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Across the nation: Sister of ‘first member’ helps congregation celebrate 75 year

— Longtime member Dot Brewer Straughn stands in front of a display at the recent 75th anniversary celebration of the Brainerd church, Chattanooga, Tenn. Straughn’s brother, Bob Brewer, was the congregation’s “first member.” When people arrived for the first service at a school building, no one had a key, so Bob Brewer was hoisted up and through an open bathroom window.


Investigators were searching for acause after a fire destroyed the rural Tubbs Hill church. Minister WheelerPounds, who has led the church of 25 to 30 people since 1969, told The Birmingham News he couldn’t believethe sight as he looked at the charred building May 11.
Authorities were trying to determine ifthe state’s 15th church fire since February was an accident or a copycat of anearlier arson spree, The Associated Press reported.


A statewide lectureship is a bitdifferent in Alaskathan in most places. For instance, a member coming from Fairbanks would travel about 900 miles.
“You might call that a five-statelectureship down your way,” joked Matt Jones, a member of the Juneau church.

Nonetheless, about 80 people came byplane and boat from as far north as Fairbanksand west to Anchorage and south to Canada toattend the recent All-Alaska Lectureship, organizers said.
“This annual lectureship is a goodreminder that we are not facing the battle alone, a great way to share ideasfor outreach/programs and a good encouragement to all involved,” Jones said.


Spiritual formation has become abuzzword for many Christians. The North Street church, in fact, has created a newposition: spiritual formation minister. Former youth minister Lance Bolay isassuming the position.
His responsibilities will include thedevelopment, coordination and leadership of the congregation’s Lifegroupministry; leadership in the adult education ministry; teaching youth and adultclasses; and working with the elders, staff and other ministry leaders to helpthe church “grow into Christ-likeness,” according to the church bulletin.

The 60-member Point Pleasant church has hired a new minister, J. Donald Mash, afterlosing the only minister in its history.

Ralph Denham, 80, who was minister for50 years, died in October after a long illness. Mash, 71, told The Cincinnati Enquirer he will shareDenham’s emphasis on teaching. “My role is teaching and preaching and helpingothers learn the Bible and helping other communicate and teach the Word toothers,” said Mash, who preached in West Virginiabefore coming to Point Pleasant.


The Tammany Oaks church is recruitingcounselors to be available during JINO (Jesus in New Orleans) Week.

JINO is a gathering of hundreds ofteenagers, college students and adults who will gut homes, prayer-walk, painthouses and clean up debris. For more information, contact the Christians onCall Network at [email protected] or (318) 396-6339.


AGAPE Child and Family Servicesrecently launched an “Open Hearts-Open Homes Campaign” with the Coleman Avenuechurch.
The purpose of the effort is to recruitmore families and volunteers for AGAPE’s services, as well as to provide the Coleman Avenuecongregation with support and help for its families and ministries. JohnDeBerry Jr. is Coleman Avenue’sminister as well as a Tennesseestate representative.
For more information, visitwww.AgapeMeansLove.org.


As part of its Revival Dallas outreachto area congregations, the 1,600-member Prestoncrest church is “adopting” the Western Heightschurch in south Dallas.
Western Heightsis a mostly Hispanic church with about 125 members.
Prestoncrest ministers will help trainand encourage Western Heights’ leaders.


Ross Thomson, pulpit minister for the1,200-member Bammel church, served May 10 as guest chaplain for the U.S. Houseof Representatives.
U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, a Bammel member,welcomed Thomson to the House chamber, telling fellow representatives, “It isclear Ross, with his proper Scottish background, was not born in Texas, but he got thereas fast as he could.”
Thomson, who was raised in Australia and did mission work among the Shonatribe in Rhodesia, haspreached for congregations in Georgia,North Carolina and Texas.


About 100 young people attended therecent Mid-Atlantic Youth Fellowship at CampWamava in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Chef Gerald Mathis, a member of theSilver Spring, Md., church, made sure the participants got “more than campfood,” said Hamil Harris, one of the forum speakers. Menu items ranged frombreakfast tacos to barbecue chicken.

June 1, 2006

Filed under: National Staff Reports

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