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Morgan Freeman interviews hurricane survivors Charles and Angela Marsalis at the Carrollton Avenue Church of Christ in New Orleans.
Inside Story
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Roundup: Faith amid the storm, help for single moms, ‘Three Wooden Crosses,’ chapel absences and more

Our end-of-the-week review of important and/or simply interesting headlines from the world of religion. Got a tip for this column? Email Editor-in-Chief Bobby Ross Jr. at [email protected].

From the editor

This week marks the 14th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina — sometimes called “the storm of the century.”

Over the years, I’ve traveled to New Orleans multiple times to report on Charles and Angela Marsalis’ journey during — and after — Katrina. As regular Christian Chronicle readers no doubt recall, the faithful Christians survived the hurricane by escaping to their church’s balcony. Later, they planted a new congregation in the storm-battered city.


For anyone interested in reading about the family’s experience from then to now, I’ve pulled together all my features into a single, hopefully compelling narrative, “Big Mission in the Big Easy.”

I’d be honored if you’d check it out.

From our pages

Hope for a single-mother family: For Biatriz Larez, times were tough. Then she heard about a program that helps women like her. Along the way, she has pursued a degree, improved her credit score — and given her life to Jesus. I report that story from Portales, N.M., along with a related sidebar on New Mexico Christian Children’s Home caring for the children of Liberian civil war refugees.


In new memoir, Randy Travis goes ‘diggin’ up bones’: The country star, who was baptized in a Church of Christ, reflects on his spiritual highs and soul-wrenching lows. Read my column on Travis’ new memoir. One reader commented that she had never heard Travis’ award-winning “Three Wooden Crosses” until reading this piece. It really is an amazing song.

They lost faith in church, not salvation: In a South American metropolis, a missionary couple serves those who have slipped through the cracks. The globe-trotting Erik Tryggestad reports from Lima, Peru.

Recommended links

7-year-old admits setting Louisiana church fire: The Associated Press reports that a Sunday afternoon fire at a Church of Christ in Vivian, La., was intentionally set by a boy who won’t be criminally charged because of his age. My friend John Dobbs  shared the story link.

North Alabama churches gather donations to help after Hurricane Dorian: “The Crisis Response Team at Decatur Church of Christ is monitoring the east coast,” reports WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Ala. “They plan to head out next week, after Hurricane Dorian makes landfall.”

Society of Professional Journalists chapters at Lipscomb, Harding up for awards: The SPJ chapters at two universities associated with Churches of Christ — Harding in Searcy, Ark., and Lipscomb in Nashville, Tenn. — are Campus Program of the Year finalists. From a fellow journalist, congrats to both!

More religion news

Clergy abuse victims take new route to challenge Catholic Church in court: This story by Wall Street Journal religion writer Ian Lovett may interest Chronicle readers who followed a case involving a Church of Christ minister whose criminal convictions were vacated because of the statute of limitations.

Baby food, bassinets and talk of salvation: New York Times religion writer Elizabeth Dias goes inside an evangelical pregnancy center. “The director used to attend anti-abortion protests,” the Times reports. “Now she tries to help pregnant women and new mothers find jobs, emotional support or a place to shower.”

Is it OK to pray for President Trump’s defeat?: Along the same lines, is it OK to pray for the defeat of the Democratic presidential challengers? GetReligion’s Richard Ostling offers nuanced answers to these questions.

Finally, I got a chapel absences email

In my student days at Oklahoma Christian University, I’ll admit that I sometimes missed daily chapel too often. But that was nearly 30 years ago. So I was surprised — and amused — when I got an email from Crowley’s Ridge College in Paragould, Ark., this week telling me I had three chapel absences this semester.

“I’m pretty sure I’ve missed more than that :-),” I replied.

“Don’t know how I got you mixed up with one of our students,” Art Smith, Crowley’s Ridge’s dean of students, emailed back. “Sorry about that — really enjoy the Christian Chronicle!”

Filed under: disaster relief Harding University Hurricane Katrina Inside Story International Lipscomb University National Pennsylvania President Trump Randy Travis statute of limitations Top Stories

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