First Christian Church welcomes you
First Christian Church of Independence is a welcoming congregation committed to learning, growing and serving the Lord.
The church, established in 1835, is part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
We welcome all, we share communion with all and open to learning what faith means to us.
We worship. We sing. We share communion with all. And we serve.
We welcome you to experience our community of faith as we seek God and strive to live in faithfulness.
New Beginnings – The Next Step (phase IV and beyond)
The next step in our congregational progress to our future story is now scheduled. Hope Partnership (the denominational team that has been guiding us) is thrilled that we are intentionally making this decision long before we run out of money or our building is in hospice care, or even condemned. One of the Four Priorities of the 2020 Vision of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is the transformation of 1,000 current congregations – we are one of those congregations and are on track to meet that goal!
This is an incredibly important decision for our congregation so we have prepared a schedule to maximize the opportunity for all to participate and have our voices heard. In September and October, we will have four combined worship services, beginning at 9:30 am, on the following Sundays: Sept 9, Sept 16, Sept 30 and Oct 14. On each of those Sundays, after worshiping and praying together, we will transition to our organized group discussions to carefully examine and respond to our changing reality. Please reach out to others in the congregation to offer a ride or whatever other assistance might be helpful for them to attend as many of these special meetings as possible. We do plan to be finished before lunch.
While many assume there are only two choices (and some think they already know the “only” viable option), the reality is that there are many different choices available for the future of First Christian Church of Independence MO. The difficulty is in our approach to making a choice. We must be able to look away from our past, examine our present situation on a factual basis, and remain open to the consideration of new possibilities for accomplishing our mission and ministry. If we continue to only “tweak” our existing ways of “being” and expect that the future will take care of itself (which is one of the many options available to us), we may end up wishing we had done something drastically different. So this is our chance to take some time to carefully consider our options and make a definitive plan.
These will be difficult conversations because we will have to be quiet and listen carefully while others are talking. We will have to call out our assumptions and avoid snap judgements. Our discussions must include those from both services and those who are no longer able to attend but are still part of our congregation. We must hear those who have grown up in this congregation and those who have joined us in the past few months or years. Patience will be required while we each figure out how to specifically articulate what is most important to us about this congregation and its ministry and mission. We must be willing to look at our community – the place in which we live, work and worship – how it is changing and what is expected to change in the next decade and beyond. And most importantly, we will have to focus on the “why” of who we are as a congregation, and not the “how” of what we do as we have always done.
Hope Partnership has provided an assessment report that includes LOTS of data about our congregation and our community. Unfortunately, financial data for two recent years were not included so that is being compiled and added into the report. Every person will receive a copy of the completed final report so it can help guide us in our discussions. It is very comprehensive so we will allow time to review it both individually and as a group to ensure we are gleaning everything we can from this information.
These four Sunday morning meetings will take us through a very specific and focused process to develop the future story for our congregation. The recommendation developed from this process will be voted on by the board and congregation and will then lead to a specific plan for going forward to achieve our goals.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place” (George Bernard Shaw). Let us clearly communicate with each other as Christian brothers and sisters so we can find our way to our unique future plan for our ministry, whatever that may be.
With these hands
This is an offering meditation given by Linda Cozad on Sunday, July 31.
It has been an honor to be a deacon for the church in which I was baptized.
Presentation of the communion and offering plates is a service which I always watched and experienced from the pews, but never totally shared until last year. The solemnity of presentation of the communion to members of the church is always very close to my heart. But what I have noticed when I pass the collection plate is the beauty of the hands which take the plate and always present something for it.
I have noticed the hands of our late Beryl, 102-year-old fingers which so carefully took her pledge envelope from her purse and placed it in the plate, or the hands of the farmer who has worked the land all of his life, preparing the food which we are fortunate to eat.
There are the hands of the teacher who has consoled young students, the knitter who constructs comfort from skeins of yarn, the homemaker who has prepared the food, mended the clothes, packed the lunches, to offer a comfortable home for the family. I have admired the hands of the pianist, the violinist, bell ringers, strong and muscular.
All of the hands which have presented their gifts to their church have toiled and earned their creases, nicks, strength. Their attention to the tasks at hand, their hard work, makes the gifts which they present to other unknown hands very special and I know this church is very grateful for all of the work which enables those hands to present their gifts willingly.
From Thessalonians 4:11: "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."