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Mi Hyeon Lee
District Superintendent
Mi Hyeon Lee

Robin Bell
District Superintendent
Robin Bell

Barbara Buck
Executive Assistant
Barbara Buck

LeAnna Lewis
Administrative Assistant
LeAnna Lewis

(660) 665-8497
PO Box 776
Kirksville, Missouri 63501

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Rural Connections Conference

Welcome to the Rural Connections Conference! This year our conference is virtual. While that means we don’t get to be with one another in the same place, the resources that are a part of this conference will be easily accessible for everyone. Please feel free to share this page with others.

For each session you’ll have a link to the video on the Conference Vimeo page, and links to handouts that are available. You can either watch the videos on Vimeo, or download them for use at home, in churches, or wherever else you might need to take them. To download the videos, there is a download button beneath the video player. Click on the button and choose which size to download. If at all possible, download the largest files. They will give you the best quality.

If you have any questions, please contact Rev. John Pinkston. When you have worked your way through the conference, please take a moment to provide feedback for us by completing this survey.


Rev. Andrew Coon, Mark Twain District

Rev. John Pinkston, Mark Twain District

Sidney Everhart, Community Engagement Specialist, MOAC

Amy Thompson, Missouri Annual Conference Lay Leader


Opening Worship

To begin our conference this is a time to focus and prepare to learn and to be guided into God’s presence so that we can be the church in challenging times.

In this video we’ll be led by Rev’s John Pinkston and Andrew Coon, and led in music by Abbey Ruggles and Ryan McLouth.


Starting the Conversation About Suicide

Prevention Resources | Warning Signs

Talking about suicide and how it effects individuals and communities is never easy. In this session we’ll talk about suicide, its high rates, and its risk factors. In addition we’ll talk about what churches can do to help.

This session is led by Jon Copeland.


Help! How Can I Respond to the Emotions

Handout | PDF Slides | Breathing Icons | Self Reg Icons

On any given day, children and teens experience a wide range of emotions and we are often left trying to determine how best to support them. In today’s challenging times, it seems harder to know how to respond to the big feelings and the silent feelings. Learn how to understand the brain states to form a better response in the moment and discover tools for managing emotional self-regulation.

This session is led by Amy Thompson, LCSW, LSCSW and the Missouri Annual Conference Lay Leader.


Self-Care During COVID-19

Taking Care of Yourself | Show Me Hope Flyer

How do you take care of yourself during stressful times, especially when everyone is in unfamiliar territory? How do you do this when you are in a helping profession? In this session we’ll cover several techniques to help.

This session is led by Mark Twain Behavioral Health based in Kirksville, MO.


Resilience: Strength for These Days


How can we, as people of faith, develop the resiliency needed to live well in this time of pandemic? Merriam-Webster defines resilience in this way: "the capacity of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress; an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change."

Strain and stress, challenge and change...are ongoing aspects of life today. Yet, they do not have to drive our words, actions, self-image, or choices. Join with others in exploring specific practices and postures that build our capacity to recover, adjust and thrive.

This session is led by Rev. Melissa Bailey-Kirk.


Loss Isn’t Little: Looking at how grief/loss effects folks and learn ways to support those who are hurting


Loss can be a result of so many things – death, divorce, job market, moving, even pandemics. Loss is something that so many are uncomfortable talking about but it is also a guarantee in life. We will all face loss. As a faith leader and community, we have

to opportunity to learn more about how people experience loss, how people cope with loss and how we walk with/support those experiencing loss.

This session is led by Elizabeth Dimmitt, Instructor at Northwest Missouri State University, Licensed Professional Counselor, and Lay Speaker.


Acknowledge and Address Aging Adjustments: How the Church Family Can Accommodate and Assist our Elderly Parishioners

Goal Setting

It is said, “aging is for the birds”; however, we see the Methodist membership progressively aging. We need to be aware of the stressors and transitions that these members may face or are currently facing. As a helper and a faith community, it is our responsibility to not only know what transitions may occur but also how we can best support those who are in the later stages of life. These members are a gift, not a burden, so let’s work together to learn more about our aging populations specific needs.


Soul Care in this Season of Life and Ministry

Spiritual Praxis Inventory

We will explore spiritual disciplines and practices for soul care in this season of life and ministry. We will offer ways to identify what is needed and discern ways to strengthen our spiritual connections and to offer ourselves for kingdom work.

This session is led by Rev. Jim Simpson.


Closing Session for the 2020 Rural Connections Conference

Thank you for joining us today for this time of learning. Remember that these resources and videos will continue to be available free of charge. Please make use of them, and know that you go with our prayers.

This session is led by Sidney Everhart, Community Engagement Specialist for the Missouri Annual Conference.