Thursday, January 27, 2005


And it is unanimous!

The Board of Adjustment of the City of Oklahoma City has just approved Rock Island's plan for it's new home.

The picture you see here is the vacant lot where Rock Island will be built.

Rock Island
Here's a peak at what it will look like as soon as this summer!

Paul Whitmire and Ron Crawford appeared before the Board on Thursday afternoon. Paul explained that Cross & Crown had purchased the structure that used to be there, on the south east corner of 9th and McKinley, to either fix it or destroy it. He explained it had been a known crack house and had had a fire, and they bought the property in efforts to help restore the neighborhood to the families who live there. After destroying the building, the "planned use" (city talk) began to develop through Ron and Sue Crawford's vision for Rock Island.

They plan to build the two story structure to house a children and youth ministry for the youth in the neighborhood.

Praise God for his timing and his faithfulness.

One of the members of the board praised Paul and Ron for their thorough and detailed application - including drawings, detailed plans and explanations. The distinguished board person (I was watching on TV and they didn't show his name or face) also commented that all applications should arrive to them this way.

Paul's last word was to praise the many professionals who provided their services to help with the application to help this ministry!

There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven ...
a time to tear down and a time to build. Ecc. 3

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
This is the artwork you are supposed to see at the top of the page. Thanks, Stephen Bell for making it for us!

Do you see it?

The top of this page is supposed to have a lovely piece of artwork, comprised of a picture of the actual stained glass at the mission, and text that reads Cross & Crown.

Do you see it?

We have received reports that sometimes the picture doesn't load. Now, it isn't loading for me either.

The work order is in, and we'll fix it soon!

Monday, January 24, 2005

After School

Craft time
Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
When the bell rings at the end of the school day on Thursdays, it's not long before children in the Cross & Crown neighborhood start arriving to After School.

Organized and conducted by Ron and Susan with Rock Island Ministries, the program offers a safe and fun place for school age kids.

After a small meal and homework time, most of the boys congregate to the two GameCube stations. Many of the girls assemble for the chick flick movie feature, last week was Princess Diaries 2.

A manicure station, puzzles, legos, crafts, books and cookies also are available.

Volunteers provide hugs, help with homework, cookies and lead trips to the restroom. They also read, help with crafts, listen to what's on their minds, offer love and prayer. (And, there's the occasional refereeing in the video game area - and reminder to take turns.)

Want to help? You will be blessed. Thursdays 3:30 - 5:30 pm.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

By the numbers

Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
Beginning a new year comes with wrapping up the last year in numbers. A lot of us are getting numbers in the mail - tax papers of how much we earned in 2004, how much we gave and what interest we earned.

Here is 2004 at Cross & Crown, by the numbers. These are more than numbers on a page - they are sweet smiling faces, and even old battered faces - and these numbers represent more than we can quantify - lives touched by prayer.

Number of new families served 1,915
Number of repeat families served 5,203
Number of repeat individuals served 5,273
Number of children served 11,224


The rich and the poor have this in common:
the Lord made them both. Proverbs 22:2

Monday, January 17, 2005

Best Day

Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
The man in the middle of this picture is named James, but everyone calls him "Peanut."

"This is the only day I look forward to," he said at the mission Sunday night.

He said Cross & Crown is his sanctuary and a place that draws him nearer to God.

Friday, January 14, 2005

While you wait

Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
Here's a "during" picture to chronicle the latest improvement project at Cross & Crown. Work began this week on a new, more inviting entrance.

The red door and one park bench you see in this picture is the "before" and respresents the limited area people had to wait before going inside for prayer and services at Cross and Crown.

More than a year ago, Paul began the dream of building a covered waiting area, with seating, shelter and landscaping.

The dirt pile in the picture represents the dream coming into reality. Coming next is concrete removal, setting posts, building a covering, adding landscaping and providing seating.

Stay tuned.

From Isaiah 4 ... and there will be a booth for shade from heat by day, and a refuge and shelter from storm and rain

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Big Roll of Red Tape

Some day the vacant lot across from the mission won't be vacant. Rock Island OKC will be open.

Rock Island

God's timing.

And the city's too, apparently.

Rock Island has been bumped for another week from its appearance with the Board of Adjustment for a zoning change. They were suppose to appear Thursday, Jan. 13, but now the date is Jan. 20.

The zoning change is needed to get the building permit and the building permit is needed to start building.

God's timing. Ron Crawford prays that timing will allow Rock Island to be open by this summer.

Ron and Susan's dream for Rock Island is for it to be a place for youth in the neighborhood to come and hang out. There will be food, movies, video games, homework help, friends, mentors, and prayer - a safe haven to help these kids know God loves them and wants them to succeed.

Thanks to many volunteers who share this vision. There's Larry Schwab and Ron White who drew up the plans. John Davidson who is ready to serve as the contractor. And those who've donated supplies - roofing, concrete, materials (everything but the lumber!)

Please pray for this process and for God's timing to be revealed!

What does Cross & Crown mean to you?

Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
Lori and Allen have been coming to Cross & Crown from the beginning. They might go away for a while, but they come back. Allen says they come back for prayer.

"When you come here, you are among people who feel what they pray," Allen said.

"This place helps you get closer to the Lord," said Lori who also volunteers at the mission.

Allen says that in addition to getting prayer for things - such as jobs, health, help - you get prayer for your spirit to grow.

"You get a hand up here, not a hand out," he said.

From Ephesians 1
15 This is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Blessed Graffiti

Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
This picture shows the window of a house close to the mission. It's a great lesson in perspective.

From Matthew 16
19 "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be."

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
What do you do when January comes and there's more than a dozen decoratated artificial Christmas trees and no room to store them? Give them away.

Maria is very happy about her new tree.

How it began

Here is a story that appeared in The Daily Oklahoman when Cross and Crown opened in March of 2001. When you read it again, nearly four years later, you see God's faithfulness, and note that many of the services that were part of the dream have happened at Cross and Crown. From medical services, to AA meetings and computer training, God has touched the hearts of people to make those services, and many many more, happen, in His name. It all begins with prayer. It is all about prayer.

Historic church gets new mission Cross & Crown launches city ministry
by Bobby Ross, Jr.

Peggy Garrett was scurrying out the door - leaving for good - the snowy day that Paul Whitmire and Scott Stevenson approached her at the old limestone church at NW 9 and McKinley.
The Presbyterian Urban Mission, the ministry that Garrett leads, was moving to a newer, bigger building after three decades in the old Second Presbyterian Church, built in 1911.
"She had her trash bag and she was on the way out," Whitmire said.
Suddenly, Whitmire and Stevenson stopped her.
"I can still remember the startled look on her face," Whitmire said.
She asked if she could help them. They said she could.
"Well, what do you want?" she asked.
"We don't know," they replied.
God's will?
Inside the building at 1008 N McKinley Ave., stained-glass windows overlook scuffed, wooden floors and rotting walls with yellow stains.
This place breathes history, but the years have taken a toll. The surrounding neighborhood struggles with poverty and decay. Trash and weeds abound.
Despite regular repairs, the roughly 8,000-square-foot building kept deteriorating. It didn't have space to meet the Presbyterian Urban Mission's growing commitment. The mission had blossomed from a neighborhood community center to an emergency social service agency to a ministry that today provides not just food and clothing - but also medications, utility assistance, household goods and children's programs to more than 25,000 people each year.
With the support of the Indian Nations Presbytery and individual donors, the ministry moved to a 46,000-square-foot facility at 3737 N Portland.
As Garrett left that day, her concern was that the old church not be left to deteriorate.
Ministry leaders had talked about taking out the stained-glass windows and selling some of the architecture. That would have a left a shell awaiting a wrecking ball.
But God didn't want that to happen, Whitmire and Stevenson are convinced. That's why, they believe, He led them to Garrett that day.
"Our family and Paul's family and about six other families have been meeting in a house church for about five years," Stevenson said. "This is just one of the things that has grown out of the house church."
The Edmond area families attend Quail Springs Church of Christ, Life Church East and Bridgeway Church on Sunday mornings. They meet in a "house church" each Sunday night.
Whitmire and his family have traveled on mission trips to Honduras for four years. They had prayed with the group about ways to reach out to people closer to home.
The families decided to start an inner-city ministry offering food, clothing and prayer.
But they needed a building.
Whitmire and Stevenson had just about given up finding one when they saw the Presbyterian Urban Mission sign.
"We thought, 'We'll stop and ask them for ideas about doing urban ministries and food pantries,'" Whitmire said.
They got more than advice.
They bought a building.
Stained-glass namesake
On a cold, rainy day this week, Whitmire signed closing papers to buy the old church for an undisclosed amount.
The new owners: Cross & Crown Mission Inc.
That name derived from the cross and Jesus' crown on the building's most prominent stained-glass window.
About 50 people, including ministers from several denominations, came to celebrate.
"I've often heard it said that if Jesus bodily came to a city, He probably wouldn't show up in any of our churches," said Ron McCaslin, pastor of Cathedral of the Hills in Edmond. "We'd find Him in a place like this, in a place where He would touch people right where they're living."
Lance Humphreys, pastor of Bridgeway Church, said he came to support the project and "as a show of unity among churches in Oklahoma City, in our heart to serve the vulnerable in this city and come together in doing that."
Whitmire read from Isaiah 61 in the Old Testament and prayed that God would help rebuild not only broken walls - but broken lives as well.
Already, volunteers had dug a 12-foot deep, 4-foot wide trench as they repaired the building's foundation. Other repairs, including installation of a new roof, started the next day.
"God placed all the necessary professions in our group to cover what we needed here," said Whitmire, a former youth minister who owns an antique store.
"We've got a husband-and-wife attorney team, a guy in real estate, a guy in the equipment business, (wife) Suzanne and I in ministry, a guy who is a psychologist, a heat and air specialist."
Spiritual food, too
Even before the mission officially opened, people started stopping by for food - and prayer.
All who walk in the door, from the termite inspector to the insurance adjuster, can expect to bow their head and have Whitmire direct a few words up above.
"I mean, people that are just providing services that we pay for, they have gone away with a changed heart," Whitmire said. "It's been amazing."
The Cross & Crown Mission Inc. will start as a simple food pantry and clothes closet.
But the organizers have much bigger dreams.
They hope to lead an after-school program for elementary students. They plan a store where families can bring school lists and get free school supplies. They intend to buy dilapidated homes and refurbish them.
Professionals will fix the foundations. Youth groups will paint and beautify the homes. Then a financial analyst will assess a family's need and agree on a monthly payment.
Whitmire also closes his eyes and sees a computer lab and an employment training service.
"Eventually, we'll have legal services available. We'll have dental services available and medical services available."
For 17 years, his family has lived the good life in an affluent suburb.
Now, he and the others want to give back.
"The churches in Edmond... are ready to do this kind of ministry," he said. "They need a place. We decided we would have a place for them."
Actually, Stevenson said, God decided He would have a place.
"I believe absolutely that God led us over here. We've had a steady stream of confirmations that this is what the Lord has in mind for us."

Sunday, January 02, 2005

This year I will ...

Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
"behave in school."

We're praying for you Carlos!

Carlos is one of the familiar faces around the mission. We tease him about behaving in school, but we are very serious about praying for him, and all of the other young people who come to Cross and Crown, either with their families on Sunday nights, during the week, or at the after school program on Thursday afternoons with
Rock Island OKC.

This particular craft time focused on making a commitment for the new year. Other children pledged to help their moms and dads with chores. We commit to continue taking their needs to God in prayer, and thanking Him for the blessing of children.

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
When you close your eyes, what name of the Lord appears for you personally?

At Cross and Crown on Sunday night, God was named ...
Quiet Place
Lamb of God
Comforter of my heart
Holy One
Holy Savior
Great Physician

Blessed is his glorious name!

Maria y Maria

Maria y Maria
Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
In this New Year, Maria is thankful to have her mother, Maria, visiting from Mexico.

Aren't they beautiful?


Originally uploaded by Cross and Crown.
If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD, and he will repay you!

Proverbs 19:17