After months of praying, searching, and negotiating, Akili Christian High School now has a building of its own, with plans to start classes there this upcoming July.


The new space is in Franklin University’s Phillips Hall downtown. Akili Principal Ari Adkins says the location is ideal for many reasons, and the building itself is already equipped for classes--desks, chairs, and IT equipment--since it used to serve as Metro High School’s space.

Akili has been holding classes in Harambee Christian School’s building. Ari says having its own space allows Akili to grow and establish an identity for its students. “I think Phillips Hall will help both new and returning Akili students feel like ‘This is OUR school, and we all play a part in building our new community in this building.’”

Akili’s staff searched for months for a suitable location. Ari says they toured many buildings but all of them needed major renovations, were too far away, or were too expensive. “No building matched everything we needed, and it felt like looking for a needle in a haystack in a bigger haystack.”

Ari says she and a few others committed to praying that Akili would find a building before January 1st of this year and “we toured Phillips Hall on December 31st. God really stretched our faith again!”

Workshop graphic

By John Montgomery, Dwell Grief Ministry

On Wednesday, April 28th at 7:00 pm the Dwell Grief Ministry will offer a 90-minute Zoom workshop called Grief & Identity. This workshop is for those who have progressed through the initial grief following the death of a loved one and who are now searching to answer the question: “Who am I now?

When we lose a loved one, we lose a part of who we are, our lives change. Roles as mother, father, daughter, son, and/or friend are often replaced with new roles such as being both mother and father to a child after the loss of a spouse. Or, being a caretaker of an aging parent after the death of the other parent. 

We also lose the roles the deceased person played in our life. We may lose the “knowledgeable parent” who answered questions regarding child-raising or home repair, or the “compassionate grandmother” who comforted us in times of sorrow, or the “organized spouse” who remembered appointments, birthdays, and anniversaries, or the “intuitive friend” who understood us more than others. 

And often, we see ourselves in a different light. The loss of a loved one can reveal in us a strength, a weakness, and/or an independence we may not have known we had. It can result in discovery of the things we can or cannot do, the things we can endure, and the things we know are true.

Such changes of identity and roles can complicate and add to the confusion of our grieving process. Questions of “who am I now” and “where do I go from here” are all too common. 

The Grief & Identify workshop will offer answers to these and other questions about our identity and our search to find a “new normal” after the death of a loved one. The workshop will remind us that our identity in Christ will never change. In the words of Paul David Tripp: “The experience of grief doesn’t define me. Christ defines me.” But how do we put that into practice?

The workshop will be on Zoom. There is no cost. Here’s what to expect:

vision clinic visit

After being on hold for a year, Dwell’s medical and vision clinics are starting back up on May 3rd. They will return to their twice-monthly schedule—the first and third Mondays of the month. The clinic treats people who don’t have private insurance and aren’t eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, and are below the 200% poverty level.

Clinic Director Margo Shaw says, for a number of reasons, COVID made it impractical to keep the clinics open, including the fact that some volunteers are older. But with many volunteers now vaccinated and the virus more understood, she says they have a much safer situation and can resume.

Margo says they’re looking forward to getting back to treating people, addressing their medical concerns, but also offering them spiritual support. “Those of us who have served here a long time really enjoy it! It just makes sense to have this kind of help for our community. And our clients are so thankful for the excellent care they receive.”

As part of their visit to the clinics, people have a chance to meet with volunteers who will talk with them about their spiritual needs and pray with them. Margo says these volunteers talk them through a helpful spiritual inventory and walk through what the Bible teaches about salvation. “It’s a really great chance to share such beautiful truths. Many patients say they are Christians and after they hear what the Bible says they claim, ‘Wow! I never knew that.’”

Each spring the Dwell High School Ministry welcomes 8th graders into high school home churches. Normally they get to sample different home churches to find the one that's the right fit for them, but with COVID restrictions still in place, Dwell High School Administrator Brian Adams says they're doing things differently, assigning students to a home church that will likely be a good fit. Brian shares more with us more about the plan:

High school group

How is this working this year? 

This year we are encouraging students to join their assigned home church. In a normal year, students would check out several groups and schedule several hang-outs with students and leaders from various groups over the course of April and May--lots of exposure to others! Due to the pandemic, we encourage incoming freshmen to join their assigned group. 

However, not every assignment is perfect. We want every student to genuinely give their assigned home church a shot. If they don't like it, they can contact (Middle School Ministry Director) Quest Shannan and me and we will discuss the next steps. 

What are the challenges?

It's hard to present the full picture of what God is doing in our ministry when we're so limited relationally due to COVID. Normally, students would walk into a room full of people and see everyone smiling, laughing, hugging, having fun--the love of the Body of Christ on full display. Now, things are different. We can still show that love, it just looks different these days due to restraints like mask-wearing and social distancing. 

How do you see God working here? What excites you about what you see?

From the Dwell Missions Staff

Fall Like Rain, a novel by Nell Corbly, is based on a true story of life in Southeast Asia. This intimate look at the realities of Southeast Asia is written by a Dwell missionary under a pseudonym to protect the identity of those who contributed to the book.

Fall Like Rain

Fall Like Rain follows the story of master’s student Sophy Seng, looking for a good resume builder, so she takes an internship in her parents' birth country of Cambodia in Southeast Asia. As she assimilates to this exotic land and its people, she's confronted with the true story of a young Cambodian girl. It's a story she cannot ignore; a story that changes her way of thinking: a story of one young woman's journey from fear to freedom.

Born in the early 1980s to survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide, Kunthea can't figure out exactly what happened and why no one will talk about it. Surrounded by a family still shell-shocked by the horror, she's determined to make sense of life, all while struggling to survive. When Sophy discovers Kunthea's lost diary, the puzzle of the Cambodian girl's life comes together piece by piece, drawing Sophy deeper into her world. Confronted with questions she'd never considered asking, Sophy gets much more than she'd bargained for in this six-month internship. Fall Like Rain is a revealing of the dark realities of poverty; of belief systems rooted in lies, and the ultimate power of truth to stamp out the darkness.

Dwell leaders recommend the book:

Calumet gift bags

The gift bags were delightful! So kind of all of you to remember us.”

“Thank you for the thoughtful gift bags. It’s been a sad time for many of us but you and your students brightened our day. I am also so happy that you are teaching your students generosity and kindness.”

“It’s nice to know that people are thinking of us!”

“You obviously put a great deal of thought and effort into choosing fun and useful gifts.  We had a great time unpacking the bags. Your thoughtfulness and generosity really touched us.”

This month middle-school students at Calumet Christian School put together over 100 gift bags for senior citizens served by an organization called Village at the Ville, part of Clintonville Resource Center (CRC). The bags included things like encouraging notes, cookies, tea, notepads, and artwork created by the students. Village at the Ville distributed the bags to older folks who have been isolated during the COVID restrictions.

Calumet teacher Cindy Botti organized the effort and says, in response, they received an out-pouring of heartfelt thank you notes from both the gift bag recipients and the distributing organization--a sampling of them is above.

William Needleman with Village at the Ville says it was, by far, the largest number of gifts ever collected for Village members. “We are in awe of your students and their families-their tremendous generosity and the thoughtfulness they put into creating the gift bags! Our members have been emailing us nonstop, expressing how much they love their gifts (especially students' thoughtful notes and lovely artwork) and asking how to thank you all.”

Dwell FCPO

With the help and support of Dwell leadership, some members of Dwell have started a local chapter of the national group, Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers (FCPO). Through the group members of law enforcement enjoy regular time together, encouraging each other to see a relationship with Christ as the key to dealing with the stresses they experience through their jobs.

Dwell member Del Allen is retired from the Columbus Police Department and is the chairman of the group. He says they welcome any officer, regardless of background or religious experience, seeking to build friendships and find ways to serve other officers as well as the community. He says they’re committed to sharing the hope of eternal life, lifting one another up, and learning to be imitators of Christ

Dwell elder Brian Runk helped organize this local chapter, and says it responds to critical needs for those in law enforcement. “Police officers have one of the most difficult jobs that's incredibly taxing. The strain on marriage and even mental health can often be quite serious, and they need all the support they can get. But much as they need that support, many officers lack opportunities to find involvement in church because of their difficult schedules.”

Brian says the officers involved in the group hope to give fellow officers hope and stability that only God can provide. “Helping officers know Jesus Christ gives them the ultimate security they need and an even stronger foundation for serving others and being peacemakers.”

If you know someone in law enforcement, Brian encourages you to let them know about this local FCPO group. "Don’t hesitate to reach out to us--If they’re looking to connect socially and spiritually in a meaningful platform this may be it!. Pray that God will lead us to good works that bring Him glory.”

This spring Dwell is offering a new 5-week class called Abraham: The Man of Faith, taught by Nick Hetrick. Nick shares with us about his burden for the class, which starts March 31st:

Abraham and Isaac

What is the class about?

We will study Abraham's biography through the lens of the New Testament's characterization of him as "the father of all who believe" (Romans 4:16). We will try to get a clear sense of what it meant for him to live by faith in God's promises. We'll also situate Abraham's life in its historical context and address some challenges to the historicity of the Genesis account (mostly in the first week of the class).

What prompted you to pursue this topic?

I was thinking about the way Abraham is held up as a model in the New Testament and thought, "It must be pretty important to understand what Abraham's faith is like." As I started reading his story in Genesis, I realized this would make for an interesting, rewarding class.

What made Abraham's faith so great?

Epic hammock

With COVID cases decreasing and a plan for safety measures, Dwell is moving forward with plans for Epic and Blowout Camp this summer. Epic, for high-school students, is scheduled for July 4th-10th, and Blowout Camp, for middle-schoolers, is scheduled for July 4th-9th.

Both camps have a safety plan in place, and offer most activities outdoors. Students will be required to take a COVID test, showing a negative result, just before camp. Masks will be required inside, teachings will be done with social distancing, and there will be daily temperature checks. If possible, students are asked to quarantine before camp.

Dwell Middle School Ministry Director Quest Shannon says Blowout Camp is a great week for students to build and deepen their relationships in their groups and with God. And he says the fun they have during the week serves an important purpose. "Often students believe the lie that following God is boring and lame. This camp goes a long way to dispelling that notion.

Epic Director Brian Adams says Epic has tremendous value to students at all stages of their walk with God. “They get abundant opportunities to practice the “one another” commands. If anyone has spent extensive time living with other Christians, you know the profound effect it can have on your own desire to be spiritual - to read the Bible, pray and serve others. Getting a full week of that at Epic is truly invigorating for our students, and that excitement often translates home into an energized walk with God.”

Dennis Genesis books

Dwell co-founder and teacher Dennis McCallum is out with a new 2-volume book series on the book of Genesis. Lessons from Genesis will guide you through this crucial book of the Bible, with helpful insights into its meaning and application.

You can buy Volume 1 now at the Dwell Bookstore, with a Kindle version of Volume 1 and 2 available on Amazon. Dennis shares with us about this new book series:

Why Genesis?

Well, I finished writing a book on parenting, and sat back asking God what He would have me do next. I have time to write, especially with COVID going on. Genesis came to mind. I realized I’ve studied this book probably more than any other book in the Bible. I’ve probably taught through Genesis ten times or more, doing fresh research each time. And that’s after doing a number of projects on the book when in seminary. Also, I feel like we have a unique take on key parts of this book. So, why not get it down in writing?

Tell us more about this unique take on Genesis

First of all, our elders and class teachers have really done the study when it comes to creation. We take a line not found in many commentaries—instead of advocating for the view we hold, we focus on determining the outer boundaries of what is permissible biblically and scientifically. Then we leave it there, allowing for several biblical interpretations that accord with what we know from science. At the same time, I argue that several views can be ruled out. I also got into the “argument from soul.”

What is that?