Our Mission

The mission of the Council of Churches of the Ozarks is to improve the quality of life in our region through compassionate service and outreach to our most vulnerable neighbors, by doing together what can best be done together in the name of Jesus Christ.

Our story

The Council of Churches of the Ozarks assists with basic services—food, shelter, clothing–a comforting hand to help in times of need. Committed to the idea of serving the community through unity and with compassion, CCO serves children, seniors, families, and individuals through nine unique outreach services.

More than seventy Member Churches in the greater Springfield community work are partners and share in advancing the CCO mission. Each outreach service is understood to be both an expression of the CCO mission and an extension of the mission of each Member Church, and is a vehicle for advancing the common good and greater oneness.

The Council of Churches of the Ozarks cultivates a listening relationship with the communities it serves to discern and develop programs and services in keeping with our shared mission. As complex community issues, such as child abuse, poverty, homelessness, and hunger arise, CCO and its outreach services, in partnership with member churches, engage these issues, offering service and a faith-based voice. We offer an example of unity-through-service in addressing the needs of the community.

History

The Council of Churches of the Ozarks was founded in 1969 in Springfield, Missouri. The founder, Rev. Dorsey Levell, saw a rising number of families in poverty. Area churches were receiving more requests for assistance and Dorsey took a lead to get churches collaborating together for a common cause and a greater impact on poverty in the Ozarks. Crosslines was the first outreach service of the Council of Churches of the Ozarks with a mission to “Serve God’s People in Need” through a food pantry. Since that time, many services have developed within the Council of Churches family to offer a solution to poverty issues in our our community. Today, the Council of Churches of the Ozarks is dedicated to our mission to serve our most vulnerable neighbors through a collaborative model that unites nine unique outreach services, each one helping to address the growing and urgent needs of our community. We are a membership organization, with over 80 member churches from a variety of denominations and backgrounds that come together for the common call to serve.

COUNCIL OF CHURCHES OF THE OZARKS STAFF

Romona Baker
Director, Safe to Sleep

Wes Buchholz
Program Coordinator, Crosslines

Sarah Derr
Volunteer Resource Coordinator, RSVP

Tom Faulkner
Director, Crosslines

Donnetta Ghys
Director of Human Resources

Rick George
Chief Operating Officer

Paula Gronninger
Director, Daybreak Adult Daycare

Keke Rover
Director, Ambassadors for Children

Kelly Harris
Program Coordinator, Safe to Sleep

Michele Delcoure
Director of Communications

Vicky McMillen
Interim Director, Childcare Food Program

Christine Moses
Chief Development Officer

Connie Payne
Director, Long-term Care Ombudsman Program

John Peterson
Reception & Hospitality Coordinator

Nicole Piper
Director, Childcare Aware of Southern Missouri (R)

Rachel Moore
Community Resource Specialist, Crosslines

Mark Struckhoff
Executive Director, Council of Churches of the Ozarks

Lori Schlueter
Childcare Aware of Southern Missouri (R)

Kelly Cox
Donor Relations & Database Manager

Richard Virnig
Director, Connections Handyman Service

Kristy Frans
Director, RSVP

Terry Stewart
Accounting Manager

Christina Cook
Program Coordinator, RSVP

COUNCIL OF CHURCHES OF THE OZARKS BOARD OF DIRECTORS (2017)

Kris Callen, President
Engagement Leader, Thrivent Financial

Rev. David Kendrick, Vice President

Reverend, St. John’s Episcopal Church

Cheryl Clay, Secretary
Department Administrator, City Utilities of Springfield

Rob Rector, Treasurer
Vice Chancellor, Administrative Services

OTC

Rev. Edward Alexander
Senior Pastor, Turning Point Baptist Church

Rev. Ellen Gurnon
Reverend, Westminster Presbyterian Church

Juleen Turnage
Retired, Assemblies of God Headquarter

Rev. Katherine Hayes
Senior Pastor, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church

Bill Hennessey
Community Benefit and Health Director

Mercy Health Systems

Britton Jobe
Attorney, Neale and Newman LLP

Bill Perkin
Marketing Consultant

Keith Noble
Executive Vice President – Commercial Division Manager, Commerce Bank

Collin Quigley
Assistant City Manager, City of Springfield

Barbra Wallace
Commercial Lender, Central Bank of the Ozarks

Dr. Robert Spence
Evangel University (retired)

Larry Freund
CCO Foundation President
Ex-officio Member

Member Churches

All Saints Anglican Church
Asbury United Methodist Church
Billings Christian Church
Billings United Methodist Church
Brentwood Christian Church
Broadway United Methodist Church
Campbell United Methodist Church
Central Christian Church
Community of Christ/Chapel for Peace
Christ Episcopal Church
Christ United Methodist Church
Church Of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints
Clever First Christian Church
Covenant Presbyterian Church
East Sunshine Church of Christ
Elwood United Methodist Church
First and Calvary Presbyterian Church
First Baptist Church of Springfield
First Christian Church Of Ash Grove
First Christian Church of Mt. Vernon
First Christian Church of Republic
First Cumberland Presbyterian Church
First Presbyterian Church of Mt. Vernon

Gateway Christian Church
Gibson Chapel Presbyterian Church
Grace United Methodist Church
Hillcrest Presbyterian Church
Holy Trinity Catholic Church
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
King’s Chapel
King’s Way United Methodist Church
Marshfield Christian Church
Marshfield United Methodist
Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church
Mt. Carmel United Methodist Church
National Avenue Christian Church
Nixa Christian Church
Ozark Christian Church
Pathways United Methodist Church
Peace Lutheran Church
Pitts Chapel United Methodist Church
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
Renew United Methodist Church
Ridgecrest Baptist Church
River of Life Lutheran Church
Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church

Schweitzer United Methodist Church
South Street Christian Church
Southminster Presbyterian Church
St. Agnes Cathedral Parish
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church
St. James Episcopal Church
St. John’s Chapel United Church of Christ
St. John’s Episcopal Church
St. John’s United Church of Christ
St. Joseph Parish
Strafford United Methodist Church

The Venues

Trinity Presbyterian Church
Unity of Springfield/Christ Church Unity
Unity Spiritual Center
University Heights Baptist Church
Walnut Grove United Methodist Church
Walnut Lawn Church of God
Walnut Street Christian Church
Turning Point Baptist Church
Wesley United Methodist Church
The Downtown Church United Methodist Church
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Woodland Heights Presbyterian Church

Affiliate members

Temple Israel
Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’i
First Unitarian Universalist Church