Agape Attendance Building up Again

By Mark Agee
August 28, 2006

Arlington - Renee Hornbuckle told the congregation Sunday that a series of guest speakers would help Agape Christian Fellowship through "this time of transition."

She gestured to a group of leaders from 30,000-member Potter's House church in Dallas and thanked them for coming.

"It's a pleasure and an honor to have people stand with us," Hornbuckle said.

About 400 people were at the Sunday service -- the first since the southeast Arlington church's founder and Renee's husband, Terry Hornbuckle, 44, was convicted of three counts of sexual assault last week. He was accused of raping three former congregants; his lawyers argued that the sex was consensual. A jury is deciding his sentence, which could range from probation to 20 years in prison.

The mood was joyous as the choir sang about how the church would march on.

"We choose to rejoice," Renee Hornbuckle said. "People keep asking me when I'm going to rest. But this is my lifeline. I don't know how people can stay away from church. I don't know how people can start tripping over trifling issues when they know that God is in control."

Charles Richardson, chairman of the church's board, said that attendance has been growing each Sunday. The church once had 2,500 members but dropped to about 300 before the trial. "People are coming to serve God," he said.

Guest speaker was Jimmie Thomas, an associate pastor from Potter's House. "God, in his omniscience, knows who to expose to different amounts of hardship," Thomas said. "I want to announce that I, personally, love Bishop Hornbuckle. I am not ashamed of him, and I love him."

Mark Agee, 817- 685-3821


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