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Across the nation, May 2010


ALABAMA

GADSDEN — Ray Cox, a member of the Rainbow church and a leader of its prison ministry, said living out Matthew 25 is the congregation’s mandate for providing a 12-step program, a behavioral ministry and a transitional home for female inmates after their release.
Cox and Tony Cleveland, another program leader, told The Gadsden Times that their “captive audience” has been so receptive that success stories abound.
“I tell them, now God has their attention,” Cox told the newspaper. “It’s an ideal time and way to find God.”
FLORIDA

TAMPA — Father-and-son duo Jim and Wes Woodell teamed up recently to preach and host a father/son men’s retreat with the Bay Area church.
More than 100 attended and heard lessons on “Real Sins, Real Struggles” as well as the Gospel and God’s grace.
The partnership was the first for Jim Woodell, executive director of River City Ministry in North Little Rock, Ark., and Wes Woodell, a domestic missionary with the Lake Merced church in San Francisco.
It was also a homecoming of sorts, as both men credit members of the Bay Area church with helping Wes Woodell overcome addiction and become a Christian.
 
MICHIGAN

KALAMAZOO — “We have no intention of closing our doors.”
So says Jim Miller, minister at the North Westnedge church, which has about 100 members. The congregation has been facing tough financial times, but told the Kalamazoo Gazette that its mortgage company reduced its building payoff by half — from $100,000 to $50,000 — and that the church has raised just under half that amount.
“We set the goal ourselves” to raise funds to pay off the mortgage and make necessary repairs to the building,” Miller said, adding that the roof is a key concern.
North Westnedge also serves as a food distribution location for the city’s Loaves & Fishes program, which provides emergency food assistance for residents of Kalamazoo County.
 
MISSISSIPPI

WAILUKU — Every Tuesday, volunteers from the 61 South church provide food for up to 150 families that come to its building. That’s more than five times the number of members at the small church.
With the closing of the Natchez Food Pantry, that number could increase. While the Mississippi Food Network provides the food, 61 South members count, sort and package the 20-pound boxes it distributes each week.
“We help all the people we can,” member John Seyfarth told the Natchez Democrat as he carried a box to one recipient’s waiting car.
 
OREGON

TIGARD — The Southwest church has become a Tuesday morning café for hungry high school students, according to the Tigard News. “We saw cold, hungry teens walking across our church parking lot (and) we thought we should feed them,” said Youth Minister Jeff Grow, remembering a conversation with church staff four years ago.
About 200 students now meet at the building at 7 a.m. once a week for an hour of hot food, conversation and encouragement. Donations and volunteers help provide 24 dozen eggs, 450 pancakes, 250 sausage links, hash browns and beverages. Leftovers are shared with the city’s Good Neighbor Center, Grow said.
TENNESSEE

CHATTANOOGA — Becky Wooley’s first book might give her husband pause: In it, three preachers ignore the warning to “repent or die” and are knocked off systematically by a serial killer.
But Bruce Wooley, minister of the Brainerd church, doesn’t seem worried.
The humorous tale set in a small town in the South doesn’t hit that close to home, he said.
“Non-Prophet Murders: A Grit and Grace Mystery” is a satirical novel that showcases the classic theme of good vs. evil and grace vs. law. It is available at Amazon.com, at Christianbooks.com or from the author, [email protected].
 
TEXAS

MESQUITE — What began as an apartment ministry more than four years ago has evolved into a congregation called At the Cross Church of Christ, said member Donna Oldright.
The primary focus remains on reaching lower-income apartment residents with the Gospel and assisting them with physical needs, she said. To that end, the congregation worships in two locations: its donated facility at 10910 Bruton Road in Dallas and the Allenhurst Apartments in Mesquite.
The plant was a joint project of the Golf Course Road and Highland Oaks congregations. Bruce Archer serves as minister. More information may be found at atthecrosscofc.org.
 
WISCONSIN

KENOSHA — John Wright celebrated his 80th birthday recently with his family, friends and neighbors surrounding him — at church.
Wright, who served as a branch president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People, still works for civil rights advancement and preaches some at the 23rd Avenue Church of Christ, which he helped found. So it only made sense that he celebrate his milestone there with the people who have blessed his life, he told the Kenosha News.

Filed under: National Staff Reports

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