @disciplesfcm                                  @Fam_ChildrenDHM
8ers "Created to Be Me Camp" Regular Registration Deadline is May 15th

Eighter's will be held in Athens at Disciples Crossing this Year.  It is July 5-11. "Created to Be Me" Camp, 8'ers is designed to teach campers about spirituality and sexuality through a wonderful Christian curriculum and is only available to those who have completed the 8th grade this year.  Parents will receive detailed information about each day's topic and theme after they enroll their camper in the session. 


Regular Price deadline:  May 15th $415

Late Registration deadline:  two weeks before your event begins June 28th $455


If you would like to know more about CLER Ministries, please visit their website at http://clerministries.org.    

Enjoy the video below filmed in 2011 in at Camp Mary Mac in Sharpsburg, MD on of the camps of the Christian Church Capital Area (which is the regional manifestation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), serving over 48 congregations in Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and West Virginia.) 

"Created to Be Me" - a unique summer camp experience for soon-to-be ninth graders



Status of Healthcare  


Reimbursement for Clergy.    

Summary of IRS Notice 2015-17

On March 3rd news broke of IRS changes that affect the insurance reimbursement possibility that ended under ACA.  Included are some key highlights from Mike Hunter of FCC Midland.

Summary of IRS Notice 2015-17      Status of Healthcare       Reimbursement for Clergy


The highlights:

  • Employers can reimburse health insurance premiums on individually purchased policies pre-tax through June 30, 2015.
  • Employers with fewer than 50 full-time equivalents don't have to file IRS Form 8928, even if they did have ACA violations in 2014. Employers with more than 50 full-time equivalents need to report their violations on Form 8928, but can seek relief for these violations on the Form 8928 if they can demonstrate reasonable cause for the violations and take steps to remedy the violations within 30 days of discovering them.
  • By June 30, 2015, employers must stop paying for or reimbursing individual health insurance unless they have just one employee. After that date, ACA penalties will be incurred if health care reimbursement arrangements are continued.
  • If employers have only one employee, they can continue reimbursing health care premiums on a pre-tax basis, even past June 30, 2015.
  • Employers who have more than one employee and are not in a bona fide group plan but want to continue to help pay insurance costs need to change the way this is done after June 30, 2015, to avoid penalties. The way to do this is to increase salaries to cover health care premiums without requiring that the salary increase be used only for that purpose.
  • Employers should also consider amending their 2014 payroll reports and W-2s to treat reimbursed health care insurance premiums as non-taxable.
Here is a link to a recent blog article.

Guidance on the Application of Code ? 4980D to Certain Types of Health Coverage Reimbursement Arrangements Notice 2015-17.
Personal Finance: Making More with What you Have (Online Course)

Low-Cost Self-Paced Online Course: 

"BB-02 - Personal Finance: 

Making More with What You Have"

by Bill Anderton


Learn why building a household budget is both biblical and practical. Discover ten "economic rules" that will lower your anxiety about money and help you build the capacity to practice generosity.


This course consists of three video lectures that are delivered online via video-on-demand streaming.


Click here for more information about this course.


This course is suitable for any individual who wishes to register to learn sound personal finance practices.


ALSO, this course can be used in group settings such as small-group studies.


For a limited time, this course has been given a special low price of $9.95 per student. Normally $49, this course has been given a special low price to make the course more accessible to all members of the Church.


Register and you can immediately begin to view the videos and use the course materials. Come and go into the Virtual Classroom as often as you wish for 90 days.

Click here to register online NOW! It only takes a couple of minutes.

 Course Instructor

This course is taught by Rev. Bruce Barkhauer, Director of The Center for Faith and Giving, a ministry of the Office of General Ministry and President (OGMP) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The Center for Faith and Giving exists to create a culture of generosity across the life of the whole church. Its mission is to encourage and promote the understanding of stewardship as a faith discipline and life practice in response to a generous God.

About "BB-02 - Personal Finance: Making More with What You Have" 


This course explores the relationship between Paul's question to Timothy "How can a person manage God's Church if he/she cannot manage his/her own household?" and ten economic principles to guide you in building the capacity for generosity. The core activities center around both constructing a household budget and examining our relationship with money. Participants will gain a biblical foundation for why personal finance matters in the life of an individual (or family system) as well as acquiring tools that will lower anxiety and increase the capacity for generosity. The material lends itself well to a small group study and serves as a primer for more in-depth conversations about money and society. The material is presented in three sessions can be presented in a group setting as either a three-part study or be completed in a single session of approximately two and half hours.

Click here for more information about this course.

You and your congregation are encouraged to promote General Assembly attendance this month, during your gatherings. 


Remembering the saints

General Assembly organizers are planning to remember those who have passed away since the last assembly. Assembly goers are invited to bring a copy of a photo (4x6 or smaller) of anyone from their church who they would like to add to the wall. Names on paper (also 4x6 or smaller) may also be posted.  Volunteers can direct you to the wall when you arrive onsite at the assembly. 
Please note:  Photos and notes must be brought by assembly attendees for posting and cannot be mailed. Submitter of photos must remove them by on the last day of the assembly or the photo will be destroyed. 

There is a collection of videos, logos, downloadable bulletin inserts, newsletter "blurbs" and more available for you on the ga.disciples.org/promotion page. 

There is even a two-sided flier that can be converted to a paper airplane to add a little fun.


We are asking our congregations to help us meet our congregation members and neighbors that could use our help.  Please download the  form for congregation and homeowner permission form to provide a service and share within and outside of your communities.

All Group RSVP Deadline was March 1st
If you have not already, please send in your Group RSVP Form and $75 per person to Brazos Condra at FCC Abilene for the Albuquerque Trip.  We only have a few spots left in Albuquerque. The Nashville Trip is already closed due to having more than 250 registrations.

Individual Registration Forms and remaining $200 per person are due by June 1st. 

For more information visit the web site at: http://www.disciplesummermission.com  

Association for Disciple Musicians event to take place 
June 23-28 at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO
Greetings, Regional Ministry Partners!  Among the many Disciples hats I wear I am pleased to be serving on the planning committee for this year's Association for Disciple Musicians event to take place  June 23-28 at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO.  Registration information is already on the DHM website, with more being added to the ADM Facebook page.  A paper flier will be in the mail to local churches in March.


Would be so kind as to disseminate the attached flier to your congregations and through other communications channels you have with your pastors and church leaders?  We feel this is a quality event and worthy of consideration for musicians, ministers, and other worship-and creative-minded individuals.  It is scheduled a month away from general assembly, so this may be a nice alternative for staff who may be looking for something geared more toward musicians.


Thank you for whatever you can do to get the word out.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Blessings, and have a wonderful week.


Please note below the new address and phone numbers for my office.  Thank you.
Kirby Hughes Gould, Vice-President
Christian Church Foundation
6101 Nall Avenue
Mission, KS  66202
816-665-8446 cell
Join me on Facebook!
Follow me on Twitter!
Save the Date Joint DoC/UCC Youth Gathering in Lake Buena Vista, FL July 26-29
Youth Gathering 2016 Coming Soon!
Joint Disciples of Christ and  United Church of Christ  Youth Gathering  to take place at  Walt Disney World's Coronado Springs Resort Hotel in 
Lake Buena Vista,  FL   July 26-29, 2016.  Save the dates!
visit http://nye.uccpages.org/ for more information!


Mission West | missionwest@ccsw.org | www.missionwestccsw.org
2717 Stanley St. Ste A
Amarillo, TX 79109