Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : March 22, 2015

Beach club members enjoy a rousing worship period in song and dance.
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–The first day back from Spring Break and about 40 students from Mabank Intermediate School are happy to stay after school for an hour of fun, friendship and Bible study.
Lead by volunteers, under a national nondenominational organization, KiDs Beach Club is making an impact on students and their families.

“It’s where kids connect with God,” founder/president Jack Terrell told The Monitor.
The 20-year career children’s minister from Euless formatted the one hour of activities around large and small group activities, which includes games that reinforce the lesson.

A cardinal rule for volunteers serving with the club is adults are never to be alone with any child at anytime.
Each club is sponsored by a local church which provides the screened volunteers for training, a partnering fee and after-school snacks.

While there are strict rules and training for adults working as leaders and helpers, there’s nothing but fun, excitement and learning through activities that reinforce and connect kids to Bible truths, principals and key character words.

Five short rules keep order so fun and optimism takes center stage. These are: sit up, look up, listen up, hands up and have fun.

Youngsters start off in small groups to enjoy snacks and friends, but shortly are on their feet for a very active large group worship period that uses up excess energy. The children follow student leaders and a music video to sing and move with the songs.

This is followed by an introduction to a Bible verse and a small group game that helps them remember it. On this day, the verse is: “Let the little children come to me.” Matthew 19:14.

Leaders ask questions about the verse pointing out that parents who recognized Jesus was someone special wanted their children to meet him, too. And unlike some adults, Jesus felt the children were important and he wanted to spend time with them. That’s one of the ways Jesus showed his love for children.

“He’s never too busy for you,” the leader concludes before starting the memory game, which involved tossing a hackysack back and forth with each child tossing back with the next word in the verse. Each small group competed with the other groups to finish the verse and race to the other side of the room when finished where an adult holds a large sign with the word Jesus spelled out.

Then follows a short Bible reading, done aloud by select club members. On other weeks children see the story acted out or through various other interactive ways.

A review activity follows in small groups with some more games.

Throughout the hour, children are rewarded for appropriate behavior with tickets and points that are redeemed at the end of the hour with a trip to the treasure chest.

“The word describing Jesus’ character in this lesson,” leader Stacy Ross says, “and one he wants every follower of his to adopt is Love.”

The children are attentive and well-mannered as the hour progresses. A loving atmosphere is in evidence through their behavior and interaction with adult volunteers.

“Children have tender, open, receptive hearts,” Terrell observes, “that’s why we do Beach Club.”
Started in 2003 in Euless and expanded into a national organization in 2006, the KiDs Beach Club is in 146 schools in eight states and has more than 10,000 student enrolled.

The 2,193 volunteers , which include parents, and 107 partnering churches are Making Jesus Cool at School!®
Each third-sixth grade student participates with permission from their parents in an upbeat, positive atmosphere.

Up until this year, Bibles were presented as incentives; 24 per club, one for each week the club meets. But this year, a member of the board of directors challenged the organization to ask, “Why not provide each child with his or her own special KiDs Beach Club Bible at no cost to the children?”

At Mabank Intermediate, most of the children remembered to bring their Bibles to club time and earned points for doing so. Each child read from it and found key words from within its pages.

The KiDs Beach Club also lowers barriers between families and the partnering church through the loving volunteers that form healthy, trusting relationships within the club setting. “God is made known through his people,” Terrell said.

In Mabank ISD, a club is found in each elementary school, as well as in Kemp and Eustace intermediate schools, and Malakoff and Tool elementary schools. More are located in Athens, Brownsboro, Chandler, Ennis and Corsicana.

Nearly 10 years ago, 48 percent of families whose students participated in the club did not identify with any church affiliation.

Last year, that percentage had grown to 62 percent, Terrell said.

KiDs Beach Club opens a tremendous opportunity for partnering churches to make connections with families that have no church home, he pointed out.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : March 15, 2015

By David Webb
Monitor Correspondent

KEMP–Mayor Laura Hanna Peace introduced resident Alvin Miller to the Kemp City Council Tuesday as the newest volunteer to step forward to help govern the city.

Miller, who is a native of Kemp, will be sworn into office by Peace at the April meeting to fill the unexpired seat of former Councilman Jerry Hazelip who died of a heart attack last year. Peace said Miller could not be sworn in at the March meeting as planned because of the lack of a super majority of council members.

Council member Jackie Self missed the meeting because of a relative’s illness, Peace said. The attendance of Peace, Mayor Pro Tem Barry Lummus and Council members Christie Neal and Leona Bounds established a quorum for only routine business.

Peace said the addition of another council member to fill the council desk will prevent important business being delayed if a council member must miss a meeting in the future.

“Thank you for agreeing to join us,” Peace said to Miller. “Alvin is well known and respected by everyone in the community. We really appreciate your willingness to help.”

Miller, who is a self-employed carpenter, said he appreciated the mayor asking him to volunteer. “It’s going to be a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

Attendance by the public at the previously contentious council meetings has fallen off to almost nothing in recent months. On the mayor’s Facebook page, Peace recently wrote, “I want to thank everyone for the kind words of support and gratitude for my part in moving our town forward, but I must give credit where it’s due: without a great council I could do nothing.” She praised council members “can do” attitudes.

Peace said the city is planning to conduct a summer concert series in the park with a band being booked every weekend in June to perform at the City Park stage, which is known as “The Bridge.” The stage was constructed using a century-old iron bridge that used to span King’s Creek near the city.

The mayor said the Wildflower Festival April 11 will go on as scheduled, and that city officials expect all of the vendor booths to be filled. The festival will include entertainment.

Hillcrest Baptist Church will conduct Sunrise Easter services at The Bridge, Peace added.
Peace said the opening of the new Walmart neighborhood grocery store on Highway 274 was a success and a huge benefit to the city.

The council meeting lasted only 15 minutes with the proclamation of “Poison Prevention Week” in Kemp the second week in March being the only business conducted.

There would be no need for an executive session, Peace said.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : February 26, 2015

Monitor Staff Report
KAUFMAN–DATELINE, NBC Television has announced it will run a two-hour feature on the murders of Kaufman County’s top prosecutors at 8 p.m. Friday (tomorrow).
National television broadcasting crews have been in Kaufman County the last several weeks gathering information and interviewing people for its national broadcast covering the murder conviction and death sentence of former county justice of the peace Eric Williams.
Williams was convicted of the murder of Kaufman County District Attorney Michael McLelland’s wife, Cynthia, over the Easter weekend 2013 in the couple’s Forney home. Williams, along with his estranged wife, Kim, was also charged with the shooting deaths of D.A. Michael McLelland (also Easter weekend 2013) and Assistant D.A. Mark Hasse, Jan. 31, 2013, as he walked from the employee parking lot to his office.
The brazen deed rocked the nation, capturing headlines across the country.
“While these murders were going on, it was an awful time in the county of Kaufman,” special prosecutor and former Dallas D.A. Bill Wirskye said following Williams’ death sentence verdict, Dec. 17, 2014.
“But the members of that office came to work every day, they went to court every day, and they stood up for justice every day—even in light of this assault on their office. Eric Williams crossed a line that hardly anyone crosses,” Wirskye said. “Fortunately, we were able to stop it. It sends the message that you will not be able to stop the criminal justice system and get away with it. You will not be able to assault the criminal justice system and somehow shut it down.”
A Rockwall County jury handed down the death sentence.
A production crew from CBS 48 Hours has also been visiting Kaufman.
Williams’ public defender is currently seeking a retrial on the basis of new evidence that points to a deformity in Williams’ brain. Williams’ attorney John Wright wrote in a January court filing that a post-conviction scan of his client’s brain reveals the part that controls emotion has atrophied or shrunk from “prior head trauma.” Had the information been known prior to trial, defense attorneys say they would have “presented a robust case grounded on brain damage likely flowing from chronic and uncontrolled diabetes.”
The prosecution presented as motive in the slayings that McLelland and Hasse had previously prosecuted Williams for burglary and theft of public property by a public servant. Williams was later removed from his job as a justice of the peace because of the convictions and was ultimately disbarred by the State Bar of Texas.
During his trial, William’s wife, Kim Williams, who also has been charged with capital murder, testified that she accompanied him in a car during the murders. Kim Williams also testified that her husband had plans to kill Erleigh Norville Wiley, who replaced McLelland as district attorney after his death, and former state District Judge Glen Ashworth.