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Across the Nation: Youth suicide prevention, an outdoor scavenger hunt 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 Audrey Jackson at [email protected].

Featured image (above): Teenagers gather around a campfire for an evening devotional at Usery Mountain Regional Park during the “Gram Adventure” sponsored by the Mesa Church of Christ in Arizona.

The fourth meeting of this annual event featured an outdoor Instagram nature scavenger hunt that ended with a picnic, worship and a lesson led under the stars by Joel Soumar, the Mesa church youth minister, on God’s creation.

Quick takes


RIFLE Jonathan Phillips, preaching minister for the Rifle Church of Christ, is raising funds for youth suicide prevention by selling his photography prints in two shops — the Whistle Pig Coffee Stop in Rifle and Colorado Drifters Coffee & Fly Shop in New Castle.

“If this fundraising effort could affect just one life, then it would be worth it. I really think that any young person who needs someone to talk to should have that available to them.”

Phillips intends to donate all proceeds raised by the sales to the Second Wind Fund, a nonprofit organization in Denver that connects youth at risk for suicide with mental health resources. Phillips said his work as a minister and his own life experience inspired him to raise money for the nonprofit. 

“If this fundraising effort could affect just one life, then it would be worth it,” Phillips told the Post Independent newspaper. “I really think that any young person who needs someone to talk to should have that available to them.”


AUBURN  — The Auburn Church of Christ celebrated its 50th anniversary recently. A weekend full of events, featuring the theme “He Is My Firm Foundation,” focused on prayer, worship, fundraising and community service. 

Founded by five families in the home of Bill and Jeanne Butler in 1972, the Auburn church supports many missions, including Great Lakes Christian College, Trine Christian Campus House, DeKalb County Impact Corp. (Hearten House), West Africa Christian Mission, Lake James Christian Camp & Retreat Center, Woodburn Christian Children’s Home and Latin American Ministries led by Bill and Bette Loft. 

Senior minister Andy Grimes, who has served the church since 2016, said he is proud of age diversity in the congregation. 

“We are a multigenerational church,” Grimes told KPCNews. “There’s lots of young families with children but also ‘senior saints,’ veterans of life in church ministry. … Kind of everywhere in between.”

Higher Education

ABILENE, Texas — Abilene Christian University planned to host its 115th Summit, a gathering for church leaders, with the theme this year focusing on communal experiences and spiritual renewal. 



The university recently restructured the gathering to span two days for its spring meeting under the new leadership of director Jennifer Schroeder, who holds a master’s degree from Lubbock Christian University in Texas and is completing a Doctor of Ministry degree through ACU. 

The new two-day format offers smaller, intimate gatherings between participants with similar ministry roles or shared interests, ACU leaders said. Summit was scheduled for March 31 and April 1. 

“As we continue to emerge out of what has undoubtedly been a difficult season for so many, our desire is that this spring’s Summit will provide not only an opportunity to grow together as people invested in the kingdom of God, but also, and perhaps more importantly, a time of support, encouragement and renewal in community with each other,” Schroeder said in a press release. 


The Clarksville Christian School Lady Centurions from Clarksville, Tenn., earned a berth in the Division III Championship game at the 2022 National Association of Christian Athletes tournament.

Well done Lady Centurions! We are so proud of this relentless team and their hardworking coaches!!! #nationalchamps2022…

Posted by Clarksville Christian School on Sunday, March 6, 2022

HIRED: Jim Black as a full-time regional director of EEM, formerly Eastern European Missions, after retiring from preaching for 20 years at the Washington Street Church of Christ in Fayetteville, Tenn.

NAMED: Brenda Henry, a member of the Tamarack Road Church of Christ in Altus, Okla., as Support Staff Employee of the Year at Altus Early Childhood Center. Sean Burnett as senior vice president for Integrated Marketing Communications and Chief Marketing Officer at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. Rosemary Black Snodgrass to the board of directors for Herald of Truth Ministries, which produces global outreach programs. Clark Roush, the endowed chair for the performing arts at York College in York, Neb., to the board of directors of the Nebraska Arts Council by Governor Pete Ricketts.

RETIRED: Jimmy Adcox as the lead minister of the Southwest Church of Christ in Jonesboro, Ark., after 44 years of service. George Caruthers from the eldership at the Manchester Church of Christ in Connecticut after serving for 44 years.

Members of the Ragsdale Church of Christ in Manchester, Tenn., stand outside the church building before their final Sunday service.

Members of the Ragsdale Church of Christ in Manchester, Tenn., stand outside the church building before their final Sunday service.

Quote of the month

“The other day I was planting more daffodils,” reflected Paul Coston, who was the minister of the Ragsdale Church of Christ until it closed. “It’s one of the very first flowers of late winter and early spring. But the daffodils bloom about seven days, and they’re gone. Life is like the daffodils.” 

Read the full story.

Filed under: 50th anniversary Abilene Christian University Christian higher education National News Top Stories youth retreat youth suicide prevention

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