Tag Archives: celebration

Trafficklight Partner Remerge Celebrates 20 Years of Ministry

Creating art for the museum housed onsite by Remerge. Learn more at www.remerge.org.

By Carl Stagner

Twenty years ago, Church on the Street emerged in Atlanta, Georgia, radically transforming the way we do ministry to those outside the walls. Church on the Street took church to the people living without homes and beckoned traditional churchgoers into proximity with, and investment in, the lives of persons in poverty. Having become a Trafficklight partner since, Church on the Street never sought to engage the fight against trafficking; still, that fight came to them, and they’ve responded with holy boldness and love. Remerging in recent years from the starting point of reconciliation—that is, with God and neighbor—Church on the Street became known as Remerge in 2016. With intentionality, flexibility, and fervor, Remerge enters its twenty-first year, ready to change hearts from the streets to the suburbs, from underpasses to newly upholstered pews. Continue reading

New Jersey Church Faithful in the Face of Adversity

Volunteers from Highland Park assist local community for veterans.

By Carl Stagner

Sometimes, on the scale of size and influence, smaller churches can feel insignificant. The truth is that the impact of the smaller churches among us cannot be overstated. The Church of God in Gloucester City, New Jersey, for example, has a rich history of impact for the kingdom. Highland Park Church of God also has benefited from pastoral longevity; as senior pastor Bill Dilks prepares for retirement later this year after twenty years, associate pastor Debra Conner surveys the faithfulness of Highland Park, encouraging the congregation to press on in ministry during this time of transition. Through community partnership, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, the New Jersey church believes God will do many more amazing things in their midst. But they’re not waiting for some elusive big breakthrough to live out their purpose—Highland Park carries on the work of the gospel, even in the face of adversity. Continue reading

Virginia Church Commemorates Arrival of First Africans in English North America

By Carl Stagner

Four hundred years have passed since the first recorded African landing in English-occupied North America. It was in 1619 at Point Comfort, now part of Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, that twenty-some Africans from Angola stepped off the transatlantic White Lion and set the stage for the slaves of the subsequent two-and-a-half centuries of American history. Joynes Road Church of God in Hampton has played an integral role to-date in the official commemoration of the pivotal events that unfolded so long ago. Though the special activities and events began during Black History Month this year, community and social involvement is nothing new for Joynes Road. Pastor Simeon Green provides a closer look. Continue reading

CHOG Congregations Celebrate Black History Month

Church of God of East New York dressed for Black History Month.

By Carl Stagner

Cultural traditions and observances have long been a part of the church calendar. While they don’t demand acknowledgement in worship settings, they’ve been used effectively to establish connections between Christ and community, and between the present-day congregation and faithful servants of the past. From “Souper Bowl” Sunday to fall (Halloween?) festivals, from Labor Day picnics to celebrations of God and country (Independence Day), celebrations of otherwise secular occasions are often used by the church to reach neighbors, encourage fellowship, and/or put into practice biblical values. Each February, numerous Church of God congregations celebrate Black History Month and, in so doing, build bridges between church and society, often shining a light on topics sometimes overlooked or ignored by popular culture. Three Church of God congregations in the Northeast offer a snapshot of Black History Month in the Movement. Continue reading

History in the Making: Arizona Church Unearths Time Capsule

Digging up the time capsule.

By Carl Stagner

At 5536 N. 6th Street in Phoenix, Arizona, you’ll find sacred grounds. On these grounds, souls have been won to Christ. Believers have been baptized. Lives have been transformed. Memories—of both challenge and triumph—have been made. Of course, it’s not the address, the parking lot, or the building that make it so special; it’s the Lord, whose providential hand has preserved that space for his glorious work for three decades. And it’s the believers themselves, who had worshiped at another location even longer—since the 1940s. Though the name over the door has changed over the years, the Lord over all has remained the same. In view of The Gathering Place Church of God positioning itself for expansion, congregants from generations past-to-present recently reunited to unearth a time capsule, whose contents not only bring back cherished memories, but speak of an unchanging, eternally faithful God. Continue reading

Fifty Years and Counting: Ohio Pastor’s Longevity at One Church Inspires

The congregation honoring Pastor Walls for his faithful service (Image courtesy Ferman Brown Photography).

By Carl Stagner

They came from near and far. Pastors, politicians, family, friends, and members of the community descended upon East Second Street First Church of God in Xenia, Ohio, for a very special and very unique occasion. On Sunday, March 18, notable Church of God figures addressed the over-capacity crowd, including—but not limited to—Ed Foggs, former executive secretary of the Church of God; Miki Merritt, presiding elder of the National Association; Demetrius Booker, associate state pastor of Ohio Ministries; Timothy Clarke, senior pastor of First Church of God in Columbus; and Dennis Kidd, senior pastor of Front Street Church of God in Hamilton, Ohio. Morning and afternoon services, complete with preaching, presentations, and powerful moments of worship, celebrated the sixty-five-year ministry of Dr. J. Douglas and Lady Donna Walls: fifty faithful years at one church. Continue reading

Paris, France: Revolutionary Ministry Celebrates First Anniversary

@home Church’s first anniversary celebration.

By Patrick Nachtigall

When Samir Salibi moved to Paris, France, as a twelve-year-old, non-Christian immigrant from Lebanon, little did he know that one day, two decades later, he would be coming to the rescue of many migrants and displaced people himself. But that is exactly what happened, and on December 2, members of the Three Worlds missionary team of the Church of God in Europe and the Middle East were in Paris to celebrate the first anniversary of this revolutionary new ministry. Continue reading

Native American Ministries: Two Generations of Bentleys Leave Lasting Impact

A touching moment for Paul and Kathy Bentley (August 19).

By Carl Stagner

True heart for ministry is unmistakable. Combine that with a love for the Lakota people in Allen, South Dakota, and you have a recipe for a lasting impact. Such is the case with the combined thirty-two years of Native American ministry by two generations of Bentleys. Paul and Kathy Bentley, followed by Barry and Shelly Bentley, dedicated themselves to making a difference in a hope-deprived land among an impoverished people. As they pass the torch of leadership on to home missionaries Tim and Kim Wardell, we pause to bless the Bentleys and remember their steadfast service. Continue reading

Honoring 32 Years of Home Missions Dedication

Paul and Kathy Bentley; Barry and Shelly Bentley

By Carl Stagner

Thirty-two years of ministry dedication is no small feat, especially under challenging conditions. While it’s true that the kind of kingdom laborer deserving of recognition is also the kind that acknowledges no need of earthly honor, honor is nevertheless warranted. For more than three decades, the Bentley family has served among the Lakota people in Allen, South Dakota, without a lot of recognition. Despite the ebb and flow of resources, a society plagued by addiction, and the inescapable loneliness of the remote Upper Great Plains, their resolve could not be shaken. Paul and Kathy Bentley, and Barry and Shelly Bentley, who followed in their footsteps, would endure for the cause of Christ. They were committed. Now the Church of God is committed to honoring these heroes of the faith in a ceremonial celebration on August 19. Continue reading

Missouri Church Takes Bold Step to Eliminate Debt

Photo: First Church mortgage going up in flames.

By Carl Stagner

Two thousand years ago, Jesus paid the debt we could not pay. His victory over death became our victory, setting us free to experience new life and share it with others. Until freedom reigns, debt has a way of holding us back, enslaving us to our past. First Church of God in Jefferson City, Missouri, found themselves in this very predicament. While thankful for the grace that covers their spiritual debt, the debt that stared them down, barring the way forward, was financial. This debt kept them from experiencing God’s best and embracing the future he’d planned for them. Then, early last year, the capital city congregation fixed their eyes on Christ and boldly stepped out of the boat. Continue reading

MACU Holds Celebration of Culture, Highlights Hispanic-Latino Community

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Photo: Cultural attire enhanced the celebration.

By Whitney Knight

Last weekend, Mid-America Christian University held its semi-annual Celebration of Culture event, highlighting Latino-Hispanic heritage with a weekend of festivities and service projects. Beginning at 10 AM on October 7, students and community members were addressed in the university chapel by local leaders like Josue Chavez of the Oklahoma City Family Church and Rev. Mark Inscoe, a teacher from Capitol Hill High School. After chapel services concluded around 11:30 AM, an inspired Latino-Hispanic lunch highlighted with traditional fare such as quesadillas, enchiladas, tres leches cake and Mexican street corn. Traditional dancers provided entertainment. Continue reading

Virginia Beach Church Celebrates Mortgage Burning

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Photo: Former pastors join Steve Roby as they burn the church’s mortgage papers.

By Carl Stagner

On Sunday, May 17, a huge burden was lifted off Water’s Edge Church of God in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Witnessed by the gathered saints, Pastor Steve Roby, and two previous pastors, financial prison doors were opened to a future of flexible ministry freedom. Accompanied by shouts of praise and thunderous applause, the church’s mortgage went up in flames—literally. It was a trajectory-altering moment in the church’s history that deserved nothing less than a pull-out-all-the-stops celebration. The entire congregation celebrated with worship, ceremony, and a barbecue feast that followed. Though they ate well that afternoon, reaching such a noteworthy milestone was no piece of cake. Continue reading

Ohio’s Wauseon First Church Celebrates 125 Years

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By Tammy Allison

Editor’s note: As the Church of God movement nears its 135th year, more and more congregations have celebrated, or will soon celebrate, their centennial. We rejoice with each one as such milestones are reached, affirming generations of hard-working families and individuals, altogether representative of God’s faithfulness through the years. One local church that has reached its 125th year is First Church of God in Wauseon, Ohio. They recently held special festivities to commemorate and honor the Lord on this landmark occasion.

In a society where things seem to come and go, the Wauseon First Church of God has been a constant in the lives of many local Fulton County citizens. On April 25 and 26, the church celebrated their 125 anniversary with a combination of celebrating the past and looking forward to the future. The Wauseon First Church of God is the oldest active Church of God, Anderson, Indiana-affiliated church in the state of Ohio. Continue reading

Churches Celebrate Centennials

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By Carl Stagner

In 1913, a train collided with George Gleckler’s car, abruptly ending the life of his wife and son. Though his remaining children survived, the pain was nearly unbearable for this brother of Emma Kardatzke. Yet out of the throes of such tragedy, the Church of God in Elmore, Ohio, was born. From the depths of despair, the Lord has led the congregation to celebration time and time again; only this time, the celebration was extra special. This time, the church came together to mark one hundred years of ministry. Continue reading