Crimes against the church this week

These are some of the crimes against the church reported this week in North America. This is not intended to be an exhaustive report. It is only a sample of crimes reported by news agencies in Canada and the US over the past seven days.

Two off-duty officers in Manitoba were able to subdue a man who used profanities and flashed a gun to threaten worshipers at the Westside Community Church of Morden this past weekend. Witnesses said the man lifted his sweater, displayed a gun.  The off-duty were attending the service. They took the man into custody without any injuries.  Officers determined the man’s weapon was a fake. Dustin Warkentin, 32, is accused of weapon, assault and disturbance charges.

Investigators with the Powell County, Kentucky sheriff’s office are investigating thousands of dollars in damage caused by criminals who ransacked a church building. A sheriff’s office spokesperson said someone overturned pews, smashed holes in the walls and caused extensive damage to the sanctuary of the South Fork Church of God.  The vandal or vandals’ motive is not known.

The Knights of Columbus spent last weekend removing satanic graffiti from outside the church of St. Joseph in Washington, D.C. A vandal, or vandals, left an image of a pentagram, the word Lucifer, and some indistinguishable writing. Patrick Abbot, an officer in the Knights of Columbus, said the vandalism was like Satan’s empty promises in that they were easily washed away.

A man accused of setting a Florida church on fire last year is facing a federal hate crime’s charge.  A federal grand jury indictment was handed up Wednesday against Steven Shields, 24, of Dunnellon, Florida. A press release from the U.S. Justice Department says the indictment alleges that he was motivated to set the fire due to the religious character of the church.

Boston police are looking for a man who’s wanted in connection with two incidents of vandalism at Catholic churches in Dorchester and South Boston. Around 6:30 a.m. Monday an unknown substance was found on several doors at St. Teresa of Calcutta Church and St. John Paul II Catholic Academy in Dorchester. Two hours later officers were called to St. Augustine Church in South Boston where a similar substance was found on doors and a statue was toppled.

Nelons find a celebrity in their audience



The Nelons found a special guest on the front row of the group’s concert at the First Assembly of God in Fort Meyers, Florida Thursday night: Evelyn Tornquist Karlsson.  Most fans wouldn’t know by her full name. Her albums in the 70’s and early 80’s as well as her appearances with the Billy Graham Crusades were all done under her stage name, Evie. Perhaps her most well-known songs include grammy award nominated Come On, Ring Those Bells; Mirror and Never the Same.

Most Southern Gospel groups had a very lean schedule in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Nelons seem to be making up for that in 2021. The group’s schedule this year is packed through early June.

Lore Family heads back to the studio


The Lore Family travelled to Horizon & Sonlite Records – Crossroads Music in Asheville, NC to begin recording tracks for six new original songs.

A post to the group’s Facebook page says, “This is our first time to record at Crossroads. We’ve worked hard for several months by writing, reviewing, discussing and praying over songs. Greg Bentley and Roger Talley have led the way.”

The Lore Family will record the vocals in a few weeks.

The recording sessions will not keep the family from touring and singing Southern Gospel. The group has a rather busy schedule for the next few months:

March 21: 10:30 AM// First Free Will Baptist Church; Springfield, OH
March 21: 6:00 PM// Grace Baptist; Garrison, KY
March 27: 7:00 PM// Washington Assembly of God; Anderson, IN
March 28: 10:00 AM// Mackey Nazarene; Mackey, IN

April 2: 6:30 PM// (Concert with: Satisfied, The Mylon Hayes Family, & The Lore Family) The Willow Event Center; Winchester, OH

April 4: 9:30 AM & 7:30 PM// Rubyville Community Church; Portsmouth, OH

April 10: 6:00 PM// Five Corners Baptist; Wolcottville, IN

April 11: 9:00 AM & 11:00 AM// Emmanuel Free Will Baptist Church; Wabash, IN

April 11: 6:00 PM// Riverview Community Church; Tippecanoo, IN

April 16: 7:00 PM// Horse Creek Free Will Baptist Church; Naoma, WV

April 17: Time TBA// Oxford Baptist (Oxford Women’s Worship); Conover, NC

April 18: 11:00 AM// Connelly Springs Baptist; Connelly, NC

April 18: 6:00 PM// Glad Tidings Free Will Baptist Church; Asheboro, NC

​April 25: 7:00 PM// Rock Branch; Nitro, WV


Fake accounts pretend to be Southern Gospel artists


Ivan Parker is the latest Southern Gospel singer to find that someone has set up a fake Facebook account in his name.  His real Facebook page shared a reminder on Thursday that one should always use caution on the social media site because imposters are so prevalent.

The Hoppers found similar accounts set up in their name back in December.

Editor’s note: The text below is from a previous story on fraudulent accounts. We are re-posting it here as a reminder.

It’s important to know the real addresses of your favorite group’s social media sites so you don’t fall prey to hucksters who hijack someone else’s good name for nefarious use.  Some imposters ask for cash. Some ask personal questions to get information they can use for identity fraud.  There are many reasons why you should be on guard against scammers who stoop to this.

Look to see if a page is verified. A blue checkmark should appear next to the name of the individual (or Gospel group) if Facebook has confirmed they are who they say they are.  Look at the screen shot of the real Hoppers Facebook page at the top of this article. Notice the blue check? Examine the name of any Facebook page closely; it’s not uncommon for a fake profile to have a wrong spelling or a name that is close but not exactly that of the page they are impersonating. Lastly, and probably most importantly, there’s nothing wrong with asking your kids or grandkids if they can tell if the page is legitimate. The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security reports seniors are often targeted. The younger generations live on the internet and can often spot the hucksters faster than we.  There’s no shame in asking your son or daughter to look at a page especially if you are planning on buying a CD or make a donation.

It’s important to know that an artist or Gospel Group is a victim too when their name is used by a scammer who is trying to dupe you.   The Gospel Group probably isn’t even aware the fraud is happening in their name.  Do some googling and find an artist’s website if you suspect a fake Facebook has set up in their name. Most websites have links to their actual social media pages where you can check for the blue verification checkmark. If a Facebook page turns out to be fake, let the real artist know so they can take appropriate action. Facebook also has instructions on how to report a fake page.  Here is the link.

Greater Vision celebrates 30-year anniversary of first album release


Brian Mulroney was prime minister; Canadian Forces were participating in the Persian Gulf War and the Hubble Telescope was launched the same year Greater Vision released its first project. The group launched with Chris Allman, Gerald Wolfe and Mark Trammell.

Greater Vision made its first appearance in December 1990, but this month marks the 30th anniversary of their first album release. The producers were aiming for what they saw as a classic Southern Gospel sound.

“Greater Vision was born out of the Cathedral Quartet,” said Chris in an on-air interview with Texas Gospel’s David Ingram.

“Gerald Wolfe was with the Cathedrals for 2 years and Mark Trammel was with them for ten.  They along with myself started the group,” he said.

Founding member Gerald still serves as Pianist and Emcee for their shows today. Multi-Award-winning Songwriter, Rodney Griffin, sings Lead and Chris Allman sings Tenor.  The newest member is Jon Epley. He sings Baritone. 

Greater Vision has something special for collectors: A limited commemorative edition double LP on vinyl.  The Greater Vision Facebook page Thursday announced the vinyl release of “On a Journey” to celebrate the 30-year landmark.