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Bobby Ross Jr. with the North Bronx church, a Ghanaian immigrant congregation.
Photo by Audrey Jackson

The journey: Reporting the news of our fellowship

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About 2,800 miles separate Manhattan, N.Y., from Malibu, Calif.

By car that trip would take roughly 41 hours, according to Google Maps.

The good news for Christian Chronicle readers: We did the traveling for you.

To be totally transparent, we didn’t drive. We relied on commercial flights to carry us to the scene of important news featured in this month’s Chronicle. 

But the point remains the same: Whenever possible, we go where the story is. We rely on dedicated supporters of this ministry to help cover travel costs, and we strive to make the best, most efficient use of donated funds — no one is flying first class.

Why go where the story is? Because that’s the best way to report real news that honors God. It helps us fulfill our mission of informing, inspiring and connecting members of Churches of Christ around the world.

Related: Editorial: Christian journalism means truth-seeking

In New York, associate editor Audrey Jackson and I visited three congregations — the Upper West Manhattan Church of Christ, the North Bronx Church of Christ and the Long Island Church of Christ — and learned about the opportunities and challenges they face. 

Cheryl Mann Bacon drenched from Tropical Storm Hilary in Malibu, Calif.

Cheryl Mann Bacon drenched from Tropical Storm Hilary in Malibu, Calif.

On the other side of the continental U.S., contributing editor Cheryl Mann Bacon witnessed the first worship service of the fall semester of two Churches of Christ — one new, one old — each gathering on the Pepperdine University campus. (We had no way of knowing when we scheduled that trip that it would coincide with rare hurricane warnings for Southern California.)

In the middle of the U.S. — and much closer to home for those of us who live in Oklahoma — we reported on a prominent Church of Christ seeking a new future as a campus of a community church.

Some articles in this month’s edition will be controversial to some readers. Some would prefer that we limit our coverage to stories that align 100 percent with their own doctrinal views and practices. That’s not how reporting works. That’s not even how Scripture works.

Related: Upper West Side Story

Thank God, most readers appreciate our commitment to reflecting a wide spectrum of Churches of Christ in our pages — from the most traditional to the most progressive. Our fellowship is diverse, and we endeavor to inform our audience of the happenings and trends in the thousands of congregations in the U.S. and around the world by providing balanced, truthful stories.

That’s why I’ve reported firsthand from all 50 states in my 18 years with the Chronicle. That’s why our president and CEO, Erik Tryggestad, has reported firsthand from 88 countries and territories in his 22 years with the Chronicle. That’s why Cheryl traveled to Malibu (despite the storm) and why Audrey and I made our way to the Big Apple.

Bobby Ross Jr. and Audrey Jackson ride the subway in New York.

Bobby Ross Jr. and Audrey Jackson ride the subway in New York.

We live in an era of 24-hour online news, in which it’s easy to respond to a headline that upsets us by posting a nasty comment on social media or going old school and mailing a harsh or hateful letter to the editor. Even though we’ve seen plenty of both through the years, we still are stunned when brothers and sisters in Christ fail to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

Speaking truth requires understanding the facts — taking the time to read, listen and appreciate another perspective.

Related: A blessed visit to a Ghanaian immigrant church

So that’s what we do. We talk to fellow Christians. We ask questions. We work hard to understand. We report the news.

Our prayer is that readers will join us in that journey. 

BOBBY ROSS JR. is Editor-in-Chief of The Christian Chronicle. Reach him at [email protected].

Filed under: Christian Chronicle Editorial Board Editorial Editorial Editorial Board Opinion Real News that Honors God Top Stories

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