NBA Board of Trustees Meets in Charlotte, Visits with North Carolina Ministries

Rev. Greg Jarrell and neighbors give NBA staff and board members a tour and explain the QCFT's history.Rev. Greg Jarrell and neighbors give NBA staff and board members a tour and explain the QCFT’s history.

Members of the Board of Trustees for the National Benevolent Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) met together November 9-11 in Charlotte, NC, for their Fall 2017 in-person meeting.

On Thursday evening, board members joined with NBA staff and North Carolina Disciples for dinner and a panel discussion at First Christian Church Charlotte. “Community Building: Ministry-in-Place” featured conversation with New Communion, an NBA Incubate Participant in Winston-Salem, and QC Family Tree, an NBA Incubate Partner in West Charlotte, on how they engage in holistic ministry with specific neighborhoods in order to lift the whole community. Angela Whitenhill, NBA Mental Health Initiative Manager, also shared about her work with community activists in Charlotte, focusing on trauma and spiritual wellness care as local Disciples move into longer-term strategy and community organizing.

During Friday lunch, NBA staff and trustees had the opportunity to visit QC Family Tree, with tours led by co-founders Revs. Helms and Greg Jarrell and the neighborhood youth. QC Family Tree is a ministry of “kinfolk rooted in discipleship” in the Enderly Park neighborhood of West Charlotte, focusing on youth leadership development, affordable housing, and hospitality. Creativity and community-based art are a big part of their work, from signs around the neighborhood fighting displacement and gentrification, to pottery that the youth make and sell at local markets. Helms Jarrell’s paintings of Enderly Park neighbors as “Ordinary Saints” were also on display at FCC Charlotte in conjunction with All Saints Day. (See photos on our Facebook page!)

Helms Jarrell shared QC Family Tree’s blessing song as the group ate lunch together, and the lyrics rang true as a theme for the rest of the NBA board meeting:

“God bless us all our bread / God bless us all our bread.
Give bread to those who are hungry,
And a hunger for justice to those who are fed.
God bless us all our bread.”

In his President’s Report on Friday morning “A Season of Action and Going Deeper,” Mark Anderson introduced the next iteration of NBA’s strategic plan and a narrative for the 2018 budget, grounded in the scripture from James 2:18 (ESV):

“But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

For the past year, NBA has been celebrating 130 years of health and social service ministry, and now NBA continues to strengthen that legacy and move it forward. NBA staff will be finalizing the 2018-2021 strategic plan in upcoming meetings in December and look forward to sharing more information in Q1 2018.

Committee meetings were held Friday morning, followed by the plenary session convening Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, with Board Chair Jackie Compton Bunch presiding. The NBA board approved the 2018 budget, affirmed the strategic plan direction, and heard updates on NBA’s Incubate, Initiate, and Connect program areas and new Mission and Ministry Grants. (Watch for our announcement next week of the 21 grantees for 2018!)

Board and staff members enjoyed dinner together in Charlotte on Friday evening and closing worship and communion on Saturday morning before traveling home. The NBA Board of Trustees will meet via conference call on February 22, 2018. The next in-person meeting is scheduled for June 7-9, 2018, when NBA board and staff will return to meet in St. Louis, MO.

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About the National Benevolent Association
As the health and social services general ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the National Benevolent Association partners with congregations, regions, general ministries, and a variety of Disciples-related health and social service providers to create communities of compassion and care. Founded in 1887 by six women responding to the needs of the day and on their doorsteps, for 130 years the NBA has continued to serve “the least of these.” For more information, visit