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In the news: online briefs from across the country


VIRGINIA
CLOVERDALE — Hundreds of folks were a little less hungry this past fall, thanks to Don Charles, a member of the Dale Ridge church.  Last May, Charles and other volunteers planted a 10,000-square-foot garden behind the church building. They gave most of the 1600 lbs. of produce to a local rescue mission and needy families.
Charles, who is disabled, has started a ministry called Ekklesia Akers, in which he shows churches how to set up organic gardens on their properties and donate the harvest to the homeless.
Churches inVirginia, Texas and Kentucky have contacted him about starting similarprojects.  The Web site is www.sowl.com.

LOUISIANA

LAKE CHARLES — Touched by a community tragedy in which an 18-year-old was killed in a home fire, the Blake Street church youth group felt compelled to help. None of the group had ever met Anthony Fruge, who died last week.
The group organized to help the family raise money for hospital and burial expenses, local television KPLC TV.com  reported. “We wanted to reach back and help others,” Karen Rankins said. 
Church youth made posters, sang and collected donations outside a local grocery store.
NEW JERSEY

NEWARK — The Central Avenue church —along with nearby business owners in this crime-plagued city — wants city officials to revoke recent enforcement of a decades-old ordinance prohibiting certain types of barbed and razor wire fences.
Burglaries in Newark’s West Ward have spiked since the church and neighboring businesses were forced to remove the barbs and razors from their fences six months ago, said minister C. H. Thomas. Members’ cars and the church office have since been burglarized.
“I’m just concerned for the safety of our members,” Thomas said. The 70-member church is financially unable to add cameras, extra lighting or hire a watchman, he said.
TEXAS

SUGARLAND —
  The miracle of Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes came to mind recently at the 1200-member First Colony church. It began when a small church in Uganda heard about the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike in Houston and Galveston.  
The Mbara church collected 36,250 shillings or about $21.96 — almost double their weekly collection of $11.00 — according to the Houston Chronicle. In a nation where people often earn less than $1 per day, it is even more remarkable.
Missionary Scott Glisson’s e-mail to Ronnie Norman, First Colony’s minister, said the amount, though small, was given “in love and with much sacrifice.”  First Colony sent a mission team to Uganda in 1997 that has started 20 churches, including the largest church in Mbara.
Touched and challenged by the Ugandan’s generosity, First Colony decided to hold another special Sunday offering.  Each member was asked to give $21.96 or a multiple of that number. The initial gift of $21.96 has grown to nearly $40,000. It has been used to help rebuild the Broadway church in Galveston and  help local families.

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