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Mission - Vision - Purpose


Compelled by our faith MFV is committed to transforming the lives of ordinary individuals and families  who have been historically impacted due to racism and injustice by equipping them to challenge the systems that create those conditions and inviting community stakeholders to co-create a moral vision for Missouri and engage in the prophetic action necessary to make it a reality.

To build a better Missouri by amplifying prophetic voices of those most impacted by the issues and a multi faith cohort of leaders to build statewide grassroots power by uniting, training and equipping individuals and families impacted by injustice and faith leaders through the use of congregation and community based teams and organizing for multi issue work that ensures all of the Creator’s children are able to thrive in healthy environments. We envision a Missouri where we restore hope, produce the power and political will needed to create a just society for all Missourians.



Missouri Faith Voices (MFV) is an unapologetically Black led multi-faith, multi racial, statewide, non partisan organization that is committed to disrupting and dismantling the fraudulent historic and evil concept of white supremacy and confronting all of the systems that have been shaped and conditioned to sustain it. We are dedicated to untethering faith from white supremacy and reclaiming the prophetic voice and role of faith leaders who are not complicit with the empire but act with our people as Prophets of Resistance.

This demands that we  fight for racial equity and deeply invest in the leadership and well being of Black people, other people of Color and those who have been historically excluded from democracy and subjected to the trauma caused by unfair policies, practices and oppressed by racial and economic injustice.



Missouri Faith Voices engages the power of the faith community to shape public policy, debate, and dialogue on behalf of vulnerable people in our state. This statewide grassroots collaborative was born from the Missouri Interreligious Roundtable, a convening of sixty clergy and 200 faith community leaders who united in response to the growing health care access crisis in Missouri. 

Through the Roundtable’s advocacy in 2009 – in partnership with Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance, Missouri Budget Project, and Partnership for Children – tens of thousands of children had the opportunity to gain health insurance through presumptive eligibility legislation and a streamlined enrollment process. In 2011, the Interreligious Roundtable was formalized as Missouri Faith Voices, a 501c3 organization with member groups such as Communities Creating Opportunity in Kansas City (100 participating congregations), clergy tables in Columbia and Springfield (20 participating congregations), and clusters of congregations in cities such as Marceline, St. Joseph, Kirksville, Joplin, and Clinton.  “The ministers,” as elected officials have begun to call them, were a recognized force in the State Capitol. 

Missouri Faith Voices has developed as a strong grassroots leader in Missouri.

We co- led statewide efforts over the last decade that resulted in Medicaid Expansion being passed by voters in August of 2020 which is to be implemented in 2021.  

We are defenders of democracy and continue to work to protect voters and their rights from systemic acts of voter suppression. Our work has led to expanding the electorate and equipping voters who are excluded by political parties with the information that is necessary for them to contest for power and governance in the public square. Our work on predatory lending reform has gained national attention. We are proud to be a part of the Faith in Action National Network.

This is our 10th year! We have grown from a roundtable of clergy from various faiths to a multi-faith, multi-racial movement with chapters and employees in four cities, St. Louis, Columbia, Jefferson City, Springfield and coming soon to Kansas City.


Staff and Board


Rev. Larita Rice-Barnes
Interim Director| 

Rev. Larita wears a few hats including: author, entrepreneur, Life Coach, Pastor, change agent, global political advisor, transformational leader, wife, mother and friend. She is a faith-based grassroots organizer. She has dedicated her life and work to the betterment of the world around her. She is an advocate for racial and economic dignity. She mobilizes and organizes communities of faith to build power.

She is a sought-out speaker,  advocate for gun violence reduction and chaplaincy in urban communities. Larita is a survivor of gun violence. She is a victim’s rights and mental health advocate and acts as liaison for parents and students with school officials.

She serves as Senior Pastor and founder of Empowerment Of Grace USA and Empowerment Of Grace-Uganda. In 2007, she founded Women of Excellence Midwest, an organization established as a safe haven for battered, abused, and rejected women to heal and be emboldened to move forward.

She served as the Social Justice Chair at Eden Theological Seminary where she earned her Master of Arts in Professional Studies degree and launched and led an Urban Chaplaincy program where participants earned a certificate for their participation.

She is a global leader and political advisor for members of parliament in several countries and has founded Global Impact Leadership Alliance (GILA),™ an organization built on the commitment of meeting the needs of developing nations and providing a platform for cultural and economic exchange.

She is the founder and lead organizer of the annual RESET America RESET Africa Conference, a conference that focuses on the key areas of influence: business, arts and entertainment, media, family, government, religion, and education, brings together heads of state and key policy makers from across the globe and fosters creative dialogue for cooperation while also participating in local government and receiving recognition for her work.

She is a 2016 recipient of the President Barack Obama Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Services and a 2021 recipient of the President Joe Biden Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Services. She has shared the stage with many of the industry’s leading speakers and singers and personalities.

Prior to assuming the role of Interim Director she served as a leader and a board member with Missouri Faith Voices.

Board members

Rev Russel Board President .jpg
Rev WT Edmunson Board Vice President .jpg
Anne Schneider Board Secretary.jpg

President – Rev. Russell Ewell, Pastor Terrace Lake UMC, 
Kansas City, MO

Vice President- Rev. W.T. Edmonson, Assistant Pastor Second Baptist Church Jefferson City, MO.


Treasurer- Bro. Forestal Lawton, Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church
Kansas City, MO. 

Secretary-Anne Schneider, Elder First Presbyterian 
Jefferson City, MO.


Rev. Dr. Linden Bowie Zion Travelers Baptist Church, Missionary Baptist State Convention of Missouri
St. Louis, MO. 

Rev. Susan Schmalzbauer, Bois D’ Arc United Methodist Church
Springfield MO.

Rev. Maureen Dickman, Broadway Christian Church 
Columbia, MO.

Maharat Rori Picker-Neiss, Jewish Community Relations Council of 
St Louis, MO.

Rev. Dr. Bob Hill, Retired Disciples of Christ
Kansas City, MO.


How We Organize

Missouri Faith Voices works to create a more just world by teaching people of faith how to build and exercise their own power to address the root causes of the problems they face. In MFV, this struggle for justice is rooted in our shared faith vision. We use listening, research and advocacy to identify and change conditions to create racial equity and economic dignity.

At the center of our model of congregation-based community organizing is a belief in the potential for transformation—of people, institutions, and our society-at-large. This belief stems directly from MFV’s roots in faith communities, and radiates throughout the organization, influencing the way MFV relates to public officials, to community members, and to one another.

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