The ministry of the National Benevolent Association is, and always has been, about people. And the NBA story is not a single story; rather, it is composed of the stories of so many individuals, congregations, organizations, and others who have made Disciples health and social service ministry possible over all these years. We invite you to share your NBA memories here as we continue, together, to tell the NBA story for years to come!
Help write the NBA story by sharing your memory here!
We are grateful for the memories shared here by colleagues and friends throughout NBA's 130-year history!
In 1957, I received a $200 NBA scholarship (to attend Culver-Stockton College) with the agreement that I would donate one summer of labor at the Juliette Fowler Homes. My assignment was to "mother" eight 10-year-old boys: live-in with them, coral them around campus, in and out of the swimming pool, chaperone them to and from church. The experience was "maturing, educational, humorous and lots of other things." There was no air conditioning in our dorms or most other buildings back then. Thank you to NBA for encouraging me to become a social worker. P.S., I got to attend graduate school with Mark Anderson. We had no idea he would become president of NBA, but it's a perfect fit, in my book!
My NBA years 1983-2004 were ones of many wonderful heart-warming memories. I was blessed to work with some of the most talented people who lived every day with a servant leadership heart.
From opening day, May 1, 1996, when I spent overnight in a sleeping bag, until 19 years later in 2015, my fondest memories are the familial relationships with residents/staff that evolved over the years at Hylton Point Apartments, St. Louis, MO.
My happy memories are of our potlucks and employee celebrations. How much laughter and togetherness filled the atmosphere. I especially remember Managed Units doing a “Men in Black” skit during Halloween.
I have particularly fond memories of working next to Sophia and the laughs shared and how we talked to our printer. Also, there was one event where Sophia, Joan, and I dressed up like the California Raisins and some of the “stuffing” in our large black bags started “popping” out of my costume. Oh, what laughs!
I began 33 years ago at NBA in August 1972, and while there I held numerous positions as a Secretary and an Associate Director of Gift Planning in Development, and an Accounting Assistant in Finance. My managers included: Mr. Heckendorn, Mr. Murray, Dr. Ehly, Mr. Norris, Mr. Whitney, Mrs. Zimmer, Mr. Zimmerman, and Mr. Buckner. While working at NBA, I established many lifelong friends, like family. I still remember when we observed and celebrated our fellow employees birthdays and annual Christmas parties. I retired in January 2005. In 2013, I began working with the finance ministry team at Centennial Christian Church, where I am a member, under the leadership of Pastor Derrick L. Perkins, Sr.
There were so many good times there-getting to attend the staff conference banquets, the family that was those of us who worked in Central Office, and the joys and sorrows we shared because we were family. The close ties some of us continue to have after all these years. The people we worked with!
I started at NBA in 1985 focused on the centennial. It was amazing! Quarterly Family Talks; dozens of new brochures; new centennial logo; the history book, Inasmuch; a live musical for the General Assembly; a banquet for 1,600 people; and serving 8,000 Ding Dong cupcakes! I spent hundreds of hours finding photos for Inasmuch. We also produced a new centennial video, plus annual reports and overviews for many of the NBA facilities. But the best memories were between 1985 and 1996, when just being able to go to work for the NBA every morning felt like a privilege. Compassionate and passionate about their work, NBA was a team ministry totally focused on serving people in need. It was a decade I will always cherish!
While in the monthly cabinet meeting, being contacted by a Missouri U.S. Senator advising that the NBA application for Hylton Point Apartments was funded.
I still remember the day that I interviewed at NBA, which happened to fall on Halloween. I remember Rose, Elaine, and Sophie all dressed up in their costumes, and the fun and laughing that was going on in the office. Ron Meyer walked me throughout the building to see everyone in their costumes! John Norris, Sr. and Gwen were sharing candy throughout the building. With all of the family spirit, I knew that the NBA would be a great career opportunity!
My happiest memory working for NBA was under the leadership of Rick Lance. He made you feel like you were a member of the NBA family. Even though we worked sometimes six or seven days a week, there was always a feeling of camaraderie among my co-workers. Who can forget Ron Hollon as Rhonda on Halloween? NBA also gave me the opportunity to visit our facilities and meet with our field staff and some of our residents. These and many more fond memories will remain with me for the rest of my life.
Obtaining investment-grade rating of NBA long-term debt.
My favorite NBA memories involve collaborating with Christian Church members, in the Southeastern portion of the country, to develop community-based programs for vulnerable children and youth. Local church members brought their vision, passion, and commitment to “do the work,” resulting in new NBA programs in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi.
I am blessed that lasting friendships came out of these partnerships: including centenarian Ruth Hobbs, who has supported SCSCY in Jackson, MS, since its inception. What faithfulness, love, and generosity!! You can see why NBA was my “dream job.”
The work with the SCS Board to establish CHANCE within Hollybrook Homes.
Happy memories for me involve NBA gatherings: including monthly staff birthday parties, staff Christmas luncheons, and the annual staff conferences. In addition, as Director of Social Services, I was able to create gatherings, such as “Ice Cream Socials,” that introduced minority congregations to NBA. Although these events could be viewed as “fun and fellowship,” they were also instrumental in increasing NBA’s affirmative action numbers in terms of employees and those congregations engaged in “new work” projects with NBA. As a social worker, I never dreamed I could use my professional skills to impact the church in such meaningful ways.
My favorite memories include: the great relationships I had with other CEOs of children’s services, attending the annual staff conference, and the support I experienced from staff in St. Louis—Leon Whitney and Norma Ellington-Twitty in particular.
My happiest memories include all of the wonderful, gifted people with whom I got to work. We had fun times at Halloween and Christmas. I remember support staff meetings, Weight Watchers meetings, board meetings, and yes, those times when an NBA basketball player arrived, too…
…Walks at lunch around the footpath in the woods beside the building and Gwenn driving Sophie’s car through the DHE board room window at lunch one day, and the weekly e-mails from Ben Bohren titled GET YOUR BREATH.
Under Marva McJoy’s leadership, our team did an excellent job of being a good steward of the firm’s assets while still enjoying each other’s company. It felt like a true family away from home.
More than 50 Miracle Days across the U.S. with 15,000 Disciples participating – miracles abounded!
It’s hard to pick just one happy time at NBA; there were so many. Good friends and great people to work with and lots of good times. Makes for a good place to work.
Working with our staff to develop and announce the Partnership for Presidential Initiative. This partnership was a tremendous gift honoring Rick Lance’s leadership and vision.