A few weeks after losing one of his pastors to suicide, Rusty George of Real Life Church in Valencia, Calif., spoke on radio station KHTS’s “Aging With Power” program about coping with the suicide of a loved one.
“It was shocking for all of us, and it was devastating,” George said of campus pastor Jim Howard’s suicide Jan. 23. George said Howard had struggled with a mental health issue and was on and off medication for years.
“We react the way everyone reacts with something like this—with sadness, with a bit of anger, a bit of guilt. And we just decided to walk through it as a community. We’ve been doing that as a church.”
The church has offered coping resources to its members, and has heard from several people who have considered suicide or know someone who has. He said the church has committed to talk openly about the issue.
“Hindsight obviously is 20/20,” George said. “The question is: How do we get ahead of that? We want to do more for providing help before it happens, rather than just after.”
The church has resources on its website for those considering suicide. George said if people are willing to talk about their suicidal thoughts, their friends should encourage them to keep talking.
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Twin Oaks Christian Church in Woodhaven, Mich., is hosting a food drive concert to help restock local food pantries depleted by the government shutdown. The March 8 concert will support the Fish and Loaves Food Pantry and Gleaners Community Food Bank. The entry fee into the concert is one bag of food per person, the News Herald reported.
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The Owensboro Times in Kentucky did a roundup of how local churches are addressing security concerns.
“Our hope is to create a secure, but inviting, environment,” Owensboro Christian Church executive pastor Greg Gilmore told the newspaper. “The building at OCC is just massive—it’s been a couple of years now that we’ve had limited entrance access on weekends.” The church has check-in and check-out procedures for children’s ministry, as well as a security guard for Sunday services.
[A “Safe Worship” training program is available through International Disaster Emergency Service. Click here to read a story about IDES’s program. An article by Ed Sanow, who directs the program, will appear in the April issue of Christian Standard.]
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New Hope Community Center, an outreach ministry of Broadway Christian Church in Mesa, Ariz., is operated by volunteers who put in 14,000 hours last year. Four hundred people access the center each month.
The center is open Monday through Wednesday and offers food, clothing, medical checks, bus passes, and haircuts. The latter service was featured recently in a story by the Arizona Republic.
Volunteer Tom Laktas, 74, has cut hair in the center for two years. “If you’re a churchgoing person, some of the things they teach you, well, you’re supposed to help your fellow man,” Laktas said.
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Greencastle Christian Church is hosting a “Walk Thru The Bible” event Friday night. The live event will focus on the New Testament. The church’s website says the goal is to help the Bible come alive for people . . . it’s “not a class, not a typical seminar or a boring lecture.”
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Chilhowie (Va.) Christian Church hosted the visitation and funeral for State Police Trooper Lucas B. Dowell, who died in the line of duty Feb. 4 while serving a search warrant. The suspect who opened fire on Dowell’s tactical team was shot and killed. The visitation was Friday and the funeral was Saturday morning. The church opted to live stream the funeral service after receiving numerous requests.
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