Creative Faith Project

Beginning January 2011, the Missouri Mid-South Conference UCC will undertake an exciting three-year Artist Residency program to help revitalize the ministry and mission of our congregations.  Our artists in residence will be the Rev. Clifford Aerie of the Oikos Ensemble.  Cliff is a United Church of Christ minister, musician and storyteller. More information about Cliff and Chris can be found at their website

The Artist Residency program will explore new ways to envision church in the 21st century.  It will embrace imagination, creativity and the arts to…

  • Nurture imagination within the church by creating programs, (Jazz Nativity: Follow That Star) resources and events that help individuals and congregations discover the artist within – to become co-creators with the Creator, exploring new forms of innovative ministry.
  • Connect the arts community and the community of faith by uncovering intentional intersections – opportunities for artists and church members to engage in dialogue, foster creative interaction, and discover spiritual nurture and refreshment within a faith community.
  • Encourage children, youth and adults to explore imagination, creativity and artistic expression as a primary means for deepening spiritual formation and innovative, discipled engagement in the world.
  • Empower new forms of ministry by modeling creative liturgies, leading innovative “playshop” retreats, presenting artistic performances and crafting imaginative events that inspire and transform.

At its heart, the Artist Residency program will be a ministry of celebration.  The actual shape and content of the residency will be determined in collaboration with a newly formed Covenanted Ministry Team under the supervision of Dr. Marc A. Wessels, Associate Conference Minister.  Members of the team include:

    Rev. Keith Karau, pastor of St. Paul’s UCC, Oakville
    Dr. Ray Landis, music director at First Congregational Church, Webster Groves
    Rev. Jeanne Lischer, pastor of St. Johns (Pinckney), Marthasville and Immanuels UCC, Holstein
    Mr. Tim Osiek, commissioned minister of music at St. John UCC, Manchester
    Rev. Mauri Peaco, pastor of St. Peter’s Evangelical UCC, Ferguson
    Rev. Michael Stephens, pastor of Southwood UCC, Raytown


The Covenanted Ministry Team will work with Cliff and Marc to develop programs, performances and events for spiritual renewal, church revitalization, and mission engagement to enrich the life of the conference. The team will be inviting ideas from our churches and artists as it designs a collaborative ensemble approach.