Our 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 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 70 member churches from a variety of denominations and backgrounds that come together for the common call to serve.

Our Team

Jaimie Trussell – Chief Executive Officer

Rick George – Chief Operating Officer

Donnetta Ghys – Chief People Officer

Christine Moses – Chief Development Officer

Keke Rover – Ambassadors for Children Director

Ashley Carlew – Child Care Food Program Director

Richard Virnig – Connections Handyman Services Director

Tom Faulkner – Crosslines Food Pantry Director

Paula Gronniger – Daybreak Director

Nicole Piper – One Stop for Early Childhood Director

Connie Payne – Ombudsman Director

Kristy Frans – RSVP Director

Kelly Harris – Safe to Sleep Director

More than 45 awesome support staff

Volunteers too numerous to name but dearly loved

Board of Directors

Linda Merkling – President/Springfield Business Journal

Tom Ryan – Vice-President/MODOT, Retired 

Anitra Appleby – Secretary/Sanctuary of Praise C.O.G.I.C.

Mike Pruett – Treasurer/Elliott, Robinson and Company

Rev. David Kendrick – St. John’s Episcopal Church

Keith Noble – Commerce Bank

Bill Hennessey – Mercy Health

Rev. Dr. Bob Perry – University Heights Baptist Church

Britton Jobe – Neale & Newman, LLP

Joe Costello – Joe Costello Company

Andrew Tasset – Development Committee Chair/Central Bank

Pastor Tyler Padgitt – Courageous Church

Christina Ryder – Missouri State University

Cora Scott – City of Springfield

Rev. Adrienne Denson-Ewell – Campbell United Methodist Church

Member Churches

Affiliate Churches