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Across the Nation, April 2013

— The Care Bear Ministry, an outreach of the Canyon Church of Christ, makes handmade stuffed animals for emergency first responders to distribute.
The goal: “bear-ing a message of comfort and love” to children and their families, member Davina White said.
On a recent workday, members of all ages met to create the bears, assembly-line style, with tags featuring Canyon’s contact information. The group later delivered the bears to fire stations, urgent care centers, sheriff’s offices and children’s hospitals for young people experiencing loss or trauma.
— A tornado that ripped through this north Georgia town Jan. 30 destroyed the east wing of the Adairsville Church of Christ’s building.
The congregation lost three of its classrooms, a supply room and a food pantry used to serve the needy in its community.
But church members didn’t let the loss keep them from helping neighbors in their storm-ravaged community, minister Steve McCaslin said.
The congregation filled its annex — across the street from the building and undamaged by the storm — with relief supplies.
Nashville, Tenn.-based Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort packed and shipped a truckload of food boxes and cleaning supplies, which the congregation distributed.
“We feel blessed. It could have been a lot worse,” McCaslin said of the damages the church building sustained.

THURMONT — When Catoctin Church of Christ leaders planned the recent groundbreaking ceremony for the 17-year-old church’s first permanent worship facility, they asked six widows to share the honor of moving the first ceremonial shovels of dirt.
Johnna Gregory, Ercil Heim, Ruth Henderson, Mary Long, Grace Marine and Ellen Winzer led the group in celebrating the milestone. The congregation has outgrown its rented shopping center storefront near the Camp David presidential retreat, elder Dennis Norris said.
The church started with four founding families and has grown to more than 80 members, Norris said.
— Coffee, cookies, clothing and the love of Christ are on the menu each Tuesday morning at the Bristol Road Church of Christ.
The congregation welcomes neighbors to its free-standing service center, where they can enjoy donated refreshments before they pick out clothing and select from fresh and canned foods purchased at a discounted price from the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
The outreach, which began 40 years ago in an upstairs classroom, serves about 100 people each week and is entirely supported and operated by church volunteers, member Janet Cybulski said.
— The Roosevelt-Freeport Church of Christ is rejoicing in its first set of triplets, who recently turned a year old and marked the occasion with their church family.
Simon, Samuel and Samson — along with big brothers Timothy, 3, and Emmanuel, 7, and parents Anthony and Funmilayo Oyibe-Ebije — comprise the happy family.
The Oyibe-Ebijes came to the congregation from the Festac Town Church of Christ in Lagos, Nigeria, two years ago.
— The Central Church of Christ, south of Houston, is proud of its nickname: “Little Church With a Big Heart.”
With an average attendance of 60, the church supports a student working with missionaries in Tanzania, a homeless ministry called Family Promise and Christian Helping Hands, a food bank.
“We can always be depended on in an emergency, too,” said member Linda Shaw, noting that the church provided aid for those in its community after Hurricane Ike and also sent funds to nearby Galveston.

Filed under: National Staff Reports

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