Christian School's $40 'Pay It Forward' Challenge Leads to Big Rewards for NJ Community

The “Pay it Forward” project at Edgarton Christian Academy in Newfield, N.J., looked like an impossible mission for students in the eighth-grade graduating class who took on the challenge of turning $40 stipends into transformational gifts that benefit their community.

Melissa Knapp, the school’s administrative assistant and coordinator for the Pay it Forward project, told The Christian Post on Tuesday that when she speaks to students about the project it always makes her cry because she knows that once they find a project that drives them, their passion will help them achieve more than they ever believed was possible.

“We challenge the students to step outside their box and look out into the world to find a need,” said Knapp, who is proud of the 16 students in the graduating class who created more than 10 service projects that benefit an array of local charities in their New Jersey community.

Knapp told CP that when she introduced the Pay it Forward project to students in January, they were allowed to embark on the project on their own or with a partner to create a joint venture with the $40 stipend they received from the academy’s parent-group’s fundraising efforts.

“My enjoyment comes from when I first go into that class and they look shocked because the task appears monumental to them,” she said about the challenge.

“We didn’t require students to set a specific goal, we just asked them to find something they’re passionate about and assured them that their plans would fall into place once they found an organization in need. The goal is for the students to see that one person can make a difference in someone’s life,” Knapp said about the project. “It’s a very emotional thing for me. They took it to heart and found something of meaning to them.”

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The students’ efforts have also been featured on the New Jersey news website that mentioned the success achieved by the graduating class, which includes raising $3,600 that will be donated to The Seeing Eye, the oldest guide dog school in the world. Nicholas Dutra and Corbin Mazur combined their $40 stipends and solicited pet stores for donations for their raffle, which raised funds that will be used to train and send service dogs to the people who need them.

Knapp noted that two eighth-grade boys who recently visited the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home saw a need to collect and provide clothing for the veterans. And two girls in the class teamed up to raise money for a family whose mother is battling breast cancer, by designing beaded bracelets and hosting a raffle where ticket buyers have a chance of winning Vera Bradley designer bags.

Madison Hagerty, who runs a free soccer clinic for kindergarten, first and second-grade students, asked for donations from parents and raised more than $400 to pay for a bench at the Franklin Township Soccer Complex in honor of a young girl who recently died.

Knapp also highlighted the success achieved by Samantha Bevilacqua, who raised $750 that will be donated to Franklin Township’s Shadow Equestrian ranch that provides therapeutic riding class for children with special needs. Bevilacqua came up with the idea to raise funds for the program after seeing how the classes have helped her cousin who has Down syndrome.

“Two students raised money to supply welcome bags to children whose parents are attending the Celebrate Recovery program, a biblically-based recovery ministry at Glouster County Community Church in Sewell, N.J.,” she said. Other students raised money to buy toiletries for a local shelter, and two students raised money for the Lone Survivor Foundation, an organization that helps wounded soldiers and their families.

Students are wrapping up their projects this month and will soon have the opportunity to present their donations to their selected organizations. Before graduation, the students are required to write an essay about the experience and state whether they believe one person’s efforts and actions can make a difference in someone’s life. Knapp said the students will also be required to read their essays to faculty and staff as part of their eighth-grade graduation ceremony.

First 8 Days: ‘Gay’ Jason Collins 2,381 News Stories; Gosnell Abortion-Murder Trial 115 Stories – 1,970% Difference in Coverage

In the eight days since NBA player Jason Collins announced he was gay, the news media have covered the story in 2,381 places. But in the first eight days of the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his “House of Horrors” abortion business, the media covered the story in 115 places, meaning that Collins’ “gay” news received more than 1,970.4% more news coverage.

In addition, a search of the news coverage of the Gosnell trial that started 49 days ago on Mar. 18, shows there have been 1,876 stories, which is still less than the 2,381 Collins stories over the last 8 days – a 27% difference in coverage, still in Collins’ favor.

Jason Collins, who plays center for the Washington Wizards, announced he was a homosexual in a self-written article for the Sports Illustrated website on Apr. 29. Kermit Gosnell is charged with five counts of murder and 263 other criminal offenses related to his abortion business in Philadelphia; his trial started on Mar. 18 and the jury currently is still deliberating.

A general Nexis search of “All News” in English, for the first eight days in each case, shows the following: a search for “Jason Collins” and “gay” (between Apr. 19 and May 6) reveals 2,381 news stories; a search for “Kermit Gosnell” and “abortion” (between Mar. 18 and Mar. 24) pulls up 115 stories.

A Nexis “All News” search retrieves stories from newspapers, blogs, newswires, news transcripts, news, aggregate news sources, magazines, journals, newsletters and web-based publications.
APTOPIX Jason Collins Comes Out Basketball

In this photo provided by ABC, NBA basketball veteran Jason Collins, left, poses for a photo with television journalist George Stephanopoulos, Monday, April 29, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/ABC, Eric McCandless)

That means that in the first eight days of coverage, there were 2,266 more news stories about Jason Collins coming out of the closet as gay than news stories about Gosnell who, specifically, is charged with killing four babies born alive during abortions by snipping their spinal cords with surgical scissors. The fifth murder charge against Gosnell concerns a woman who died from an anesthesia-overdose.

Some of the other 263 criminal charges against Gosnell include conspiracy, solicitation, infanticide, theft by deception, corruption of minors, and tampering with or fabricating evidence. The grand jury report on the Gosnell case states there were “hundreds of ‘snippings,’” and that Gosnell “committed hundreds of acts of infanticide.”

The difference in coverage between the two stories from when each broke – Collins’ announcement and the start of the Gosnell trial – and for eight days thereafter, is 1,970.43%.

Kermit Gosnell Murder Trial Jury Now Considering Murder Charges

The Common Pleas Court jury of seven women and five men have finished their deliberations for the week in the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

They will return on Monday, but not before having apparently moved on from considering charges against Gosnell’s co-defendant (according to multiple news sources including the Philadelphia Inquirer and CNN) and on to the 72-year-old abortionist charged with five counts of murder.

Eileen O’Neill, 56, is charged with six counts of theft by deception (she is accused of posing as a licensed doctor) that form the basis of racketeering and conspiracy counts for her alleged role in a “corrupt organization.” The jury, CNN reported

“asked to be given the written definition of RICO charges, and a property receipt for the medications removed from the clinic and put into evidence. RICO charges extend from the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

“After consulting with attorneys, Judge Jeffrey Minehart answered the jury in the deliberation room. Gosnell and his co-defendant, Eileen O’Neill, 56, were not in the courtroom.”

However the most important request of the day was clearly for records compiled the day Gosnell’s abortion clinic was raided, February 18, 2010. According to the Inquirer’s Joseph A. Slobodzian, they asked for the police property receipt for all medicines and drugs removed from the Women’s Medical Society. Why is that significant?

It is of critical importance in the context of another request—“identifying details to help them differentiate the four babies – known thus far as babies A, C, D and E – allegedly killed by Gosnell or his staff after they were born live during illegal late-term abortions.”

Jack McMahon, Gosnell’s flamboyant defense attorney, has stated flatly that no babies were born alive—that every movement, twitch, even scream witnesses testified to were simply “reflexes.” They weren’t born alive, McMahon argued, because Gosnell administered the drug Digoxin that would have killed the babies in utero.

But (a) police found no evidence of Digoxin when they searched the abortion clinic, and (b) according to prosecutors, “Gosnell had stopped using the drug to save money,” Slobodzian explained. “Instead, prosecutors allege, Gosnell gave patients heavy doses of the labor-inducing drug Cytotec so they would spontaneously abort. If the fetus was alive, Gosnell allegedly would then cut the spine to kill it.”

CNN summarized the bundle of charges lodged against Gosnell who, prosecutors say, made millions off of illegal late-term abortions:

“The [four] babies Gosnell is accused of killing include one that a former employee testified whined after it was expelled from its mother; one that a former employee testified was a large baby boy that breathed before having its neck snipped and was placed into a plastic box the size of a shoebox; one whose neck was snipped after an employee played with the baby; and one that was delivered into a toilet and appeared to be swimming before being scooped up and having its neck snipped.”

In addition, “Gosnell also is charged with conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks of pregnancy, theft, corruption of minors, solicitation and other related offenses. He and O’Neill have pleaded not guilty.”

Gosnell also stands accused of one count of third degree murder in the 2009 death of Karnamaya Mongar, who was 41. Prosecutors say Gosnell’s untrained, unlicensed assistants administered an overdose of Demerol, a powerful painkiller.

Last week, without explanation, Judge Minehart threw out three of the seven first-degree murder counts, one count of infanticide, and all five abuse-of-corpse charges which were about the fetal body parts authorities found when they raided Gosnell’s abortion clinic, ironically not because of abortion but because they believed he was running an illegal “pill mill.”

In his testimony, Philadelphia Chief Medical Examiner Sam Gulino told the jury about an “unprecedented” task. According to the Slobodzian, that task was “Examining bag after bag of frozen fetuses removed from Kermit Gosnell’s West Philadelphia abortion clinic.” Without guidance what to do, Gulino said

CBS Finally Sends Reporter to Cover Kermit Gosnell Murder Trial

CBS News has finally sent a national reporter to cover the murder trial of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell.

As local reporter JD Mullane of the Bucks County Courier Times tweeted today:


CBS was criticized for devoting only 13 seconds of its national broadcast to covering the Gosnell trial, and NBC and ABC were even worse. As Newsbusters previously reported:

For the first time in over a week, CBS covered the murder trial of abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell on Wednesday’s CBS This Morning. But instead of a full report, as on April 15, Norah O’Donnell read a news brief that lasted just 13 seconds on the trial judge dismissing three of the murder charges against the Philadelphia physician.

ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today on Wednesday failed to cover this noteworthy development in the case. Neither broadcast network has aired one second of reporting on the Gosnell trial on their morning and evening newscasts.

The transcript of Norah O’Donnell’s news brief from Wednesday’s CBS This Morning:

NORAH O’DONNELL: The Philadelphia Inquirer says the judge in the trial of abortion Doctor Kermit Gosnell has dismissed three of seven murder counts. The judge has not stated why. Gosnell is accused of killing babies born alive, and the remaining counts will go to the jury.

Kermit Gosnell Murder Trial Jury Reaches No Verdict Again After Two Days

The jury in the Kermit Gosnell murder trial deliberated for a second day today and ended the day with no verdict. However, member of the jury actively informed themselves of laws that are applicable to the case and asked for information and assistance from the judge.

If sentenced for the convictions, Gosnell could face the death penalty following the convictions by the jury in Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia.

Under Pennsylvania law, all 12 of the jurors must reach a unanimous verdict on any of the murder counts Gosnell faces for him to be convicted on any of them. Each of the elements of a charged crime must be proven to each juror beyond reasonable doubt for that juror to vote to convict on that count and one reluctant juror could lead to a mistrial on any of the first-degree murder charges.

Since prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty in the case, the jury will only be deciding whether Gosnell is guilty related to the charges. If convicted, a second jury will be impaneled to determine sentencing under the penalty phase of the trial. During this phase, the judge has already instructed jurors to only consider guilt or innocence.

Given the number of charges Gosnell faces, and the fact that Gosnell has a co-defendant the jury is considering for conviction as well, the jury make take a longer period of time to arrive at a verdict on each of the 250-plus charges.

Most of the focus in the murder trial of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell is on the murder charges he faces for killing babies in abortion-infanticides and for killing a woman in a botched abortion.

But Gosnell faces more than 200 charges related to violating Pennsylvania state law that requires him to provide women with informed consent 24 hours prior to the abortion. Gosnell is charged with breaking that law by not giving women information about abortion risks and alternatives 24 hours prior to the abortion.

As local reporter J.D. Mullane reported this morning, the Gosnell jury asked for patient information related to one patient who testified that Gosnell broke that law.

Mullane indicated the jury had the judge review RICO, theft by deception, conspiracy and testimony from an FBI agent. He indicated the judge could have them work on Friday if necessary.

During the jury’s deliberations on Tuesday, the jury asked Judge Jeffrey Minehart for the definition of infanticide, making it appear it was taking it’s role serious in determining if the babies Gosnell killed were alive at the time of their deaths. The jury also sent Judge Minehart a question to “define theft by deception” in what appears to be its consideration of charges against Eileen O’Neill, one of Gosnell’s staffers who pretended to be a doctor who has asked the judge to be acquitted.

Gosnell is charged with four counts of first-degree murder for killing babies following delivery in an abortion process that involved “snipping” their necks and spinal cords. He also faces a third-degree murder charge related to the death of a woman, Karnamaya Mongar, 41, of Virginia, from a botched legal abortion. Gosnell, who has been in jail since his January 2011 arrest.

The abortionist faces 258 counts total and other charges against him include one count of infanticide and one of racketeering, 24 counts of performing third-trimester abortions and 227 counts of failing to follow the 24-hour waiting period law before an abortion so women can consider its risks and alternatives.

Eight other defendants who are former staffers of Gosnell’s Philadelphia abortion clinic have pleaded guilty to a variety of charges and are awaiting sentencing.

During the closing arguments yesterday, Gosnell defense attorney Jack McMahon attempted to make the case to the jury today that workers for Gosnell are exaggerating the importance of movements in babies Gosnell killed. He was already successful in getting three of the seven murder counts dropped related to the babies.

The grand jury report indicated one baby was “moving and breathing for 20 minutes before an assistant came in and cut the spinal cord, just the way she had seen Gosnell do it so many times.”

But McMahon said the babies Gosnell killed in an abortion process involving their live birth and eventual “snipping” of their necks and spinal cords were dead before they were actually born. He claimed any movement staffers saw after the fact was involuntary or reflexive and not an indication they were still alive after birth. He claimed no “scientific evidence” exists that any babies were alive at the time their necks were snipped.

McMahon answered the question many pro-life advocates and prosecutors have asked: Why did Gosnell snip the necks of babies who were supposedly already dead from an abortion.

“Maybe (there was) some remote pain…I don’t know,” he said.

Testimony from the medical examiner and toxicologist indicated that there was no evidence the babies were injected with Digoxin to ensure the babies were dead prior to the abortion, as the defense has claimed. The medical examiner testified that tests were inconclusive as proof that the babies were born alive. However, the tests also did not prove the babies were dead prior to birth. Those inconclusive test results were overshadowed by the weight of testimony from witness after witness, who detailed how the babies were in fact living prior to being murdered through what one witness described as a “virtual beheading.”

McMahon also defended Gosnell against the murder charge related to killing a patient in a botched abortion, and he called death of abortion patient Karnamaya Mongar a “tragic accident” but not murder.

Previously, the judge in the case reinstated one of the murder charges and dropped another. Gosnell’s defense attorney asked the judge to drop three of the charges for killing the babies and the judge agreed with the contention there was not enough evidence to convict Gosnell on those charges. Another charge of infanticide was also dropped.

One of the dropped charges involved a 28-week-old baby Gosnell killed and whose remains were kept in an abortion clinic freezer.

Common pleas court Judge Jeffrey Minehart also dropped five counts of corpse abuse at the request of his defense attorney and did not explain his ruling dropping any of the charges.

The defense had argued that there were no live births at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Center abortion clinic and contends the babies died during abortions and their necks were snipped afterwards. But former Gosnell staffers testified they saw signs of life even after the abortion had been completed — saying the babies “jumped” and “screamed” and tried to escape.

Gosnell, whose squalid “house of horrors” abortion clinic has surprised even investigative officials, has had almost flippant attitude toward his macabre abortion practices shocked the nation.

“The Gosnell case is a watershed moment for the issue of abortion,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “The discovery of his horrific practices helped shed light on an abortion industry that has run amok without oversight or accountability for decades, and has prompted significant changes in abortion laws and attitudes toward enforcement in several states.”

Previously, Gosnell’s wife Pearl pleaded guilty to assisting her husband at his Philadelphia abortion center where he killed a woman in a botched abortion and has killed hundreds of babies in abortion-infanticides. Pearl Gosnell was considering a plea deal similar to the one several of Gosnell’s former abortion center employees have made where they have pleaded guilty to receive a lesser sentence in exchange for testifying against Gosnell.

Pearl also worked at the abortion center Gosnell ran that had him kill and injure women in failed abortions and kill perhaps hundreds of babies in grisly infanticides by birthing them and “snipping” their spinal cords. She worked at the Women’s Medical Society abortion business her husband ran as a full-time medical assistant from 1982 until she married Kermit Gosnell in 1990, when she switched to only working on Sundays.

At that time, the abortion business was officially closed but would do its latest-term abortions possible. The grand jury report indicates Pearl Gosnell testified that she alone helped Kermit do abortions on Sundays when she would “help do the instruments” in the operating room despite no medical training.

The murder charges also came in connection with the botched abortion death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who died at Gosnell’s abortion clinic after a failed abortion. Mongar died November 20, 2009, after overdosing on anesthetics prescribed by the doctor.

Mongar’s family filed a lawsuit against Gosnell’s abortion business seeking damages. Gosnell and several staffers at his abortion center, including Pearl, were arrested in January after a grand jury indicted them on multiple charges after officials raided his abortion business following a woman’s death and discovered a “shop of horrors” filled with bags of bodies and body parts of deceased unborn children and babies killed in infanticides.

Meanwhile, women have spoken out about their treatment and one woman says she was drugged and tied up and forced to have an abortion. Authorities searching the facility found bags and bottles holding aborted babies scattered around the building, jars containing babies’ severed feet lining a shelf, as well as filthy, unsanitary furniture and equipment.

The grand jury investigation also shows state officials did nothing when reports came in about problems at Gosnell’s abortion center, which has upset incoming pro-life Governor Tom Corbett.

Gosnell’s abortion center was inspected only after a federal drug raid in 2010. It was the first time the facility had been inspected in 17 years because state officials ignored complaints and failed to visit Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society for years.

The abortion industry has been forced to suspend two abortion businesses that employed embattled abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, who has been the subject of national controversy over his abortion business in Philadelphia.

Following revelations that Gosnell is associated with two other abortion centers in Louisiana and Delaware, the National Abortion Federation made the decision to suspend the memberships of both. Atlantic Women’s Medical Services, the Delaware abortion business that employed Gosnell one day a week to do abortions, and the Delta Clinic abortion center of Baton Rouge, have both had their memberships suspended. Leroy Brinkley owns both abortion businesses. Atlantic operated abortion centers in Wilmington and Dover.

Churches in America Fall Short When It Comes to Multicultural Congregations

While most churches say they already have or are working on having a multicultural congregation, the majority fall short when it comes to reflecting a diverse community of believers coming together during church services on Sundays, said an expert on multi-ethnic church planting and staffing.

“If you were to judge church brochures across America you would say that there is not a multicultural problem in the American church,” Tony Kim, former pastor at Newsong Church in Irvine, Calif., told The Christian Post recently. Kim is the Communication Lead Associate for Slingshot Group. The Orange County-based organization specializes in church staffing and coaching pastors and leaders. “So everyone is open to it, but very few are willing to make a decision to step into that.”

Kim said the Internet has created a deeper transparency between the church and the community. Someone new to a community, looking for a church to attend, can simply go to a church’s website, take a look at the staff page, and make assumptions as to whether the church is representative or accepting of their ethnicity.

“I tell churches that it’s great if you want to hire a worship leader of a different ethnic background, but if you want to bring long-lasting systemic change then you have to have those ethnic minority leaders in the decision-making process, somewhere near the core,” Kim explained. “That’s where the rubber meets the road.”

Intentionally growing a multi-ethnic church is still a relatively new conversation, he said, but more and more churches are talking about it.

Kim, who is Korean, said that he still observes a lot of naivety among churchgoers in the U.S. when it comes to his culture and the Asian culture in general.

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Several years ago, in a predominately Caucasian church that he served as one of its pastoral leaders, he said he was the go-to person for any new Asian “guests,” such as a Chinese exchange student or a Japanese missionary. The assumption was that he could translate languages simply because he “looks the same.”

Kim said that even though Christians in America read the same Bible as other cultures they often do not realize how the learning process can be different.

“They don’t stop to realize how Christianity and the Gospel and the Church are absorbed. It’s much different than the majority Caucasian context,” he said.

“A lot of well-known leaders, no matter what profession, are successful because they have this ability to cross cultures. They know how to do that and that is trickling down to churches,” Kim said. “More churches are requesting someone who understands multiple cultures, and likes to lives in multiple cultures and likes to bridge those multiple cultures – they are not afraid to do that.”

Prior to helping Christian leaders connect with churches for ministry work of all types, Slingshot was focused primarily on getting worship leaders positions within a church. Kim said that it was a year ago that Slingshot “stepped into this whole multi-cultural conversation.”

“We all love the local church and we all recognize the fact that as wonderful and beautiful as the Church is there’s nothing more that affects the church culture and strength than the type of leaders and staff it has,” he said.

The big question, Kim explained, is should the Church be multi-cultural?

“It’s more than arguing about what is best for the culture or best for the Church, it really needs to be looked at through a theological lens – more of a biblical mandate versus a church growth strategy or what looks good on the Internet.”

Kim is part of the organizing team for a major multi-ethnic church conference hosted by Mosaix Global Network and scheduled for November. The first conference of this type was held three years ago and attended by 400 people. Organizers say Mosaix 2013 will be an even bigger event featuring 60 speakers.