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Across the Nation: Christian rodeo star, second-grade hunger advocate 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].

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Third-generation barrel racer credits Jesus as she advances to top rodeoSadie Wolaver and her horse, Princess, compete in trials in Canada leading up to the recent International Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City.

Wolaver, a member of the Howell Hill Church of Christ in Fayetteville, Tenn., received the prayers and support of her church family as she headed to the biggest rodeo of her life.

The 18-year-old Rookie of the Year winner, who has been riding since she was 4, wrote: “This sport truly takes an army, and I couldn’t do it without my Lord and Savior, my church family at Howell Hill, my family, friends, two great mares and my amazing sponsors. Thank you to everyone that has been by our side this year!”



Young hunger advocate: Kiptyn Patterson is a second-grader who attends the Meridianville Church of Christ in Alabama. He recently joined with a friend to collect several hundred canned goods to feed the hungry.

“We were trying to get 50,” the boy told WAFF-TV. “Well, it got over 50. We were like, ‘100 maybe.’ Then we were like, ‘200,’ and then we came to 300 and were like, ‘Oh my, this is crazy.’”

Kiptyn is the son of Casey and Lindsey Patterson.

Kiptyn Patterson and Avery Minskey

Kiptyn Patterson and Avery Minskey

Quick takes


Glenn Newton

Glenn Newton

ST. JOHNS — A new Church of Christ is being planted in fast-growing St. Johns County, which includes St. Augustine.

“Within a five-mile radius of our location, there are 80,000 people and no Churches of Christ within 15 miles,” lead minister Glenn Newton said.

The launch service for the Agape Church of Christ is scheduled for Feb. 3. The plant team includes seven families.

“This church will be missional to the core,” Newton said. “We will be a go-and-tell group of believers rather than a come-and-see group of churchgoers.”


DURANT — Two Churches of Christ — the 7th and Beech and Northwest congregations — have combined and plan to build a new facility. The new year brought the first official service of the Durant Church of Christ, meeting for now in the gym at the 7th and Beech location.

The combined church has acquired 10 acres and plans to construct a new building this year.

Brant Osuna, holding his daughter McKenna, fills out a form about ministry opportunities with the newly merged church.

Brant Osuna, holding his daughter McKenna, fills out a form about ministry opportunities with the newly merged church.

Membership of the new church totals about 500, elder and minister Layne Heitz said.

The 7th and Beech church of Christ, which constructed its building in 1918, planted the Northwest church in 1963. The two groups always have had a congenial relationship, working together on several mission efforts, leaders said.


WINCHESTER — With the “Great Bible Reading Challenge,” the 400-member Winchester Church of Christ is urging all its members to read through God’s word in 2019.

More than 300 members have accepted the challenge, minister Joseph Horton said.

“It’s a simple goal, but we believe it will be transformational for our people,” Horton said.

A banner shows the names of church members who have signed up for the Bible reading challenge.

A banner shows the names of church members who have signed up for the Bible reading challenge.


TEXAS CITY — After 25 years of serving this city on the Galveston Bay shoreline, the Mainland Church of Christ is closing.

Declining membership and the opportunity to sell the property to the Salvation Army prompted the decision, said Robert Goolsby, who was the church’s volunteer acting minister for 15 months.

“Church leaders decided this was best for the congregation,” Goolsby said, noting that $1.4 million for the sale will be distributed “to recipients doing God’s work throughout his kingdom.” Through “Scripture, prayer, humbleness and teamwork,” the church’s men came up with a list of roughly 35 recipients for the funds.

Other Churches of Christ remain active in Texas City, the minister said.

Brenda Jones, with minister Dallas A. Walker Jr., at the Wyoming Avenue Church of Christ in 2015.

Quote of the month

“I know that in my political life God has carried me.” — former U.S. Rep. Brenda Jones, D-Mich., on her short-lived tenure in Congress. Jones is a longtime member of the Wyoming Avenue Church of Christ in Detroit. Read the full story.

Filed under: Across the Nation National Top Stories

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