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Across the nation: Winterfest challenges 15,000 teens in Texas and Tennessee

Winterfest drew more than 15,000 teenagers recently to separate rallies in Arlington and Gatlinburg, Tenn.
Teenagers who attended were challenged not to “trade their treasure for trash,” organizer Dudley Chancey said.
“Behind Jeff and Andy is a pile of trash made up of things we accumulate in life that in the end are meaningless,” Chancey said. The pile includes two wrecked cars, plasma televisions, sports equipment, furniture, electronics, computers, books, pictures and diplomas.
Winterfest 2008 will be Jan. 18-20 in Arlington and Feb. 15-17 in Gatlinburg.
Steve Higginbotham said he laughed when the man with a hoodedsweatshirt and a mask stuck a 9mm handgun to his head and demanded allhis money.
Higginbotham was at the Memorial Parkway church inHuntsville to do a seminar on Internet safety. He was in youth ministerreed Swindle’s office talking when the robber walked in Sundayafternoon, March 4.
“Several yearsearlier, reed worked with me as a summer intern, and we always had alot of laughs together,” said Higginbotham, pulpit minister at theSouth Green Street church in Glasgow, Ky. “I thought this was somethinghe staged with one of the kids in his youth group.”
But whenHigginbotham saw the look on Swindle’s face, he realized this was nojoke. The robber took $80 from the two ministers and fled.


Preacher Jay Repecko with the Caribou church is exploring opportunities to do ministry at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
“We are searching for God’s guidance for the direction we are to take in reaching this area with the gospel,” Repecko said in a recent e-mail. “The doors are fast opening at the college.”

The Grasonville church recently collected 766 pounds of food and toys to send to the Duty church in northern Haiti, member Jo Ann Pratt said. Included in the 26 cartons were Yo-Yos, jump ropes, soccer balls, crayons, pencils, Ramen noodles and other food items for more than 300 children at an orphange, Pratt said.

The Talbot Avenue church in the Boston area had 70 in attendance on a recent Sunday. That’s double the number when Hadyn Griffith began ministering there last June, said Charles Cook, director of Focus Northeast/Northwest domestic missions program. “Wonderful things are taking place in this congregation,” Cook said in a recent newsletter.

The elders of the Oxford church will decide the next step after members voted 140-111 recently to move from the church’s home of about 60 years.
An investor approached the congregation’s leaders with a surprise offer of $5 million for its facilities, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.
The possible departure of the church from downtown has concerned some neighbors, as the church provides a buffer between downtown commerce and nearby homes. But even before the offer, some church leaders and members had recognized the limitations of the downtown site.

Sewing machines hummed in the auditorium recently — and in the Sunday school and multipurpose rooms — as about 70 people joined together at the Twin City church to make 1,000 dresses for little girls in Third World countries.
“It was a wonderful project to get other fellowships to visit our church,” said member Jerry Guidicy, who organized the event along with Bev Gansner. “There were about six to eight denominations helping us.”


Some 1,100 mourners packed a recent memorial service for Darcy Lynn Dengel, 27, a member of the Great Falls church. Dengel, a registered nurse, died along with pilot Vince Kirol and paramedic Paul Erickson in the crash of a Mercy Flight plane en route to pick up a patient. The service was held at an Assembly of God church to fit all the mourners.
“Darcy lived her life to bring out the best in other people,” minister Chris Crooks said in his eulogy. Crooks, who had known Dengel since childhood, remembered her emerging from the water of her baptism with a trademark smile.
“Everybody needs to believe that their life counted for something, whether you’re 80, 90 or 27. Darcy’s life counted. That is success,” Crooks said, according to the Great Falls Tribune.

At recent Wednesday night services, the Concord Road church took up the claims made in The Lost Tomb of Christ, a new film documentay by James Cameron.
The documentary alleged that archaeologists found the bones of Jesus along with his wife and son in small boxes.
“If we let something that is false speak and go unanswered, then people may come to believe it,” said minister Phil Sanders, who disputed the claims.

Filed under: National Staff Reports

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