For more than a century, God has inspired generations to walk through the doors of Union Avenue Christian Church. Some have come seeking to learn from the teachings of Jesus. Some have come seeking to be fed. Some have come looking for a place to belong. On Friday, August 26, 2016, four young adults — Alex Cooper, Abby Henegar, William Jackson, and Rachael Wentworth — will walk through the doors of Union Avenue Christian Church to begin a 10-month adventure. They will be seeking ways in which to discern their way forward in the world through spiritual formation, interpersonal growth, simplicity, shared commitment to community and self-sufficiency. They are the third cohort of young adults to reside in XPLOR House at Union Avenue Christian Church.

ALEX COOPER grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. He ventured away from Texas to Disciples-related Eureka College in Illinois for three semesters, then came back home, and has been working in a bank for the last 18 months. He is a long-time member of First Christian Church, Cleburne, Texas, and has been active in Disciples camps, conferences and retreats. He loves hiking, nature, and hosting get-togethers. He would love to learn how to play the ukulele, but he doesn't own one! He is sensing that he might have a call to vocational ministry, so he views NBA XPLOR as a wonderful time of discernment.

ABBY HENEGAR is originally from Centralia, Illinois, a long-time member of First Christian Church there, but just graduated from Disciples-related Texas Christian University in May 2016 with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology. She is a member of the HELM Leadership Fellows. At TCU she served as co-president of the Faith Acts Organization and was active in Disciples on Campus. She has spent many weeks counseling Disciples summer camps. She loves photography, curriculum writing, fitness, and working with children.

WILLIAM JACKSON is a senior at Disciples-related Culver-Stockton College, Canton, Missouri, graduating in December 2017 with a major in music education and music therapy, but he is taking a break to be part of NBA XPLOR. His home church is Second Christian Church in New London, Missouri, but he has been the choir director at Canton Christian Church for the last few years. He plays piano and saxophone, and he sings in his college choir and myriad other choirs and ensembles. William is thrilled to be in the St. Louis XPLOR House because of Union Avenue Christian Church’s amazing music program.

RACHAEL WENTWORTH is from Kewanee, Illinois, and graduated in May 2016 from Disciples-related Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois, with a major in psychology and art. She has both a Presbyterian and Disciples background. She has been involved in a large number of service experiences, both at college and in her hometown: Stepladder Tutoring, for children falling behind in school; Build-a-Bear for Toys for Tots; AmeriCorps; trick or treat for UNICEF; and Salvation Army, just to name a few. At Eureka, she was involved in leadership in both a social and service fraternity and has had leadership positions there. She loves reading, period movies, dancing, volleyball, and exercise.

The Council of Shepherds and the XPLOR Oversight Team are inviting you to join them in showering our new XPLOR residents with pantry staples and cleaning products to fill the cupboards. You could pick up some toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, snack foods, or pantry staples [like pasta products, mac and cheese, microwave popcorn, pasta sauce, canned soups, anything that you like to have on hand in the pantry] and place them in the basket marked XPLOR.

It's going to be a great year ahead for our new XPLOR residents, and we pray they will sense the gravitational pull of their faith, develop hearts for care and discern how to focus their life's work.