Reported crimes against the church in North America this week 1/8/2022

This is a list of this week’s reported crimes against Christian congregations and church property in North America. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list. These are only those that have come to our attention through media reports.

MONDAY JAN 3, 2022

A church in Sherburne, New York celebrated a grand re-opening this weekend after an arsonist destroyed the congregation’s sanctuary in 2020.  WKTV reports The Lighthouse Community Church has since changed its name to Epicenter Ministries.

Police in Vandalina, Ohio are investigating a threatening message and nearly $10,000 in damage done to property owned by Hopeland Church.  WDNT reports it was the second incident of vandalism at the church

TUESDAY, JAN 4, 2022

A Smithville, Tennessee man is set to make a court appearance on Jan 13 after police say he spray painted the side a church and left a note on the door saying, “Be a real shame to lose your church because of terrorists.” WJLE radio reported the graffiti included a message ordering the church to stop loaning its building out. 


Bond for an Ohio man was set Wednesday at $50,000 after police say he set fire to a nativity scene and a van at the Hopeland Church in Vandaila, Ohio.  The Journal-News of Butler County, Ohio reports Garrett Scott Cook, 20, is charged with vandalism and desecration of a place of worship.


Police in Summerville, South Carolina are looking for the person or persons who smashed windows and set fires inside the Flowertown Baptist Church building.  Live5News reports some items were also stolen from the church.

FRIDAY, JAN 6, 2022

Arson investigators have not yet determined the cause of a fire at the River of Life Church in Munford, Tennessee. The AtokA Fire Department posted photos of the blaze on social media.

A Texas man is sentenced to 20 years in prison for burning down a church building.  CBS 19 reports Paul Wayne Kennedy pleaded guilty to arson with intent to damage a habitat or place of worship in connection with a fire at the Shell’s Temple Church of God in Christ.

Happenings in Southern Gospel this week 1/8/2022


The Amundruds are set to preform February 27 in Spruce Grove, AB for Singin’ The Gospel at Spruce Grove Alliance Church, 250 Century Road, Spruce Grove, Canada.

Aaron Allen of the Southern Plainsmen Quartet has died at 31. Funeral arrangements are pending.

This week the Down East boys released the new single Your Sins are Forgiven.

The Kramers welcomed a new family member this week!  Elizabeth’s little brother, Bennet Jameson Wolfe was born to Ben and Maria.

Amber Saunders of 11th Hour celebrated a birthday this week

A fundraiser for Ben Rogers brought in more than $50,000.  The event featured The LeFevre Quartet and Endless Highway. Ben is a child who was involved in a tragic accident.

Greater Vision officially kicked off its first tour of 2022 this week.

The Hoppers promise a big announcement on January 13.  We’ll be watching!

Isaac Moore, tenor with The Inspirations, celebrated a birthday this week. Isaac has been singing with the group since Archie came off the road to spend more time at home.

The Jordan Family Band canceled several shows this week due to a few of the band members taking ill.

Karen Peck and New River this week sent out congratulations to Preslee and Matthew on the birth of baby Isa Grace.

Aaron Allen of the Southern Plainsmen Quartet dies at 31


Another member of the Southern Gospel Music family is being mourned today.  Texas Gospel Canada has learned that Aaron Robert Allen of the Southern Plainsmen Quartet has died. His death was announced on the group’s Facebook page this week.

Aaron had been with the Southern Plainsmen Quartet for 16 years. He started running the sound board for the group for seven years before making the switch to singing lead.

Services are set for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11 at the Pine Grove Baptist Church in Ruby, Louisiana.

Aaron Allen was 31.

Howard Stewart, member of original Poet Voices, dies at 67

Daywind Records / Staff

Howard Stewart, original founding member of The Poet Voices passed away on December 18 after a lengthy hospital stay for heart complications.

Stewart was the original baritone singer for The Poet Voices. Most recently, he was part of the Chattanooga, Tennessee based group, Testimony.

Funeral services were held December 22.

A memorial singing is being held in his honor, Saturday January 29 at Walker County Civic Center in Rock Springs, GA. This will also be a fundraiser to assist the Stewart family with funeral expenses. Lemuel Howard Steward was 67.

StowTown Records Signs Sunday Drive to Roster of Artists


Nashville, TN (January 4, 2022) – StowTown Records is excited to announce the signing of Sunday Drive, a multi-award winning group composed of Jeff Treece and his wife, Misty, and brother, Dusty. They are no strangers to gospel music and come to the label with a wealth of industry experience, including numerous radio hits. As a featured artist at the Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, TN, they sing to several thousand fans each year.

StowTown co-founder and industry veteran, Ernie Haase, shared his enthusiasm about the addition of Sunday Drive to their stellar roster of artists, “When we started StowTown Records over 10 years ago, it was always about making music and helping friends make their music known. Sunday Drive fits our mission statement perfectly. I’ve known Jeff Treece for many years, and I have always been drawn to his musical talents. With his wife Misty on vocals, I’m blown away by their new sound and direction. The sky is the limit! We are honored to have them on the StowTown label and cannot wait for you to experience Sunday Drive!”

Their first StowTown project, Breaking Boundaries, is produced by multi-Dove award winning producer, Wayne Haun, and is slated for a Spring 2022 release. The new recording includes nine original songs by some of gospel music’s most prolific songwriters, including two songs co-written by Jeff Treece. Looking toward a bright future with StowTown, Jeff shared his excitement about the new collaboration, “Misty, Dusty and I are beyond excited about our new partnership with StowTown Records. There are moments in life when God’s perfect will is confirmed by his perfect timing, and this is one of those instances. He has ordered every step, and we are thrilled for everyone to hear this new project. Through the pens of the amazingly gifted songwriters and Wayne Haun’s extraordinary producing and arranging, we look forward to sharing this new season for Sunday Drive.”

The first radio single from Breaking Boundaries, “Grace & Goodness,” was released today, and will be available on all digital platforms on January 28, 2022, via Provident/Sony.