It is with great joy and excitement that we share the news that on July 23, 2017, the congregation at Central United Church of Christ extended a call to Rev. Jody Furnas-Wright to be our new Associate Pastor for Faith Formation.
Rev. Jody’s call to be a member of the Ministry Team at Central United Church of Christ is the culmination of a long journey that began with the church’s participation in the New Beginnings program and the subsequent adoption of the 5-year plan that arose out of the reflection and discernment undertaken by members of Central UCC in that process. The primary role of the Associate Pastor for Faith Formation will be to help us develop and implement a comprehensive and sustainable faith formation program for children and their families.
Rev. Jody Furnas-Wright is an Ordained minister with authorized ministerial standing in the Western Association of the Missouri Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ and brings a great deal of passion, skill and experience to the ministry of faith formation with children and families. She has a background in Theatre and a passion for ministry with children.
Most recently she was Senior Pastor at St Peter’s United Church of Christ in Kansas City, Missouri for 12 years. In that time, she helped the church develop more accessible worship, worked with the church to revamp the nursery, she started the Pilgrimage (an alternative gathering for young adults) and Storychurch for children and a variety of other programs and activities.
Prior to that she was Director of Children’s Ministry and Director of Special Events at Wayzata Community Church UCC in Wayzata, Minnesota. Wayzata Community Church is a large church of almost 3,000 members. During her 8 years there the church grew from 1800 to 3000 and the Children’s Ministry grew from 250 to 700. Also in that time, a new education space (Graceland) was designed and added. Rev. Jody managed a wide variety of programs including elementary and preschool church school, midweek and Sunday childcare programs, family camp, mission festival and advent workshop. She also added 20 more programs including Good Works Theatre Company, Puppet Nativity, Wednesday elementary program, summer church school, parenting classes and Communion Education.
She was also Director of Christian Education at Excelsior Congregational UCC in Excelsior, Minnesota for 3 years and was responsible working with the Board of Christian Education to develop and run Church School, Nursery, Adult Ed Program, Confirmation and Youth Fellowship.
Rev. Furnas-Wright is “… passionate about building community and the future of the church. It appears the church to come is going to be very different from the institution I’ve loved all my life. Yet trusting that God is ever at work in the world, I want to be a part of it. No matter what other changes may come, I trust whatever emerges as Christ’s church will be both communal and his voice for love and compassion in the world. That never changes. … Helping church communities identify ways to connect with people beyond the traditional practices of church excites and energizes me. Relationship building with people through the arts, through service opportunities and through cause support is what I find most fulfilling. Then, through those relationships, helping people make a connection to the Christian calling of the church is what gives me the most joy.”
We look forward to working with Rev. Jody as we step out in faith and continue on our journey to revitalize, renew and re-energize Christ’s church for ministry in this time and in this place and as we work to live into our mission of growing faith, sharing love and reaching out.
Rev. Furnas-Wright will begin work on August 1st. So, please take the time to introduce yourself and welcome her into our church and to Jefferson City.