After the tornado, Oklahoma church sings God’s praises

After the tornado, Oklahoma church sings God’s praises

First Place (with Erik Tryggestad, Ted Parks and Murray Evans), In-Depth Reporting, Associated Church Press

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

MOORE, Okla. — Tears.

Hugs.

Emotional recountings of survival and loss.

In the wake of a disaster such as the May 20 tornado that devastated this Oklahoma City suburb, the casual hellos and handshakes of a typical Sunday give way to deeper, more intimate communication — in body language, if not words.

“How are you?” an older woman asks a fellow member of the Central Church of Christ, as the two share a tender embrace.

“I’m good,” the sister in Christ replies and repeats, “I’m good.”

“It didn’t hit you?”

“I didn’t have any damage.”

“Oh, good.”

The holy chatter of 150 similar conversations fills the church auditorium.

Texas tornado ‘blew in a 2-foot layer of love’: Churches in two storm-battered communities become hubs for disaster relief (reporting from Cleburne, Texas). Page 1.

Religious freedom in public schools: Yes, it’s constitutional to teach the Bible during the school day (reporting from Simpsonville, S.C.). With sidebar: Christian education program takes director back to her roots (reporting from Greenville, S.C.). Second Front.

‘God’s been good’ to New York church: Diverse congregation celebrates the purchase of its first permanent building after leasing a hotel ballroom for years (reporting from Middletown, N.Y.). National.

This post highlights my stories in the July 2013 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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