Former Gaither Vocal Band and Imperials singer Jonathan Pierce dies at 49

Jonathan Pierce, remembered fondly by the Southern Gospel community for his three years with The Imperials as well as three years with the Gaither Vocal Band, died Sunday at the age of 49.

Pierce, whose voice is featured prominently on GVB’s “I Believe In A Hill Called Mt. Calvary,” enjoyed solo success in Contemporary Christian Music after leaving the group. He also did a stint on television as the lead in the show, Ultimate Country Home, on Country Music Television.

Pierce had recently undergone heart surgery. His died from complications.

Please keep his family and friends in your prayers.


The Collingsworth Family Shines a Light by Giving Back with free Facebook live concert

Collingsworth FamilyNashville, TN (March 27, 2020) – Like most of us, The Collingsworth Family has the desire to do something helpful during this unprecedented time in our history, and they have found a way to do just that. As a family group, they are uniquely set up to be able to offer a concert from home. This Sunday evening, March 29, they will gather around the piano and do a free concert via Facebook Live. It will begin at 8:00 pm Eastern (7 pm Central). Not only will this be a special time of worship, but it will also be a fundraiser for the international organization, Samaritan’s Purse.

“What an opportunity we have to model Jesus to a world that is sitting up and taking notice in this unprecedented climate,” shares Phil Collingsworth. “We’re thrilled to partner with a sister ministry like Samaritan’s Purse, who is on the front lines of this fight.”

Currently, Samaritan’s Purse, based in Boone, NC, and founded by Franklin Graham, is set up on the frontlines in Cremona, Italy, where their medical team has set up a field hospital and is treating patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. During the hour-long Facebook Live concert, fans will have the opportunity to donate directly to Samaritan’s Purse while enjoying the harmonies and music of The Collingsworth Family. 100% of all donations will go directly to Samaritan’s Purse.

For more information on Samaritan’s Purse, click HERE.

A season of change for Southern Raised

Southern Raised
Southern Raised (StowTown Records)


Nashville, TN (January 2, 2020) – With the new year comes a new chapter for Southern Raised. Eldest sibling of the multi-talented family group, Lindsay Reith, expressed her excitement, “2020 is a new year, a new decade and a new chapter for Southern Raised. Sarah, our banjo player and tenor vocalist, has decided to step into a new role off the road. We support her, love her and we are so thankful for every moment, memory and mile traveled and spent together. The last almost 13 years touring as four siblings has been amazing. We look forward to creating new music, seeing new faces and connecting with so many of you this year on the road. It is with great anticipation we step across the threshold into 2020!”

Sarah (Reith) Noland is thankful for her tenure with the band and wishes them well as they enter this new season. She shares, “It’s hard to put into words what nearly 13 years of singing with my siblings has meant to me. They have been so supportive and loving, and I’m forever grateful to them for believing in me. 2019 brought some wonderful changes into my life. I married the man of my dreams, and I’m now ready to begin a new chapter. I will forever look back upon these years with joy and gratefulness to our Lord for allowing me to sing His message of love. Thanks to each of you for putting faith in a southern raised banjo playing girl! May God richly bless you all!”

The band is currently writing new music and gearing up for another busy year. Their three month run of shows at Silver Dollar City was so popular last year, the renowned theme park has invited them back for a four-month artist-in-residence stint in 2020. Their current project, Another World, is distributed exclusively by Sony/Provident and is available at digital and retail outlets worldwide.

Some 2020 Southern Gospel releases already playing on Texas Gospel Canada

A half-dozen Southern Gospel artists have already sent their January 2020 songs to Texas Gospel Canada just days before the new year.

The Talley’s “Get me There” is the group’s selection to kick off 2020.  It comes from their Finest Hour album. It may be the last single release from the project to be sent to radio as the Talley’s newest CD Hymns of the Faith was released early in December.

The Soul’d Out Quartet’s song “Heaven” is among the new releases this week.  It was penned by the group’s founder John Matt Rankin and comes from the album Run To The Light. This song ‘s lyric, ‘Hey everybody, are you going to Heaven with me?’  comes from an encounter in West Virginia.   A young man unashamedly asked the question in a crowd loudly displaying no shame in his Christian faith.

Other songs released this week include the Wisecarvers’ “Go Down Again, the McKamey’s “We All Need a Savior,” and Balsam Range’s “Place no Wreath.”

Listen for these along with Southern Gospel classics this week on Texas Gospel Canada!


Seattle arsonist tosses incendiary devices during Thursday-night service

The sound of worship and praise music at a Seattle, Washington church was abruptly interrupted by an arsonist who threw Molotov cocktails at the building shortly after the opening hymn.

The attack happened around 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Iglesia ni Cristo church about a half-hour after the service began.   Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Kristin Tinsley told The Seattle Times there were multiple hand-held incendiary devices used in the attack. Tinsley told the paper the improvised firebombs were lit bottles of an unknown liquid.

King5 Television reports none of the estimated 50 people who were inside the sanctuary were injured by the criminal’s actions.  The fire was put out by congregation members before the fire department arrived.

A news release issued by the Seattle, Washington Police Department says, “Seattle Police Arson/Bomb Squad detectives have taken over the investigation and are working with witnesses to develop a suspect description.

Officials have not yet determined a motive for the act of violence against the congregation.


U.S. strengthens hate crimes laws to protect churches and religious institutions

church damage

U.S. President Donald Trump this month signed a bill into law increasing punishments for criminals who target churches or religiously affiliated organizations. The bill was introduced in response to a growing number of vandalism, bomb threats and other attacks on religious freedom in the U.S.

Existing U.S. law protects abortion clinics and other facilities frequently target by vandals.  The new law expands similar protections for churches. According to a news release from the White House, The Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act of 2018 criminalizes the intentional obstruction of any person’s free exercise of religious beliefs by threat of force against religious real property. It increases the penalty to three years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine for threats that lead to damage. Those offenses were misdemeanors with a maximum one year in jail before the bill was signed.


New York reverend to ask leniency for church vandals

vandals arrested

Two New York men are facing charges connected to the Aug. 19 vandalism of a Greek Orthodox Church building.

According to file stories, the vandals smashed a stained glass window, tore down a church sign and kicked over potted plants at Saints Anargyroi, Taxiarchis and Gerasimos Greek Orthodox Church. The vandalism was captured on surveillance video that was aired on News12 Long Island. Southold police say two suspects turned themselves in after the footage was aired.

The suspects, Wesley S. Brown, 21, of Westchester County, and Mitchell Mayer, 22, of Burlington, Vermont, face misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree criminal mischief.

A police spokesperson said the vandalism does not appear to be a hate crime directed at the church, but the result of two who were drunk and disorderly.

The Rev. Jerasimos Ballas told he plans to reach out to authorities to ask for leniency for the two men.