March 20031) CHURCH PLANTINGS IN THE NORTHEAST—This is thrilling, there are plans to plant four new churches in the Northeast this year, and perhaps even a fifth one. Gene Britton and the brethren at New Milford, CT have already located a minister family and have plans in operation to start a new congregation 25 miles north of them at Torrington, CT. This is definitely what needs to be happening in the Northeast and everywhere. Also, David Tarbet has announced that the White Rock Foundation in Dallas, TX is making a commitment to the Torrington work. Additionally, Gene Britton reports that he has just received info from a young man who wants to move to the Lewiston-Auburn, Maine area and start a work. (More on this possibility later)
When the elders from the Albany, NY Church were recently in Lubbock for our workshop they announced that they will begin this year to plant a new work in Troy, NY. Troy is a major city not far from Albany with a population of well over 150,000. Planting a sister congregation in Troy has long been a dream of the Albany brethren and now their dream is coming true. James Glasscock (SIBI graduate) has agreed to move to Troy and work with the Albany Church in this effort. James Glasscock can be contacted at email@example.com
For months now we have been reporting about efforts to get a new work started in Milford, DE. Our initial meetings there last October were very encouraging and indicated the presence of great interest in the gospel. You know about the hard work and prayers that Joy Courtney and Oneida Brown have put into this project. Now, upon their graduation from SIBI this month, Randall and Sherry Adams will move their family to Milford. The plan is for this new church to start holding regular services in April or May. Randall and family will be sponsored by churches in New Jersey, Delaware and Oklahoma.
Another long term effort has been to plant a congregation in Westerly, RI. It is very possible that this plan will be able to be put into action in 2003. We are talking seriously with people in Texas who are interesting in moving to Westerly and help plant a new congregation. This church will be able to reach out not only to the southern tip of Rhode Island but parts of Connecticut also. Please be praying for all these efforts.
2) NORTHWEST CHURCH PLANTING WORKSHOP – One addition matter related to church planting, later this month I plan to attend the Northwest Church Planting Workshop being held at Cascade College in Portland, Or. The dates are March 21-22, you can read further details on my web site at www.sibi.cc/focusnortheast/defaultne.htm I want to learn what brethren in the Northwest are doing to plant churches with the hope that we can learn better ways of doing the same in the Northeast.
3) A MINISTER FAMILY FOR BANGOR, ME – Finally, after a long search, the brethren at the Penobscot Valley Church of Christ in Bangor, ME have located a minister family to work with them. Joel Cranford reports that a young man from W. Virginia named John Bair has just agreed to move to Bangor. John has served in the Palmetto Church of Christ in Columbia, South Carolina where they have a very dynamic SIBI Satellite School. I am especially happy to hear that he will be interested in also setting up one of our Satellite Schools in Bangor. I will be encouraging him to contact Bill and Lil Powers here at Sunset to make plans for a Satellite School as soon as he is ready. Bill Powers can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org I believe a Satellite school would really promote the Kingdom in a place like up state Maine where there aren’t many churches and where a planned curriculum of Bible teaching has not been available to many of the brethren. Anyone able to help the John Bair family with moving expenses can email him at JohnBair@Charter.net The White Rock Fund in Dallas will also supply some ongoing support to this work.
4) NORTHEAST INTEREST BREAKFAST AT ACU – For years now during the Abilene Christian University Lectures there has been a Northeast Interest Breakfast hosted so that those attending the lectureship with keen interest in Northeast Missions could fellowship and share their news. David Tarbet has over the years officiated at this breakfast and this year handed that responsibility over to me and the Focus Northeast work. David is much appreciated for his love for the churches in the Northeast and his special interest in that part of God’s world. I hope I can maintain the same level of involvement in this yearly breakfast that David has, and I thank him for the opportunity.
5) THE FALL RIVER DISTANCE LEARNING SCHOOL – By the first of April we will be into our fourth term of the 2002/2003 school year and will have close to a year of experience in operating the Distance Learning School in Fall River, MA. We are pleased with the results and even more pleased with the obvious potential this program offers. We have the facilities for offering a free Bible education to any church sponsored student from anywhere in the eleven Northeastern states. Maxwell Harris and the Camelback Rd. Church in Phoenix, AZ have helped the Fall River Church enlarge their building to accommodate the school and their congregation’s growth. Here is an opportunity to train our own church leaders and preachers right in the Northeast. We are already printing up brochures and other advertisements to recruit students for the new school year that starts August 1st. We invite NE churches to contact Mike Mullen at email@example.com or call him at (508) 672-8538 and request more information.
6) HERE’S AN IDEA WITH GREAT POTENTIAL – Recently one of the excellent young preachers we’ve graduated from SIBI wrote to say, “... I’d like to explore the possibility of helping the good brethren in the Northeast.” He went on to explain that he believed the brethren where he preaches would be willing to send him on a short-term mission trip to the Northeast if such a need exists. Another fine young preacher whom I’ve known for years and of the same caliber told me to include him in any short-term help he might be able to render. Truitt Adair, Ed Wharton, Speedy Hart and I have already been doing this very thing. I have spoken with other SIBI graduates and other preachers here in the South about this same idea. Speedy Hart is at this moment arranging for a summer campaign in Hamilton, Canada and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org I could take the initiative and contact various churches and individuals in the Northeast and ask if they would be interested, but I would rather invite any brethren in the Northeast reading this to contact me and let me know if they would be interested in this proposal. Contact me at email@example.com
7) A FUTURE CHURCH PLANTING IN NEW JERSEY – Marvin Crowson, who oversees domestic missions at Harding University, has consistently encouraged Harding students to consider the Northeast as their mission point. Several of their students travel to the Northeast during Spring break for short-term projects, some of them have traveled with me. I want to encourage you to check out the Mid-Hudson Church of Christ web site at www.poughkeepsiechurch.org In addition to telling about the church in Poughkeepsie, NY, it relates the plans of a Northeast Mission Team that formed at Harding with plans to plant a church in New Jersey the summer of 2004. The team members are Shaun and Marci Dutile, Brian and Shannon Gifford, Scott and Rachel Penick, Brandon and Randi Lyn Thomas and Carl and Alicia Williamson. If you would be interested in helping this team achieve its goal you can contact them through the above mentioned web site.
8) ANOTHER POSSIBLE TEAM FORMING – Greater New York City has a population of about 18 million people and spills over into three adjoining states, we could use hundreds of church planting teams just in that great city! Mission: NYC is the name of a team from ACU that began inner city outreaches in NYC this past year. Mikhail Egorov, who came from Russia to attend SIBI some years back, also works in the Manhattan and Brooklyn areas of the city among Russian speaking people. Missionaries to this great city are desperately needed. Daniel Blankenship, a senior at Lubbock Christian University, wrote to say that he and his wife are interested in doing inner city work in New York. Daniel writes, “We have been praying about this for a few years and we feel God is wanting us to go to the city. My wife is an education major and wants to teach in an inner city school, and I have always been interested in inner city ministry. We would be interested in meeting anyone who has a desire to go to the city and work with the inner city culture (which is completely different from the inner city culture in this part of the country). If you know of anyone interested in working in the city, please let us know. We do not have a team going. However, we are looking to work with local churches there and raise up a team of local leaders from NYC to plant a church in another part of the city. If you would like more information as to what we are about, you can check out our web site at http://committed.to/missions We have a basic strategy outline and will continue to add more as we continue to pray and grow and study.” Contact Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org
9) NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA CHURCH OF CHRIST – It was a great privilege to briefly work with the Northeast Philadelphia Church this past October and I look forward to being with them again in June. David Peterson, Jake Wayne and the whole church are reaching out with daily evangelism programs. People are being discipled and baptized weekly. David recently wrote: “Greetings in the name of Jesus, Praise God for His never ending love for each and everyone of us. His goodness is seen more and more in His plan and purpose for each and every soul. This is evident in the life of a young man Ervin from Haiti, with whom we have been sharing the Bread of Life he responded by faith and put on Christ and went rejoicing as we see in (Acts 8:39). Brother we would like to invite you and sister to come this coming summer and share with us the Word of God and be co-laborers in training, discipling and mentoring the flock. We need experienced servants of the Lord such as you to continue in the effort to reach the lost souls on the north eastern part of the United States. Thank you so very much for your love and prayers for us in this precious assignment that we have at hand. Keep in touch and pray for us to the Almighty. In His Service, David & Susan Peterson. ” I look forward to being with the brethren in Philadelphia.
10) CAMPUS MINISTRY IN PITTSBURGH, PA – While I am in the area this summer I certainly want to drive over to Western Pennsylvania and see the new Campus Ministry that Steve Comer and Lance Huntsman have started. These men are graduates of Bear Valley Bible Institute in Denver, CO and through this new ministry have a great opportunity to reach the youth and advance the Cause of Christ in that part of the NE. I encourage you to contact these men at email@example.com to see how you might assist in this work.
11) FROM HERE AND THERE IN THE NE – William Horace (SIBI grad) continues to do outstanding work in the inner city of Providence, RI. William writes: “Thanks to the Almighty that we have completed the first six months of our assignment here in Providence, Rhode Island. We had a very successful time of working with the Liberians and others. Many souls were converted and baptized and some brethren who stopped attending services were restored back to active fellowship with the Saints. The ministries that were established in July to August are still functioning. Our heartfelt thanks and appreciations goes to you and our supporters for financially and prayerfully helping us to do the work the Lord has called us to do. You are indeed our encourager. We began the New Year with the first fellowship meal and honoring program of the Prayer Ministry Team. Our dedicated and committed members were certificated for their hard work of praying for the Church, missionaries, the sick, supporters, etc. On January 5, sister Hanrea Shar was baptized into Christ. On the 17th, the Churches of Christ in Rhode Island placed a full-page ad in the Providence Journal Newspaper. The Churches published their addresses, the fundamental teachings, free Bible correspondence, etc. The Providence Church of Christ was selected to handle all requests from individuals seeking information. Please continue to pray for us.”
Ray Johnston (SIBI grad) is doing a tremendous work with the LaSalle Church of Christ in Niagara Falls, NY. Ray reports growth, some active leadership training and an active interest in our Distance Learning School at Fall River. He has invited Mike Mullen and me to come present the work in Niagara Falls and we are frantically trying to find a time slot for doing that.
Doug Hamilton (SIBI grad), now ministering with the Camp Hill Church in Camp Hill, PA, reports: “Our attendance has steadily grown through restorations and some baptisms (just had one last night). When we arrived, the average attendance for the prior six months was around 125. We are now around 160-170. Something that we are very excited about is a new domestic mission work that is starting in April. We are going to be working with a small congregation about an hour away, providing preachers, encouragement and other services. This will be a new tool for the training of missionaries and preachers. The congregation is involved with mission works in India and Ghana. I am planning a trip with two others to Kakanada, India in August for the purpose of furthering that work. We have many new Bible studies currently in progress. You will be happy to know that the primary tools we are using with great success are two classes from the extension school, HCE and Distinctive Nature of the Church. Ed would be proud of me.” The Camp Hill Church has invited our director, Truitt Adair, to do a Family Seminar with them in April.
Cedric Thomas (SIBI grad) has moved from Freport, Long Island to take up a work with the church in Hampton, VA. We still consider Cedric a part of the NE work. Bill Williams (SIBI grad) writes: “KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, MY BROTHER!” Bill preaches for the Cedars Church of Christ in Wilmington, DE, one of the churches helping get the work in Milford, DE started. Our minister at the Sunset Church of Christ in Lubbock, Dan Rouse, will be doing a Leadership Workshop at the Cedars Church of Christ the first week in March. For info email Bill Williams at bw4Jesus@att.net
Gene Britton reported that Eugene Brewer is going to present a series of lessons on establishing elderships this summer at the Kent, CT men’s retreat. The retreat is usually the first weekend in June. Contact Gene at firstname.lastname@example.org Also, the Connecticut Valley church in Windsor appointed elders recently and the church in New Haven appointed elders in December. Gene reports that this makes eight congregations in Connecticut with elders. For ministers needed in the NE see our web site at www.sibi.cc/focusnortheast/HELP.htm
Herschel Walker who preaches for the Blue Hill Church in Boston writes, “The Blue Hill congregation has decided to take on the Lawrence congregation as a temporary mission work and pray that you will aid us in this effort for six (6) months. Even if you are out of the New England area and would like to make a one time donation, we will love you for that token of concern.” Contact Herschel at HWalker222@aol.com
12) LETTERS FROM HERE AND THERE – I want to share some letters that especially encouraged me: Lauren (last name not given) writes, “Thank you for your web site that contains Northeast news. It really encourages me to know that people do care about souls that live where the Church is sparse. I am originally from Rhode Island, then New York, then MA, then MI, then IA and now Tennessee. It seems complacent in Tennessee. I have been involved in nursing home ministry and have been trying to involve myself with overseas missions. My husband has a Masters Degree in Bible (ACU) and is in National Guards. I graduated from the Northeast School of Biblical Studies in Clifton Park, New York and have a two year degree in General Studies and an honorable discharge from the Air Force Reserves. My husband is out of the ministry at this time, but he really wants to teach again and in my heart, the Northeast is still my home. Pray for us. God moves in mysterious ways!” That’s right Lauren, we are praying the Lord will lead you back to the Northeast. Email her at l
Ron Longwell wrote this, “Thanks for sending me your newsletters. Please make a note that my e-mail address has changed and is now: email@example.com I am in graduate school now at Harding Graduate School in Memphis, but we are planning on returning to the north just as soon as I finish, so your newsletters are helpful in keeping me informed of what’s going on. Keep up your good work for the King!”
Bruce Wadzeck wrote, “I am excited about your focus on this area where almost a third of the U.S. lives. I have been in the full time ministry for 32 years. I moved to the Princeton church of Christ in NJ over fourteen years ago. I strongly believe in church plantings as the main evangelistic hope for the Northeast. I am in contact with a brother at Harding Univ. in charge of domestic church plantings. They are training young couples and singles that want to be vocational missionaries and help plant new congregations where the Church has little presence. The northeast is one of their focuses. I am committed to working with them and everyone else to make sure these are successful. Let me know of any plans or people interested in NJ, and I will to be glad to assist them. After fourteen years of evangelistic success and understanding the culture of this area I believe I can be helpful. May God bless our efforts until the point the Northeast is the numerical center of our brotherhood. Let me know what you think!” I think you’re right, Bruce! You can respond to Bruce’s comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gail Berry, from the Rome, NY Church of Christ wrote, “This is a belated thank you (unless I already did) for your visit in October 2001. Your visit really uplifted this little congregation. Speedy and Randall were great assets and well received, also. It was a very meaningful visit. We’re very sorry that Randall will not be coming to us. He’s a very sweet, caring young man. I was looking forward to meeting his wife and children. Perhaps they still will come for a visit? Please thank Speedy, Larry and Terry for their visit in October 2002. Although our numbers were fewer, the classes Terry led were “right on”! Val and I have gone over our notes together, looked up the scriptures and are awaiting the promised video tapes! His presentation was great. Because the time was shortened, and he gave us an excellent overview, we were left panting for more of God’s word within the parameters of his presentations. We particularly liked his circle progression from Mind/Emotion/Action, etc. The lesson was a real “eye opener”. The progression from OT characters to assist in our application of the word was clearly presented in the second “double header” lesson! Both lessons presented us with a real challenge! Speedy’s classes were great and helped us to focus on the book of Ephesians in new ways. It’s always good to see things from a different focus… Larry’s song leading was exemplary! We all wanted to keep singing until Jesus returns! …Please feel free to pass on any of this info to Speedy, Terry and Larry. My love to you and Tamara, and the “guys”. You’re all in my prayers.” Thank you Gail. This fine congregation in Rome, NY has been without a full time minister for almost 12 years…we are praying that someone will step up and say, “Here am I Lord, send me.”
13) SIBI SATELLITE SCHOOLS IN THE NORTHEAST – I reported some time back about preaching at the Gem Street Church of Christ in New Haven, CT and sitting in on one of Hi Jackson’s Satellite School classes and all the other great fellowships we enjoyed at that time. I have also joined the Satellite classes at Fall River with Mike Mullen and Albany, NY with Kerry Morris. Bill and Lil Powers here at SIBI oversee the setting up of Satellite Schools like the ones at Gem Street, Albany and Fall River and report that there are now close to 300 such schools world-wide. Most of them are in the USA. The Powers are in contact with 16 such schools in the Northeast. The newest one is being set up by Kevin Bethea in the Baltimore, MD area. I introduced Kevin to the Satellite concept last year at the New England Lectures. He has really taken the ball and run with it. Another great Satellite School is with the Patchogue Church of Christ in Patchogue, NY. Kent Field is the director. Take a look at what can be done: www.via-media.com/~pchurch/sibi01.htm
Contact Bill Powers about setting up a SIBI Satellite School in your area. email@example.com
14) REMEMBER THE UPCOMING NEW ENGLAND LECTURES—I appreciate being invited to speak again this year...I hope to see you there.
Date: April 11-13, 2003
Holiday Inn Conference Center
Theme: “Christ the Foundation”/Ephesians chapter 4
For information email: Gerard Palma firstname.lastname@example.org
15) SIBI RESIDENT CLASSES—Fourth Term Classes for our 2002/2003 school year will begin April 1st, I will be teaching 1st and 2nd Timothy/Titus and Tamara will be teaching Effective Bible Study Methods to the preacher students’ wives.
16) OCTOBER, 2003 CAMPAIGNS IN THE NE – As many already know, we plan various campaigns and seminars each October for the NE and invite our SIBI students to participate in them for experience and exposure to the Northeast as a possible mission field. Next October Water Maxwell will be with the Waterbury, CT Church of Christ for a gospel meeting, Truitt Adair will be with the Roosevelt Church of Christ on Long Island and Truitt will join me for the Leaders and Wives Retreat where we present Leadership Lessons designed to develop leadership in local churches. The Leaders and Wives Retreat will be hosted by the Fall River Church of Christ this year. For information email Mike Mullen email@example.com
This work is under the oversight of the Sunset Church of Christ elders, 3723 34th Street, Lubbock, TX. I am an instructor in Bible and Missions at the Sunset International Bible Institute, Lubbock, TX. We are working on behalf of efforts to train and establish missionaries in the Northeastern States of the U.S., to assist struggling churches in that area, to help plant new congregations in these states, and to encourage the assistance of brethren everywhere. Churches and individuals wanting to join us in this endeavor are asked to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In His Service,
Charles and Tamara Cook