COVID-19 challenges Christian relief ministries’ response to spring tornadoes
After an EF3 tornado slammed into Jonesboro, Ark., on March…
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].
Drive-in worship brings church ‘together’: Brendan Chance, minister for the Alexander City Church of Christ in Alabama, preaches atop a platform built over a pickup bed.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the drive-in outdoor worship allowed members to see each other from a safe distance. A short-range transmitter broadcast audio into vehicles. About 40 vehicles were counted.
“I never thought I’d be preaching from a setup like this!” Chance wrote on Facebook.
Alva Dean Toyer, a member of the Jenifer Church of Christ in Munford, Ala., believes there is power in sisters from Churches of Christ coming together to pray.
For that reason, she launched Sister Connect Outreach Prayer Line in 2012. It has grown from 23 women on the original call to more than 150 participants nationwide each week.
“Because of its growth, we are considering operating two nights a week,” Toyer said of the effort, which recently celebrated its eighth anniversary. “I am so excited!”
During each session, women are encouraged to pray for one another and share “the concerns of our hearts,” she said.
The group has a seven-member, multistate advisory committee that helps oversee its work. For more information, contact Toyer at [email protected].
MAYFIELD — Businesses are hurting, and some people are going hungry because of the coronavirus crisis. The Seven Oaks Church of Christ found a way to help.
“We were able to help a local business and also provide an easy, accessible meal to those in need.”
Church members provided free pizzas to the first 100 cars that showed up at Little Caesar’s on a recent Wednesday. The food was provided through the congregation’s long-running “Every One Counts” outreach program.
Those who picked up pizzas for dinner were invited to participate in the congregation’s Facebook Live class on Wednesday and worship remotely on Sunday, too, minister Josh Ketchum said.
“We were able to help a local business and also provide an easy, accessible meal to those in need,” Ketchum said. “It also is a way of providing an outreach and good name for the church.”
EDMOND — Lessons can be conducted online, but the meals that come with the day’s education aren’t available in that format.
With school buildings shuttered because of the global pandemic, some children have gone without the breakfast and lunch that had been provided by their district.
The Edmond Church of Christ saw the need and responded. Cara Jernigan, an Edmond member and local educator, organized a task force to help.
Church elders approved funding that helped provide “grab and go” breakfasts and lunches for students at Will Rogers Elementary, next door to the church.
Volunteers from several Bible classes donned protective face coverings and gloves and packed the bags each day with food items that met federal nutritional guidelines. Others spaced themselves out on a circle drive at the church and distributed the meals as cars pulled through the line. Satellite distributions were made at a local trailer park, as well, with the school’s teachers helping out.
FAYETTEVILLE — Tim Hall received a call at home on a recent night. This isn’t at all unusual for Hall, minister for the Howell Hill Church of Christ. Nor was the request, really: Hall is asked regularly to baptize a believer, as was being requested.
But this time, everything was different.
“Tim?” asked a woman Hall knew well from his congregation, “Can someone be baptized while we are in a shelter-in-place?”
The caller explained that her 22-year-old grandson, Austin Carter, was ready. “He doesn’t want to wait any longer, but he doesn’t want to put anyone at risk,” she said.
Hall said he would pray.
“We met at the church building, and I baptized that young man into Christ,” Hall said, explaining that after time spent talking to God, he knew what his answer must be.
Hall said he donned gloves in addition to his usual attire, and both went into the water for the baptism and came out together.
RICHARDSON — Girls from the Greenville Avenue Church of Christ, which comprises Girl Scout Troop 2477, earned Bronze and Silver awards from the organization.
The girls partnered with the African Library Project to build a library in Kampala, Uganda, as part of their qualification.
“These mission-minded girls had to collect at least 1,000 books and $600, which they did in excess,” said Elizabeth Afriyie, a church member and Troop 2477 leader. The girls also included devotional books and Bibles in the materials they shipped, she said.
“We may end up installing the puppets as elders and deacons to help us with herd immunity in our church.” — Gordon Dabbs, minister for the Prestoncrest Church of Christ in Dallas, on the special visitors during livestreaming. Read the full story.
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