Compiled by Jim Nieman
The 26th installment of New Hope Christian Church’s annual outdoor “Journey to Bethlehem” underwent a major change this year due to COVID-19.
The interactive Nativity, which traditionally starts in the Washington, Ind., church’s building and then leads participants out to a wooded area for a series of scenes telling the story of Jesus’ birth, was filmed this year for presentation via Facebook and YouTube.
“We’ve always done it live but we knew that would not be an option this year,” senior pastor Joe Coquillard told the Tribune-Star. The goal of the video “is not just to entertain but to also remind everyone to make room for Jesus this year and how we need his grace.”
Jacob Winkler, a former church youth group member turned videographer, created the 46-minute video with the help of dozens of church members serving as actors, musicians, production people, and more.
“We also didn’t want to cancel because Jesus didn’t cancel his arrival,” Coquillard said.
(We featured NHCC’s “Journey to Bethlehem” in an article last Christmas.)
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Countryside (Mo.) Christian Church’s “Christmas Caravan of Hope” traversed city streets spreading Christmas cheer the night of Dec. 4. Participants bedecked their vehicles with Christmas lights, trees, and other decorations. Christmas music rang out as the caravan cruised by assisted living facilities, the city’s hospital, Northwest Missouri State University, through neighborhoods, and down Main Street.
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EnterMission, a gap-year ministry for young adults ages 17 to 25, successfully launched this year and participants are about to enter a new phase, director Chris Irwin reports. Under the umbrella of the International Conference on Missions, this year’s team of nine began with two months of training at Johnson University followed by two months of service with five different ministries in the United States and Mexico. In January, the students will begin four months of overseas service. EnterMission is currently accepting applications for its 2021 cohort.
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The Journal of Discipliana—an online-only, open-access journal set to launch in 2021—invites manuscript submissions in all areas of the Stone-Campbell Movement. Editors are seeking contributions grounded in original research which defend a clear thesis and inform specialists and/or general readers. Articles should explore issues relevant to all aspects of thought and religious life and practice within the historical or contemporary Stone-Campbell Movement.
Scholars from the three primary streams of the movement—including Christian churches and churches of Christ—are welcome to participate. Dr. Richard H. Lowery, president of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society, serves as publisher.
Teachers of graduate students are encouraged to submit their own scholarly endeavors and also those of their most promising students. Manuscripts should be 5,000 to 6,500 words and be submitted in Microsoft Word to general editor Dr. Mark G. Toulouse at [email protected]. Learn more at discipleshistory.org.
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Namikango Mission recently named Cameron Mayhill as U.S. director. Mayhill has served for almost 20 years in Restoration mission endeavors including FAME, Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, and Haitian Christian Outreach; he joined Namikango in August. Namikango Mission is focused on empowering African communities through Christ-centered transformation. Their ministry work focuses on church leadership, discipleship training, education, health care, and community development.
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A Blessing Box set up in March in front of the Youth Center at First Christian Church in Columbus, Ind., has helped out numerous individuals in need during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The unlocked box—one of two in the city—has shelves stocked with nonperishable food and occasionally some toiletries. A sign in front of it says, “Leave what you can. Take what you need.”
“We have a hard time keeping ours full,” Nancy Lewis, connections minister at FCC, told the Republic. “The biggest success in my mind, beyond the obvious part of meeting people’s needs, [has been the] unconditional agape love and no-strings-attached giving. . . . And it’s been especially beautiful because we have been able to build relationships with those who have come there for help.”
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In November, Lifeline Christian Mission saw a record-setting month of meal packing. In total, nearly 8,000 people at 38 church locations worked with Lifeline to pack 2.125 million meals for distribution to people in need in seven countries and via dozens of stateside ministries. The largest two packing events occurred at Compass Christian Church, Colleyville Texas, and Eastside Christian Church, Anaheim Calif., with those churches packing more than 500,000 meals each. Eastside recorded a video of their event; click here to view it.
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This past spring’s CARES Act, passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, authorized an additional tax-deductible charitable gift of $300 during 2020, even for those who don’t otherwise itemize their deductions. Lincoln Christian University posted a reminder of this, while also providing a link to a CNBC story that provides more details.
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