Month: August 2017

New director of Connecting Caring Communities doing ‘Kingdom Work’


AJ Tillman breaks up a chunk of concrete as Justin Holland mows grass at the Connecting Caring Communities office, Lowden and Hickory, as part of the Stampede Week orientation for incoming freshmen at Hardin-Simmons University. Tillman, an English major and member of the HSU cross-country team, is from Garland. Holland, a theater education major, is from Clyde. Photo by Loretta Fulton


Terry Cagle, new executive director of Connecting Caring Communities, addresses a group of Hardin-Simmons University students who showed up at the CCC office to mow and clean up the neighborhood. Photo by Loretta Fulton








Position: Executive director, Connecting Caring Communities
Family: Wife Becki Ellis Cagle, married Sept. 1, 1979; two daughters, Courtney Drysdale of Denver and Carlee Kumler of Dallas; 11-month-old grandson Clark Drysdale of Denver
Education: Abilene High School 1975; bachelor of science in all levels of physical education and health education, 1980, Abilene Christian University, and a master’s degree in Bible, 1982-83, ACU
Experience: 38 years in vocational ministry, including six as youth minister at High Church of Christ in the 1980s.
More information about CCC and its programs:

A major fundraiser for Connecting Caring Communities will be held Sept. 2 at the Paramount Theater when Mark Bell brings his “Yesterday: A Tribute to the Beatles” from Las Vegas to Abilene. All tickets are $25 and may be purchased in advance online by going to the Paramount Theater website, and clicking “Calendar” at the top and then on the show title. Showtime is 7 p.m. CCC is raising $10,000 in order to qualify for an additional $10,000 in a matching grant from the Shelton Foundation.


By Loretta Fulton

“Everything we do is relationally based–we’re not trying to go in to fix people.”

TerryCagleCCC (1).JPGThat could be the motto for Connecting Caring Communities, a neighborhood improvement initiative in Abilene. But those were the words CCC’s new director Terry Cagle spoke to a group of Hardin-Simmons University incoming freshmen during Stampede Week, a freshman orientation program, prior to school starting.

The students gathered Aug. 24 at CCC’s new office at Lowden and Hickory, formerly a CCC Friendship House, to clean up the neighborhood as part of a community service component of Stampede Week.

From the beginning, the aim of CCC has been the same–exactly the words that Cagle spoke. The initiative started at Hardin-Simmons in 2002 through its Neighborhood Enhancement Center, under the leadership former Dean of Students Linda Carleton. In 2005, the name was changed to Connecting Caring Communities and nonprofit status was granted.

Since then, CCC has undergone a number of changes, including staff. Cagle, an Abilene native, is a 1975 Abilene High School graduate and an Abilene Christian University graduate, earning a bachelor’s degree in all levels of physical education and health education in 1980 and a master’s degree in Bible in about 1982. 

Most recently, he worked with a church in Arlington and on trips to Abilene had met Dusty Garison, a former CCC coordinator who lived in the house where Cagle now lives and offices. When Cagle learned last October that CCC was looking for a new executive director, he was interested.

“This is an opportunity to be in truly a Kingdom of God work,” he said. (more…)

The art of a sermon: Abilenian paints what she hears

Click on link to read Loretta Fulton’s article in the Abilene Reporter-News about Jennifer Crawford, a member of Southern Hills Church of Christ who paints the sermon as the minister delivers it.

See Jennifer at work in a time lapse video by Stephen Corbett, communications minister at Southern Hills Church of Christ.


Eclipse provides awe and inspiration

(Editor’s Note: The Aug. 21 eclipse provide more than just an opportunity to view an extraordinary event in the sky. For many, it provided moments of inspiration and awe. Following are some examples)

Rick Hammer

By Rick Hammer
Biology professor
Hardin-Simmons University

The TV images from locations that experienced totality were amazing but somewhat eerie.  Abilene’s 71% “totality” was nothing in comparison, but did provide me with an opportunity to reflect on several aspects of God’s creation.

First, experiencing the eclipse in Abilene at only a partial coverage of the sun’s disk was my very first solar eclipse experience. I spent the approximately 2.5 hours of the event totally absorbed in viewing the sun through my eclipse glasses, retrofitting my Iphone camera with a makeshift solar filter to record images, and setting up an experiment to record the air temperature every 10 seconds during the event to see if I could detect a decrease in temperature during the eclipse. (more…)

Listen up, men. It’s time to ‘Get Real’

GetRealPowerPoint (1)

All you men who want to “Get Real”  need to saddle and pony on over to Solid Rock Encampment at Eastland Sept. 22-23.

That is the date of the inaugural Get Real campfire, a two-day event designed and led by Ben Gray, who you may know as the trainer for installing water purification systems at Global Samaritan Resources.

Gray developed his ministry under three topics: Real Men, Real Issues, Real God. Over the summer, Gray has trained leaders who will work with him at the campfire. But long before that, Gray started visiting with various congregations in and near Abilene, explaining the ministry and talking with clergy and church members.

“I stand amazed with the energetic reception for men’s ministry and especially Get Real,” he said in an update sent to advisers, prayer warriors, and friends. “It’s been a long time since I’ve met such a yearning among men to come closer to God.”

The purpose of Get Real, Gray said, is to “help men address relevant life issues in the context of a safe environment. (more…)

You’re invited to join the (Cafe) conversation

The first Cafe Conversation of the 2017/2018 academic year will be held 7-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, at Mezamiz Coffee House, 3909 S. Seventh, in the Cloisters shopping center.
Cafe Conversation is a spinoff of the Abilene Interfaith Council. It is geared toward college-age students but is open to anyone interested in participating in the dialogue.
The event will explore questions concerning the nature and purpose of interfaith dialogue.
Most Cafe Conversations are held the fourth Thursday of the month, with the exception of September, November, and December. For more information, contact Sarah Dannemiller, Cafe Conversations facilitator, at
Sarah, who also is secretary of the Abilene Interfaith Council, is enrolled in the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University, working toward a doctor of ministry degree.