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.

Click photo for more pictures from Founders Day.

Creation of the Council of Churches

The Past Guides the Future

Our Team

Jaimie Trussell – Chief Executive Officer

Rick George – Chief Operating Officer

Dana Baldwin – Director of Human Resources

Marc Truby – Director of Development

Kristy Frans – Director of Business Administration

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

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