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Partners, February 2021



Eugene Lawton

Eugene Lawton

ORLANDO, Fla. — The 76th annual National Lectureship of Churches of Christ, originally planned for May 22-27 in Orlando, has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is our desire that the National Lectureship will be able to convene in 2022 in a safe and heathy environment,” said Eugene Lawton, vice chairman of the event’s advisory committee.

Minister Samuel Pounds and the Hilltop Church of Christ in Winter Haven, Fla., south of Orlando, will host the Sept. 24-29, 2022, National Lectureship, Lawton said. It’s the largest annual gathering of Black Churches of Christ.



Phil Schubert

Phil Schubert

ABILENE, Texas — Abilene Christian University expects to begin intercollegiate competition in the Western Athletic Conference in 2021.

ACU will transition from the Southland Conference ­along with Lamar, Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin. Big Sky Conference member Southern Utah also will join the WAC.

“This is a historic move for ACU. We are excited about joining a conference with the WAC’s history and visibility,” ACU President Phil Schubert said. “The brand equity and recognition of the league remains strong and will benefit us regionally and nationally as we attract both students and student-athletes.”

Schubert said reasons for the change include a continued emphasis on academic and athletic excellence; an expanded geographical reach into the West, especially in major U.S. markets; increased TV and tournament exposure; and automatic bids to national championships and postseason play.


Botham Jean

SEARCY, Ark. — The Dallas City Council has voted to rename a street after Botham Jean, the 2015 Harding University graduate who was shot to death in his home by an off-duty police officer.

The street that runs in front of the Texas city’s police headquarters and the apartment complex where the Dallas West Church of Christ member lived will be renamed Botham Jean Boulevard.

Fired officer Amber Guyger was given a 10-year prison sentence in Jean’s Sept. 6, 2018, murder.

“One day, a child will ask his or her mother or father, ‘Who is Botham Jean? And why does he have a street named after him?’” said his sister, Allisa Charles-Findley, president of the Botham Jean Foundation. “They’ll explain how he was taken from the world, but the best part of the story will be how Botham lived.”



Justin Thompson

Justin Thompson

HOUSTON — Justin Thompson will serve as the next executive director for Lifeline Chaplaincy and Compassionate Touch. After 36 years as director, Virgil Fry will remain in a consulting role for a transition time.

“This is a pivotal time for Justin to join this unique, vibrant ministry,” Fry said. “We all welcome him as he provides the needed vision and leadership for continued ministry to hospital patients and caregivers.”

Thompson and his wife, Alison, the parents of four, served with a church planting team in Peru for 12 years. 

Lifeline began at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, representing Churches of Christ. Now the ministry is present in all major hospitals at the Texas Medical Center as well as medical centers in Dallas, Fort Worth and the Austin area.

Filed under: Abilene Christian University Botham Jean canceled Dallas City Council Eugene Lawton Justin Thompson Lifeline Chaplaincy National National Lectureship News Partners Street Western Athletic Conference

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