Ohio Church Celebrates 175 Years (Plus News Briefs)
Ohio Church Celebrates 175 Years (Plus News Briefs)

Compiled by Chris Moon and Jim Nieman

First Christian Church of New Philadelphia, Ohio, is celebrating its 175th anniversary in August and September by welcoming back four young ministers whose faith was formed at the church and who now serve churches elsewhere in Ohio.

The Times Reporter said ministers Josh Davis, Brandon Schwartz, Luke Borton, and Maddie Miller will be speaking or performing music at the church on three successive Sundays.

The same newspaper also published an interesting article about the history of First Christian.

“We are extremely thankful for the six generations of Christ followers that established this vibrant faith community called First Christian Church,” senior minister Jim Borton said. “The best way to honor the past is to make every effort to intentionally hand our faith in Jesus Christ to the next generation.”

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News Briefs

Pastor and professor Shane Wood was interviewed for the Jesus Creed blog about his recent book, Between Two Trees: Our Transformation from Death to Life.

“Sure, the Bible begins with the tree of life in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3) and ends with the tree of life in the new Jerusalem (Revelation 22), but the true tree of life stands in the center of the Bible calling us, guiding us, transforming us: the cross of Calvary,” Wood said. “The true tree of life suspended between Heaven and earth that loudly proclaims, ‘You are not alone . . . and your suffering is not the end of the story.’”

Wood serves as a professor of New Testament and associate dean with Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Mo.

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After 46 years of ministry, Cliff House retired as senior pastor of Lakewood Christian Church, McAlester, Okla., on Sunday and Paul Vanderveer began serving in that role.

House served with LCC for 38 years. He became senior minister in 2000. Prior to that, he had served as associate pastor since 1981. House also served as principal, and later, superintendent of Lakewood Christian School. Prior to arriving in Lakewood, House served with churches in Oklahoma and Indiana. House’s wife, Anne Marie, was worship pastor with LCC.

Vanderveer had been serving Lakewood Christian Church as associate pastor. Upon arriving at Lakewood in 2016, he worked as youth pastor. He also has served as high school music teacher at Lakewood Christian School. Prior to LCC, Vanderveer served with churches in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. He and his wife, Mallory, have four children.

House and Vanderveer both graduated from Ozark Christian College: House in 1973 and Vanderveer in 2009.

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Two churches have stepped forward to help Union Christian Academy in Fort Smith, Ark., after the school was flooded over the weekend. Central Christian Church will house kindergarten through fourth grade and Grand Avenue Baptist Church will host middle and high school students for the next several weeks. The churches are offering their facilities free of charge, high school Bible teacher Stacy Sagely told KFSM News.

“It’s just been really humbling for me, as a teacher, to come into a campus and have a church just say this is our facility and it’s here to bless you,” Sagely said.

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Storms forced South Rock Christian Church to move the big outdoor worship service they planned from a city park in Derby, Kan., to inside their church, but the event on Sunday was a success nonetheless, reports lead pastor Rick Wheeler. (See our article from last week, “Kansas Church Plans ‘Major Evangelistic Event’ at City Park.”)

The decision to change plans for the South Rock ONE event was made at 6:00 p.m. Saturday.

The church served breakfast to hundreds on Sunday morning, then combined their normal three services into a single service. In addition to the sanctuary, people viewed the service on big-screen TVs from various locations throughout the church.

“Lots of new people still came,” Wheeler said. “The mood was fantastic! To have everyone there all at the same time, worshipping together, was probably the most exciting Sunday we’ve had in years!”

Wheeler noted South Rock likely will make similar outdoor plans again next year but, for now, will focus on follow-up with the many visitors who attended.

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Members of Eastside Christian Church in Anaheim, Calif., joined short-term mission teams to northern Kenya, where they served a variety of local needs—from medical to education to construction.

The group made the trip in partnership with Missions of Hope International (MOHI), said the Park Rapids Enterprise.

At one village, the group made financial arrangements to assist a poor family that had promised its 7-year-old daughter to marriage in exchange for household goods. The girl was released from the betrothal and enabled to attend a school sponsored by MOHI.

Eastside financially supports as many as 3,500 students in MOHI schools, the Enterprise reported.

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Calvary Christian Church in Winchester, Ky., on Sunday served as the assembly point for hundreds of “birthday boxes” for families that can’t afford to provide birthday gifts for their kids.

According to the Gleaner, the birthday boxes contain cake mixes, icing, birthday candles, birthday cards, and small toys. They will be distributed through nonprofit organizations, school resource centers, and a daycare center.

The boxes were organized by the Shemwell family, members of Calvary Christian Church and founders of the nonprofit Marco Shemwell Foundation. The foundation honors Marco, a 4-year-old who died after being struck by a car in September 2018 in Lexington, Ky.

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Flavil Yeakley Jr., 85, a church-growth expert and author, died Aug. 12 in Searcy, Ark., the Christian Chronicle reported. Yeakley directed the Harding Center for Church Growth at Harding University in Searcy before retiring in 2011. He directed the Church Growth Institute at Abilene (Texas) Christian University before moving to Harding in 1990. He authored several books, including Why Churches Grow and Why They Left.

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The “Rise Up” Christian Educators Virtual Summit will take place Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6 and 7. The conference bills itself as the first-ever free national online conference for Christian educators (grades K-12) in public and private schools. Learn more here.

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The Vevay (Ind.) Church of Christ was in charge of the Community Church Service Sunday during Vevay’s Swiss Wine Festival. The service took place at an amphitheater at Paul Ogle Riverfront Park along the Ohio River. Minister Shawn McMullen said the church was thrilled for the opportunity to lead worship for the community. McMullen—who also serves as editor of The Lookout—said an offering was taken up to support the family of Ramiro Gomez, who died in an auto accident July 29.

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About 1,200 people representing 20 noninstrumental church of Christ congregations in and around Houston, Texas, packed about 100,000 meals on Aug. 12 at the Houston Food Bank. The racially diverse volunteers included church members and their friends, the Christian Chronicle reported. After completing the work, the nearby Fifth Ward Church of Christ hosted a fellowship meal.

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A pastor in Mexico was shot and killed on Sunday, Aug. 18. Pastor Alfrery Líctor Cruz Canseco was shot while leaving his church, Fraternidad Cristiana Church in Tlalixtac de Cabrera, a town in Oaxaca. The assailant was reportedly detained and arrested. Canseco died en route to the hospital. The motive is not clear, according to Newsweek.

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Send news to cs@christianstandardmedia.com.

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