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Independence Boulevard Christian Church

We invite you to explore with us the joy 
and challenges of Christian discipleship, 
to join our compassionate fellowship, 
and worship and share your gifts and history.

Much like our beautiful stained glass windows which offer a dimensional picture of life in the Spirit, we are a congregation of believers that seeks to maintain a real depth of vision in our life together. One vision memorably connects us to the New Testament church that Jesus established, along with the history of the Disciples and of Kansas City, Missouri. Another vision we cherish points us through our present discipleship to the future of God's kingdom on earth where we seek to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8)

Sunday Morning:
9:30am Church School for all ages
10:45am Worship Service

Meet the Team

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Pastor Lee Chiaramonte

Senior Pastor

Lee Chiaramonte was born in Salina, Kansas, and grew up in the Kansas City area, Paola and Topeka. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in English from the City University of New York, a Masters of Divinity from Drew Theological School, and a Masters of Philosophy from Drew University. Her graduate studies' focus centered on a historical analysis and feminist theoethical reconstruction of the virtue of courage.

Rev. Chiaramonte has been an ordained United Church of Christ minister for the last 18 years. Her pastoral specializations are constructing urban-suburban partnerships, urban core ministry and Christian character formation. Rev. Chiaramonte has been the field supervisor for more than thirty seminarians from two local seminaries while pastoring at IBCC; she is regionally active in both denominations she serves.

For a year and a half full time, she taught Sociology of Religion at Saint Paul School of Theology as the interim faculty replacement for Dr. Tex Sample and was an interim minister in south Kansas City. She presently teaches a class called "Ministry in Context" at Saint Paul. She's also taught Ethics and Urban Mission at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, and for more than nine years taught American Church History and both New and Old Testament studies at Avila University.

For five years Rev. Chiaramonte was the Chaplain for NewHouse, Kansas City’s largest shelter for battered and poor women and their children, located close to the church. In September of 2005, the Missouri Bar Association conferred their "Liberty Bell" Award upon Rev. Chiaramonte for significant public service contributions by a non-lawyer made to the wider community. In 2003, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office and COMBAT named her a “Community Mother” of the year.

Prior to entering the ministry, she was a property-casualty insurance broker/agent. She became Liberty Mutual's first woman agent in New York City in 1972. During the 1980s, she was also CBS News Correspondent Walter Cronkite's chief of staff and, later, journalist Gloria Steinem's manager.

She has served congregations in New York, New Jersey, Washington and Missouri. Pastor Lee is the 13th Senior Pastor of our church and our first female Senior Pastor.

Her son, York, and his family live outside New York City, along with Pastor Lee's six grandchildren. Pastor Lee and her younger son and daughter share their home with Miniature Schnauzers and an Irish Terrier.

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Naomi Boyle

Music Director

Naomi started playing the organ at age fourteen after seven years of piano studies. Her first organist position was in her senior year of high school. After attending two years at the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York at Potsdam, she completed her Bachelors degree in Music Education with a choral emphasis at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. She has taught public school music in Colquitt County (Moultrie) Georgia, and has served churches as an organist, choir director, and handbell director in New York, Georgia, and Florida.

Ms. Boyle hails from Florida. She has a Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami, Florida, and was a practicing insurance defense attorney in Florida. She is still a member of the Florida Bar.

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Victor Snow

Our building manager and custodian, Victor, was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, where he graduated from Sumner Academy. As a music major in college, he was active in the Jazz Band and was the bugler for the Woodlands Race Track. Since that time he's played in jazz and rock bands and composed music for everything from video games to church musical productions.

In addition to music, Victor also enjoys building and fixing computers in his basement, which he's converted into a computer workshop and music recording studio. His ministry as a deacon, Sunday school teacher, and organist at his Kansas City, Kansas church keeps him busy.

Victor and his wife Lori share their Independence home with five children and four cats.

 

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Elke Flaharty

Ministry Assistant, Office Manager

Elke Gonzales-Flaharty is our Ministry Assistant; Elke was born and raised in Kansas City and now resides in Mayview, Missouri with her husband Matt, daughter Kemani, their three cats (Catalina, Chico and Seeker) and two dogs (Samson and Carrera).

Elke attended Park University seeking a Biology degree; she eventually went on to St. Luke’s Hospital to obtain a certification as a Pharmacy Technician. In the spring of 2010 she also received her Insurances license. Her free time consists of reading, sketching and painting, spending time with her family and friends and most of all traveling.

“I grew up in church, my parents were adamant about us knowing the word of God. I accepted the Lord in my life at a very young age and totally understood what was happening. I have been very blessed to have such a full life. I’ve worked in the corporate world for a long time and it is obvious the Lord had other plans for me. When I first came to work at IBCC I instantly felt at home. The people here are extremely dedicated to the various ministries and are truly a blessing to work with. I have volunteered for our Micah Ministry and it was a very rich, yet humbling experience. I look forward to volunteering more of my time.”

Favorite Scripture: Psalm 55:22.

 

Have Questions?...

If you have any questions for us, please contact us!

The Micah Ministry

“He has shown you, humankind, what is good; so what does the LORD require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God…” (Micah 6:8)

The Micah Ministry is the urban, ecumenical outreach mission of Independence Boulevard Christian Church to the poor and needy in the historic Northeast area of Kansas City, Missouri. The Micah Ministry is a C.U.I.C. mission (“Churches Uniting in Christ”) designed to encourage Christian unity, end racism and “feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17) It is centered around a table ministry of home-cooked suppers in which faith-based and civic volunteers partner and seek to embody the call to evangelism by heeding the words of the prophet Micah.

Urban Pastoral Counseling

Every Monday evening, for three hours each time, specially trained suburban-based clergy from 7 denominations donate their time to staff a free, urban core ministry of compassionate presence and pastoral support to disadvantaged neighbors of our church. Local pastors, chaplains, diaconal and retired clergy, and advanced seminary students work together in teams of 2 or 3 to envelop neighbors in need with focused listening and affirmation. We make available the sacraments, anointings, group problem-solving, good-conditioned used clothing and service referrals. Lay church members provide intake.

Alcoholics Anonymous combined with Al-Anon

We have a combined AA/Al-Anon group that also meets during Micah time.

Supper Ministry “Robert's Cafe” & Clothing Pantry

“Those who are kind to the poor, honor their Creator.” Proverbs 14:31

Monday evenings from 5:30-7:00 pm, free, nourishing suppers are provided to our neighbors in the church's capacious Fellowship Hall. This “cafe” ministry, drawn from Jesus' injunction that if we truly love him, we should “feed his sheep,” is principally staffed by church members, metropolitan civic and religious volunteers and advanced urban ministry seminary students. Darrell Cantrell is our Executive Chef.

Our core cooking team and volunteers from all walks of life, serves excellent homemade meals and desserts and sets long tables decorated with tablecloths. Unlike most feeding ministries, we serve our guests at the table, rather than having them stand in a line to be fed.  Thousands of people have volunteered at Robert's Cafe over the years and this experience is always open to youth groups and other visiting friends who are passionate about justice ministry and developing their own servant leadership.

“Robert's Cafe” is named for the builder of our church, Robert A. Long, and one of our longtime guests from the neighborhood, Robert, who died in the winter of 2002 at 46, after sleeping outside overnight. All disabled guests are seated before regular serving begins.

While Independence Boulevard Christian Church provides a central core of the funding for the feeding ministry, many area ecumenical communities, businesses, youth groups and civic organizations generously provide the remaining financial support.  Without this, we would be unable to provide the 40,000 plates of hot, home-cooked suppers we served up in 2016.  With advance notice to Pastor Lee, who oversees the entire ministry and sets serving dates, we welcome Camp Fire, Girl or Boy Scouts and other groups to come, meet, feed and befriend our neighbors at Robert's Cafe.

Additionally, we maintain two well-stocked clothing pantries that are open most Monday evenings. Marsha Elbasani maintains our Children's Clothing Pantry, and Lori Taylor and Jean Mercer organize our Adult Clothing Pantry.  Volunteers from “partner” churches sew winter hats, blankets and booties and assemble "health kits" for the pantries. Clothing is dispensed as our guests eat at the table without appointments.  It is not uncommon for us to hand out a thousand pantry items on any given Monday.

Health Clinic

In 2016, we implemented our clinic "Care Beyond The Boulevard" where several doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners provide immediate care to our guests in need.

Urban Work Camp

Our Vision Statement is...

I showed you in all things that you should work as I did and help the wounded among you. I have taught you to remember the words of Jesus, who said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Youth at Urban Work Camp

For the last 10 summers, our church opens the south wing of our building to groups of young people who travel in from around the country and Canada to learn more about the practice of urban ministry. Many groups come from Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Iowa.

Groups always begin with Pastor Lee taking them out to breakfast on the first Saturday they arrive, explaining their itinerary and the history of the Micah Ministry. On Sunday, young people and their adult sponsors attend Sunday worship with the congregation -- way up in the glorious balcony of the main sanctuary. Church members are always delighted to have them here.

When not working at IBCC, young people travel out to other ministry sites around the city to be of use. While here, in their free time, they visit the Plaza, the 18th & Vine and new Power & Light districts; the Kansas City Museum (once home to notable IBCC founding Elder, Robert Long); the Negro Baseball Museum, The Sprint Center and Worlds of Fun.

Urban Work groups are typically of middle school or high school age and stay for terms of either 3 or 5 nights and days, bunking in classrooms, preparing their own meals in a nearby kitchen; working around the church (painting, cleaning up, doing lawn work) and helping to prepare for the clothing and cooking portions of the Micah Ministry on Monday evenings. They serve at the table on Micah Mondays. Young people learn about the many ethnic/racial populations of brothers and sisters living in proximity to the church and the history of the Northeast area itself and the church's history.

Several young people have decided to enter ministry after participation in the Urban Work Camps. Several out-of-state groups continue to raise funds and collect clothing for the Micah Ministry.

Request more information about Urban Work Camp today!

 

Christian Nurture

“Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

Every Sunday at 9:30 a.m., Christian Nurture is provided for our young people.

As a church, we cherish the young people in our midst, and our aim is to provide them with caring and reliable teachers and role models. We offer our young people a rich, graduated, week-by-week faith emersion designed to encourage the development of a meaningful devotional, social, moral and worship life.  All children are also encouraged to attend Tall Oaks camp during the summer and to participate in worship.  Our Christian Nurture Director, teachers and Pastor help young people to appreciate and prepare for baptism and communion, form bonds of friendship with one another and enjoy ongoing church service.

Ideals of Christian Nurture

“It is a privilege, a right, and a duty to act on our religious convictions to ensure that children are protected, nurtured, and treated justly."Marian Wright Edelman

At IBCC, we endeavor to affirm these truths which affect all young people we encounter:

  • The vitality and strength of families bears very much on the hope of young people.  We seek to enrich families and support them with prayer and friendship as they meet day-to-day challenges.
  • Every young person is a child of God and worthy of our respect.  We seek to affirm and help maximize the potential of every young person.
  • We believe that the future belongs to God and the young among us.  We seek to offer young people unconditional acceptance, creative avenues of participation in church life and prayerful, stable, non-violent guidance.
  • We believe that young people should have the opportunity to contribute to the mission of the church in the world.  As Disciples of Christ, we seek to work together with young people to love the world that God so loves.

There are many ways to do this through fellowship and outreach.