“I never liked church. … It was a symbol of the system that oppressed us.”
Thankfully for hundreds of souls, Machona Monyamane changed his opinion of church after he became a student in the World Bible School correspondence ministry. The native of South Africa has helped plant congregations and baptized untold numbers of his countrymen. He serves the Seeiso Street Church of Christ in Pretoria, South Africa, and currently is a student at Harding University in Searcy, Ark.
Speaking at an Oklahoma City benefit dinner sponsored by the Texas-based ministry, Monyamane shared the story of his conversion. (He’s one of many African Christians who came to faith through WBS. See our recent post about Kenyan minister Jacob Agak.)
A former communist sympathizer, Monyamane enrolled in WBS after he saw his roommate studying a lesson. He wasn’t looking for a relationship with Christ. He was looking for ammunition to debate against Christianity in South Africa, then under the racial segregation system known as apartheid.
His teacher, John Morgan of Chattanooga, Tenn., patiently “answered my stupid questions,” Monyamane said. After months of back-and-forth correspondence, Morgan asked Monyamane to get in contact with a South African preacher who would give him some additional books on Christianity and answer any questions he had.
The minister’s name: George Funk.
Monyamane knew immediately he was white — one of the oppressors. Nonetheless, he found the courage to call Funk and set up a meeting for May 18, 1996.
“We talked for two hours,” Monyamane said. Every time he asked a question, Funk “put a smile on his face and a finger on the passage” in the Bible.
After the discussion, Monyamane decided to leave communism behind and become a Christian. They found a swimming pool with locked gate and looked for the owner. Though apartheid had ended in 1991, racial tensions still existed, and the pair weren’t sure how the pool’s owner would react.
Unable to locate the owner, Funk decided they should jump the fence, perform the baptism and, if necessary, beg the owner’s pardon.
In the years since, Monyamane has performed hundreds, possibly thousands, of baptisms among his countrymen, said John Reese, World Bible School’s president.
Monyamane thanked Christians in the U.S. for sacrificing their funds and their time to teach students around the globe through WBS.
Now “we’re serving Christ together,” he said, noting the Great Commission delivered by Jesus in Matthew 28: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Though Jesus was specific in what his followers should do, he didn’t specify how to do it, Monyamane said, adding that “WBS is one way to go.”
When it comes to taking the Gospel to the world, Jesus “didn’t give instructions in black and white,” he said.
from the Christian Chronicle Blog
Last week, Jonathan Fagan sent me a link to this article in the Murfreesboro Post about an open house at the Fosterville Church of Christ.
Intriguing aspects of its history have been uncovered during a six-month restoration of the building by local historic preservationist Jonathon Fagan, but organizers of the event are keeping a lid on specifics until the big day.
“We found some of the most interesting artifacts and inscriptions in the building’s iconic steeple, and tracked down their source in the Fosterville Cemetery,” Fagan said. “It’s quite rare for a Church of Christ of that era to have had a wooden structure with so many unique design elements, and the congregation has done a fine job of preserving it for more than 135 years."
|Unusual Shaped Steeple - drawn in red the masonic sign.|
A historical church and a century-old mystery involving a cemetery? Count me in.
So on Saturday, I went down to Fosterville, which is two churches, an old stone wall, a post office, and a couple of other buildings along the railroad tracks. Minister Jeff Adcock, who is a descendant of the families that first built the church and who now serves the church, spoke at length about the 1890 tornado that severely damaged the church and killed the father of E.A. Elam, an important figure in Church of Christ history (Elam's father also being one of Adcock's ancestors).
....And then it appears that Fagan gave some thought to the steeple, which is unusually elaborate for a Church of Christ church built in the 1880s. Just a quick perusal of Google images for Church of Christ churches will show you how odd this steeple is. (There are some fancy downtown church steeples, but in general the Churches of Christ that have steeples tend to have ones with more simple designs.) Fagan and Adcock, though, seem to have had a hunch based on the presence of that Masonic symbol, and they went and measured the angles of the steeple. The top part of the steeple has a 33-degree angle. The pointed bits are at 90-degree right angles.
read more here
historical writing about the building here
used by permission: © 1995-2013 City Press LLC, 210 12th Ave. S., Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203
The latest news: On Sunday, the congregation celebrated the opening of its new building.
The Tuscaloosa News reports:
TUSCALOOSA — In the initial moments after the April 27, 2011, tornado, members of Central Church of Christ worried about what would happen to their beloved church, whether they could rebuild and come back after the tornado destroyed their church building. But the worry and doubt didn’t last long, said pastor Lee Jamison on Sunday.
“The church is not the building, it’s the people,” Jamison said during a dedication service Sunday afternoon. “Everything we lost was just physical, what was remaining was faith, hope and love — what was only there from the beginning.”
Central Church of Christ reopened its doors Sunday in a new building at its original location on Hargrove Road after being displaced since the tornado. For the past two years and three months, the church has worshipped at the Alabama Fire College.
“We stand here today joyous, but the joy came to the surface long ago, the day after (the tornado)” Jamison told the crowd of several hundred. “What I saw in the eyes of the people came to help was joy, and even thought there was a heavy weight on our shoulders, we did the only thing we could do and look out on our community and see people worse off.”
Read the full story.
from the Christian Chronicle Blog
The Oklahoman reports:
Lewis Hale of Oklahoma City has a friend in Texas who wanted to beat his record for years as a pulpit minister.
Hale said the pals have joked often as part of a friendly Red River rivalry — preacher style.
The octogenarian said he recently told Robert Oglesby, of Waterview Church of Christ in Richardson, Texas, he would have to serve his congregation seven more years.
That’s how long it would take the Texan to surpass Hale’s 57-year tenure as pulpit minister of Southwest Church of Christ, 3031 SW 104.
Hale recently retired, with July 7 as his last Sunday in the pulpit. The congregation is hosted a retirement reception to celebrate his faithful and lengthy service.
“I’ve been very fortunate because the Lord’s been very good to me. I recognize that and I’m grateful,” said Hale, 87.
Read the full story.
from the Christian Chronicle Blog
|The Woodville Church of Christ sits across from the railroad tracks, just a few doors down from the Bob Jones Community Center on Venson Street in “old Woodville.”|
One hundred years ago, in 1913, the church was established and in a few weeks the church and its congregation will celebrate that century anniversary with a weeklong revival.
The celebration will begin on Sunday, July 28, meeting at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and again at 6 p.m. Each night of that week the church will meet at 6 p.m. and listen to evangelists including, Bill Thomas, George Robinson, Collin Little, Tyler Blizzard, Seth Dawson, Adam Dawson, Charles Washburn, Nesbitt Sanford, and the church’s current preacher, Wes Dawson. On Sunday, August 4, as the celebration winds down, the church will meet at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., and will then hold a fellowship lunch at the Bob Jones Community Center at 12:30 p.m. At 2 p.m. on that day a brief history of the church will be given and a singing will be held.
Wes Dawson says that this year’s celebration isn’t an ordinary revival. The church will also be open during the day so that current members, past members, or just members of the community may come by for a visit between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. each weekday to observe some of the church’s history.
Dawson says that bed sheet charts will be displayed in the auditorium of the church. “Preachers used to preach from bed sheet charts,” he said. Bed sheet charts are charts painted or drawn on actual bed sheets that have bible verses and sometimes illustrations on them. According to Dawson, Church of Christ evangelists once relied on these to give their sermons, but most use more modern devices today such as PowerPoint or white marker boards.
Dawson also says that he has original film equipment that was used in personal evangelism. In older days, Dawson said that preachers would travel to homes and show the Jule Miller filmstrips, an old series on the history of the Bible. “We will be showing those at some point during the day,” he said. He added that they will also show a newer series on Bible history, The Story, throughout the day. “It was filmed in the Holy Land and is literally the story of the Bible. It’s a very good series,” he said.
Dawson says that as a child he hated history, but as he has researched the history of the church in Woodville, as well as the history of the Church of Christ, he has grown to love learning about the past. “I have fallen in love with history, especially church history. There is so much rich history here that you can’t help but want to dig deeper. It’s almost become consuming. Where we’ve been really effects where we’re going and when we look back we learn from the past,” he said.
A good deal of the history of the Woodville Church of Christ, Dawson accredits to John Robert Kennamer, who wrote several books including History of Jackson County, Memoirs and The Story of Woodville. “He was a prolific writer,” Dawson said. Dawson said that John Robert (J.R.) Kennamer began the Church of Christ congregation in Woodville but according to Dawson there is a discrepancy in his accounts on when and how it began. In his book, History of Jackson County, according to “A Short History of the Woodville Church of Christ”, a booklet that will be given out during the 100 years celebration, “The first gospel meeting was held under a tent on the vacant lot where the Butler and Kennamer store was later located by R.N. Moody.” In his book, Memoirs, Kennamer recounted that it was “articles by brothers David Lipscomb and E.G. Sewell that encouraged him to start meeting with his family and other Christians in his home. This work began in earnest when his brother D.C. Kennamer and family moved to Woodville in November of 1911. The two families began meeting each Lords day in either the school house or their homes to study the Bible and partake of the Lord’s Supper. It was not long before another brother, S.H. Kennamer and his family joined them in weekly worship,” thus creating the Church of Christ in Woodville. Kennamer constructed the church building on part of his garden in the summer of 1913.
Dawson hopes that the hundred year celebration will create interest in the church and help it grow “We are a graying congregation,” he said. “We are really interested in having more young people, more young couples and children, in the church if the church is going to have a future. We want to be there another hundred years or more.”
For more information on the celebration or the church contact Wes Dawson at 256-244-4530.
|A view of the Black Forest fire in Colorado Springs from the building of the Eastside Church of Christ (Photo via www.facebook.com/EastsideChurchColoradoSprings)|
The Eastside Church of Christ in Colorado Springs, Colo., is feeding people evacuated from the path of a raging fire in Colorado’s Black Forest.
The fire, blazing about six to seven miles northeast of the church’s building, forced the evacuation of 2,530 homes and businesses in northeast El Paso County, the Denver Post reports.
At least six members of the Eastside church are among the evacuees, and at least one member lost their home in the blaze, said Patrick Mead, senior minister.
“Officials say fires won’t be out for days,” Mead tweeted Monday night. “Long night and week ahead for Colorado saints.”
Update: The Gazette of Colorado Springs reports on the Evans family, members of the Eastside church who lost their home in the blaze:
At 3 p.m., Tuesday, Skyler Evans ended his father Brian’s nap in the family home at 8050 Swan Road, near Vollmer Road in unincorporated Black Forest.
“Dad, you need to come look at this smoke,” Skyler said.
Brian saw the tower of smoke and quickly began loading the family’s two cars with photos and family mementos. He made a special excursion to find his great-grandfather’s hammers.
By 5:30 p.m., Brian and his wife, Hope, their daughter Cheyenne and Skyler all drove out of the driveway just as a mandatory evacuation order was announced.
On Tuesday night, the family sat and watched the fire at a high point where Black Forest Road meets Woodmen Road. The saw a fireman friend who promised to call if he heard any information about the Evans’ family home.
At 7:45 a.m. Wednesday, the phone rang. It was the firefighter.
Their house on Swan Road was gone. It had been consumed by the fire.
Despite the loss, Brian sounded surprisingly fresh and optimistic as he talked Wednesday.
Despite his fear, Brian said he slept soundly Tuesday night at the home of a friend in Falcon. Turns out, he had more than two dozen offers of shelter from folks at the Eastside Church of Christ, where he worships.
“You don’t know how many people care about you until something stupid like this happens,” Brian said.
And he was not mourning the loss of his possessions.
“It’s just stuff,” he said. “The wife and the kids are out. The dogs are out. After that, the rest is just . . . stuff.”
from the Christian Chronicle Blog
Volunteers from Churches of Christ in Texas and Oklahoma help sort through the remains of Jason and Kala Leger's home in Newcastle, Okla. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)
Today, I’m proud to call myself an Okie — and I’m blessed to be a part of the body of Christ.
I spent the morning with a group of volunteers who helped Jason and Kala Leger sort through the remains of their home in Newcastle — a small town southwest of Oklahoma City where tornado that devastated the city of Moore began.
Jason Leger, a deacon of the Southwest Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, shot video of the approaching funnel and the aftermath. The video went viral and got the attention of the international press. (See our blog post about it.)
My home congregation, the Memorial Road Church of Christ, organized the relief trip, though we had volunteers from a Church of Christ in Texas and community churches throughout the metro area.
Speaking with the Legar family was a truly uplifting experience. I pray that I can show the kind of grace and humility they showed in the midst of loss. Look for more on them in our next print issue.
I also stopped by the Oakcrest Church of Christ in southwest Oklahoma City, which is nearly overflowing with bottled water, donated clothes and canned goods. This morning, boxes of supplies arrived from Churches of Christ Disaster Relief Effort in Nashville, Tenn. The church is acting as a collection and distribution point for relief efforts.
This will not be an easy task, and it won’t be over anytime soon. See our “How to help” post to be a part of the recovery.
A Bible is among the items salvaged from the Legers' home in Newcastle, Okla. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)
Volunteers make signs to direct tornado victims to relief supplies at the Oakcrest Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)
Volunteers pray at the Memorial Road Church of Christ in Oklahoma City before heading southwest to Newcastle. The church sent other groups to the tornado-hit towns of Shawnee and Luther. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)
Donated clothes line the pews at the Oakcrest Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)
Yours In Christ,
Minister Bob Odle said agent Christopher Lorek, 41, and his family came to the congregation about six years ago:
“They are as solid as they come,” Odle said. “They were here every time the doors were open.”
Church members knew he had a high-risk job and was often out of town, but they didn’t know exactly what he did.
Lorek joined the FBI in 1996 and is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 11 and 8, according to the report.
Read the full story.