Headlines: September 2017
Headlines: September 2017

Singer Overcomes Major Obstacle, Wins Over Harshest of Critics

Mandy Harvey, 29, a singer-songwriter (who happens to be deaf) from St. Cloud, Fla., won over the judges—including notorious critic Simon Cowell—when she auditioned on NBC’s America’s Got Talent on June 6.

Mandy’s father, Joe Harvey, an associate professor of ministry with Johnson University Florida in Kissimmee, wrote about his daughter in “Mandy’s Story” in the April 2015 issue of Christian Standard. Mandy became deaf during her first (and only) year studying music education at Colorado State University. Joe Harvey accompanied Mandy to the AGT performance and was interviewed as part of
the show.

On the show, Mandy told Cowell: “After I lost my hearing, I gave up. But I want to do more with my life than just give up.” She said she learned how to sing again, adding that she performs without wearing shoes so she can feel the song’s beat through vibrations in the floor.

After speaking with Cowell, according a New York Times article, “She . . . broke into a song that she wrote, ‘Try.’ The judges and some audience members appeared visibly shocked by her lucid notes; some could be seen wiping away tears. At the end of the clip, Mr. Cowell hit a golden buzzer, sending Ms. Harvey to the show’s next round. Music swelled as Mr. Cowell, known for his grumpy demeanor, joined Ms. Harvey onstage to tell her that her performance ‘was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen and heard.’”

Mandy’s performance on America’s Got Talent was also applauded by, among others: Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin (who also happens to be deaf), judge Heidi Klum, TV personality and former model Tyra Banks, and Lady Gaga.

This isn’t the first notoriety for Mandy. The Times said she performed at the Kennedy Center in New York City and in 2015 told the BBC: “I sing to encourage other people; that’s what makes me happy. My passion, the whole reason why I sing, is so that I can say, ‘Hey, this is what I’ve done; I really hope that I can encourage you to do the same.’”

Joe Harvey wrote in his Christian Standard article that, after Mandy lost her hearing, “She could have become bitter, and she certainly was angry—angry with God. Like Job, she wanted to make sense of the situation. Why did God give her such a wonderful gift if she would never be able to use it? Like Job, she needed to stay on the path (live faithfully), without understanding the plan (how God could use her life, albeit differently than what she imagined).

“And that is just what happened. In time, Mandy realized that God’s gift, the music, was inside of her. . . . After losing her hearing, she became a professional jazz vocalist.”

Read more at christianstandard.com/2015/04/mandys-story/. Read the New York Times article at http://nyti.ms/2smsf25. View her America’s Got Talent performance on YouTube. Her website is mandyharveymusic.com.


New Church in Harlem Launches

A church plant called The Gathering, which launches in Harlem, N.Y., this month, was featured in an article in the New York Times in June. Written by Ashley Omoma of the Times’ Student Journalism Institute, “The ‘Hood Pastor’ Reimagines Christianity in Harlem” focuses on Kenny Hart, the lead minister who grew up in Harlem. The Gathering is an Orchard Group church plant.

Hart left Harlem to play college baseball in the Midwest, then attended seminary, and more recently worked for a church plant in New York City for two years, according to Orchard Group. Returning to his old Harlem neighborhood, where he and his wife, Shanika, went to high school, feels like a homecoming. They love the people, understand the culture, and are conscious of the changes happening in the community.

An influx of new residents and wealth are moving into Harlem, threatening to divide the community. Hart sees a need for the ethnic reconciliation that can happen with the spread of the gospel.

Read more about the church plant at www.orchardgroup.org.


Ministries Partner to Plant Urban Churches

Stadia (Irvine, Calif.) is partnering with World Impact to plant 15 churches in urban, under-resourced communities across the United States. Urban Vision Trips to Los Angeles in August and to the New York City/Newark, N.J., area this month include meetings with potential church planters, tours of potential locations, and information on how established churches can help provide training and resources to launch urban churches.

Impact brings expertise and experience in working among the urban poor. Stadia brings expertise and experience in starting new, high-capacity, financially sustainable churches. Working together capitalizes on the best parts of each organization.

Stadia Executive Director Tom Jones sees this opportunity as one answer to a big question Stadia has been asking: “Who’s next?” says Jones. “Who are the new leaders God is raising up to start churches that can lead the current and next generations to follow Jesus, especially in hard to reach places?”

Learn more about the partnership at www.stadiachurchplanting.org/worldimpact.


Native New Yorker Takes New Role with Orchard Group

Orchard Group has added a new staff member (but he’s a familiar face). Jordan Rice—a native New Yorker who, with the help of his wife, Jessica, and Orchard Group, planted Renaissance Church in Harlem three years ago—is the new regional director for New York City. In his new role, Jordan will help assess church planting candidates, oversee church planters, host potential partners, and represent Orchard Group in ministry gatherings. Learn more at www.orchardgroup.org.




Landmark Christian Church (Chippewa Falls, Wis.) is partnering with the Chippewa Falls Mission Coalition to construct “tiny houses” for the homeless in their county, and students from a residential construction class at the high school are also participating in the builds. According to an article in the Chippewa Herald (available at www.chippewa.com), part of the class’s final exam even included work on the house.    //    Crossroads Christian Church (Newburgh, Ind.), which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is opening a new location on the west side of nearby Evansville, Ind., on the weekend of Sept. 9 and 10. “We believe that the people of the tristate deserve every opportunity to connect with a church family close to where they live,” says lead pastor Patrick Garcia. Crossroads’s West Campus is located at 2240 Bismark Ave.    //    Carolina Christian College (Winston-Salem, N.C.) will field a men’s basketball team for the first time this fall. Athletic Director Tony Spates is the head coach of the Centurions squad, which will play in the Association of Christian College Athletics conference.    //    Hope International University (Fullerton, Calif.) was named a 2017 Best Value School recipient by BestValueColleges.org. The recognition is based on academics, student satisfaction, and affordability.    //    Good News Productions International (GNPI, Joplin, Mo.) reports that almost 3 million people have viewed Promesa de Amor (or Promise of Love), an online video about spousal abuse and what a Christian response should be. Executive Director Mike Schrage writes: “In today’s social and digital media world, once video productions are made and offered in this teeming ocean called the Internet, only God’s Spirit knows the breadth and depth of its impact.” Learn more at www.gnpi.org.    //    Veva Appel, widow of former Lincoln (Ill.) Christian College and Seminary President Leon Appel and mother of Eastside Christian Church (Anaheim, Calif.) senior pastor Gene Appel, received the Distinguished Service Award from Lincoln Christian University this spring. Veva’s recognition is in honor of her lifelong and ongoing Christian service. After her husband’s death in 1974, Veva played a vital role working with Christian Homes Inc., and later with her alma mater, Minnesota Bible College. She has taught a Bible school class at Lincoln Christian Church (which her husband served as minister) for almost 50 years.    //    Manhattan (Kan.) Christian College will host “Branded,” an active adult conference, on Oct. 24 and 25. “Branded” is for active men and women seeking a time of spiritual renewal and inspiration. The program includes practical seminars, in-depth Bible studies, meals, worship, “and lots of Western surprises.” Keynote speaker Alan Ahlgrim serves as director of pastoral care and leadership development and oversees covenant groups with Blessing Ranch; he was founding and lead pastor with Rocky Mountain Christian Church (Niwot, Colo.) for 29 years. Learn more at www.mccks.edu.    //    Milligan College student Collin Prusak presented his research on the effectiveness of school-based mental health to U.S. House and Senate politicians and staff members at the 2017 Posters on the Hill conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., in May. The conference was sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research. Prusak’s was one of 60 presentations accepted among more than 300 submissions from across the nation. The Houston, Texas, native’s interest in this field was inspired by his sister, who has Down Syndrome. Milligan College is in northeast Tennessee.    //    Keith Wood has stepped down as associate director of ICOM to become regional vice president for Indiana and Kentucky with Christian Financial Resources. Wood had served with ICOM since 2013.    //    Joel Pazmino, a native of Ecuador, is planting a church in Columbia Heights, a neighborhood in northwest Washington, D.C., on Sept. 10. The project was spawned by Virginia churches (Waypoint Church Partners) as a result of Richmond hosting ICOM in 2015.    //    Kyle Idleman, teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Ky., is the subject of a two-part interview on Outreach magazine’s website: “Kyle Idleman: Grace Is Greater—Part 1” and “Part 2.” The magazine says Idleman specializes in stories of what happens “when desperate, messed-up people meet Jesus.” In the interview, “Idleman sat down to explore how stories take strange turns, bringing together such diverse realities as Taco Hut toilets, drunk drivers and outreach in the center of God’s grace.” Go to www.outreachmagazine.com/interviews.    //    The Children’s Ministry Summit is scheduled for Jan. 23–25, 2018, at the Catamaran Resort Hotel, San Diego, calif. Learn more at www.cmsummit.org.    //    The International Conference On Missions—better known as ICOM—will gather in Peoria, Ill., Nov. 16–19. This year’s president is Enoch Nyador, the first director of Ghana Christian Mission. Go to www.theicom.org to register and learn more.    //    National Back to Church Sunday is Sept. 17. More than 30,000 churches have participated in the event since 2009. Add your church’s name to the list of participating churches for free at www.backtochurch.com. When you register, you receive a planning guide with ideas and tools for planning your outreach event.    //    Carl Kuhl, lead pastor with Mosaic Christian Church in Elkridge, Md., recently wrote “The Secret to Generating Momentum in Your Church” for Outreach magazine. Momentum, Kuhl writes in summation, is “a whole bunch of people taking steps toward Jesus, all at the same time.” The article is part of Outreach’s “From the Front Lines” series. Go to www.outreachmagazine.com.    //    Southeast Christian Church (Louisville, Ky.) will open its sixth campus this fall. “With every multisite campus, our desire and intent is to reach people who are not regularly attending or serving in a church,” says senior pastor Dave Stone. The multisite campus is located at the site of a former Winn-Dixie store, 600 N. Dixie Highway, in the heart of Elizabethtown, Ky.

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