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Across the Nation: New Jersey baby boom, Texas church fire 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].

Featured photo (above)

New Jersey congregation celebrates a baby boom: Each year, the Pitman Road Church of Christ in Sewell, N.J., invites parents of newborns up front for a special prayer.

Over the last year, the congregation has experienced a baby boom, minister Dan Cooper noted.

“Biggest group of new babies we’ve had in a while,” Cooper said.


Texas church to rebuild after fire: After a recent fire, the Eastside Church of Christ is reminding supporters that the church is made up of Christians, not brick and mortar.

“Our congregation’s building is destroyed, but the Lord’s church remains strong, and worldly things are temporary anyway,” leaders of the West Texas congregation said on their website.

Volunteer firefighters take time to pray after battling the church fire in Kermit, Texas.

Volunteer firefighters take time to pray after battling the church fire in Kermit, Texas.

The 60-member church awaited fire investigators’ determination of a cause for the fire while preparing to dig through the rubble. The auditorium, offices, classrooms and food pantry were destroyed, but the fellowship building is across an alley and was unharmed. The congregation expects to meet there while rebuilding. The burned facility was insured.

“Due to the severity of the fire, the recovery will be a lengthy process,” the website said.

Financial donations can be sent to PO Box 845, Kermit, TX 79745.

Quick takes


SEARCY — The 1,600-member Downtown Church of Christ is expanding to better serve the youth of its membership, including often-overlooked children with special needs, church leaders said.

A $3.6 million addition will double the congregation’s number of classrooms. A previous addition, completed in 2000, was designed for a maximum of 280 children.

“We’ve outgrown that facility and currently have 361 kids in our children’s program,” said Jennifer Mills, one of the church’s children’s ministers. “And it continues to grow.”

The new space will include classrooms for special-needs and hidden-disability children and feature tools and resources such as sensory swings, body socks, fidget toys and weighted lap pads.


NEW ORLEANS — Pop star Beyoncé reportedly has purchased the Seventh and Camp Church of Christ building.

Real estate records cited by the New Orleans Advocate newspaper indicate the two-story, corner church recently sold for $850,000.

The church had fallen into disrepair as its small congregation dwindled over the years, and the few remaining members decided to sell it, according to the paper.

The celebrity news site TMZ identified Beyoncé as the buyer, the Advocate noted. The church’s telephone number has been disconnected.


DETROIT — Hubert Locke, a former minister for the Conant Gardens Church of Christ who wrote a book on the 1967 Detroit riot, died June 2. He was 84.

Hubert Locke

Hubert Locke

Besides his church duties, Locke served as an administrative assistant for the Detroit police commissioner.

He was the author of “The Detroit Riot of 1967,” which detailed how events unfolded hour by hour.

The Christian Chronicle interviewed him at the riot’s 50th anniversary last year.

After the riot, Locke later left the ministry and police work to enter academia. He served as the dean of the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. He lived in Seattle at the time of his death.


JACKSON — During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln created two holidays: Thanksgiving and a National Day of Prayer and Fasting.

Leaders of the Skyway Hills Church of Christ said they initially were unaware of the second holiday, which has faded away.

The more we learned about this National Day of Prayer and Fasting, the more we felt called by God to honor him in this way,” elder Jim Head told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. So the church recently observed the holiday.

Member Andrew Rodgers told the newspaper: “Fasting and prayer draws us closer to God because … we are relying on him for all our sustenance, for all our needs.”

Black and white ministers pose for a group photo during the 1968 Atlanta meeting on race relations in Churches of Christ.

Black and white ministers pose for a group photo during the 1968 Atlanta meeting on race relations in Churches of Christ.

Quote of the month

“We still have two brotherhoods — the white brotherhood and the black brotherhood — and we don’t have too much fellowship between us.” — minister Eugene Lawton, reflecting on the 50th anniversary of a milestone meeting to discuss race relations in Churches of Christ. Read the full story.

Filed under: National Top Stories

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