The Disciples Together Express

 November/December 2019 - News from the Christian Church in the Upper Midwest (Disciples of Christ)                                                                                         





Rev. John Richardson,

Interim Regional Minister and President

The last two Regional Minister Search Committee Listening Sessions will be held this Sunday, November 10—one at Broadway Christian Church, Council Bluffs (3:30 pm), and the other at Plymouth Creek Christian Church in Minneapolis area (2:00 pm).  You may also give your feedback to the Search Committee through an online survey that has been sent our entire UMW email list.  I strongly encourage you to fill out the online survey, if you have not attended a listening session.


My sense is, after attending several listening sessions and visiting with others in between, is our clergy and congregants, in general, fall into two broad groups.  One is the group of those who remember when there were five, full time, regional staff clergy members, and these dedicated staff members visited congregations, attended clergy cluster meetings, and in many other ways were physically present around the Upper Midwest Christian Church.


The second group, in general, are those congregants and clergy, young and old, across the Upper Midwest Region who understand we now have 1.5, full-time equivalent regional staff clergy members, which makes it impossible to personally visit every congregation, or every clergy cluster meeting—although we try hard to be present for clergy gatherings.


This is not a new reality.  It has been unfolding for years.  It is not unique to the Upper Midwest Region.  It is not unique to the Disciples of Christ.  It is a reality of being church today in our country as we travel through what some are calling “The Great Transition,” a time in which how we being and doing church in changing in a degree of magnitude not seen since The Protestant Reformation, 500 years ago. 


The ways we organize to be church and how we offer ministry as church are radically different than in 1951, the year I was born, or in 1921, the year my father was born.   How we respond to this significantly different reality is the key to being church in the years to come.   Not every denomination or congregation will respond in the same way.  However, there is one reality that is essential—to be Church we must love one another.  There is no option to that reality.  That is why, as Disciples of Christ, we welcome all to the Table of our Lord. 

2019-2020 Regional Calendar

 Things We Do Together

Below, @CCC = held at the Christian Conference Center

Nov. 8-9 Committee on Ministry @ WDMCC

Nov. 15-16 CMEP Retreat @ CCC

Nov. 21 Regional Operations Council Online

Nov. 22-24 CYF Midwinter Retreat

Dec. 19 Regional Operations Council Online

Jan. 23 Regional Operations Council Online

Jan. 26-29 Minister’s Institute @ CCC

Feb. 7-8 Committee on Ministry

Feb. 7-9 Junior Retreat @ CCC

This year’s event will be facilitated by a phenomenal teaching core with Rev. April Johnson from Reconciliation Ministry and Rev. Sandhya Jha, founder and director of the Oakland Peace Center, at the lead.   The event will include the usual opportunities for rest and renewal, good food, fellowship, and meaningful worship.  


Attending the event in full will meet the Anti-Racism/Pro-Reconciliation requirement included on the 2020 standing form (due January of 2021). 

Upper Midwest School of Ministry

Fall Offerings

Fall 2019



Theme: Pastoral Care

When: Nov. 15-16

Where: Christian Conference Center, Newton

What: Join us for a workshop on the basics of Pastoral Care. Intended for both congregational ministers and those seeking to become congregational ministers, we will explore who, when, where, why and how we care for the people in our congregations and ourselves. Through presentation, video, and group discussion we will also explore the ways scripture and theology guide the way that we, as pastors, offer care to others.  Come and envision yourself as a pastoral caregiver.

The Reverend Doctors Christine Isham and Kristin Van Heyningen are both ordained Disciples ministers with denominational endorsement as Chaplains. Each has completed a CPE residency and is certification eligible. They have also served as congregational ministers in both rural and urban settings. Currently Christine is a Hospice Chaplain with Gunderson Health Services and Kristin is a Hospice Chaplain with Mayo Clinic Health Services both in La Crosse, WI. They are members of First Christian Church, Minneapolis, MN.

Who: These offerings are open to anyone interested.  While the program is tailored for students in the Commissioned Ministry Education Program, the topics are relevant to all pastors and a great opportunity for continuing education and to develop pastoral skills!


We want your news!

Does your church have an article, story or event for the Disciples Together Express?  The Region wants to know!

Please email your editor Lori Krase-Cayton

or call the Regional Office at 515-255-3168

or mail an article to CCUMW,

5064  Lincoln Street, Newton, IA 50208. for more information. 

Regional Minister Search Committee

The Regional Minister Search Committee is working hard to gather a good understanding of your hopes, dreams, and needs for this region.  One way that you can share your thoughts with this group is to complete the online survey.  It can be found at:

Your answers will shape how they talk about this region with potential regional minister candidates.  It will also help them to identify individuals with the right combination of skills and passions to fit our needs.  A paper copy is available upon request (contact the regional office).

Southeast Iowa and Minnesota Listening Session

Sunday., Nov. 10, the RMSC will host two listening sessions.

Plymouth Creek Christian CHurch, Minnesota: 2 p.m.

Broadway Christian Church, Council Bluffs: 3:30 p.m.

Please share your thoughts!

2019 Upper Midwest

Fall Women's Retreat

Sixty-three women from nineteen congregations jointed together at the end of September for a weekend of fellowship, learning, rest, and worship.  This annual event for all Disciples women in the Upper Midwest takes place at Camp Koronis in Paynesville, Minnesota. 


This year’s topic was focused on “Reclaiming Our Souls Through Friendship.”  Attendees explored their friendships through music, art, nature, fun, and conversation.  They also created fleece blankets, which were donated to Breaking Free, an organization supporting victims of sex-trafficking. 

Sac City Disciples Organize Benefit Bike Ride

First Christian Church of Sac City found a fun and creative way to partner with the East Sac School district, where more than 50% of students qualify for free or reduced cost lunches.  The church led the charge, but was joined by other churches in coordinating the “Ride For Raiders” bike ride.  Benefits from the ride totaled about $700 which was presented to East Sac School district students in need of assistance.


The ride was truly a community event with multiple churches and donations providing breakfast and lunch and even an East Sac student designing the logo for the ride t-shirts.  While weather dampened the outcome of this year’s event, many are hoping that it becomes an annual benefit bike ride. 

Rev. Mark MacWhorter issued the challenge that he would shave his head if enough registrations were submitted.  Check out the new hairstyle he’s been sporting!

First Christian Church, Coralville Hosts Ordination

Melea White was ordained into Christian ministry on Saturday, October 12 at First Christian Church, Coralville.  Melea serves as chaplain at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.  Many Disciples joined together to celebrate this joyous day!


5064 Lincoln Street

Newton, IA 50208


T: 515-255-3168



Lori Krase-Cayton


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