After chasing stories all over the United States, I found Faith — a town in South Dakota with a population of 421.
With my 2016 trip to the Dakotas, I reached a personal goal: reporting from all 50 states and the nation’s capital.
Below, I share my favorite and/or most memorable stories from each state, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
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• 2020 — Retired MLB slugger and his wife are on a mission for God (reporting from Florence, Ala.): Josh and Ginger Willingham lead a program to feed hungry children in their Alabama hometown.
• 2015 — From daughter to caretaker (reporting from Sylacauga, Ala.): Role reversal draws one woman closer to her parents — and to God.
• 2010 — Faith behind bars (reporting from Harvest, Ala.): Ministries shine light inside prison walls.
• 2014 — 50 years of Northern exposure (reporting from Wasilla, Alaska): Alaska annual meeting celebrates a half-century of promoting unity in the Last Frontier.
• 2019 — Guilty and forgiven (reporting from Searcy, Ark.): Botham Jean’s younger brother extends grace to fired officer convicted of murdering his loved one. With related interview of Jean’s parents (reporting from Dallas).
• 2018 — Tears and fears: Church teen killed by Arkansas police (reporting from North Little Rock, Ark.): Loved ones struggle to understand 17-year-old’s decision to open fire.
• 2017 — For kings and queens with special needs, a Night to Shine (reporting from Fort Smith, Ark.): Arkansas church rolls out the red carpet at prom-like event.
• 2012 — Homeless ministry feeds bodies, souls (reporting from North Little Rock, Ark.): Hundreds find Jesus at River City.
• 1997 — A tale of three cities (reporting from Little Rock, Ark.): Little Rock, Oklahoma City and Topeka, Kan., were desegregation battlegrounds.
• 2020 — The journey that led a church to appoint female elders (reporting from Los Angeles): “It needs to be the whole body,” Sheila Bost says of men and women leading and preaching. With related story “Should women preach in a mixed-gender assembly?” from Arlington, Texas, and other in-depth coverage.
• 2019 — From global justice champion to Christian university president (reporting from Malibu, Calif.): A Ugandan teenager imprisoned on false murder charges. An American law professor inspired to follow God’s calling. The story behind a life-changing meeting, an African nation’s reforms and Pepperdine’s surprising choice. With sidebar.
• 2018 — Marshall Keeble’s ‘boy preachers’ still baptizing and saving souls (reporting from Los Angeles): Famous traveling evangelist mentored many of the most influential African-American ministers in Churches of Christ. With related story “Two legacies, 50 years later” on Keeble and Martin Luther King Jr. and column “‘Sister Keeble’ stayed strong in mind, faith.”
• 2016 — Young man with autism has a heart for homeless (reporting from Camarillo, Calif.): California church member overcomes fears as he leads ministry that serves the needy.
• 2015 — Massacre puts focus on Muslims (reporting from San Bernardino, Calif.): Jihadist theology vs. mainstream Islam debated.
• 2010 — FriendSpeak combines Jesus, conversation (reporting from Los Angeles): Hundreds of churches help immigrants improve their English skills by reading the Bible.
• 1998 — Colorado residents mixed on charter schools (reporting from Castle Rock, Colo.): Centennial State’s experience offer lessons for Oklahoma.
• 2013 — Outside the walls (reporting from Manchester, Conn.): At New England conference, Christians urged to share Jesus beyond their church buildings.
• 2019 — Delaware churches — one white, one black — find new life by merging (reporting from Wilmington, Del.): Leaders say it’s impossible not to see God in the circumstances that brought these two disparate congregations together.
• 2013 — Delaware church inspired to feed hungry families (reporting from Wilmington, Del.): Increasing number of Churches of Christ operate thriving food pantries.
• 2010 — Christian education in hard times (reporting from Newark, Del.): Facing financial woes, more schools closing.
District of Columbia
• 2007 — For congressman, faith provides a foundation (reporting from Washington): The only U.S. congressman who lists his religious affiliation as Church of Christ is a staunch Texas conservative.
• 2018 — 18 wheels and a heart to serve (reporting from Panama City, Fla.): After Hurricane Michael, a retired Christian steers a big rig full of food and emergency supplies to hard-hit Florida.
• 2017 — After his wife died in a fire, this single father found hope in an unexpected place (reporting from Mount Dora, Fla.): Children’s home expands its mission to serve fast-growing segment of the U.S. population.
• 2016 — Orlando massacre: a Christian response (reporting from Orlando, Fla.): Part 1: Loving gays and lesbians. Part 2: Jihad and ordinary Muslims. Part 3: A special connection to a victim’s family.
• 2014 — iGods and other devices (reporting from Daytona Beach, Fla.): In a digital age, Christian teens connected and distracted.
• 2012 — I’m going to Disney church! (reporting from Kissimmee, Fla.): A Florida ministry serves vacationing Christians with a Sunday assembly at an Orlando-area hotel.
• 2008 — From the pulpit to the dugout (reporting from Jupiter, Fla.): An Oklahoma minister attends the St. Louis Cardinals’ fantasy baseball camp each year, to play and to pray.
• 2015 — ‘He’s with me, and he’s fighting’ (reporting from Atlanta): Brain-injury victim’s wife and parents pray for healing, while trusting in God’s will.
• 2015 — Why a Georgia church elder is making news at U.S. Supreme Court (reporting from Rome, Ga.): In a death-row murder case, all the potential black jurors — including Eddie Hood — were excluded.
• 2014 — A ‘bus ministry kid’ gives back (reporting from Norcross, Ga.): In a Latino trailer park, Terry Davis pays his blessings forward.
• 2008 — Drugs or Jesus? (reporting from Atlanta): Addicts find hope, healing through recovery ministry.
• 2015 — A heart for Hawaii (reporting from Honolulu): Pearl Harbor church has served military families for 59 years, but future at risk.
• 2009 — Learning to think like an outsider (reporting from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho): An Idaho congregation makes a purposeful shift from an inward to an outward focus.
• 2014 — Cristo can move mountains, Spanish-speaking church believes (reporting from Elgin, Ill.): In a Chicago suburb, a Latino congregation experiences growth and contemplates a multicultural future.
• 2012 — Illegal immigration pits law vs. mercy (reporting from Chicago): One minister’s passion for aliens.
• 2010 — Three languages, one church (reporting from Chicago): At this Chicago congregation, members worship in English, Spanish and Korean as the church serves a diverse population.
• 2012 — Training to lead: Lads vs. LTC (reporting from Indianapolis): Youth conventions draw more than 40,000 members of Churches of Christ to 16 venues in a dozen states.
• 2013 — Iowa church refuses to die (reporting from Montezuma, Iowa): A 156-year-old congregation epitomizes the challenges faced by many small, rural Churches of Christ. With related story from Beallsville, Ohio.
• 2018 — Pompeo’s Kansas church asks God to ‘give him strength’ in Senate confirmation process (reporting from Wichita, Kan.): “Mike has enemies because of his faith who may try to paint him in a poor light and make it difficult for him to reach the Secretary of State position,” the pastor of nominee Mike Pompeo wrote to his congregation.
• 2016 — He pitches with heart — a brand new one (reporting from Goddard, Kan.): Kansas high school senior calls life-saving transplant “an absolute gift from God.”
• 2005 — In Kansas, a battle over the origin of the world (reporting from Arkansas City, Kan.): State school board chairman defends his faith and attacks evolution “dogma.”
• 2014 — In Kentucky, a dispute over church, state and taxpayer-funded foster care (reporting from Melber, Ky.): Rather than adhere to proselytization rules, a Christian children’s home gives up its seven-figure state funding.
• 2006 — At 100-year anniversary of split, ministers exchange Bibles at convention (reporting from Louisville, Ky.): After a century of division, some leaders focus on fostering better relations between instrumental and a cappella churches.
• 2020 — Family who survived Katrina by escaping to church balcony marks storm’s 15th anniversary (reporting from New Orleans):God used the 2005 hurricane, the Marsalises believe, to prepare them for what came next.
• 2015 — ‘God allowed us to make it through’ (reporting from New Orleans): At the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, survivors keep counting their blessings. With related column on “The vivid faces of Katrina.”
• 2014 — In the Big Easy, despair meets hope (reporting from New Orleans): Nearly a decade after Hurricane Katrina, church planters see God at work in a “dark and difficult part of New Orleans.”
• 2012 — Faith, family and ducks: Behind the scenes of ‘Duck Dynasty’ (reporting from West Monroe, La.): For these reality TV stars, “holding Hollywood’s hand” presents a challenge as they endeavor to share Jesus.
• 2010 — Five years later, Katrina’s spiritual toll lingers (reporting from Mandeville, La.): Beyond physical losses, hurricane’s path of debris left some New Orleans-area churches facing unexpected challenges. With related column from Gulfport, Miss.
• 2006 — Surviving the storm (reporting from New Orleans): As Hurricane Katrina roars toward New Orleans, Charles and Angela Marsalis seek refuge at their church. Over the next week, they’ll endure a nightmare that will test their faith.
• 2005 — Faithful offer hope, help after Katrina (reporting from Mandeville, La.): A disaster that killed hundreds and left thousands homeless presents one congregation with an extraordinary opportunity.
• 2008 — New England’s place of refuge, fellowship (reporting from Raymond, Maine): Like many Christian camps nationwide, Gander Brook nurtures young people, brings together the faithful in its region.
• 2012 — One church’s vote for Jesus (reporting from Laurel, Md.): In shadow of nation’s capital, a growing congregation invokes a “politics-free zone.”
• 2014 — In a domestic mission field, creating better fellowship (reporting from Taunton, Mass.): The New England Lectureship brings together Christians in the state with the lowest ratio of members of Churches of Christ.
• 2016 — Thirsty souls: Churches help victims of Flint water crisis (reporting from Flint, Mich.): With residents angry and frustrated over lead contamination, Christians work to meet physical and spiritual needs.
• 2015 — The long road from Baghdad (reporting from Dearborn, Mich.): Wissam Al-Aethawi endeavors to take the Gospel to the epicenter of Arab life in America.
• 2015 — Why Detroit Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris was baptized in his baseball uniform (reporting from Detroit): One of the major leagues’ top young prospects, Norris seeks to give all the glory to God. With related column.
• 2012 — All the more Pleasant (reporting from Rochester Hills, Mich.): For new basketball coach at Rochester College, following in his father’s footsteps presents a challenge, but it’s nothing compared to the test he endured off the court.
• 2011 — Future looking brighter for Rochester College in Michigan (reporting from Rochester Hills, Mich.): Christian college no longer on life support.
• 2008 — Race and the church: Getting beyond the handshake (reporting from Southfield, Mich.): In a city split by racial wounds, Detroit-area church leaders endeavor to promote reconciliation, cooperation through regular fellowship, joint ministry.
• 2021 — In city where George Floyd died, minister emerges as key champion for justice (reporting from Minneapolis): Russell A. Pointer Sr. thanks God for Derek Chauvin’s murder conviction but says the struggle goes on. With related stories “A tragic death, a tough dialogue” from Woodbury, Minn., and “I prayed that God’s justice … would prevail.”
• 2016 — When you took in a stranger (reporting from Rochester, Minn.): Ministry that houses Mayo Clinic patients and their loved ones has cared for thousands.
• 2009 — South goes North (from Brooklyn Park, Minn.): African refugees boost Minnesota church.
• 2014 — Modern-day Job preaching again (reporting from Ridgeland, Miss.): After the murders of his wife and son, Mississippi minister Les Ferguson Jr. wrestled with God.
• 2010 — Five years after Katrina, stories of hope emerge (reporting from Gulfport, Miss.): “Katrina changed everything,” one minister says.
• 2005 — After Katrina, Yelton again in the eye of the storm (reporting from Gulfport, Miss.): No electricity. No phone service. No problem for this veteran disaster relief volunteer.
• 2005 — Reporter shines light on state’s dark past (reporting from Jackson, Miss.): Church of Christ member Jerry Mitchell’s “dogged investigation of the sins of the past” brings Ku Klux Klan members to justice.
• 2014 — ‘Worship is our protest’ (reporting from Ferguson, Mo.): In Ferguson, a predominantly black church focuses on healing its community by glorifying God.
• 2006 — Courage under fire (reporting from Clinton, Mo.): A 22-year-old Army infantryman relies on his faith and his family after losing both legs in Iraq.
• 2002 — Gay rights group protests during Southern Baptist Convention (reporting from St. Louis): A dozen Soulforce members arrested as SBC president declares the denomination will not compromise.
• 2013 — Montana church seeks, strengthens, sends (reporting from Great Falls, Mont.): Congregation in Big Sky country emphasizes local evangelism while training leaders for service around the globe.
• 2011 — In Big Sky country, three congregations merge as members heal old wounds (reporting from Helena, Mont.): Personal disputes, doctrinal issues and sins by leaders contributed to past splits and hurt feelings.
• 2019 — ‘I’m a dealer, but I don’t gamble’ (reporting from Las Vegas): Christians in Sin City differ on whether it’s sinful to wager on a game of chance.
• 2011 — Saving Sin City (reporting from Las Vegas): Meeting draws preachers, leaders to Las Vegas.
• 2008 — New England churches struggle to fill pulpits (reporting from Manchester, N.H.): Small congregations far from the Bible Belt face a particularly difficult challenge.
• 2009 — ‘Freeway church’ draws a crowd (reporting from Pitman, N.J.): Congregation defies the notion that numerical growth can’t occur in the Northeast.
• 2019: In New Mexico town, single parents get free rent, benefits — if they’ll go to church (reporting from Portales, N.M.): Faith-based program ties opportunities to behavior. With related story.
• 2010: For one Navajo, a long journey home (reporting from Gallup, N.M.): Growing up at Manuelito Navajo Children’s Home, Norman Chee Atchison found faith and love. But he let alcohol and drugs wreck his life.
• 2013 — ‘God’s been good’ to New York church (reporting from Middletown, N.Y.): Diverse congregation celebrates the purchase of its first permanent building after leasing a hotel ballroom for years.
• 2010 — Anchor for his soul (reporting from New York): NBC’s Lester Holt reflects on faith and journalism.
• 2009 — A cappella at the Apollo (reporting from New York): Gospel preached at historic theater.
• 2008 — Immigration and the church (reporting from New York): Manhattan church reflects melting pot nature of New York City.
• 2006 — Churches in living rooms, coffee shops a growing trend (reporting from New York): It’s a movement that a leading pollster suggests could change the face of American religion.
• 2011 — The war at home (reporting from Camp Lejeune, N.C.): 10 years later, the legacy of Sept. 11.
• 2009 — Special needs, special children (reporting from Raleigh, N.C.): Ministry shows love, shares Jesus.
• 2016 — Sparse numbers, strong faith in North Dakota (reporting from Bismarck, N.D.): Small, isolated congregations face challenges in the state with the nation’s fewest Churches of Christ.
• 2019 — Ministry serves the poor in hard-hit steel town (reporting from Lorain, Ohio): Faith-based nonprofit in Ohio offers physical and spiritual support.
• 2019 — Love on three languages (reporting from Columbus, Ohio): Christians in Ohio join together to praise God in English, Spanish and Twi dialect of Ghana.
• 2013 — Rich, in name and spirit, in rural Ohio (reporting from Beallsville, Ohio): Despite sacrifices, minister reaps a harvest of blessings with a 200-year-old congregation.
• 2011 — Ohio church’s message: Families matter to God (reporting from Cincinnati): Conference on marriage and family tackles modern America’s uncomfortable realities.
• 2021 — Tulsa Race Massacre prayer room highlights churches’ 1921 sins, seeks healing (reporting from Tulsa, Okla.): In advance of centennial commemoration, pastors sign joint statement decrying racism. With related stories from Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Okla.
• 2020 — 25 years ago, a prayer service gave hope to a shaken America (reporting from Oklahoma City): The vigil began the healing process for Oklahoma and millions of TV viewers around the world.
• 2019 — At 87, ‘disaster deacon’ opens his heart — and church — to flooding victims (reporting from Tulsa, Okla.): U.S. Army veteran’s work with Red Cross emergency shelter is “an inspiration to many.”
• 2018 — Interfaith service blesses Oklahoma Democrat Kendra Horn for her new role in Congress (reporting from Oklahoma City): Horn pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the 2018 midterm elections, turning Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District blue for the first time in 44 years.
• 2018 — In red-state Oklahoma, marijuana ballot question splits people of faith (reporting from Oklahoma City): Clergy on both sides of State Question 788, which would permit the distribution of medical marijuana, call it a moral issue.
• 2018 — Glitz and a surprise guest at the prom for those who often don’t get to go (reporting from Oklahoma City): In U.S. and beyond, Tim Tebow’s “Night to Shine” events inspire special-needs people and their families.
• 2018 — When God wants your kidney (reporting from Tulsa, Okla.): An Oklahoma church member found himself in urgent need of a transplant. A minister’s wife answered the call — eventually.
• 2017 — Amid partisan din, Sen. James Lankford walks a fine line: Pastor and politician (reporting from Oklahoma City): Lankford’s emphasis on kindness and civility has kept him from fully embracing President Trump or the anger-fueled movement that propelled him into the White House.
• 2017 — As major cities crack down on panhandling, many wrestle with their consciences (reporting from Oklahoma City): In a number of cities, the ordinances are sparking legal battles with civil liberties advocates, who accuse communities of treating the homeless as ‘human blight.’
• 2017 — ‘Father Stan’s Our Man’ (reporting from Okarche, Okla.): Oklahoma farm town honors hometown hero on path to sainthood.
• 2017 — Bible Belt state with nation’s highest execution rate considers death penalty flaws (reporting from Oklahoma City): The Oklahoma Death Penalty Review Commission recommends that the moratorium on the death penalty be extended.
• 2016 — In this Bible Belt state, Democrats call hot-button issues a ‘smokescreen’ (reporting from Oklahoma City). Even some Republicans in GOP-run Oklahoma say that abortion and transgender bills are a distraction.
• 2016 — In the GOP primaries, do politics Trump values and character? (reporting from Oklahoma City): Republican frontrunner’s personal background is an issue for some. With related story Elephant in the pews and column GOP presidential politics, professional wrestling style.
• 2015 — Oklahoma State leans on faith after another tragedy (reporting from Stillwater, Okla.): Four people die and dozens are injured when a car crashes into homecoming parade crowd. With related narrative feature.
• 2014 — Under a bridge, come to the feast (reporting from Tulsa, Okla.): Night Light Tulsa shows love for the homeless by preparing meals, washing feet and praying.
• 2013 — How the ‘faith-based FEMA’ are helping Moore move on (reporting from Moore, Okla.): As President Obama pledges recovery, Christian volunteers aid Oklahoma tornado victims based on what each denomination does best. With related column.
• 2009 — Death among homeless inspires soul-searching (reporting from Edmond, Okla.): Churches across the nation grapple with problem.
• 2002 — Marriage and divorce in Oklahoma (reporting from Oklahoma City): In-depth series on Gov. Frank Keating’s taxpayer-funded initiative targeting the state’s No. 2-in-the-nation divorce rate.
• 2001 — Four spot news stories from Sept. 11, 2001 (reporting from Oklahoma City): 1. National tragedy bitter reminder for Oklahoma City bombing victims. 2. City’s Muslims fear backlash of blame. 3. Faithful gather for prayer, support across Oklahoma. 4. Oklahoma professor’s daughter witnesses attack, describes scene.
• 2001 — First woman executed since statehood (reporting from McAlester, Okla.): Two-time killer Wanda Jean Allen dies by lethal injection, despite protests by Jesse Jackson and death penalty opponents.
• 2001 — Parole rates soaring (reporting from Lexington, Okla.): New members, changed attitudes alter pattern of recommendations, a review by The Oklahoman finds.
• 2001 — Washed in the blood (reporting from Pryor, Okla.): Trooper paralyzed by shooting finds new hope.
• 2000 — Execution day starts early, lasts 18 hours (reporting from McAlester, Okla.): Behind the scenes of capital punishment in Oklahoma.
• 2000 — Inmates obtain dignity in death (reporting from McAlester, Okla.): Cemetery is final resting place for orphaned prisoners.
• 1999 — Winners & Losers: School choice in Oklahoma (reporting from Oklahoma City): An investigative series based on a computer-assisted reporting project and two months of school visits and interviews.
• 1999 — ‘They were in the house that’s gone’ (reporting from Oklahoma City): Victims flood hospitals after killer tornadoes in Oklahoma City area.
• 1997 — Dying to be thin (reporting from Oklahoma City): Husband, children struggle with loss of anorexic mom.
• 1997 — 8-year-old’s death rattles Oklahoma (reporting from Little Axe, Okla.): The broken system that failed to protect Shane Alan Coffman pushes child abuse to the front of the state’s collective conscience.
• 1996 — Tears, prayers, bells, headlights offer tributes (reporting from Oklahoma City): Coverage of first anniversary of Oklahoma City bombing.
• 1996 — Enthusiastic crowd greets president (reporting from Edmond, Okla.): In Oklahoma to commemorate the first anniversary of the federal building bombing, Clinton touts anti-terrorism legislation as he addresses thousands.
• 1996 — Wounds to community’s soul may be slowest to heal (reporting from Edmond, Okla.): Ten years ago, Edmond’s name became synonymous with a tragic event — seemingly forever linked with the post office rampage that left 15 dead. With sidebar.
• 1995 — Neighbor cares for boys when mom doesn’t return (reporting from Oklahoma City): The children had clung to hope that Army recruiter Lola Renee Bolden, a 40-year-old single parent, survived the Oklahoma City bombing. She did not.
• 1995 — Somber vigil taking toll on families (reporting from Oklahoma City): For a third straight day, family members of Rick L. Tomlin and scores of other missing bomb victims maintain an excruciatingly familiar routine: wait and hope.
• 1995 — Child’s ready smile, affection remembered (reporting from Oklahoma City): Upon arrival at the federal building daycare that tragic morning, 15-month-old Danielle Nicole Bell opened her eyes and leaned her head against her mother’s chest.
• 1995 — ‘It just makes you scared’ (reporting from Oklahoma City): A week ago, thunder meant thunder. Today, for Oklahoma City schoolchildren, thunder sounds like a bomb.
• 1995 — Injured fight to rebuild after bombing (reporting from Oklahoma City): Those fortunate enough to survive begin the difficult task of rebuilding their lives.
• 1995 — Compassion, closure draw record crowd (reporting from Oklahoma City): With rescue efforts over and the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building’s remains soon to be demolished, visitors view a somber piece of history.
• 1995 — Sightseers still drawn to bomb site (reporting from Oklahoma City): They come with cameras, pain and respect. They’ve seen it a thousand times in the news, but still they come to see it in person.
• 1995 — Six miracle children reunite (reporting from Oklahoma City): Youngest bomb victims attend Christmas party.
• 1994 — Road to justice (reporting from Edmond, Okla.): Behind the scenes of a high-profile, double-murder case unlike any in Oklahoma history.
• 1994 — Serial killer Dahmer slain in prison (reporting from Oklahoma City): Mass murderer found peace, Oklahoma minister says.
• 1994 — Number of elections questioned (reporting from Oklahoma City): The way some Oklahoma voters see it, the ballot box should come equipped with a revolving door.
• 1993 — Although rare, Edmond killers attention-getters (reporting from Edmond, Okla.): The extraordinary nature of recent homicides puts community in the spotlight.
• 1993 — Nightmare comes true for parents (reporting from Edmond, Okla.): Daughter killed by speeding driver who had just left a bar.
• 1993 — Edmond police chief quits; severance package questioned (reporting from Edmond, Okla.): My first story for The Oklahoman makes Page 1 above the fold.
• 1992 — Garth Brooks wows fans in home concert (reporting from Oklahoma City): “This tour has totally taken me by surprise,” the country music superstar says.
• 2019 — ‘I don’t want to be the sacrificial lamb’ (reporting from Corvallis, Ore.): A minister transition can be difficult. An Oregon congregation seeks to make it work.
• 2011 — Healing a wounded town (reporting from Alsea, Ore.): After a string of suicides, a minister helps bring answers to a small Oregon community.
• 2009 — Saying goodbye to Cascade (reporting from Portland, Ore.): In the Pacific Northwest, a small Christian college closes amid a mix of tears and laughter.
• 2019 — Pennsylvania prosecutor fights clergy sex abuse as she maintains Catholic faith (reporting from Ebensburg, Pa.): When local district attorney Kelly Callihan referred an abuse claim against her family’s erstwhile pastor to state authorities, she initiated a series of investigations that renewed the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis nationwide.
• 2014 — His dad was a preacher — and a pedophile (reporting from Somerset, Pa.): After discovering his father’s secret, Jimmy Hinton strives to create awareness of sexual predators.
• 2013 — In Rust Belt, evangelism boosts church (reporting from Pittsburgh): A thriving apartment ministry grows out of a Pittsburgh congregation’s focus on sharing the Gospel.
• 2007 — Education as an outreach tool? (reporting from Pottstown, Pa.): Christian school hallways dotted with Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Lutherans and even Muslims, Hindus and Jews.
• 2018 — A new day for Puerto Rico (reporting from Arecibo, Puerto Rico): As hurricane-battered U.S. territory rebuilds, a Kentucky church sends help and encouragement.
• 2012 — From Rhode Island to Liberia, with love (reporting from Providence, R.I.): Immigrant church in the United States has big dreams for bringing hope and healing to its war-torn homeland.
• 2017 — South Carolina church battles opioids ’emergency’ (reporting from Surfside Beach, S.C.): Addicts find love and hope through recovery ministry.
• 2013 — Religious freedom in public schools (reporting from Simpsonville, S.C.): Yes, it’s constitutional to teach the Bible during the school day.
• 2011 — Children’s homes: Still a core church ministry? (reporting from Duncan, S.C.): Funding on the decline.
• 2016 — Amid massive biker rally, Bible camp thrives (reporting from Deadwood, S.D.): Deep in the Black Hills National Forest, Christians from the Dakotas and beyond renew ties and enjoy fellowship.
• 2020 — After tornado, a teen grieves her 4-year-old friend (reporting from Cookeville, Tenn.): “You don’t ever think that’s the last time you’re going to see somebody,” Izzy Stevens says. With related coverage.
• 2020 — Two preachers. Two church shootings. An immediate bond (reporting from Henderson, Tenn.): Ministers discuss experiences as panel explores how to protect congregations from attacks. With related column.
• 2017 — Disfellowshipped decades ago, Pat Boone insists he ‘never left’ Church of Christ (reporting from Nashville, Tenn.): The 83-year-old entertainer, who rocketed to stardom in the 1950s, remains an active supporter of Christian higher education.
• 2015 — Walking (with God) in Memphis (reporting from Memphis, Tenn.): In the nation’s poorest metro area, a Christian ministry trains former inmates to succeed at work — and life.
• 2012 — Black, white and Gray (reporting from Nashville, Tenn.): Civil rights attorney who once challenged Lipscomb University in court receives the Christian university’s highest honor.
• 2012 — ‘Little youth rally’ draws 12,000 (reporting from Gatlinburg, Tenn.): Teens make annual pilgrimage to Winterfest.
• 2011 — Walk in the cemetery provides odd comfort (column from Cedar Grove, Tenn.): Saying goodbye to my grandfather.
• 2006 — Minister’s slaying, wife’s arrest deal double tragedy (reporting from Selmer, Tenn.): Under the glare of intense national media spotlight, small-town Tennessee church mourns preacher’s death and offers forgiveness to his jailed widow.
• 2003 — AP exclusive: Condemned Tennessee inmate says government, military control his mind (reporting from Nashville, Tenn.): Paul Dennis Reid says he’s ready to die for seven murders at fast-food restaurants that terrorized two Tennessee cities in 1997.
• 2003 — AP enterprise: 5-year-old’s torture, beating death brings questions (reporting from Chattanooga, Tenn.): In the wake of his death, the hell that Nathaniel Upshaw endured seems so obvious, so hard to ignore.
• 2002 — AP enterprise: Schools learning new four-letter word (reporting from Nashville, Tenn.): Mold blamed for illnesses, lawsuits and millions in maintenance.
• 2002 — Moral issue or not? (reporting from Nashville, Tenn.): Tennessee voters to decide whether to legalize state lottery.
• 1997 — Elvis Presley (reporting from Memphis, Tenn.): Faithful hordes still swarm the King’s castle 20 years after his death.
• 2019 — Texas church grieves, prays, sings after deadly shooting (reporting from White Settlement, Texas): A day after two members were killed during the Lord’s Supper, congregation gathers to reflect and praise God. With related story
• 2019 — Texas minister reflects on shooting that shattered his congregation’s peace (reporting from White Settlement, Texas): Preacher Britt Farmer lost his best friend in the Sunday attack at a Church of Christ near Fort Worth. With related column on why minister granted his only interview to me.
• 2019 — Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly returning to Africa as medical missionary (reporting from Fort Worth, Texas): Five years after contracting the deadly virus in Liberia, the Christian doctor will serve at Mukinge Mission Hospital in Zambia. With related Poynter.org story on Fox News plagiarizing my reporting.
• 2019 — To Botham Jean’s parents, fatal shooting still feels ‘as if it just happened’ (reporting from Dallas): Bertrum and Allison Jean reflect on their emotional journey as racial unity summit and mission trip pay tribute to slain son.
• 2018 — After Botham Jean’s shooting death, his Dallas church intent on seeking justice (reporting from Dallas): “Why did it happen to somebody like him?” grieving fellow Christians demand to know. With related stories “‘Botham is singing with the angels’: Shooting victim remembered at prayer vigil,” “In Dallas, Houston and elsewhere, Christians ask God to bring #Justice4Botham” and “Fatal mistake: Harding graduate known for his ‘beautiful’ singing voice.”
• 2018 — ‘Jesus loves me and my guns’: Faith and firearms touted at the NRA’s prayer breakfast (reporting from Dallas): No mention was made of recent mass shootings or the victims.
• 2018 — Cult leader? ‘Sinful Messiah’? 25 years later, interest in David Koresh still strong (reporting from Waco, Texas): Twenty-five years after the siege, interest in what happened outside Waco — and who’s to blame — remains immense. With related interview “Former FBI agent still haunted by Waco tragedy and David Koresh’s beliefs.”
• 2018 — ‘Fixer Upper’ stars Chip and Joanna Gaines to host church for the homeless (reporting from Waco, Texas): A $300 million, multiyear widening project along Interstate 35 will displace Church Under the Bridge.
• 2018 — Once-segregated Christian university targets racism with launch of new research center (reporting from Abilene, Texas): Founding director urges churches to speak out against “situations that carry the foul scent of racial injustice.”
• 2018 — He’s a major-league pitcher — and a plumber — whose faith helps keep him focused (reporting from Arlington, Texas): Detroit Tigers ace Michael Fulmer works as a plumber in the offseason and serves as a mentor for adults with developmental disabilities.
• 2018 — Billy Graham never lived in Texas but belonged to a Dallas church for 54 years (reporting from Dallas): Why did world-famous evangelist place membership at a church nearly 1,000 miles from his home in Montreat, N.C.?
• 2017 — A baptism, then a murder confession (reporting from Gatesville, Texas): Texas woman gave her life to Christ, owned up to a slaying — and got a life sentence.
• 2017 — 18 vans, 150 volunteers, 465 miles, one goal: to help Harvey victims (reporting from Houston): “These people are amazing,” says an Iranian immigrant grateful for the love shown after his family’s home flooded. With related interview from Beaumont, Texas.
• 2017 — Faithful mobilize shelters for Hurricane Harvey flooding victims (reporting from Belton, Texas). With related story from La Grange, Texas, and column from Houston.
• 2017 — Catholic faith moves Houston’s ‘Mattress Mack’ to shelter Hurricane Harvey victims (reporting from Houston): “How am I going to let my people drown? It’s as simple as that. I’m not going to let my people drown.”
• 2017 — Amid scandal, Baylor’s first woman president brings fresh start to Baptist university (reporting from Waco, Texas): Linda Livingstone has a history of bucking tradition.
• 2017 — Memories lost, but love and faith remain (reporting from Allen, Texas): A favorite aunt has lived a full life. Now she battles Alzheimer’s.
• 2017 — Faith helped baseball coach Tony Beasley beat cancer (reporting from Arlington, Texas): On opening day, he sang the national anthem — as he returned to the game he loves.
• 2017 — Driven by faith, Texas mom advocates for refugees (reporting from Houston): Reda Hicks, attorney, community activist and military wife, helps displaced families start over in U.S.
• 2016 — After a deadly week, a somber Sunday for Dallas churches (reporting from Dallas): Christians look to God for comfort and guidance after a sniper kills five police officers.
• 2015 — A church for the broken and hurting (reporting from Fort Worth, Texas): In urban Fort Worth, a 123-year-old congregation enjoys a spiritual revival as it ministers to wounded souls.
• 2014 — Stripping away the stigma (reporting from Colleyville, Texas): Christian ministries help women escape sex industry.
• 2013 — Fertilizer plant explosion rocks Texas church (reporting from West, Texas): After a deadly blast at a plant owned by a church elder, West Church of Christ members rely on faith, prayer and fellow Christians.
• 2013 — Financial crisis strikes Southwestern Christian College (reporting from Terrell, Texas): Historically black Christian college seeks donations and prayers to “be able to survive.”
• 2012 — Boston Movement growing again after crisis (reporting from San Antonio): A decade after “the roof caved in,” the International Churches of Christ change their leadership structure and discipling approach.
• 2010 — ‘The Rookie,’ Part 2 (reporting from Abilene, Texas): Life of former major-leaguer Jim Morris takes more extraordinary turns.
• 2005 — ‘Lord Byron’ (reporting from Roanoke, Texas): At 93, golf legend Byron Nelson still faithful to God and the church.
• 2004 — AP enterprise: Patriotism, sense of duty bind WWII veteran, son killed in Iraq (reporting from Corpus Christi, Texas): “I was trained to do this, to fight, and that’s what I’m going to do,” Hector Perez told his father. “If I’m lucky, I’ll be back.”
• 2004 — Kennedy assassination stirs memories, debate 40 years later (reporting from Dallas): The moments remain frozen in the American psyche, the assassination still a source of fascination.
• 2004 — People of faith ask: How would Jesus vote in 2004 presidential election? (reporting from Austin, Texas): It’s a complex question that can’t be boiled down to simple political terms.
• 2004 — AP enterprise: A rarity in Bush country: Voters split on presidential race (reporting from Daingerfield, Texas): East Texas community is a mix of Bible Belt social concerns and union members’ free trade fears.
• 2004 — AP enterprise: Children of Holocaust survivors find each other, and find answers (reporting from Southlake, Texas): In George Lucius Salton’s view, it’s nothing short of a miracle.
• 2004 — AP enterprise: 25 years later, passions still strong on Southern Baptists’ conservative takeover (reporting from Houston): The right won the fight in part because of the simplicity of its message.
• 2003 — AP enterprise: Megachurches put on megaproductions for the Christmas story (reporting from Plano, Texas): At Christmas, Easter and even the Fourth of July, giant, Broadway-style performances become the norm for the nation’s Protestant megachurches.
• 2002 — U.S. bishops ask Keating to lead board (reporting from Dallas): Governor to oversee panel on clergy sexual abuse.
• 2018 — Campbellites, meet the Campbells (reporting from Provo, Utah): Utah conference mixes sights, food, dialogue.
• 2014 — Family mission trips on the rise (reporting from Logan, Utah): An Oklahoma group’s 1,200-mile journey to Utah exemplifies a growing trend of Christian parents introducing children to mission work.
• 2011 — Ministry in Mormon country (reporting from Salt Lake City): For Churches of Christ in Utah, reaching a state dominated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints poses an immense challenge.
• 2012 — Pass the syrup, but religion gets sticky (reporting from Springfield, Vt.): Faithful persevere in secular Vermont. With sidebars on red state vs. blue state voting and one church’s vote for Jesus.
• 2007 — Virginia Tech massacre challenges campus minister (reporting from Blacksburg, Va.): After the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history, Seth Terrell faces the biggest ministry challenge of his young career.
• 2011 — Not sheepless in Seattle (reporting from Seattle): Pacific Northwest church building for the future.
• 2011 — Play ball: Travels bring ballpark fun, fellowship (column from Seattle): Embracing my love of God, family and baseball.
• 2009 — Membership in decline (reporting from Spokane, Wash.): Why some leave and some stay.
• 2010 — Singing, sweating and saving souls in West Virginia (reporting from Parkersburg, W.Va.): Gospel campaign blankets entire city.
• 2008 — God’s house in a warehouse (from Parkersburg, W.Va.): At 100 years old, a West Virginia church transforms a bakery into a sanctuary.
• 2010 — Faith and flicks (reporting from Menomonee Falls, Wis.): Christian films gain a following.
• 2011 — Bivocational youth ministers fill a niche (reporting from Cheyenne, Wyo.): Many small churches can’t afford to support a full-time person to work with teens.