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St. Louis Clergy Supporting Non-Violent Expressions of Free Speech

Contact: Rev. David Gerth, 314-518-6455, 314-367-3484; Laura Barrett, 314-443-5915; Rev. Dietra Wise Baker, MCU Clergy Caucus co-chair, 314-517-5928

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 21, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Local clergy who are members of the Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU) have announced that they will be opening the doors of their congregations, walking with protesters, worshipping together and supporting non-violent expressions of free speech immediately following the grand jury's decision. The decision is expected in the near future.

Over the next week, MCU clergy and lay leaders will aid in de-escalation when needed and support protesters in the peaceful, non-violent expression of their feelings.

On November 7 we announced our intention to be present in the streets, and to provide a safe space for all who need a moment of peace and prayer. The following houses of worship will open their doors 24 hours a day in the immediate aftermath of the announcement:

In Missouri with Metropolitan Congregations United -

    1.  Central Reform Congregation, 5020 Waterman, St. Louis, Rabbi Susan Talve; 314-361-3919

    2.  Christ Church Cathedral, 1210 Locust Street, St. Louis, The Very Rev. Mike Kinman; 314-231-3454
    3.  Christ the King UCC, 11370 Old Halls Ferry Florissant, Rev. Traci Blackmon; 314-741-6808
    4.  Compton Heights Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 2149 S. Grand Blvd., Rev. Dr. Jacquelyn (Jacque) Foster; 314-771-5071
    5.  Epiphany United Church of Christ, 2911 McNair, St. Louis, Angie O'Gorman; 314-772-0263
    6.  First Congregational Church of St. Louis, United Church of Christ, 6501 Wydown Blvd, St. Louis, Rev. Heather Arcovich; 314-721-5060
    7.  St. Cronan Catholic Church, 1202 S. Boyle St. Louis, Fr. Gerry Kleba; 314-531-2205
    8.  Washington Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, 3200 Washington Blvd, St. Louis, Rev. Rodney T. Francis, M. Div.; 314-533-8763
    9.  Webster Groves Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 1320 W. Lockwood, Kirkwood, Rev. Jeff Moore, Dmin, PhD; 314-961-3232

In Illinois with United Congregations of the Metro East (UCM) -

    10.  St. John UCC, 10207 Lincoln Trail, Fairview Heights, IL, Pastor Jim Nolan; 618-397-6323

In addition, a community service is planned at 7 p.m. the evening of the grand jury decision at West Side Baptist Church, 2677 Dunn Rd. in Florissant, and we plan a prayer and public action beginning at 7:00 a.m. the morning following the decision in Shaw Park, 27 S. Brentwood in Clayton.

MCU calls on County Executive Steve Stenger to hold, within the next month, a regional equity summit to seek long-term solutions to end excessive traffic fines and debtors' prison, and to promote community policing with mayors, elected officials, and law enforcement throughout St Louis County. See our petition here (action.groundswell-mvmt.org/petitions/change-police-and-court-practices-in-st-louis-county).

MCU is a coalition of interfaith leaders who are Christian (AME, Baptist, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Disciples of Christ, United Church of Christ among others), Jewish, Unitarian, and members of the Ethical Society. We believe that nothing short of a movement for human freedom is being rebirthed in our town, calling us as individuals, worshipping communities, and as a region to see one another as beloved children of God and to live our lives that way.

Metropolitan Congregations United is an interdenominational, interfaith, multi-racial community organization of religious congregations in the St. Louis Metropolitan Region that are working for a common purpose: to create a better life for all residents. More online at

Contact: Rev. David Gerth 314-518-6455, 314-367-3484; Laura Barrett, 314-443-5915; Rev. Dietra Wise Baker, MCU Clergy Caucus co-chair, 314-517-5928