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September 28, 2022



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Nashville Christian Institute’s final reunion pays tribute to Fred Gray

Nashville Christian Institute’s final reunion pays tribute to Fred Gray


The two men were boys when they met. One, a preacher, would minister to churches for seven decades. The other, a preacher and attorney, would receive the highest civilian honor bestowed by the United States.

The preacher, Freeman Wyche, 92, served the Liberty City Church of Christ in Miami for more than 38 years. Attorney Fred D. Gray, 91, who represented Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and many other civil rights leaders, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House this past summer.

Wyche and Gray — 1948 graduates of the Nashville Christian Institute — shared the program of what organizers characterized as the school’s last alumni reunion dinner. Opened in the 1940s, NCI educated Black primary and secondary students from Churches of Christ in Tennessee and far beyond until its closure in 1967.

“This is one of the highest honors that has ever been afforded to me … to introduce my friend, my cohort and my … classmate,” Wyche said.

Read the full story by Ted Parks.


Not-so-simple stewardship

Not-so-simple stewardship


Dissolving a church or merging congregations can be complicated, not just emotionally or doctrinally, but financially and legally.

Unlike selling a home, where the seller completes the sale to a willing buyer and, after paying off any debts, can pocket the money, church property proceeds cannot be distributed to church members, leaders, founders or donors. And sometimes the decision about who gets what was made decades earlier.

That’s just one of numerous legal issues closing churches may face, according to Mike O’Neal, chairman of Heritage 21 Foundation, who has worked with more than two dozen congregations in at least seven states.

O’Neal, a member of the Memorial Road Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, earned his law degree from Stanford University and maintains a law license in California. Heritage 21 Foundation works to help struggling congregations make sound decisions about their future while protecting their resources.

“Federal and state tax laws dictate that proceeds of a church property sale must be used for nonprofit purposes,” O’Neal explained. “They cannot go to a for-profit enterprise or to individuals.”

Read the full story by Cheryl Mann Bacon, and catch up on past articles in the “Where have all the churches gone?” series.

Lipscomb University mourns former President Harold Hazelip

Lipscomb University mourns former President Harold Hazelip


Harold H. Hazelip devoted his life to preaching and Christian education.

From the earliest days of his dual careers in ministry and education, Hazelip had a profound impact on the lives of thousands.

Hazelip, who served as president of Lipscomb University, which is associated with Churches of Christ, from September 1986 to May 1997, died Sept. 21. He was 92.

The university’s leaders remember Hazelip for his gentle spirit, deep faith and huge influence.

“We mourn the loss of someone who has had a tremendous impact on the Lipscomb community — from starting our study abroad program to adding academic accreditations to leading our first master’s degrees at Lipscomb,” Lipscomb President Candice McQueen said. “And, personally, Dr. Hazelip will always be ‘my president’ as I was blessed to be a Lipscomb student under his outstanding leadership.

“He led with quiet confidence and a strong vision for an academically advancing university,” McQueen added. “In my first year serving as Lipscomb president, he has been a friend, a supporter and encourager. His wise words — whether speaking as a leader, a Bible teacher, a minister or a mentor — will forever be with me.”

Read the full obituary by Kim Chaudoin.


After long lockdowns, South African church appoints its first deacons

After long lockdowns, South African church appoints its first deacons


Joyful hymns filled the meeting place of the Tshiawelo Church of Christ in South Africa as five men and their wives gathered before the congregation for a deacon installation ceremony. It was a moment years in the making.

The church’s minister, Songezo Gwanya, started teaching classes on church leadership in 2019. The congregation, which was founded by believers from the northern South African state of Venda, had grown for 60 years without deacons or elders. But in recent years the church had nearly doubled in size, and Gwanya saw the need for members to take on more active roles in leadership.

he minister and prospective leaders read through the Bible for a year, preparing for elder and deacon appointments.

The church installed two elders in December 2019 and scheduled the deacon installation for early 2020.

Then came COVID-19.

Read the full story by Audrey Jackson.

Ukrainians, Iranians share testimonies

Ukrainians, Iranians share testimonies


Athens, Greece, where Paul once proclaimed the Gospel at Mars Hill, has become a refuge for Christians fleeing persecution in the Middle East and the war in Ukraine.

Read the full report.


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