Category Archives: National

Fort Worth Christian women to help MISSION 3:16

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Attendees of the Fort Worth Christian Women’s Connection luncheon will be treated to a feisty guest speaker, a good meal, and an opportunity to donate to a worthy cause.

During the organization’s February luncheon, women are invited to bring new teddy bears or other types of stuffed animals to the event for MISSION 3:16, a chaplaincy at Kimbo Juvenile Justice Center.

The luncheon will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 15 at the Mira Vista Country Club, 6600 Mira Vista Blvd in Fort Worth. The cost is $17.

The mission donates a stuffed animal – or Prayer Bear – to a patient at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth every time one of the Kimbo kids earns a certificate for being on Level 1 behavior for seven consecutive days.

The stuffed animals must have the store tags still attached.

Since November 2002, Kimbo Juvenile Justice Center has donated “Prayer Bears” to Cook Children’s Medical Center on behalf of detainees maintaining the highest level of behavior.

The scheduled guest speaker for the February luncheon is Qujette Cone, a fun-loving grandmother, who will take attendees on a journey of her heart’s travels in “Music From the Heart.” Jimmie Porterfield will accompany Cone on her musical journey.

In addition, Ryan Loehndorf will showcase the variety of pampering at Moda’s Aveda Salon on Seventh Street.

Childcare is provided. All reservations, and cancellations, including childcare, must be made by Feb. 10. Email Patsy at for reservations.

Study explores gap between God and jobs

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Center for Faith & Work

Special to Inside The Pew

DALLAS — Do faith and work mix? And if so, as America’s workforce increasingly wants meaning beyond a paycheck, do pastors help? From a recent national study commissioned by Dallas-based LeTourneau University’s Center for Faith & Work, answers are, “Yes,” and “Not enough.”

“Ninety-three percent of pastors say they want to help members of their congregations integrate faith and work but fully two-thirds of them admit their efforts fall short,” Bill Peel, Center for Faith & Work executive director, said. “People work more, and better, when their labor carries a sense of calling. But most employers can’t give it, and most pastors don’t.”

The church-work gap emerges in data from two surveys commissioned by the Center and conducted by the Barna Group.


• Nearly all (93 percent) pastors said helping people integrate faith into daily work is “very important”
• A third (32 percent) of those pastors claim an “excellent understanding” of workplace issues
• Half (49 percent) of churchgoing, employed Christians “strongly agree” that their church gives information, guidance, and support to live out faith at work
• 26 percent of pastors say their sermons address faith at work
• 8 percent of pastors provide prayer support for workplace issues
• 3 percent of pastors report they visit their members at work

The LeTourneau Center for Faith & Work, founded in 2011, reflects a burgeoning “faith at work” movement to help the employed — and unemployed — find God beyond church doors.

The Center’s web site assembles resources, tools, and curriculum for churches, students, and the global Christian community to equip and connect them to live out their faith in the workplace. Foundational to the Center is the notion that God values good work well done.

“From Genesis to Revelation, work is essential to human flourishing,” Peel said. “Pastors and pew populations too often default to esteeming ‘church work’ over traditional business. But God doesn’t draw that line.”

In 1946 R.G. LeTourneau, industrialist and inventor, founded LeTourneau University; and his refusal to separate faith and business formed “the DNA of the university.” Bill Peel, founding executive of the university’s Center for Faith & Work, is an award-winning author of seven books, including Workplace Grace, What God Does When Men Lead, and Discover Your Destiny.

Music publishing vet creates Church Musicals

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In the know: For more on Church Musicals, visit

Special to Inside The Pew

Record company and Christian music publishing veteran Ed Kee has created a way for churches to minister to the unchurched Broadway style.

Kee’s latest endeavor, Church Musicals, provides high-quality Broadway-style musicals that not only entertain, but also create a

Church Musicals' production of "Humbug"

non-threatening outreach tool as well.

Founded in 2003, the vision for Church Musicals began when Kee, as creative director for Brentwood Records, would go to New York and see Broadway musicals.

“The combination of story and character-driven songs was powerfully moving,” said founder Kee. I realized that this was the perfect medium for the church to convey biblical truths and concepts in a way that people would easily relate to. This is exactly what Jesus did through the parables he told,” Kee said.  “I thought, If Jesus was able to convey God’s truth through stories, why can’t we do the same thing – with the same affect?”

Kee said Christian Musicals allows churches to minister to the unchurched without losing them in “Bible-thumping” rants or “church-speak,” something they do not readily understand.

“The goal is to entertain and demonstrate God’s love at the same time,” Kee said.

Kee said more churches are discovering Broadway-style musicals are an effective outreach to the community.

“It gets people into the church where relationships can be formed and where the gospel can be shared,” Kee said. “One essential component, however, is quality. The stereotypical picture of a ‘church musical’ involves people in bath robes and sandals. Unless you provide high quality entertainment, people aren’t likely to come,” he said.

For those churches that do musical theater, the available repertoire has been slim to non-existent. The large Christian Music publishing companies have – with a few notable exceptions – made rather feeble attempts in recent years at creating musicals for this market, but have now abandoned it altogether because of its niche appeal. Kee is a staunch believer in niche marketing and in the power of this medium for communicating the gospel. His goal is to be the “go to” company for Broadway style musicals. Kee is also in the process of writing and developing other original musicals for release later this year and early 2013.

Atlanta pastor, family killed in Fla. pile-up

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By Michael Ireland
ASSIST News Service

A pastor, his wife, and teenage daughter were among the 10 people killed in a massive highway pileup in Florida, now deemed as the deadliest crash on an American highway in 20 years.

According to CBN News, pastor Jose Carmo, Jr. and his family from the International Church of the Restoration in Atlanta were returning from a religious conference when their vans collided with several cars, six tractor-trailers, and a motor home on Interstate 75 near Gainesville on Sunday.

CBN News footage from accident

Senior pastor Arao Amazona told CBN News  he had opted to delay his departure until the next morning. Amazona said Carmo had wanted to be back in time for the suburban-Atlanta church’s Sunday morning service.

“We couldn’t have imagined such tragedy would come to us,” Amazonas said.

The crash took place after the Florida Highway Patrol reopened the interstate following an earlier serious accident. The broadcast outlets said the highway had earlier been closed due to thick smoke from a fire alongside the road which hampered visibility for drivers, according to broadcast reports.

“We went through the area. We made an assessment. We came to the conclusion that the road was safe to travel and that is when we opened the road up,” said highway patrol spokesman Lt. Patrick Riordan during a news conference.

“Drivers have to recognize that the environment changes,” he said. “They have to be prepared to make good judgments.”

The crash’s 18 survivors were hospitalized. Some are still in critical condition.

UAB gospel choir honors church bombing victims

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Special to The Pew

The University of Alabama-Birmingham Gospel Choir is celebrating Black History Month in a special way this year, with a song that honors the memory of the four little girls who lost their lives in the 16th Street church bombing in 1963.

“You Don’t Know What I Could Have Been” is an original song penned by choir director Kevin P. Turner. The song was written and performed for the choir’s most recent theatrical concert, “Gospel Anthology II: The Church and the Civil Rights Movement.”

The track is available for download at iTunes,, and Myspace Music. Local, national and satellite radio stations, secular and gospel, will all have copies for radio play, Turner said. Comedian, radio host, and Birmingham native Rickey Smiley will debut the song to his national audience, as well.

“This is perfect timing as we celebrate the service, sacrifices and achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, including those of the Foot Soldiers, the Freedom Riders and the children who died during this time in American history,” Turner said. “This song gives voice to the children who did not survive attacks during the Civil Rights Movement.” The timing of the release coincides with Black History Month and national observations of historic anniversaries and events, including the opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders.

2011 was a banner year for the choir, with its first overseas tour to London and Birmingham, England and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, two CD releases, an East Coast tour, a live performance on NBC’s “Today” with Al Roker on the campus of UAB to 5.5 million viewers, and the special recognition they gave to local heroes of the Civil Rights Movement who recently passed away by presenting the “Gospel Anthology II” concert. Turner also was honored by the Carlton Reese Memorial Unity Choir, the original Civil Rights mass movement choir.