BUILDING MINISTRY PARTNERS II — UNION AVENUE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
This week’s Budget Bites continues its focus on UACC’s significant ministry partners that share space in our building. As mentioned in the January 19 Budget Bites, a small but important portion of income for our budget stems from our ministry partners who reside in our building.
Since 2015, the National Benevolent Association (NBA) has called a brightly renovated portion of UACC’s third floor its home for its national headquarters. As the health and social services general ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), NBA collaborates with leaders and with health and social service organizations to strengthen and transform communities through compassion, healing, and justice. Six of the 20 full-time staff members work out of our building while the others are deployed across the country.
We are proud to be ministry partners with this powerhouse of compassionate care, whose roots are closely intermingled with ours, and we’re even prouder of Mark Anderson, a member of UACC and NBA’s chief executive officer, who continues to lead NBA as it lives out its mission in communities across the U.S. and beyond.
NBA is currently in the eighth year of a 10-year lease. In addition to its office space on the third floor, it has hosted meetings in the church’s art gallery and chapel for various trainings, conferences, Board of Trustees and all-staff gatherings. You can learn more about NBA — its mission, vision, values, and programming — HERE.
For many longtime members of UACC, summertime at church means they will be treated to hearing the melodic sounds of award-winning, professional opera flowing from the sanctuary, thanks to our ministry partnership with Union Avenue Opera (UAO). This summer marks UAO’s 29th opera season, under the leadership and artist direction of Scott Schoonover.
Since 1995, approximately 110,000 guests have enjoyed 78 operas (that includes the two productions mounted outdoors … under a circus tent … in the blistering heat of a STL summer … during a global pandemic!!) in a magnificent space that was built to honor and celebrate the glory of God. It’s difficult to imagine a more honorable and faithful use of the space than filling it with music!
Scott and Administrative Director Emily Stolarski work with the opera year-round, but are joined by another 160 professionals each opera season. Throughout its history, UAO has received numerous accolades, including “Best Performance of an Opera” at BroadwayWorld.com’s 2022 Regional Awards for A Little Night Music.
As part of its outreach, UAO is in its ninth winter season of CRESCENDO!, which allows college students to expand and cultivate their artistic skills, alongside UAO esteemed professionals and then perform a recital on the Union Avenue Opera stage. The free program is open to undergraduate voice students in the St. Louis region, and many of the participants have gone on to perform with UAO and other opera companies.
UAO renewed its 10-year lease with UACC in 2016. You can learn more about UAO HERE.
In addition to UAO, NBA, Pure Catering and the West End Players Guild (our four largest ministry partners in our building), several other organizations currently use space regularly, including Church Women United, Missouri Women’s Chorus and the “wet felting” artists of the Weaver’s Guild of STL. In 2022, income stemming from building usage totaled $38,225 from all large and small organizations that use our building.