Michael McCown performs ‘Songs I’ve Always Known’ in Aug. 31 Concert

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Michael McCown, a Cooper High School and Hardin-Simmons University graduate will perform hymns from his new CD, “Songs I’ve Always Known,” in a free public concert at 7 p.m. Aug. 31 at First Baptist Church.


Michael McCown Photo by Barbara Aumuller Oper Frankfurt

Michael is visiting his parents, Palmer and Patsy McCown, while on break from his work with the Frankfurt Opera. Michael grew up at First Baptist and his parents are longtime members.

Michael, who earned a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, sings tenor with the German opera. He is entering his 18th year with the company.

ACU instructor brings humor, insight into ‘A World Gone Mad’


(Editor’s Note: Randy Harris, an instructor at Abilene Christian University, led a two-day seminar Aug. 4-5 on Christian ethics. Always entertaining and insightful, Harris didn’t disappoint. He invites anyone interested to a “Ministers’ Lunch Hour with Randy Harris”, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 29, in the Hunter Welcome Center on the ACU campus. His topic will be “Does the Church Matter?” Cost, including lunch, is $15. To register, go to and click on “Events” by Aug. 22)

By Loretta Fulton

The title of the two-day seminar was “Christian Ethics in a World Gone Mad: How to Cope and Even Thrive.”


Randy Harris

By the time it was over, some in the sessions may have suggested a name change to: “Solving Christian Ethical Problems Can Drive You Mad.”

Such is the nature of Christian ethics–it ain’t easy. Thankfully, the leader for the Aug. 4-5 seminar at Abilene Christian University was Randy Harris, a popular instructor at ACU, who made the sessions not only informative and enlightening, but also entertaining.

If you want to be driven truly mad, and entertained at the same time, read “ The Trolley Problem, or Would You Throw the Fat Guy Off the Bridge” by Thomas Cathcart. Harris suggested everyone attending the summer short course read the book beforehand. Those who did realized that spending just two days pondering ethical issues could be maddening.

An example of the ethical dilemmas thrown out by Harris for the participants to ponder:

  1. God wills it because it is good.
  2. It is good because God wills it.

Answer: “Not exactly.”

Scholarly types might want to know that the brain-teaser officially is known as the Euthyphro Problem, first posed by Plato. Don’t worry–even Harris had trouble spelling it. (more…)

Faith in Scouts restored, despite president’s ‘inappropriate’ speech

(Editor’s Note) Rick Hammer, a biology professor at Hardin-Simmons University and a Boy Scout leader, eagerly led a group of area Scouts to the National Boy Scout Jamboree, or “Jambo,” held in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. He experienced many high points and one major low point–President Trump’s talk to the Scouts that caused an uproar. Below is an expanded Facebook post from Rick, dated July 27.)

“On My Honor…”

By Rick Hammer

Good morning from Jamboree at the Summit Center and our final day at Jambo! We are expecting rain to begin this afternoon and to continue until we depart at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.

I think this morning has been my best day at Jamboree. I walked out of our camp this morning carrying three heavy postal flat-rate shipping boxes of bling (and a dirty T-shirt or 2) to mail back to Abilene.

Well, it’s a 15-20 minute walk mostly uphill and I was not looking forward to it at all. I had not taken more than a few steps out of our camp and onto the trail when four Scouts from Brownsville came up and insisted on helping me since they were headed the same way.

It’s my best day ever, not because I did not have to carry the boxes but because I got to see four Scouts selflessly demonstrating and living the Scout Law. I gave them all of our Texas Trails patches that I had with me. This experience has renewed my belief in what Scouting is supposed to be all about.

Stealing of cell phones, chargers, and patches has been rampant this week. That, along with much inappropriate pro-Trump political comments and disrespectful behavior during the presidential visit had my belief in the Scouting Law and Oath on the low end.

Four excellent Scouts from Brownsville provided my best day and experience at the 2017 National Scouting Jamboree. God bless them and Scouting! The day after the President addressed us Boy Scouts at the Jamboree with an unfocused, irreverent, and politically motivated speech, the Boy Scouts of America issued an official statement distancing themselves from most of the comments made by the President at Jamboree.

Trump recently stated that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)  officially called him to personally congratulate him for his talk at Jamboree. BSA has officially denied Trump’s dishonest claim. Just another example of the discordance and abuse of integrity coming from this administration.

This is the real and tangible lesson that Scouts and Scouters should take away from last week’s Jamboree appearance and political speech by the President. From the Boy Scout Oath, “On my honor…”



Chad Mitchell, pastor of The Mission, is inviting all citizens of Abilene to the annual Stop the Violence rally to be held Aug. 14 at the Abilene Convention Center. Mayor Anthony Williams will be among the speakers who will help facilitate a conversation about stopping violence in Abilene. Mitchell is extending a special invitation to all pastors, civic leaders, and leaders of nonprofits, as well as all interested citizens. The Stop the Violence movement started in 2008, with a goal of uniting citizens against violence.

Women at Worship


By Loretta Fulton

In her signature high-energy style, Felicia Hopkins captivated an all-woman congregation July 26 in the second of three special mid-week services Hopkins is hosting this summer at the church she pastors, St. Paul United Methodist.

The final installment will begin at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 30 at the church. The services, which include a sermon by Hopkins, special musical presentations and congregational singing, are for all women of the community, regardless of denominational affiliation. Refreshments will be served after the service. (more…)

Service Center Celebrates 50 Years

“Transforming Communities Through Empowerment & Love” will be the theme of a dinner Sept. 12 celebrating the 50th anniversary of Christian Service Center.


Featured speaker Star Parker

Star Parker, founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), will be guest speaker. The event will begin at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Abilene Convention Center.

Table sponsorships are available. Individual tickets are $50. Call 673-7531 or email Karen Dansby at for ticket availability. (more…)