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Across the Nation: Church celebrates 200 years, plus ‘5:14 Teen Ministry,’ racial unity 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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A bicentennial celebration: The Oak Grove Church of Christ in Rincon, Ga., traces its roots to four founding members of Salzburg descent.

One of the nation’s oldest “continuously meeting” Churches of Christ celebrates its bicentennial.

In 1819, Christian Herman Dasher’s study of the Bible convinced him that he needed to confess his faith in Jesus and be baptized for the remission of sins.

He found a believer in Savannah, Ga., about 20 miles southeast of Rincon, to immerse him. Then he returned home and baptized his wife, Elizabeth Dasher, as well her sister, Mary Catherine Wisenbaker, and the sister’s husband, Christian Gottleib Wisenbaker. The four began meeting for worship in the Dashers’ home.

Thus began one of the nation’s oldest “continuously meeting” Churches of Christ.

In the 1940s, preachers gather for a meeting at a previous location of the Oak Grove Church of Christ in Rincon, Ga.

In the 1940s, preachers gather for a meeting at a previous location of the Oak Grove Church of Christ in Rincon, Ga.

On a recent weekend, the Oak Grove church marked its 200th anniversary with a three-day event that included a cookout, ice cream social, Sunday luncheon and bounce houses for children as well as sessions regarding the founding, timeline and history of the congregation.

“Baptism by immersion continues to be practiced, and the Lord’s Supper is offered every Sunday. The congregation still has a cappella singing.”

“The faith, love and devotion of the founders of the congregation — to the Word of God and to Jesus as Lord and Savior — continues to live on in the hearts of those who make up the Oak Grove congregation today,” minister Don Davis said.

“Baptism by immersion continues to be practiced, and the Lord’s Supper is offered every Sunday,” he added. “The congregation still has a cappella singing.”

The church of 120 members is led by three elders, six deacons and two ministers. Through the years, the congregation has met in homes, schoolhouses and several different church buildings.

The outside of the new Oak Grove church building, which opened in 2018.

The outside of the new Oak Grove church building, which opened in 2018.

In 1950, a church building was constructed on Fourth Street in Rincon and served as the congregation’s home for nearly seven decades. In 2018, the church moved to its present location at 2000 Lexington Ave. in Rincon.

“Past and present members came together in a heartfelt time of reminiscing and thanksgiving,” Davis said of the bicentennial celebration.

A narrated PowerPoint presentation was given and can be seen at rinconchurchofchrist.com.

Spotlight

Young hearts and ancient words: At 5:14 p.m. each Thursday, the Rochester Church of Christ in Indiana feeds about 20 to 25 teenagers from the community.

“We are sharing Christ with a group of teens that is usually ignored by most of society, including too many churches.”

The “5:14 Teen Ministry” is tied to Matthew 5:14, which says, “Let your light shine before others.”

The gathering begins with an activity, followed by a short devotional thought and then dinner, minister Jim Dillinger said. About 10 church volunteers take turns working with the teens.

“We are sharing Christ with a group of teens that is usually ignored by most of society, including too many churches,” Dillinger said. “Once you get past the very rough exterior, there are some pretty neat kids who are needing someone to care about them.”

Quick takes

ALABAMA

ENTERPRISE — For the first time, all four of this city’s Churches of Christ recently came together to host a citywide gospel meeting at the Enterprise Civic Center.

The four-day event featured the theme “Good News in Bad Times.” The evangelistic outreach involved the predominantly black Adams Street and Southside congregations and the predominantly white Pinedale and College Avenue congregations.

Volunteers from all four churches knocked on doors and distributed leaflets promoting the meeting, said James Baker, an elder of the College Avenue congregation.

“This was the first time in Enterprise history that all four congregations of the Lord’s church came together in a common cause for such a big event,” Baker said. “It is definitely not the last. We are already planning for our next citywide outreach.”

NORTH CAROLINA

STATESVILLE — For the first time in 50 years, the century-old Abilene Church of Christ has elders.

Leon Cash and Robert English were appointed recently to serve as shepherds, along with deacon Randy Bridges.

“We have had some old members returning and one new convert,” minister Dave Olson said of the congregation’s successes.

TEXAS

ABILENE — A stretch of the Minda Street Church of Christ’s namesake road has been renamed “Dr. Tony Roach Street” in recognition of the congregation’s founding minister.

Perhaps having Mayor Anthony Williams as a member speeded the process, the Abilene Reporter-News reported. The church recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.


Asamoah Boateng leads the Twi dialect version of “Our God, He Is Alive” during the areawide service at the Northland Church of Christ.

Asamoah Boateng leads the Twi dialect version of “Our God, He Is Alive” during the areawide service at the Northland Church of Christ.

Quote of the month

“This is a little bit of heaven right here.” — Lynn Rosenbaum, member of the Northland Church of Christ in Columbus, Ohio, at an areawide service where Christians sang in English, Spanish and the Twi dialect of Ghana. Read the full story.

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