The largest African congregation in the Iowa-Missouri Conference, St. Louis Urumuri (Lighthouse), recently celebrated the congregation’s status change from company to church.

The celebration included song and acknowledgement. A history of the St. Louis Urumuri congregation was also read. Leaders believed it was important for those in attendance to know the origins of the St. Louis Urumuri congregation and traced its roots back to 2007.

In that year, an African family of refugees resettled in the St. Louis area. They worshipped in the St. Louis Central Church. In 2015, more African refugees resettled in the St. Louis area. The local Adventist community and the Iowa-Missouri Conference saw the need for transportation, housing, jobs and language education in the refugee community and took action to help those in need. This helped form relationships with the refugee community, both with those who were already Adventist and those who were not.

With a rapid increase in African refugee attendees at the St. Louis Central Church, a branch Sabbath School was established. Soon, the attendees grew and looked for their own place of worship. The congregation, then a group sponsored by the St. Louis Central Church, shifted venues due to various reasons but settled at the St. Paul United Church of Christ in 2016. The congregation has been meeting there since.

In 2017, the group applied for company status, having met the requirements of the conference to do so. In 2018 the group’s request was granted. About three years later, the company applied for church status. At that time, the church had 62 baptized members. The congregation’s tithe had also increased by 72% from 2017 to 2021.

At the January 2022 Executive Committee Meeting the request for church status was approved.

To conclude the celebration, each member of St. Louis Urumuri came forward and signed the church charter.

Presenter Ishmael Ikpeama said the celebration was a blessing and wonderful day for the St. Louis Urumuri congregation.

“The signing of the charter by [the] Urumuri Seventh-day Adventist Company and its commissioning as [an] organized church is a milestone reached by God’s grace,” Ikpeama said.