By Carl Stagner
Celebration of the risen Christ ended early and abruptly on Sunday, April 21, in Sri Lanka, as the deadliest violence in a decade devastated the island country south of India. More than 300 people were killed and another 500 injured in a series of bombings that struck churches and hotels in the cities of Colombo, Negombo, and Batticaloa. As investigations continue, the Church of God fervently prays for the injured, families of victims, first-responders, and churches affected both directly and indirectly. Steven and Peggy Beverly, missionaries for Global Strategy to Sri Lanka, were just beginning their home assignment at the time of the incident. Their updates on the situation reveal their broken hearts. They would prefer to be with the suffering people they’ve come to love than safe in the U.S. right now. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Global Strategy
Tagged Andrew Gale, Asia and the Pacific, Asia-Pacific, Beverlys, church, crisis, disaster, Easter, evil, global, Global Strategy, grief, home assignment, hotel, hurt, loss, missions, pain, peace, Peggy Beverly, persecution, prayer, prayer matters, prayer request, sadness, sorrow, Sri Lanka, Steven and Peggy Beverly, Steven Beverly, terrorism, tragedy, turmoil, victims, violence
By Carl Stagner
The multiple wildfires raging in California are reported to be the deadliest in history. Entire communities have been wiped off the map, as the list of missing persons has climbed to well over a thousand. Even the East Coast has observed the effects of the fires as haze drifts across the country. Though rain is in the forecast, the much-needed moisture is also likely to cause dangerous mudslides and even more devastation. Since the wildfires began, Church of God Ministries has urged prayerful support over social media. Now your financial support is desperately needed, too. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Disaster Relief, Western
Tagged aid, CA, California, Camp Fire, destruction, devastation, Disaster Relief, donate, donations, DRC, fires, help, humanitarian, mudslides, Northern California, Paradise, Paul Dreger, The Church of God of Northern California Association, tragedy, weather, West Coast, Western, wildfire, wildfires
The cross remains on the Panama City church’s sign!
By Carl Stagner
One hundred fifty-five miles per hour. That’s how powerful Hurricane Michael’s winds were when the Category Four monster made landfall near Mexico Beach, Florida, on October 10. Meteorologists are calling the storm the strongest to ever hit the continental United States since Hurricane Andrew of 1992. In its wake, Michael left behind widespread catastrophic damage, leveling homes and businesses, and claiming the lives of at least nineteen, as the search for missing persons continues. The Church of God was not left unscathed; to date, two congregations have reported damage to their church building and their homes. As information continues to be collected by state ministry offices and Church of God Ministries, Church of God congregations across the country are already responding to the imminent and critical needs of funds, supplies, time, and labor. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Church of God Ministries, Disaster Relief, Southeast
Tagged aid, Alabama, Bainbridge, Carolina Ministries, damage, destruction, devastation, disaster, Disaster Relief, Disaster Relief Team, DRC, evangelism, First Church of God, FL, Florida, Florida Church of God Ministries, GA, Georgia, Grant Powell, humanitarian, Hurricane Michael, Jason McClendon, Jim Johnson, Ken Love, Michael Claypool, North Carolina, Panama City, relief update, Rick Kohl, severe weather, South Carolina, storm, storm update, Tim Teague, tragedy, update, weather, wind, witness, work teams
Tri County Church celebrates one of many baptisms.
By Carl Stagner
January 23, 2016. A day Tri County Church of God in DuBois, Pennsylvania, will never forget. A day that could have dismantled much of the good that had been accomplished since the dawn of the congregation in 1995. Dave Bish, founding pastor, died suddenly and unexpectedly that day while out on a trail run. Devastation swept across the community, but hell would not prevail. Instead of a downward spiral, the church rallied together in an outpouring of love like they’d never seen before. God had a clear mission for Tri County Church, and neither the remaining leadership nor the new lead pastor would be deterred. As they relate the timeless story of Jesus Christ to the stories of those near and far from God, Tri County Church is inviting everyone into their own developing story in DuBois. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Give Life, Northeast
Tagged baptisms, baptized, blessings, campus, campuses, challenge, Chris Trethewey, Dan Smith, Dave Bish, DuBois, expansion, Great Commission, growth, hurdles, Jesus Is the Subject, leadership, multi-site, multisite, obstacle, PA, Pennsylvania, stories, story, tragedy, Tri County Church, victory
A graphic posted on the Coral Springs Church Facebook page.
By Carl Stagner
The night before the devastating tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Pastor Kimberly and her daughter Anna each had the same disturbing dream. At some point during the night, they both imagined being in the middle of a violent situation where they each had to use guns to defend themselves. They awoke and shared with each other just how terrifying their dreams were and how they hoped they’d never find themselves in such a situation. A few hours later, news broke about what had taken place a couple miles from their home. Kim’s husband, Anna’s father, is the lead pastor of Coral Springs Community Church of God, the closest Church of God to Parkland, Florida. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Give Life, Southeast
Tagged community, Coral Springs, Coral Springs Community Church, David Konstantopoulos, devastation, FL, Florida, grief, Kimberly Konstantopoulos, loss, Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School, mourning, outreach, Parkland, school shooting, tragedy
By Carl Stagner
Deadly floods in West Virginia, South Carolina, and Malawi. Earthquakes in Ecuador, Myanmar, and Japan. A typhoon in the Philippines. Tornadoes in Oklahoma and parts of the Midwest. The European refugee crisis. Over just the past few years, Church of God Ministries has been hard at work, carefully distributing funds you’ve given to provide much-needed relief in the wake of disasters around the world. Church of God Ministries maintains the Disaster Relief Fund on behalf of the Church of God movement in order to be able to respond swiftly to disasters when they strike. Recently the need has proved greater than our capacity. We’re looking to God’s abundant grace and your generosity to continue disaster relief into the future. Continue reading
Senseless violence has yet again shaken the country as news of a deadly shooting surfaced from the city of Roseburg, Oregon. The October 1, 2015, tragedy is only just beginning to send shockwaves through the city, which lies about 180 miles south of Portland. Our Church of God congregation, Hucrest Community, opened its doors to the public for anyone who would like to pray. Prayer is what is so desperately needed at a time like this, and we invite the Church of God across the country and around the world to pray. Please remember the wounded, the friends and family of the deceased, Umpqua Community College, Pastor Jon Nutter, the congregation he serves, and the entire Roseburg community in your prayers. Thank you. Continue reading
By Serena Ellens
“…The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21 NKJV). Often cited in times of trial or difficulty, these famous words perfectly embody the attitude of Houston First Church of God during the past few months. The trials began with severe flooding in the church, which was due to the heavy rainfall and resulting damaged drainage pipe that burst in the roof above the youth room. Filling the church with one to three inches of standing water, the flood damaged numerous areas of the building and required that much of it be gutted and completely redone (drywall and insulation included).
Then the church was struck again, this time with the traumatic and sudden loss of their lead pastor, John Miller. After suffering a stroke on June 2, Miller passed away a few days later, leaving his congregation behind while he went to be with the Lord. Continue reading
By Carl Stagner
June 17, 2015, was yet another dark day for all of us in the United States of America. Searing pain was felt across the land, especially for those who lost loved ones in one of the largest mass shootings ever to take place inside the doors of a church. In the days that followed, the Church of God encouraged believers to spend focused times in prayer for families of the victims, for the safety of our churches, for reconciliation, and for the future of our country. As heinous acts of racism and persecution against Christians continue to rise in our world, the Church of God stands on its founding principles of holiness and unity with the Prince of Peace as our common subject. Two examples of a holy, loving response to the June 17 tragedy come from Brownsville Community Church of God in Charleston’s neighbor-to-the-north, Summerville; and the Church of God in Varnville, South Carolina. Continue reading
Posted in All Church of God, Southeast
Tagged Brownsville Community, Charleston, hate, persecution, race, racism, Reconciliation, Robert Toliver, Ruthie Williams, shooting, South Carolina, Summerville, tragedy, Varnville, violence
On Wednesday evening, June 17, 2015, evil once again reared its ugly head in the United States of America. Our hearts mourn the loss of nine lives brutally taken from this earth in Charleston, South Carolina. In a world where racism, hatred, and sin run deep, we turn our anguished hearts toward heaven to seek hope and divine consolation. It is at the end of a painful week such as this that we strongly encourage Church of God congregations in North America and around the world to seek peace, reconciliation, and justice on bended knee. Continue reading
Photo: Shelly and Mitchell Burch
Every day in the Church of God around the world there are people who suffer great loss, yet they find strength to press on in ministry because of the grace of Jesus. Church of God Ministries recognizes this reality as exemplified in the news of yet another unspeakable tragedy. Pastor Mitchell Burch, his family, the Towne Boulevard congregation of Middletown, Ohio, and the Church of God movement are at a loss for words. Today we mourn the passing of Rochelle “Shelly” Burch—faithful pastor’s wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, accomplished musician, minister, and friend—as well as Shelly’s devoted and loving mother, Linda Golden.
Posted in All Church of God, Great Lakes
Tagged legacy, Linda Golden, loss, Middletown, Mitchell Burch, mourning, Ohio, Rochelle Burch, Shelly, Towne Boulevard Church of God, tragedy
Photo: The Living Room Coffee House, used lately as a place of comfort and healing for those grieving after the Marysville, Washington tragedy.
By Carl Stagner
“Exactly two weeks after our grand opening, I was at work at the golf course and I received a text from my daughter Jordan, who is a sophomore at Marysville Pilchuck High School. The text said, ‘HELP!’” The urgent message sent to Mike Reynolds, pastor of Hillside Church in Marysville, Washington, was certainly not the kind that any parent hopes to receive. The October 24 school shooting hit too close to home for the Reynolds family, who had just celebrated the opening of a coffee shop ministry adjacent to the worship center. While Jordan’s life was spared, the trauma and grief left in the wake of the shooting has led the four-year-old Church of God congregation to offer their coffee house as a place of comfort and healing. Continue reading