|PHOTO PROVIDED Big check - Donald Cathy, senior vice president of Chick-fil-A, speaks at the HIllcrest Church of Christ in Decatur, Ga. Contributors, including Chick-fil-A employees, gave a combined $1 million to the church's building fund in memory of Donald A. Perry, a church elder and vice president of public relations for Chick-fil-A who died July 27. At right are Cathy's wife, Cindy, Perry's widow, Marilyn, and the church's minister, Richard Barclay.|
That’s the amount the Atlanta-area church received toward its $5.2 million renovation project, which will include a 1,500-seat sanctuary and new facilities for its education program and offices.
Much of the large donation came from the National Christian Foundation. Headquartered in nearby Alpharetta, the organization "is the largest Christian grant-making foundation in the world," according to its website.
Contributors, including Chick-fil-A employees, gave funds in memory of Donald A. Perry, who served for 15 years as an elder of the Hillcrest church.
Perry, vice president of public relations for Chick-fil-A, died July 27 of a heart attack. He was 60.
Haiti relief - John Short and Harry Hames stand next to boxes of Healing Hands International relief supplies bound for Haiti.
In 1935, after addressing a chapel audience at Abilene Christian College (now Abilene Christian University), African-American evangelist Marshall Keeble wrote:
The boys and girls are wonderfully trained for future service in the church. I hope some day to see a school for our colored boys and girls because it is badly needed. Our young preachers are doing fine when we consider that they have no place to be trained by such godly men as (E.H.) Ijams, (N.B) Hardeman, Cox and Armstrong. I pray that these men may live long.
Seventy-seven years later, former students have gathered to fellowship and reminisce about their years at the Nashville Christian Institute. From 1940 to 1968, “the house on 24th Avenue” in Nashville was the realization of Keeble’s dream — a place where black youths could receive a Christian education as they were equipped for ministry.
The NCI reunion happens every two years, rotating among the cities of the South, arriving back in the Nashville area about every six years, said Fred Gray. The civil rights attorney for Martin Luther King Jr., best known for representing Rosa Parks, is an NCI alum. In 1967 he filed a lawsuit that challenged the transfer of NCI’s assets to David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University), exposing a deep divide between black and white members of Churches of Christ.
Recently, Christian Chronicle managing editor Bobby Ross Jr. reported on the university’s efforts to heal old wounds as it awarded Gray an honorary doctorate.
I spoke with Gray and a few of the school’s alumni at a mixer in the lobby of the Embassy Suites in Franklin. Some came from as far away as Washington, D.C., and California.
Despite the school’s humble beginnings and financial challenges, it produced graduates who became physicians, lawyers, teachers and politicians.
Margaret Beamon, who was helping with registration, said that her mother, Louise Johnson, was the driving force behind her time at NCI. Johnson insisted that all eight of her children attend. Beamon worked for 40 years in the Milwaukee public school system. One of her brothers, Albert Johnson, was the mayor of Las Cruces, N.M. — the first black mayor in the state of New Mexico. Beamon is a member of the 40th Avenue Church of Christ in Nashville.
I also met Wendell Wilkie Gunn. After his time at NCI, he became the first black student to enroll at Florence State College in Alabama (now the University of North Alabama). His admission to the college was the result of another lawsuit filed by Gray in 1963.
After graduating with a degree in chemistry and mathematics, he went on to serve as special assistant to President Ronald Reagan for international trade from 1982-84. He concentrated on trade negotiations in Southeast Asia. Now he’s a semi-retired consultant and a member of the Stamford Church of Christ in Connecticut.
Gunn said he played only the tiniest of roles in America’s struggle for civil rights.
Speaking to his fellow NCI alum, Gray, he said, “You guys looked into the mouth of the beast every day, for years.”
from the Christian Chronicle Blog
More than 50 students out for the past summer school break returned to school last week better prepared and inspired to tackle their assignments due to the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools program provided at Gray Road Church of Christ.
The program provides summer and after school enrichment that helps children fall in love with reading, increases self-esteem, and generates more positive attitudes toward learning.
Tracey Jasper, whose husband Craig Jasper is assistant pastor at Gray Road Church of Christ, directs the program there.
Jasper said the children developed such a strong desire to read that they want to read to other children in the program. Some parents report their children are requesting them to take them to the library often, she said. And the children are using the dictionary to learn new words.
|Cosmetology instructor Prabina Shiwakoti gives Linda Egle a henna tattoo at a safe house in southern Nepal. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)|
Now online, “A mission of hands and feet,” a report from my recent trip to Nepal with four members of the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. Two of them work for Eternal Threads, an Abilene-based nonprofit that sells fair-trade items crafted by women in a dozen countries.
|Jonathan Storment gets a pedicure at a safe house in southern Nepal. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)</|
In Nepal, Eternal Threads partners with a Nepali-operated nonprofit, Kingdom Investments Nepal, that fights the scourge of human trafficking — young girls lured from their villages, taken across the border into India, and sold into lives of slavery in brothels.
You’ll also find a gallery with photos not included in our print edition.
Though I’ve traveled internationally for The Christian Chronicle for a decade, the journey to Nepal was unique.
I’m used to covering gospel campaigns, medical mission trips and dedication ceremonies for new schools and clinics. I’ve shot photos in a mountain village in Ecuador, a crowded home Bible study in India and a thatch-roof church building in Sudan.
But this was my first beauty salon.
Our team took photos and videos of young women — rescued from human traffickers — as they practiced waxing each other’s arms. We also partook of the salon’s services. Linda Egle, Eternal Threads’ founder, got a henna tattoo while Jennifer Patterson, an Eternal Threads staffer, received an eyebrow plucking through a method called “threading.” It did not look fun. (The things women subject themselves to … amazing.)
Jonathan Storment, the Highland church’s minister, boldly stepped forward to receive a pedicure. I made sure to get pictures. (A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook: “I’m processing close-up photos of Jonathan Storment’s feet … and wondering how my life came to this.”)
The girls asked if there was anything they could do for me. I actually had forgotten to get a haircut before I left the U.S., so they obliged, and did a great job.
If you’re interested in joining the fight against human trafficking, Eternal Threads is looking for volunteers to host “Gatherings” — retreats and get-togethers where people can share the nonprofit’s story and provide a marketplace for its products. Follow this link for more information on hosting a Gathering.
Is your congregation, ministry or school involved in the global fight against human trafficking? Please share the details.
Here’s a trailer for a film about Kingdom Investments Nepal, the Nepali nonprofit that partners with Eternal Threads. It will give you a feel for how workers with the nonprofit intercept potential human traffickers.
And here’s a video produced by Matt Pinson about Eternal Threads’ work in Nepal.
from the Christian Chronicle Blog
PHOTO BY BOBBY ROSS JR.
Jerry gives thanks for another hot meal at the River City Ministry. The North Little Rock, Ark., ministry is associated with Churches of Christ.
|Sun photo by Randi Shaffer A worker from Laracey House Movers props the Gilmore Church of Christ up on blocks to move it off its foundation July 31.|
When most people think of buildings that can be moved, they think of mobile homes.
Not century-old churches. Farwell’s Gilmore Church of Christ is in the middle of a multi-week moving process, during which the 111-year-old building will be picked up, moved a few yards backward and then slid over top of a new foundation. “The foundation was crumbling,” minister Kevin Smith said. “It’s going to be quite an elaborate project. I don’t think anybody’s ever moved a building of that size in this area, a church building especially.” Smith said that originally, Gilmore Church of Christ was setting aside money to buy a new parcel of land and build a new building, but the land the church had hoped to obtain did not become available.
While it would have cost $500,000 to build a new church, re-building the foundation of the current church and moving the church will only cost a fraction of that, he said. Ken Seymour, an elder and a deacon in the church, said the estimated cost of the project is less than $120,000 with the use of volunteers from the area.
The project started in mid-June, when several members of the church’s congregation met and decided they had to do something about the building’s failing foundation. After checking with various construction companies in the area, Seymour got a hold of Mark Rosebrock with Kalkawin-based Laracey House Movers. “He looked at it and ... he thought it was well solid enough, built well enough,” Seymour said. “It was built by ... our past congregation, the men that built it — most of them were farmers and barn builders and I think you can see that from the way the building is built. That’s the way they built it and the barns stood, so the church should stand also.” Seymour said the church was constructed with area stones and trees, and ax marks are still visible on full-length beams that were chopped and split by hand.
Chick-fil-A spokesman - Donald A. Perry, vice president of public relations for Chick-fil-A, was an elder of the Hillcrest Church of Christ near Atlanta.
|PHOTO BY SARAH JANE KYLE
Prayer after shooting - Southeast Church of Christ elders lead a prayer Sunday for the victims of the Aurora, Colo., theater massacre as well as for the suspect, James Holmes.
AURORA, COLO. - Larry Wishard stepped to the front of the Southeast Church of Christ, a touch of weariness hidden behind his ever-cheerful disposition.
His head dipped, and his fingers wrapped around the edges of the wooden pulpit from which he’s preached for 30 years. He looked out at a congregation that, while shaken, stood resilient in the face of a movie-theater massacre that traumatized this Denver-area city — and the nation.
In the pews was Debora Marcoux, a longtime church member who had received a terrifying call just two days before.
Her niece Kirstin Davis, 21, who had lived with Marcoux for more than a year, had been in the theater when a gunman opened fire Friday during a midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
“When I picked her up, she had blood all over her,” Marcoux said of Davis, who left the theater physically unscathed but emotionally shattered.
Davis’ boyfriend, Eugene, suffered a bullet wound but survived.
“I wanted to get her away from the confusion so she could cry,” the church member said of her niece, whom she considers more like a daughter. “She was trying to be strong for everyone. … She’ll make it through. She’s a strong Christian, and I’m proud of her.”
While Marcoux is confident in her niece’s faith, she worries that other young people who were in the theater will begin to waver after witnessing such tragedy firsthand.
“Pray for all of those kids to continue on with their lives,” she said. “I’m scared they’re going to be so withdrawn that they don’t want to continue their service with the Lord.”
A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
Early Friday, a gunman opened fire on moviegoers at Century 16 Theaters in Aurora, killing 12 and injuring at least 58 who had entered the theater for a night of fun but left with terror.
Just hours after gunshots shattered his city, Wishard began grieving alongside victims and their families.
He serves with the Key Community Response Team, a collaboration of city officials, ministers and police and fire department officers who respond to tragedy and become the “eyes and ears” of the community in times of trouble.
At the Medical Center of Aurora, the Southeast Church of Christ minister reached out as small clusters of people waited in an eerie calm to learn the fate of loved ones. He prayed over teens who lost one of their own. (Read his first-person account of the emotional day of the shooting.)
“In those hours, I had seen my town blown apart by this murderer,” Wishard said. “I had seen a diverse group of people come together to help each other.
“Which church one attended didn’t matter. One’s skin color didn’t matter. One’s socioeconomic group didn’t matter. What mattered was helping everyone get through.”
He later learned that just up the street from his home, the family of victim Alex Sullivan, who had gone to the theater to celebrate his 27th birthday and upcoming wedding anniversary, mourned the loss of their son.