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Across the Nation: 5-year-old song leader, California unity, Christian police chief 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)

5-year-old leads singing, with a little help: Dylan Eliott, 5, leads “Step by Step” at the La Grange Church of Christ in Texas, assisted by deacon Frank Smith.

Minister Scott Elliott, Dylan’s father, said the church loves children.

“I love that overalls are appropriate attire at our congregation,” Scott Elliott said. “At our services, you may find one person wearing a suit and another person wearing jeans.”


Truck crashes into Kentucky church building: A semi-truck heading westbound on Kentucky Route 90 recently crashed into the Refuge Church of Christ in Eighty Eight, Ky., causing major damage.

The driver, Phil Chaplin, fell asleep at the wheel, causing the truck to drift off the road before striking the front of the church building, authorities reported.

Read the full story.

Authorities survey the damage to the Refuge Church of Christ building.

Authorities survey the damage to the Refuge Church of Christ building.

Quick takes


PHOENIX — The Church of Christ at the Vineyard hosted a free event Feb. 8 to bring awareness to how African American girls are being pushed out of the education system, Lisa Norwood said.

Norwood is a member of the Vineyard church and the principal of a local primary school.

More than 200 people from the community attended the event, which featured a viewing of the documentary film “Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools” and a panel discussion with Norwood and six other education or organization officials. Norwood quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in regard to the importance of the event: “Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice.”

Leslie Adkins, Dawn Demps and Lisa Norwood organized the Arizona event.

Leslie Adkins, Dawn Demps and Lisa Norwood organized the Arizona event.


LOS ANGELES — More than 300 brothers and sisters in Christ gathered for “Peace and Unity in Christ,” a recent areawide evening worship assembly at the Southside Church of Christ.

Guest speakers included Stanley Talbert of the Normandie Church of Christ in Los Angeles, Jim Gash of Pepperdine University in Malibu and Ervin D. Seamster Jr. of Southwestern Christian College in Terrell, Texas.

The L.A. Mass Choir, an American gospel group, and Won by One, an a cappella group from Pepperdine, added their voices to the service.


LAS VEGAS — The North Las Vegas Church of Christ hosted the recent 57th annual West Coast Preachers and Leaders Forum, which drew an average attendance of 200.

The event is designed to “edify, exhort and unify” preachers, elders, deacons and leaders in the Churches of Christ, North Las Vegas minister Leo Gay. This was the fifth time his congregation hosted the event.

“What happened in Vegas did not stay in Vegas,” Gay said, noting that the forum was available via livestream across the nation.



TULSA — Wendell Franklin, a long-time member of The Park Church of Christ, is Tulsa’s new police chief.

Franklin, a 23-year veteran who became the department’s first permanent African American chief, began his new position Feb. 1.

At a recent Sunday service, church members surrounded him and his family — wife Arquicia, sons Coreon and Brendon and daughter in-law Lydia — as they offered a special prayer on his behalf.

“Wendell has been given influence, and a righteous man is where he is,” preaching minister Mitch Wilburn said. “And the people today, we see the results of that … and I know our city rejoices.”


YAMHILL — Forty-eight attendees from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Colorado and British Columbia gathered at Camp Yamhill for the recent Expositor’s Seminar, an annual event that serves Churches of Christ in the Pacific Northwest.

Speakers included Greg Sterling, dean of Yale Divinity School, and Carson Reed, vice president of church relations at Abilene Christian University.

Jay Hawkins, minister for the Caldwell Church of Christ in Idaho, said Sterling taught on key issues in the book of Acts. Reed invited ministers to think about why and how they minister and how Scripture models ways to reflect on those matters.

“Expositor’s continues to be the only Northwest event in Churches of Christ designed to cultivate better teaching and preaching of the Bible,” Hawkins said.

At the Freed-Hardeman University Bible Lectureship, Britt Farmer and Joey Spann reflect on their experiences with church shootings.

Quote of the month

““Evil is not going to stop us from doing what God wants us to do.” — Britt Farmer, minister for the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. Read the full story.

Filed under: Arizona California Chief Wendell Franklin Las Vegas National Nevada Oklahoma Oregon Texas The Park Church of Christ Top Stories

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