Community of Christ will close Imani Mission Center

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COLUMBIA - Founders of the Imani Mission Center packed up moving boxes on Monday after it announced it will close July 1.

Community of Christ funded the mission center.

A member of the church's communications and media relations team Kendra Friend said the church is proud of the services the mission center provided, but many factors have contributed to its closing.

"At this time, both Community of Christ's budget to fund ministries around the world and the Gateway USA Mission Center's budget must be reduced to meet available tithing and other income," Friend said. "As a result, several valued Community of Christ ministries around the world-including Imani Mission in Columbia, Missouri-have to be discontinued. Additionally, in the case of the Imani Mission, the congregation's building is in a state of disrepair that makes it no longer safe to use. There are no funds to complete necessary repairs. Community of Christ moved into the neighborhood hoping to establish a self-sustaining congregation, but were never able to achieve that goal. In the absence of local funding and ordained ministers, we are unable to continue this emerging congregation."

Glenn Cobbins Sr. helped co-found the Imani Mission Center and said it helped people in the community become whole.

"I mean from paying bills to after school programs to identity to the worth of all persons to going in the court rooms and being advocates for all people that needed moral support," Cobbins said. "The main thing we wanted to do was fight peace and justice issues."

He said the church contacted his co-founder, Judy Hubbard, on June 8 and said the center had 22 days to move out.

"Judy and I cannot sustain being here," Cobbins said. "Even though we've done it with no budget and the community's help. And we've done ever service known to man. The only thing we didn't do was break the 10 Commandments."

Cobbins said although he does not understand why the church is closing the mission, he is taking it as a sign from God.

"God opened this door," Cobbins said. "So to me, God is closing the door. I won't allow the church or anyone else to have the kind of power to close that door."