Submit religion news to

State champ

Alexis Hunting, Missouri's State Bible Drill youth champion,  represented the state in Covington, La., at the National Bible Drill Competition on June 19.  She placed fifth overall, missing first place by just two points. The competition consists of finding verses in the Bible as quickly as possible.

Living Hope offers carnival, craft bazaar

The Church of Jesus Christ Living Hope Restoration Branch will hold a carnival and craft bazaar from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at the church, 2425 S. Crysler Avenue, Independence.

There will be carnival games for the kids, delicious food and homemade crafts for sale, and musical concerts throughout the day. Funds raised will benefit the Living Hope Church Building Fund.

First UMC saying goodbye to pastor

The congregation of the First United Methodist Church of Independence will bid farewell to the Rev. Alan D. Pruitt with a reception from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the church, 400 W. Maple Ave.

Pruitt is retiring after serving 40 years in Methodist churches in western Missouri and the Kansas City area. He has been the senior pastor at Independence First UMC since 2003.

The reception also is a farewell for Venny Pruitt, the pastor’s wife, who has served as minister of music and director of the sanctuary choir.

The new senior pastor will be the Rev. Mitchell P. Jarvis. He has been the associate pastor at Ashland United Methodist Church in St. Joseph for the past five years.

Dinner theater in Lee’s Summit

The Center for God, Family and Country Christian Community Center at 800 N.W. Commerce Drive in Lee’s Summit are holding dinner theater shows every Friday. Dinner is at 7 p.m., with the show beginning at 8 p.m. There is a different show and dinner each week. Seating for the show begins at 7:30 p.m.

Dinner and show tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors and students, five and under are free. For the show only, $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, five and under are free.

For dinner reservations, call 816-554-2224, or for more information, visit www.GodFamily

Church plans annual Fourth of July event

St. Paul Church of Napoleon will hold its 59th annual Fourth of July celebration. This event draws people from across the area, with last year’s attendance topping 1,200 people.

The initial celebration involved church members bringing their own fireworks to the church parking lot and sitting together and celebrating. During the next several years, homemade ice cream and a food stand were added.

Highlights of the event include:

Family picnic food stand – 6 p.m., serving hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, french fries, and homemade ice cream and pies.


Old fashioned Sunday school picnic – 6 p.m., includes a miniature golf course, dunking booth, fish pond and more. Games range in price from 25 to 50 cents.


Free entertainment – 6 to 6:50 p.m. Greg Gould;  7:05 to 8:05 p.m. The Gospel Lovin’ Four with Colleen; and 8:15 to 9:15 p.m. Willing Vessels. The National Anthem will be sung by Lauren Perrin, a graduate of William Jewel.


Military salute and free fireworks display – 9:15 p.m. military salute, with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and sit back and watch the St. Paul pyrotechnic team as it presents the fireworks show to patriotic music, overlooking the Missouri River. 

For more information, call Kelly Seitz at 816-240-8321.

Michael Bernard Beckwith to speak

The Rev. Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith and his wife, Rickie Byars Beckwith, will appear at Unity Village on July 9 for an evening lecture, followed by a two-day workshop.

The Rev. Beckwith, who was featured in the book and film “The Secret,” is the founder of Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles and is a regular guest on “Oprah.” His singer/songwriter wife is the music and arts director at Agape.

The lecture begins at 7 p.m. at the Unity Village Activities Center, near Lee’s Summit. He will explain “the elixir of transformation” and show how it is a spiritual healing agent for change. He will be available to sign books after the lecture. Tickets are $28 (plus a processing fee).

The subsequent workshop, “The Elixir of Transformation,” will be held July 10 and 11, also at the Activities Center. He will take participants through a visioning process designed to positively move them in the direction of their goals and dreams. Rickie will provide music for the event. The cost of the workshop is $299.

For information or to purchase tickets, call 816-251-3540 or visit

Pastor honored for work on restorative justice

The Rev. Harold Johnson, a longtime area United Methodist minister, was presented an award from the Missouri Department of Corrections at the recent Missouri Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in Springfield, Mo.

More than 1400 delegates, both lay and clergy from all of Missouri’s United Methodist Churches gather annually to transact the business and programs of the Conference.

The award was presented to the conference and to Johnson on behalf of his efforts to organize and conduct programs for offenders just prior to their release and return to the community. The award was presented by Jeananne Markway, the department’s restorative justice re-entry coordinator.

Restorative practices are based on the principle that harms have been committed against victims and that these harms need to be recognized by both the offender and the victim or victims. The offenders are encouraged to seek to make amends and to explore ways to heal those affected.

The Rev. Johnson and Diane Kyser of  the Community Mediation Center of Independence have trained local volunteers from several churches to act as “facilitators” or Circle Keepers with incarcerated women who are 60 to 90 days from being released.

In 2007 Johnson initiated “Beyond the Fences” – Ministries of Restorative Justice which was started by leaders in several local area communities and in Pettis and Warren counties as well as with correctional centers. The effort was to explore ways restorative practices can be used in schools, communities and neighborhoods.

For more information about restorative justice, visit the Web site of the Missouri Restorative Justice Coalition at