The 74th Annual Conference of the International Council of Community Churches will be held at the
Embassy Suites Kansas City International Airport
7640 NW Tiffany Springs Pkwy, Kansas City, MO  64153
 
 

Tuesday July 16 – Friday July 19, 2024

“Priorities for Christian Living”
Romans 12:9-12
 
 
For the 2024 ICCC Annual Conference Schedule (subject to change), click here.
 
2024 Annual Conference Planning Committee:  Jerry Brown, Roberta Smith, Abraham Wright, Nick Brame, Bruce Merton, Saundra Nelson, Winessa Crutchfield and Myrtis Brame. 
 

The ICCC Welcomes Back Rev. Dr. Leah Schade as the 2024 Annual Conference Bible Study Leader and Keynote Speaker!

The Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade is the Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky.  An ordained Lutheran minister (ELCA) for more than twenty years, Leah earned both her MDiv and PhD degrees from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (now United Lutheran Seminary).  She has pastored congregations in suburban, urban, and rural contexts. Her book, Preaching in the Purple Zone: Ministry in the Red-Blue Divide (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), explores how clergy and congregations can address controversial social issues using nonpartisan, biblically-centered approaches and deliberative dialogue. She is also the author of Creation-Crisis Preaching:  Ecology, Theology, and the Pulpit (Chalice Press, 2015), as well as For the Beauty of the Earth , a Creation-centered Lenten devotional(Chalice Press, 2019). She is co-editor and author with Margaret Bullitt-Jonas of Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), and co-author with Jerry Sumney of Apocalypse When?: A Guide to Interpreting and Preaching Apocalyptic Texts. She is also the EcoPreacher blogger for Patheos. 

Dr. Schade is serving as President of the Academy of Homiletics in 2024.  She has been a featured speaker for the Festival of Homiletics, leads workshops and retreats, and keynotes events throughout the country.  She is the director of a Wabash grant exploring the use of deliberative dialogue in congregations and theological education and is part of a research exchange with the Kettering Foundation studying the role of religious organizations in democratic community building.  Dr. Schade is also conducting a longitudinal research study about ministry, preaching, and social issues that has surveyed nearly 3,000 clergy and 1,000 laity since 2017.

We are excited to have Dr. Schade lead us once again!  Register for the 2024 ICCC Annual Conference in Kansas City today at www.ICCCNOW.org!

2024 Annual Conference Workshops
 

Faith, Hope, Life, and Suicide: Creating Hope through Action
Led by Rev. Dr. Wendy Childress

What is Suicide? Where does Faith or Hope fit with Suicide? Do those who consider suicide have Faith? These are some of the questions you may have. The goal of this workshop is to answer these questions by providing you with a sound understanding of suicide and suicide ideations, indicators, how to assist in intervention, and understanding the difference between intervention and prevention. This workshop may not change your personal position on this very sensitive and pressing issue but, you will leave enlightened; with a basic understanding of Suicide Intervention; and with a few skills and resources to help family, friends, or others that you encounter who may have suicidal thoughts.
 

Who am I, or rather who are WE to Judge? 
An introspective of ministry to the LGBTQ Community and beyond.
Led by Rev. Dr. Joseph Ciccone.

Interviewing Pope Francis in July, Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli asked the pope how he might act as a confessor to a gay person in light of his now famous remarks in a press conference in 2013, when he asked: “Who am I to judge?”

Francis’ reply appears in a new book The Name of God is Mercy to be released soon and will be used in this workshop.

“On that occasion I said this: If a person is gay and seeks out the Lord and is willing, who am I to judge that person?” the pope says. “I was paraphrasing by heart the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it says that these people should be treated with delicacy and not be marginalized.”

This workshop will explore the communities we leave out and reasons the church has weaponized Sacred Scripture against so many.  We will talk about morality vs. love, hate vs. tolerance, wounds vs healing and how all faith communities can deal with the spiritual poverty of our time and truly live that idea that “ALL” people are truly welcome with honesty and compassion.

Rev. Dr. Joseph Ciccone is a Priest in the Order of Franciscan Servants, a Progressive Catholic Church and a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Fr. Joe is the Pastor of Saint Joseph Mission Church in Cliffside Park/Union City NJ, bringing the Gospel to those in the margins and to people in need wherever they may be. Fr Joe completed 9 years of CPE (Chaplain Program) at the Jewish Theological Seminary in NYC and is a member of the National Spiritual Care Association.  Fr Joe is also the Police Chaplain for the NJ Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 46. Fr Joe retired after 20 years of service in Law Enforcement in the NJ/NYC Metropolitan area. Fr Joe is married and has been with his partner Darroll, a public-school teacher for the past 28 years. Both truly know the sharp and cutting edge of discrimination and intolerance and now dedicate their lives to making the world a kinder and better place.  You have seen, met and talked with Fr. Joe and Darroll at annual conference many times and he is excited to have you attend his workshop.
 

What’s Prayer Got To Do With It?
Led by Rev. Beth Armstrong

We often hear things like this: “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” Thoughts? Maybe. Prayers? Maybe not. When it gets right down to it, prayer is one of the most complex, yet simple privileges we have. It’s overstated, but underused. In this session, Beth Armstrong will take a look at what prayer is and what it is not. She’ll invite you and challenge you to deepen your journey in the way you pray.

What’s In It For Me?
Led by Rev. Beth Armstrong

If you’re a Christian, if you’re involved in any kind of ministry, you’re constantly being asked to pray for all kinds of people in all kinds of situations. And that’s an honor and privilege! But what about praying for ourselves? Is that ok? Isn’t that a little self-centered? In this session, Beth Armstrong will walk us through those questions and give us some insight into why or what we might pray for ourselves.
Rev. Beth Armstrong is a gifted Bible teacher and speaker who has been involved in some form of ministry for over 30 years. From youth ministry to older adult ministry, she has a passion for the Word of God to be taught and infused into all of God’s people. She’s a graduate of Oklahoma State University. Her vocational career includes high school teacher and coach, retreat and banquet speaker, as well as an activity director at a senior living community. Prayer became real to her as a college student and as a young mom raising two boys. She’s a firm believer in the power of prayer, but more importantly a firm believer in the God to whom we pray. She’s the author of the book What’s Prayer Got To Do With It?. She is delighted to be sharing more about this wonderful and mysterious thing we call prayer at our conference this week.  Beth has been married to her husband Matt for 33 years. They have two sons and one daughter-in-law. Beth is currently serving as Interim Pastor at Antioch Community Church here in Kansas City, Missouri.

 

Waves of Health
Led by Ms. Angela Della Ventura

Waves of Health is a nonprofit, medical outreach organization of doctors, medical people, techs, translators and others who travel, every six months, to remote, severely underserved areas of the Dominican Republic to provide medical attention, health care and medication to people there.

Founded in 2007, Waves of Health as 2 missions:

   – To support the primary health care needs of underserved communities in the developing world.

   – To educate others about medical challenges in the developing world.
 
Build Bridges and Partnerships
Led by Rev. Rock Fremont Jr.


Join us for Build Bridges and Partnerships as we embark on a journey to explore the power of unity and collaboration in serving our communities. In this workshop, we will dreamcast and brainstorm innovative ways to establish and nurture local ecumenical partnerships aimed at creating a more impactful and sustainable approach to community stewardship.

Through interactive discussions and practical examples, participants will:

  • Learn the importance of building bridges across denominations and faith traditions to address common community challenges.
  • Explore successful case studies of ecumenical partnerships from around the world, drawing inspiration for local initiatives.
  • Engage in creative brainstorming sessions to identify potential areas of collaboration within our own communities.
  • Develop practical strategies for initiating and sustaining ecumenical partnerships, including communication, and resource-sharing.
  • Reflect on the spiritual and theological foundations of collaborative ministry and stewardship.
Whether you are a clergy member, community leader, or passionate individual looking to make a difference, this workshop will provide valuable insights and tools to empower you in building bridges and partnerships for the greater good. Together, let’s envision a future where our collective efforts transform lives and bring hope to those in need.
 

SCRIPTURE IN VERSE:

You are invited to celebrate, learn and interpret our conference Scripture, Romans 12:9-13, through the verse(s) of selected hymns and songs.  Join with others as we lift our voices and make a “joyful noise to the Lord.”  Rev. Dr. Bruce Merton leads the Worship Track that includes the following 3 workshops:

I BELIEVE IN…

Many Christians say/recite the Apostles’ Creed each Sunday in worship.  The Creed, if not recited each Sunday, is almost universally recognized by Christians around the globe.  It is a PERSONAL statement of faith!  Join fellow Conferees as we look at each “faith statement” of the Apostle’s Creed and share what we mean and understand as we make the UNIQUELY personal declaration: “I believe in…”  (This will be a two-part workshop/session.)


PRAYER THAT CHANGES YOU AND YOUR CHURCH

Our conference Scripture issues the imperative, “Persevere in prayer.”  Prayer is and has been an integral part of the faith experience, both personally and corporately.  It is obvious that the early church found prayer effectual and powerful.  Prayer changed persons and the church!  Join others as we discover/rediscover the elements that make for prayer that is life changing and enhancing for you and your church.  (This will be a two-part workshop session on the Worship Track.)

PSALMS: THE PRAYER BOOK OF THE BIBLE

Using Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible, we will explore how the Psalms can form a foundation for personal and corporate prayer.  The themes and expressions of the Psalms are as fresh and relevant today as they were when written. In addition to considering Bonhoeffer’s insights, participants will be asked to share their favorite Psalm prayer and share their reason for its choice.

If possible, participants should read Bonhoeffer’s little book on prayer before coming to the sessions.  It will be helpful but is not a necessity!  (This will be a two-part workshop on the Worship Track.)
 
ICCC Local Church Mission Grants
Led by Rev. Bob Fread

Is your
church sponsoring a mission project to serve your local community?  Learn how your church can get a grant from the ICCC for this mission.  Information will be shared on our ICCC Mission Grant program and we will hear how two ICCC churches: Second Community in Ohio and Peace Community Church in Florida used grants they received from the ICCC in 2023.
 
 
Church World Service
Led by Rev. Tiffany DeTienne, CWS Staff

Church World Service (CWS) is a Mission partner of the ICCC.  The ICCC uses CWS as its primary mission agency for disaster relief, aid for humanitarian crises, and assistance for refugees and migrants.  The CWS mission is to eradicate hunger and poverty and witness to justice and peace. 
 
This workshop will feature Rev. Tiffany DeTienne, CWS staffer member from Kansas City, who will give us an update on CWS’s current work around the US and the world.
 
Future of the ICCC: A New Day, A New Vision
Led by Rev. Bob Fread
 
In 2025 the ICCC will turn 75.  In the last year the Board of Directors has dealt with many important issues affecting our future such as finances, conference, staffing and office.  As part of moving into our future the ICCC is implementing a new Stewardship program to improve communication between the Council and our churches, enhance knowledge of the ICCC’s ministry and missions, and strengthen the relationship of our churches with the ICCC by focusing on being a resource and for our churches.  As the ICCC turns 75, it’s time for a new day and a new vision for us! 
 
KeyLay Leaders and Regional Trustees – Information and Resources
Led by Rev. Bob Fread

Key Lay Leaders and Regional Trustees are essential persons in maintaining the relationship between the ICCC and its member churches.  We will look at the responsibilities of both Kay Lay Persons and Regional Trustees, what information is available to assist them, how information is communicated and offer a time for trustees to network with the key laity in their region.
 
Ecumenical Report
Led by Rev. Rock Fremont
 
The Ecumenical & Interfaith Relations Committee of the ICCC invites you to a special report at this year’s conference.  This session will provide valuable insights from our latest Ecumenical & Interfaith Relations report, focusing on fostering unity and understanding.
Insightful Presentations: Gain a deeper understanding of the current ecumenical and interfaith relations within our denomination and beyond.  Learn about our challenges and opportunities in building bridges with other faith traditions.
Interactive Discussions: Participate in dynamic discussions exploring practical strategies for enhancing                          cooperation and dialogue between religious communities.  Share your experiences and learn from others who are            passionate about interfaith engagement.
Action-Oriented Focus: Discover actionable steps your congregation can take to promote ecumenical and                          interfaith understanding.  From joint service projects to shared worship experiences, find out how to make a                      tangible impact in fostering unity.
Our time together will be an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the Council’s ecumenical activities and learning about future collaborations and dialogues.  Whether you’re an Ecumenical & Interfaith Relations Committee member or new to the conversation, your presence and input are invaluable.
 
 
 

 

   SAINT MONICA MUSIC MINISTRY OUTREACH 

 

Submitted by St. Monica’s Ministry

St. Monica Music Department stresses “Outreach”. We’ve experienced that in order to have an effective “Out-Reach” you must first “Reach Out”.  Our Minister of Music, Melvin Kerr (of 46 years) encourages us to “GO OUT” and take the Gospel throughout the world.

We have relationships with churches, pastors, and gospel singers locally and internationally. We are regularly invited to sing at anniversary celebrations, weddings, conventions, community celebrations and many, many more Ministry events.

With the influence of Pastor Harry Foockle we were the featured choir at the MLK mass celebrations. Members of the choir appeared in the movie “Three Blind Saints.” Our Minister of Music arranged the trailer song for the movie. The church and choir were chosen by Kansas City weekly magazine “Pitch” as the “Best Worship Style” in Kansas City. We sang back up with the fabulous Barry Manilow at Starlight Theater. We have also sung the National Anthem at the opening of the K.C. Royals game.

As a result of having attended the Joyce Meyer Women’s Conference, we decided to organize and host our own “Phenomenal Women’s Conference” which featured a 100 voice women’s choir, a great panel interaction and outstanding speakers. Our Ministry directed Gospel Dinner-Plays and utilized cast members from other local churches. The Music Ministry FUN-raises our travel expenses, robe purchases/cleaning, music instrumental maintenance and purchases of instruments and other projects. Our choir travels extensively.  To diversify our Outreach Ministry, we developed a Travel Ministry. We arranged hotel accommodations, tour bus transportation, admission tickets to popular attractions; all at a “LEAST OF THEM” pricing. We attract lots of seniors. Travel trips included: Oldenburg IN., Chicago, Detroit, Windsor Ontario Canada, a cruise to the Bahamas, Cozumel Mexico, St. Thomas Virgin Islands, Rome Italy and too many more to mention.

We collaborate with local churches and choirs to worship one God. Our Ministry requests for the next few months include; the Wyandotte County Ethnic Fair, your ICCC Annual Conference, “BEHOLD” (an Evangelical event to be held at the Liberty Memorial) that promises to attract up to 5,000. 

ICCC, we are delighted to be invited to this conference. We pray for success and safe travels for everyone.

Saint Monica Catholic Church is located at 1616 Paseo, Kansas City, Mo 64108

St Monica Music Ministry Youtube video

https://youtu.be/PsJoYoBWqi8?si=GcrZCe65FITm6m4s 

Meet our Youth Leader for the 2024 Annual Conference!

Rachelle Bagby will be leading our Youth Program this year.  The mother of a soon-to-be teen, she also manages a full-time job along with her theology studies at Calvary University in Belton, MO.  Her vivacious smile and overwhelming enthusiasm for Jesus are contagious.

She is absolutely thrilled to be working with the Youth at our conference this year, and to share her faith with them.  They will be discussing the story of the Prodigal Son, and how his attitude and desire for independence might relate to their lives.

Like the Prodigal Son, at some point, all young people have questioned their faith, and have asked questions like: Is Christianity worth it?  If we go all-in following Jesus, will we miss out on some of life’s pleasures?  After what I’ve done, can I still be forgiven?  Am I good enough?

Why are we so tempted by the allure of a life apart from God’s will?  Why are so many people today (especially young people who may be challenged to make difficult life decisions) coming to the dangerous and false conclusion that life is somehow more fulfilling outside of God’s love?  Thankfully, Jesus addressed these questions through the familiar parable of the prodigal son from the Gospel of Luke.

Rachelle’s own personal life story parallels that of the Prodigal Son (rebellion, regret, and repentance), so she can relate to him and teach from her own first-hand perspective.  She completely understands and has experienced God’s overwhelming grace and can confirm that God is a loving Father whose forgiveness knows no limit.

But wait, we’ll have fun too!  We have reserved a Virtual Reality center for Fri afternoon that is a mind-blowing VR experience like no other. We will visit “Disciples of Gaming” where they utilize the latest technology and setups to bring you an insanely immersive experience.   It will be a blast, and a great way to conclude our week together.

So, register early to save your spot for a wonderful week of faith, fellowship, and fun!

*Also, there are a few Youth Scholarships available to pay for your registration.
Apply TODAY!

Conference Youth Scholarship

If you know a teen who would like to attend the conference in Kansas City, but needs some financial assistance, we have a plan.  We have scholarship assistance available to pay for the registration fee of a Youth attendee. To apply for the scholarship, the following procedure will be used:

 
1) The scholarship is open to any Youth attendee (entering grade 7 through 12) and covers the regular registration fee and Fellowship Luncheon.
2) Pastors from any member church may submit their confidential nomination for the award with a letter of recommendation introducing the candidate and explaining why they would like this person to receive the scholarship.
3) Nominations must be submitted for review no later than April 30, 2023. They should be sent to the Council Office at PO Box 846, Longmont, CO 80502, attn: Youth Scholarship. Or email to ICCCNOW@sbcglobal.net
4) The submissions will be reviewed and presented to the ICCC Board of Directors for approval.
5) The ICCC President will communicate the board’s decision to the recommending pastor to notify the recipient. The decision will also be announced in the June issue of the Christian Community.  The winning recipient would be notified soon after the April 30th deadline.
 

APPLY TODAY! 

 

THANK YOU to a 2023 Annual Conference Sponsor
 People’s Community Church
located in Berea, OH.  
We appreciate you!

The ICCC AGAPE team is preparing to host the Annual Conference Fellowship Luncheon.  
 
If you would like to help plan and/or execute this event, please contact either Saundra Nelson (djsjforever@sbcglobal.net) or Winnie West (winniewest@ameritech.net).