Many Hands, Many Missions: One Body!

2016 Christian Church Capital Area Regional Assembly was October 14-15, 2016 in historic & beautiful Shepherdstown, West Virginia


 Table decorations created by Winchester avenue Christian church, Martinsburg, WV

Table decorations created by Winchester avenue Christian church, Martinsburg, WV

Stories and Slideshow Below!

Capital Area Regional Assembly Gathers Many Hands & Many Missions

To Celebrate The One Body Of The Church Of Jesus Christ

(photos by George Franklin)

Over 200 church members and leaders gathered on the farthest western edge of the Christian Church Capital Area in Shepherdstown, West Virginia this past weekend, October 14 & 15, under the theme “Many Hands, Many Missions, One Body.”  The guiding scripture from 1 Corinthians 12:4-14 was explored by all three Assembly speakers as well as by the more than dozen workshop leaders. 

The Rev. Bruce Barkhauer, Minister for Faith & Giving in the Christian Church (Disciples Of Christ) spoke at the Friday evening All Assembly Dinner about the sometimes thin but always persistent thread of hope that runs through all mission offered in Jesus’ name and through his grace.  The Rev. David Shirey, Senior Pastor of Central Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky, preached at the Saturday morning worship service about the need to “re-lig” the body of Christ, taking apart and reclaiming the word “religion,” which is fundamentally about connecting and loving one another.  The Rev. Dr. Delores Carpenter, Professor of Christian Education at Howard Divinity School and member of the denomination’s Administrative Committee, led the Mission Gathering which was at the heart of the Assembly on Saturday, and encouraged participants to share how the work of their own many hands and their congregations’ many missions, come together to build the one Body, the Church.

Other highlights of the Capital Area Regional Assembly included:

                + Learning from over a dozen workshop facilitators on topics as diverse as prayer and prison ministry, grief and loss to healing relationships, speaking out against racism and white privilege, working to free persons from poverty, advocacy for refugees and immigrants, creating a culture of generosity, and innovative use of space in our church buildings!

                + Praising God through the delightfully diverse styles of the Heavenly Harmonies singing octet from First Christian Church, Hagerstown, MD; the Glenn Pearson Jazz Trio from North Chevy Chase Christian Church, Chevy Chase, MD; the Total Praise Dance Ministry from Washington, DC; the Signing Choir from Bethany Beach Christian Church, Bethany Beach, DE; and the Praise Team from University Christian Church, Hyattsville, MD

+ Assembling hundreds of hygiene kits by the youth of the Assembly to be sent to Church World Service for their work in disaster relief efforts.

+ Receiving two new congregations seeking affiliation in the Christian Church (Disciples Of Christ): Haitian Pentecostal Christian Church in Salisbury, Maryland with their pastor, Sr. Gabrielle Montillus; and Bethel Christian Church DC, Washington, DC with their pastor, the Rev. Darren Phelps.  Both congregations had delegations in attendance.

+ Celebrating the final implementation phase of the Share The Light Capital Campaign with the start of construction on extending and improving the dining hall at Camp Mary Mac and the building of a staff quarters.

+ Honoring Teresa Swihart for over twenty years of service as Chairperson of the Outdoor Ministries Committee.

+ Tours of nearby Tolson’s Chapel, built in 1886-87 whose first members were former slaves.

+ Three book signings by authors: Rev. Elizabeth Hagan, author of “Birthed,” Rev. Bruce Barkhauer, author of “Community Of Prayer,” and Rev. David Shirey, author of “It Don’t Get Any Better Than This!”

A team of planners, under the leadership of the Rev. Delancy Catlett, organized and led the Regional Assembly and represented congregations from the eastern panhandle of West Virginia and the western part of Maryland.  The next Capital Area Regional Assembly in October of 2018, will be in the Washington, DC area.  The Rev. Dr. Martha Brown is the Moderator of the Regional Board and the Rev. Allen V. Harris is the Regional Minister of the Capital Area Region.  For more information please check out the Region’s website or follow the Region on Facebook (cccadisciple) and Twitter (@CCCADisciples)


Watch the slideshow below!


Special Guest Speakers

The Rev. Bruce Barkhauer, Friday Night All Assembly Dinner Speaker 

Bruce A. Barkhauer was called as the first “Minister for Faith and Giving for Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)” in 2010.  Since that time he has engaged the whole church in conversations about generosity and offered transformative ways for congregations to think about stewardship.  His ministry includes teaching in seminaries, producing web-based resources, leading workshops and retreats, itinerate preaching, consulting, writing for publication, and mentoring pastors and lay persons around the topic of personal and congregational financial wellness.

For twenty-five years he led congregations in Ohio and Indiana in achieving high levels of financial support for local and global missions. He discovered early in his ministry that stewardship was his passion, and has had a career-long love affair with researching this important topic in the life of the church.

His energy, vision, and entrepreneurial spirit enhance gifts in both business and ministry. He brings a biblically based understanding about stewardship combined with theological integrity and weds them to the current trends and best prac¬tices related to spirituality and money. In his workshops and writings, Rev. Barkhauer also talks about the multiple understandings about stewardship in the biblical witness as they touch the whole life of a person of faith.  He is the author of numerous articles and most recently, a book of devotions created for congregations to be utilized during financial campaigns entitled Community of Prayer (published by Chalice Press, 2016).

He is a graduate of Ohio University (Athens), Christian Theological Seminary (Indianapolis), and did Doctor of Ministry studies at Ashland Theological Seminary (Ashland, OH).  He is married to Laura and they share three grown children and three grandchildren.


The Rev. David Shirey, Saturday Morning Preacher 

The Rev. David Shirey has been Senior Pastor of Central Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky since 2014.  Passionate for pastoral ministry, Rev. Shirey has served growing Disciples congregations in Tennessee, Missouri, North Carolina, Indiana, and Arizona.  Previously he was the founding pastor of Coolwater Christian Church in Scottsdale. 

Rev. Shirey is a native of Warren, Ohio, and graduated from Indiana University (B.A. in Religious Studies) and Vanderbilt Divinity School (M.Div).  He has served the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in general, regional and congregational ministries. 

Rev. Shirey transformed those gathered at last summer’s General Assembly Pension Fund Breakfast with a powerful sermon about vulnerability and hope. 

Rev. and Mrs. Shirey have three children and two grandchildren. 

Follow Rev. Shirey on Twitter @PastorShirey.  You can see a couple of “Ministry Matters” videos with Rev. Shirey online at 


Rev. Dr. Delores Carpenter, Saturday Afternoon Mission Gathering Host 

Dr. Delores Carpenter has served as a professor of Religious Education at the Howard University School of Divinity since 1999.  She began her career at the School in 1982 as an assistant professor of Religious Education.  Additionally, she has served as the senior pastor of Michigan Park Christian Church in Washington, D.C., for more than 20 years.  

 Prior to joining the Divinity faculty, Dr. Carpenter was the director of Career and Cooperative Education at Essex County College in Newark, New Jersey.  She held several positions within the college, including assistant to the president.  

 She is a world-renowned preacher, teacher and lecturer.  Her writing credits are extensive, covering issues from Christian education to women in ministry to preaching to Africa.  She is also the editor of the “African American Heritage Hymnal.”  And, she currently serves as the founder and chairperson of African Heritage and Cultural Institute of America Inc., which awards church music scholarships.  

Dr. Carpenter has been a part of Mission First from its conception, and has been a key leader in shaping it in her service on the Administrative Committee of the General Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  She will also be serving with our Regional Minister on the Mission Council, which will be the group that will take all of the ideas, feedback, passions from the Mission Gatherings and transform them into directing the work and mission of our Church. 


Christian Church Capital Area Regional Assembly Celebrates Mission First With A Richly Diverse & Energetic Mission Gathering

The rich diversity of the Christian Church Capital Area and the energy of new life and purpose was evident at the Mission Gathering that was a central part of that Region’s Assembly this past weekend, October 14 & 15, in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.  Representing Haitian immigrants, Hispanic church leaders, young adults and seasoned church members, African Americans, conservative, moderate, and progressive viewpoints, Asian Americans, LGBTQ persons, persons of European descent, charismatic Pentecostals, rural, suburban, and urban congregations over 200 people participated in the Capital Area Regional Assembly.  All who gathered eagerly shared their stories of faithful mission in their local congregations, their hopes and dreams for the future of the church, and their newfound excitement for a Region seeking to make Mission First! a reality for guiding the direction of the staff, board, and volunteers of the Capital Area.

The Rev. Dr. Delores Carpenter was Host for the Assembly in the Mission Gathering, assisted by the Rev. Ciara Simonson.  It was especially fitting that Rev. Carpenter lead the two-hour session as she sits on the Administrative Committee of the Christian Church and was present at the very beginning when Mission First! was initially imagined.  Both she and the Regional Minister, the Rev. Allen V. Harris, have been chosen to be on the Mission Council which will take all of the data from Mission Gatherings around the life of the Church and help to focus them as they guide the direction of our denomination.  The Mission Council will be meeting in Indianapolis in early December.

Common themes from the reporting session included the need to do more mission outside of our comfortable church buildings, the urgency for more partnerships with other churches and even non-church-related entities, the challenge to rethink how we treat and talk about those with whom we are doing mission, and the firm belief that the mission to which Christ calls us will be the very thing that brings us back together as a church.  A particularly poignant moment during the plenary session from one of the table groups came when Nancy Solomon, member of North Chevy Chase Christian Church, Chevy Chase, Maryland and Treasurer of the Region, and Ramona Crawford, member of University Christian Church, Hyattsville, Maryland and member of the Personnel Committee, shared Ramona’s drawing inspired by the conversation in her group.  The drawing is of a “fragmented world,” and in the midst of the brokenness is the bread and chalice.  Dynamic lines pointing inward show that, “The chalice is knitting/mending the world back together community by community.”

May it be so.

Watch The Mission First Slideshow Below!



Friday, October 14

5:00 pm             Assembly Registration/Check-In (Hallway Outside Rockefeller Ballroom)

Bookstore open – Jefferson Room

5:00 pm             Training For Mission First! Table Hosts

6:00 pm             Women’s Ministry Meeting

7:00 pm             ALL Assembly Buffet Banquet – Rockefeller Ballroom

               Rev. Bruce Barkhauer, Keynote Speaker and Heavenly Harmony Singers (First Christian Church, Hagerstown) following

9:15 pm               Ministers’ Association Meeting

9:45 pm               Fellowship Hour in Rumsey Tavern


Saturday, October 15

7:45 am               Assembly Registration/Check-In (Hallway Outside Rockefeller Ballroom)

Bookstore Opens – Jefferson Room

8:00 am               Continental Breakfast – Tuscany Room

8:30 – 9:30 amWorkshop Session 1

9:30 – 11 am      Regional Assembly Worship Service – Rockefeller Ballroom

w/Sermon by Rev. David Shirey, Total Praise Dance Ministry, Glenn Pearson Production Jazz Trio and Holy Communion

11:00 – 12 pm   Workshop Session 2

12:00 – 1 pm      Lunch – Rockefeller Ballroom

1:00 – 3:00 pmMission First! Gathering, Rev. Delores Carpenter, Host – Rockefeller Ballroom

3:00 – 4:30pm    Business Of The Regional Church with multi-media report from your Regional Minister – Rockefeller Ballroom

4:30 – 5pm          Closing Worship w/Installation of new Officers & Regional Board Members & Welcoming New Congregations – Rockefeller Ballroom