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Across the Nation: 125th birthday celebration, beyond segregated Sunday and more quick takes

Across the Nation is our monthly rundown of news briefs, links and quotes from Churches of Christ across the U.S. Got an idea for this column? Email Bobby Ross Jr. at [email protected].

Featured photo (above)

Happy 125th birthday! Fort Worth, Texas, congregation celebratesBrittany Lawson signs during the recent 125th anniversary celebration of the Southside Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas.

Click the image to read our 2015 feature on the Southside Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas.

About 750 people came together to worship the Lord and celebrate his faithfulness, minister Steve Cloer said. Former members attended, and former ministers participated, including Kyle Kiser, John Scott, Sean Fitzgerald, Mike Brown, Bryan Barrett and Hardeman Nichols.  

There was a children’s balloon release of 125 balloons filled with Scripture, a time capsule buried, a memorial tree planted and a special concert by the music group First Day, Cloer reported.


Beyond segregated Sunday: Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. once described 11 a.m. Sunday as “the most segregated hour of Christian America.”

“God be praised that it cannot be said about the Church of Christ in Kosciusko,” the Mississippi church said in a recent Facebook post. “Today marks the beginning of a permanent, unified effort to serve the Lord.”

The predominantly black Tipton Street and predominantly white South Huntington congregations have merged. They will be known as the Kosciusko Church of Christ.

Quick takes


Merlon “Mack” Thompson

PHOENIX — After 46 years with the same congregation, Merlon “Mack” Thompson is retiring as the head minister for the Tonto Street Church of Christ.

In 1960, 19-year old Thompson was baptized in West Texas. Not long after, a deep passion began to stir within him — a burden to help other Christians with the challenges they faced.

In 1964, he started preaching.

Thompson attended Sunset International Bible Institute in Lubbock, Texas, and graduated in 1967. He has ministered in Texas, Alabama and Arizona.


NORTH LITTLE ROCK — The WindSong Church of Christ — formerly the Sixth and Izard congregation — recently honored John and Beth Gipson for 50 years of service and ministry.

John Gipson has been involved in ministry since his senior year at then-Abilene Christian College in Texas in 1953. He has had a tremendous impact on the lives of many and blessed the ministry of countless preachers with his articles, WindSong pulpit minister Keith Harris said.

“What a blessing to be able to draw from his many years of ministry experience and enjoy such wonderful support,” Harris said. “John and Beth have been an amazing blessing to the WindSong church.”

John and Beth Gipson, center, are honored for 50 years of service. Also pictured are minister pulpit minister Keith Harris and his wife, Lindsey.


MURFREESBORO — The final numbers are in: The North Boulevard Church of Christ baptized more than 120 people in 2018 — more than 250 if you count baptisms from foreign missions.

Over the past four years, the congregation has emphasized discipleship and evangelism. Many members are now involved in discipleship groups and Bible studies, including several ministers who door-knock on a regular basis.

“We looked around our rapidly growing community and saw that our churches weren’t growing,” senior minister David Young said. “That means there are more and more lost people around us each week, each month, each year who aren’t hearing the Good News. We decided we aren’t OK with that.”


KELLER — The Keller Church of Christ recently hosted its second annual Tabitha Camp.

Under the direction of Kathleen Whitson, 24 campers in fifth through ninth grades enjoyed special training classes and participated in various service activities.

Tabitha Camp participants show off the certificates they received.

Campers celebrated with a banquet, where they received certificates of completion, minister Cory Collins said.

The church earlier hosted Titus Camp, which served 18 boys in sixth through ninth grades.

Candles, balloons, teddy bears and flowers are among the items left at a makeshift memorial for Charles Smith Jr. — known as “C.J.” — outside the Levy Church of Christ. Smith died in a shootout with police just 30 feet from the church’s ministry center.

Quote of the month

“Like many of us from time to time, he made bad judgments. But bad judgment does not deserve a death sentence.” — Duncan Martin, minister for the Southside Church of Christ in Little Rock, Ark., on a 17-year-old church member killed in a shootout with police. Read the full story.

Filed under: National News Race Racial reconciliation and the church

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