Lancaster - Christine Ann (Bigham) Arni peacefully entered the arms of her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, at noon on Monday, Nov. 1 at Fairfield Medical Center, less than a month short of her 56th birthday.

She was born to Homer and Sharon Bigham on Thanksgiving Day — Nov. 25, 1965 in Lancaster, Ohio and was raised as the oldest of two girls out in the country on the west side of Lancaster.

Chris graduated as Salutatorian from Amanda-Clearcreek High School in 1984 and from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois in 1988 with a B.S. in Nursing.

A few weeks later, she married her sweetheart, Mark Arni, on July 30, 1988 and they enjoyed over 33 years together. During those years, God gave them eight children: Sarah (Marc) Grossnickle, Faith (Phil) Roark, Nathan Arni, Rachel Arni, Drew Arni, Jon Arni, Isaiah Arni, and Lydia Arni. Chris' passion was to raise the children to be "oaks of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:3).

Chris was a strong, energetic woman who poured out her life for others and faced each challenge head on. Her life passion was loving the Lord Jesus Christ. Out of that passion came her ministry to her husband and eight children, to over 40 foster children (mostly 0-2 years old) and to global missions through her church. She participated on 15 mission trips.

As an R.N., she worked in the OB/GYN department of hospitals while Mark was a youth pastor and in seminary. Through the years, she blessed others with her nursing skills by doing well baby insurance visits as a home health nurse, teaching childbirth and CPR classes at Fairfield Medical Center, working at the Light House in Kansas City, Missouri (a Youth for Christ ministry to unwed mothers), and managing the Lancaster site of PDHC (Pregnancy Decision Health Center), also a ministry to unwed mothers.

Chris was a stalwart advocate for adoption who loved to stay busy. She enjoyed crocheting, reading, pets, baking, canning, crafting, and posting pictures to her many friends on Facebook.

Her death is a tremendous loss to her family and friends but a gain to heaven. While she will be greatly missed, her legacy will live on for many generations to come.

She is survived by her mother, Sharon Bigham; her beloved husband and eight precious children; her sister, Kathryn Bigham; and three nephews, Anthony Smith, Steven Smith, and Tommy Bigham.

Visitation hours will be at Crossroads Church (5679 Tarlton Road, Circleville, Ohio, 43113) on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.

Visitation will also be on Friday, Nov. 5 at 10-11 a.m., followed by her celebration of life at 11 a.m.-noon.

A graveside service will follow at Amanda Township Cemetery on Amanda Northern Road in Amanda, Ohio, 43102.

All are invited to return to the church for a fellowship dinner.

In her honor, contributions may be made to Petros Zoe, a ministry to mothers and children in Uganda, Africa.

Donations may be made online at

Checks may also be made to the Petros Zoe Initiative and mailed to 1725 Keysville Bruceville Road, Keymar, Maryland 21757.

She also loved El Sembrador in Honduras, a school for low-income boys.

Online donations may also be made to or by sending a check to World Gospel Mission (with El Sembrador in the memo line) at P.O. Box 948, Marion, Indiana 46952-0948.

Online condolences can be made to

Christine Arni

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