'Before I Die' chalkboard inspires ideas both poignant and ridiculous

A huge chalkboard outside Missouri United Methodist Church is crowded with writings scrawled in colorful chalk. On the board are half-started sentences saying, "Before I die, I want to...." Community members are invited to finish the sentence with a personal aspiration or bucket list item.

Columbia Missourian

Local church begins forum to promote change in Columbia

Missouri United Methodist church held their inaugural "Strangers to Changers" event on Wednesday. The church said the event combines TED Talks and think tanks that will hopefully put inspiration for change into action in Columbia.


MUMC Photo Flashback

The Missouri United Methodist Church building, on Ninth Street, was dedicated in 1929. The history of its congregation, however, dates back to 1837. It is one of several downtown church buildings with a long history.

The church held its first public service in the sanctuary on Jan. 5, 1930, the first Sunday of the year. The leader of the church was Bishop W.F. McMurry. The next few years after the church’s opening were spent trying to obtain money to stay on top of expenses while avoiding interest and more debt.

In 1951 and 1952, the church constructed a major addition to the building’s structure. A chapel, dedicated as the McMurry Chapel, was provided on the basement floor by Mr. and Mrs. John A. Epple. The church continued to expand in membership, and new members brought new programs. The church added a director of Christian education, an associate pastor, a superintendent of maintenance, and a director of administration.

“A Continuing History — Its Maturing Years,” a booklet written on the church’s history, said the church attained its full growth by the early 1960s. During this time, the church was under the leadership of Monk Bryan. The church reorganized its structure and established seven commissions: ecumenical affairs, education, evangelism, missions, social concerns, stewardship, and worship. However, the reorganization did not work well and was abandoned in 1972.

In 1980, the church celebrated its 50th anniversary and was under the leadership of Clarence J. Forsberg. Seventy-two members from 1930 were present for the anniversary. The church did missionary work, made housekeeping improvements, and experienced administrative changes during this time.

During the 1980s and ’90s, three ministers served the church: Clarence J. Forsberg, Lycurgus Starkey Jr., and Carl L. Schneck. In 1980, the church had 1,967 members. By 1986, this number had grown to 2,248.

In 1993, the church building underwent a restoration process. The church continued to grow, and Dr. Rhymes H. Moncure Jr. was appointed as the senior pastor in September 1997. As the years went on, the church added congregants and programs designed to help members, students, and the Columbia community.

Kendall Waller is the current lead pastor. The church’s mission is to connect all people to Jesus Christ by “welcoming enthusiastically, growing deeply, and serving courageously.”

Missouri United Methodist Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on Sept. 4, 1980.

Columbia choirs bring community together through Unity Concert

Three choirs and members of the community gathered on a Saturday night in the name of unity.

Columbia Chorale, the Community Gospel Choir and Columbia Youth Choirs held a Unity Concert to bring together sounds of gospel and traditional choral music to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

The concert also served as a way to raise money for Youth Empowerment Zone, an organization where neglected adolescents can connect to ideas and activity of empowerment, according to the concert’s program. The audience filled up the pews of Missouri United Methodist Church, and the music brought people to their feet as it echoed around the building.