WHO WE ARE
Mission Statement of St. Paul United Church of Christ
United by the Holy Spirit and inspired by God’s grace we love all, welcome all, and seek justice for all.
Originally from Indiana, Pastor Tom Ressler grew up in the United Church of Christ at St. John's UCC in Indianapolis. He is a proud graduate of Indiana University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Marketing. He then attended Eden Seminary in Webster Groves, Missouri, earning a Masters of Divinity degree. Prior to coming to St. Paul UCC in 2007, Tom served churches in Springboro, Ohio; Bargersville and Evansville, Indiana; and Ferguson, Missouri. In addition to his pastoral ministry at St. Paul, Tom is also a Chaplain at Mercy Hospice. Tom has two grown children, Laura (and her husband Adam) and Luke (and his wife Hannah). He has two grandchildren with a third expected in late July. Tom has been married to Lorin Cope since 2016; their wedding filled the Sanctuary of St. Paul UCC with friends and family. In his spare time, Tom enjoys traveling, theater, and reading
A native of northeast Ohio, Lorin Cope has served in staff positions in settings of the United Church of Christ: local churches, association, conference and nationally. Lorin has also served on the development staff of agencies of the United Church of Christ. Before accepting the position at St. Paul, Lorin served as the Director for Advancement for UCC Church Giving at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. Lorin is also the Wedding Coordinator at St. Johns Evangelical Church of Christ in Mehlville; the Clerk of the St. Louis Association and chairs the Our Church’s Wider Mission Committee for the Missouri Mid-South Conference. When not working at St. Paul, Lorin enjoys traveling, visiting restaurant and caring for the family cat, Mariah. Lorin is married to Tom Ressler.
President Linda Stewart
Vice- Presiden Aylin Crawford
Secretary Patty Vornberg
Treasurer Vickie Nitzsche
Asst. Treasurer Carol Boren
Financial Secretary Mary Ann Morcom
Asst. Financial Secretary Sharon Brockmeier
At Large Rich Chartrand
At Large Mary Cummings
Building and Grounds Mary Ann Morcom
Churchyard Wallace Dittrich
Finance Vickie Nitzsche
Marketing Vickie Nitzsche
Membership Care Sharon Brockmeier
Worship and Music Sharon Brockmeier
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a distinct and diverse community of Christians that come together as one church to join faith and action. With over 5,000 churches and nearly one million members across the U.S., the UCC serves God in the co-creation of a just and sustainable world. The UCC is a church of firsts, a church of extravagant welcome, and a church where "…they may all be one" (John 17:21).
The Church of Firsts
Since 1957, the United Church of Christ has been the church of firsts, weaving God’s message of hope and extravagant welcome with action for justice and peace. Together, we live out our faith in ways that effect change in our communities. The UCC's many "firsts" mean that we have inherited a tradition of acting upon the demands of our faith. When we read in Galatians: "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus"—a demand is made upon us. And so we were the first historically white denomination to ordain an African-American, the first to ordain a woman, the first to ordain an openly gay man, and the first Christian church to affirm the right of same-gender couples to marry. We were in the forefront of the anti-slavery movement and the Civil Rights movement. Our response to the demands of our faith is woven into the history of our country.
A Church of Extravagant Welcome
Today, we continue to change lives throughout the world. We work alongside more than 200 mission partners. We labor ceaselessly to fight injustice, in the United States and abroad. We instill our vision into our youth and young adults, forging leaders who will imagine new dreams. And we sustain and develop church leaders, pastors, and our local churches to live their faith in exciting new ways. We believe in a God that is still speaking, a God that is all-loving and inclusive. We are a church that welcomes and accepts everyone as they are, where your mind is nourished as much as your soul. We are a church where Jesus the healer meets Jesus the revolutionary, and where together, we grow a just and peaceful world.
OPEN AND AFFIRMING
Open and Affirming (ONA) is the United Church of Christ's (UCC) designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the UCC which make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. In the UCC, there is no hierarchy that can impose uniformity on our churches. Each ONA congregation has independently adopted an Open and Affirming covenant after a journey of dialogue, study and prayer.
Open and Affirming Covenant
St. Paul United Church of Christ
January 26, 2020
Adopted by a Unanimous Vote of the Congregation
As the Congregation of St. Paul United Church of Christ, we celebrate: the sacred worth of all persons as unique individuals made in the image of God; God’s boundless and unconditional love by intentionally welcoming and affirming all God’s children; the diversity of God’s creation.
Being followers of Jesus Christ and hearing God speaking to us we declare that we intentionally welcome everyone into our community of faith. We commit to being a community of faith that offers justice, healing and wholeness of life for all people and which seeks to advocate for human equality. No matter who you are or where you are on your life’s journey, you are welcome here. Jesus invited all persons to his table, thus we welcome and affirm all people regardless of where they are on their personal faith journey. All are invited to share in the full life and leadership, ministry, worship, responsibilities and blessings of our fellowship. We welcome all people of every age, race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, religion, faith, culture, nationality, politics, ability, health, relationship status or family structure, social, economic, educational, legal or life circumstances. All are welcome here.
Called by Jesus to be an Open and Affirming, inclusive faith community, St. Paul United Church of Christ commits to welcoming everyone into the full life of our congregation. Our paths and voices may differ, but we journey in faith together.
In 1994, four St. Louis women felt called to begin a ministry for abused women and their children and Lydia’s House, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization, was born. Today, in partnership with generous donors, volunteers and community partners, Lydia’s House provides transitional housing and critical support services for survivors of domestic violence.
Members and pastors of the St. Louis area Evangelical Churches gathered in 1913 to open Good Shepherd Center to help the working class and immigrant population by addressing the issues of inadequate housing, lack of proper medical attention and poor education for children. Through a century of change and growth and a name change in 2018 to Unleashing Potential a new direction was set for children and families while keeping the original 1913 mission: to unleash the magnificent potential in all children, families and neighborhoods that leads to a just community for all.
Founded in St. Louis in 1858 as an orphanage for immigrant children who lost their parents in cholera outbreaks, Every Child’s Hope (ECH) has evolved services and programs to carte for vulnerable children. Today, ECH is dedicated to preventing child abuse, treating emotional trauma and mental health issues and providing after and follow-up services to more than 1,400 youth and children.
Started as a non-profit agency in South Saint Louis City in 1970, Isaiah 58 continues its mission of empowering those in need of assistance and guiding them to lead lives of confidence and independence. Isaiah 58’s ministry includes a food pantry, weekly fresh food distribution and during the holidays serves over 800 families with bags of food, turkeys and ham. An annual Back-to-School Fair provides supplies and other events are coordinated, such as a gently used coat drive, to give additional assistance to those who need it.
Growing on its 125-year tradition, Emmaus annually provides services to more than 15,000 people with intellectual and development disabilities. Emmaus recognizes the people they support want to be independent and strives to be a community that embraces their unique abilities by providing services and caring for the whole person for their whole life.
UCC MINISTRIES & OFFERINGS SUPPORTED
Started in 1850 by German pastors, Eden Theological Seminary is a seminary of the United Church of Christ in Webster Groves, Missouri. While educating a new generation of leaders for the church, Eden is committed to social justice, mission and peace and serving the wider church through faculty, students and staff involvement. https://www.eden.edu/
Camp MoVal is a camp of the United Church of Christ's Outdoor Ministry. Nestled amid rolling hills a few miles west of Union, Missouri, Camp MoVal has been welcoming campers of all ages to participate in a wide variety of programs and activities since 1962. https://www.campmoval.org/
Common Global Ministries
Global Ministries is a joint witness between the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with a mission of joining global and local partners to work for justice, reconciliation and peace. St. Paul UCC supports a UCC student in India.
One Great Hour of Sharing
One of four special mission offerings of the United Church of Christ, this Lenten Offering supports the disaster, refugee and development ministries of the UCC. https://www.ucc.org/oghs
Neighbors in Need
This special mission offering of the United Church of Christ supports ministries of justice and compassion through the United States with a third of the funds support for the Council for American Indian Ministry and two-thirds used by the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries to support a variety of justice initiatives, advocacy efforts and direct service projects through grants. https://www.ucc.org/nin/
Strengthen the Church
Typically collected at Pentecost, the Strengthen the Church offering supports the expansion of ministry and growth of UCC local congregations. The offering helps the UCC fulfill on its commitment to creating a just world for all by investing in new ministries and practices that meet the emerging needs of local communities. https://www.ucc.org/stc/
The Christmas Fund for Veteran of the Cross
The Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund is a Special Mission Offering that congregations have been supporting for over 100 years. The offering provides direct financial support to those who serve the church and are facing financial difficulties. The offering is received on the Sunday before Christmas.
LINKS FOR UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST SITES
United Church of Christ https://www.ucc.org/
Missouri-Mid South Conference https://www.missourimidsouth.org/
The St. Louis Association https://www.missourimidsouth.org/st-louis-association
Gateway ONA http://www.gatewayona.com/
Open and Affirming Coalition – United Church of Christ https://openandaffirming.org/