We also try each month to have a fun activity at the church or someone’s home. We are planning a hayride and cookout for October, a Friendsgiving Dinner for Thanksgiving, a living nativity for Christmas, hopefully, another Chiefs’ Super Bowl Party, Underground Church, and other fun events throughout the year.

The youth also participate in Youth Sunday each fall (pictures below), help with Lent services, and deliver Mother’s and Father’s Day devotions. The youth help at the local food bank and take part in Operation Christmas Child. The youth participate each Labor Day weekend in the Night Light kickball tournament in High Point.

Our leaders are committed to teaching the truths of the Bible to make disciples of Jesus of our youth. We want to make sure our youth leave high school with a living and active faith that will make a difference in their lives as well as the communities they will serve.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and purity.” I Timothy 4:12


Youth ministry is offered to tweens and teens who are in the 6-12th grade. The youth of California UCC meet regularly to experience faith, fun, and Christian fellowship. Monthly gatherings feature a blend of age-appropriate, service-oriented, and social activities. Parents are actively involved in planning and supervising events.



At the UCC of California, we offer Confirmation for those in the eighth grade culminating in the reception of full church membership. Confirmation classes start in the fall and last approximately six months during the school year. Students are expected to attend confirmation classes each Wednesday night from 6:30-8:00 and attend Sunday School and worship services each Sunday. They complete a weekly worksheet about the worship service and something they learned from their daily devotional times.

We focus on the students developing a habit of daily Bible reading, praying daily, and developing a strong personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We’ll study the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles Creed, the Lord’s Supper, and baptism along with the books of the Bible, both the Old Testament and New Testament. Students will study from the “My Confirmation” book, the “Next Steps” booklet, “The Evangelical Catechism” book, and of course daily devotions from their Bibles. Students will write their statement of Faith based on a special section of scripture that they will present during the Lent Season. The Confirmation Service itself will take place on Palm Sunday. If a confirmand has not been baptized, we will schedule a place and time for their baptism before Confirmation Sunday.

God’s Singers

I’m Connie Bestgen. I have been a member of the United Church of Christ my entire life. My husband, Jay, and I have two grown children, Morgan and Wyatt. We live on a farm east of California and we raise beef cattle besides both being full-time employees of the State of Missouri.

I have been directing God’s Singers for two years and I enjoy it. I directed the youth choir for a couple of years when I was in high school. So now I have children in the choir whose parents were in the choir I directed years ago. God’s Singers is for kids from first through seventh grade. We meet on Wednesday nights during the school year and sing one Sunday a month. The kids are very enthusiastic and they are a joy to work with.

The children’s Choir is known as God’s Singers.  It is open to children in 1st-7th grade under the direction of Beth Dampf. They meet on Wednesday evenings throughout the school year.

The choir performs one Sunday a month, September through May. During the school year, God’s Singers became part of the Wednesday evening R.O.K. (Reaching Our Kids) program from 6:30-7:30 p.m.  This program included Bible stories and crafts, as well as singing.

I joined the United Church of Christ of California in 1990 when I married my husband Steven. I am originally from Iowa and was living in Columbia when I met Steven on a blind date! Over the years, I have spent my time as a stay-at-home mom raising our two sons (Grant and Luke), along with 1st volunteering and then working part-time at the Elementary School along with volunteering for and also leading many different church programs at the church.

Now that our sons are grown and our family has grown to include our daughter-in-law Bailey (married to Grant), I am a housewife and volunteer my time at church. My favorite things to do are spend time with family and good friends, travel, fish, read, and do jigsaw puzzles. I love the outdoors and working in my yard. Along with leading these two groups, I also teach Sunday School and sing in the Senior Choir.

Beginning on the Wednesday following Labor Day, this group meets on Wednesday evenings during the school year from 6:20 to 7:30. Our last Wednesday night meeting for the school year is the Wednesday before Ash Wednesday. God’s Singers will continue to meet until May. The group is for all children and youth in grades 1st through 7th. Their friends are also welcome to join the group. We begin with a time of Bible Exploration, followed by God’s Singers practice, and we end with our crafts/ activities time and prayer. We always welcome adult volunteers to help us or be willing to substitute when our current adult leaders are unable to attend. Working with the children has been a very rewarding experience.

 2022 Vacation Bible School (VBS)

The California United Church of Christ held Vacation Bible School from July 24th through the 28th. The theme was “Great Big Beautiful World”. Students rotated from Worship, Bible Study, Crafts/Science, Recreation, & Snacks. The Theme was “God’s Creation from the Beginning to the New Creation.” Helpers from California United Methodist joined the fun. Songs enjoyed each night included: “Peace Like a River”, “This Little Light of Mine”, and the “Great Big Beautiful World” theme song. Students learned the Bible verse: “I will trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever. Psalm 52:8b There was a special guest, a giraffe named Youcc. Each night we learned facts about Giraffes and heard some jokes about Giraffes. The space was decorated with scenes of the ocean including a Coral Reef, mountains, The Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark, and The Arctic with penguins. Rainbows and streamers highlighted many doors. The benevolence projects this year were Buddy Packs and Heifer International. Nightly offerings added up to $900.00, which will support the Buddy Pack program in Moniteau County, and water projects that go to under-developed countries to help provide clean water for people. Thanks go to the Brotherhood, who fried fish, and side dishes were brought in during the Thursday evening program. We appreciated all the monetary donations, snack donations, the Youth Group for helping decorate our space, our presenters, and volunteer/helpers to help make Bible School a reality, and all the VBS students that attended.

Christmas Eve Children’s Program

Each Christmas Eve, our youth of all ages, put on a Christmas program with drama and singing. We also present a gift to all of our Cradle Roll children (ages 3 and under). At the end of the program, we have a traditional candle-lighting ceremony while singing Silent Night. It is one of the highlights of the Christmas season.

4-Year-Old Playschool

The children learned about fire safety and explored the fire truck.

California UCC hosts a 4-year-old playschool on Tuesday and Thursday mornings during the school year. It is open to anyone in the community. They meet in the Fellowship Room and are taught by Amanda Barbour and Karey Freiner. For more information or to enroll your child, please call 796-2832.

One of our goals is to provide an introduction to the school years through a positive playschool experience. Any potty-trained child who is four years old before August 1, or five years old and not enrolled in kindergarten is eligible for enrollment into Four-year-old Play School. This program serves everyone in our community. If you or someone you know is interested in enrolling their child into our Playschool program, please call Playschool at 796-2832. We appreciate all referrals! And of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to call. Thanks! Ms. Karey & Ms. Amanda