In 1969, Rev. Dr. Dorsey Levell, along with other community leaders and pastors, had a vision of Christian love and fellowship expressed as service to the most vulnerable of our community.
Originally known as the Springfield Area Council of Churches, our organization began in 1969. Rev. Dr. Dorsey Levell, along with other community leaders and pastors from thirteen churches, had a vision of Christian love and fellowship expressed as service to the most vulnerable of our community.
This group understood that by working together, churches could make a much greater impact than any one church alone. The first official program the Council started was the Crosslines food pantry. It is still operating as the area’s largest food pantry.
After twenty-one years of operating as the SACC, the decision was made to change the name to include a larger area of the community. In 1990, the board approved a new name, and SACC was renamed the Council of Churches of the Ozarks (CCO).
A few short years after changing names, the Council had outgrown its home at Drury Stone Chapel and was in search of a new one.
In 1994, the Council made the move to its current home on North Glenstone. When Rev. Dr. Dorsey Levell retired in 1998, the board voted to name the main building The Dorsey E. Levell Ministry Center.
In 2020, Dorsey finished his work here on Earth, and while we continue to mourn his passing, we celebrate his life and legacy. Through Rev. Dr. Levell’s efforts, the Council of Churches was born and continues to express God’s love.
The Council continues to bring together many churches, individuals, and community partners in pursuit of improving the quality of life for neighbors in the Ozarks.
Our community is made stronger and more resilient through the combined impact of more than 70 Member Churches and more than 6,000 active supporters. Together we have passionately championed hope through services that reach far beyond hunger to include shelter, education, advocacy, and much more.
In 2021, The Council of Churches made the monumental announcement to move to a new centralized headquarters where all the programs of the Council could work in tandem.
Through the years, the Council has had many “lanes of service” – everything from home repair to equine therapy. Its framework has been well positioned to adjust to community needs as they emerge and diminish. However, as we have grown and expanded, CCO has not been positioned to operate seamlessly for our stakeholders or the ones we serve.
If you have ever visited the Council’s offices, you will know that the bulk of them (not all of them) exist at the corner of Chestnut and Glenstone and contain three structures and one empty lot. While each of these structures have met our needs for many years, we have outgrown this footprint.
This year, our freezer system at Crosslines failed catastrophically. The cost benefit analysis rendered the necessary repairs out of the question, and for the last several months we’ve been limping along with freezers better suited to a small restaurant than the area’s largest food pantry.
This multi-site setup is not conducive to our goals as an organization. Beyond the inconvenience of having multiple buildings, we have a need for more space. We have the potential to grow, and cannot do so in our current environment.
The Council began prayerfully seeking a new home. God was listening. How else could we have executed a contract with Mr. Jack Stack and employee-owned SRC holdings to make the 57,000 square foot facility at 3055 E. Division the future home of the Council of Churches of the Ozarks!?
This property will increase our available distribution & warehouse space by five times and will have dedicated space for volunteers to serve in all our areas of outreach. The location along a city bus route and close to Highway 65, will make it easier for those in need AND those wishing to assist them. With a consolidated campus and a centralized welcoming intake process, the benefit to our neighbors in need will be immediate and exponential.
In the News
Read the many stories about the Council of Churches of the Ozarks in the news below.
Thanks to your support, we’re able to serve the most vulnerable in our community. We believe in transparency and in good stewardship so we invite you to review the work that was done through The Council in the last year.
The Council of Churches of the Ozarks is independently audited and IRS Form 990 completed annually (the financial document used by evaluation websites). You are encouraged to review our 990 to better understand our organizational finances.