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Unexpected reunion at Briarlake Church leads to ministry opportunities

Nihar Kolakalurinhar, a graduate student from India, and Mark Riggins met on a mission trip in Hyderabad, India only to unexpectedly meet again in Atlanta. (Index/Charles Jones)
DECATUR, Ga. — Standing 6 feet 5 inches tall, Mark Riggins stands out in a crowd and the choir loft of Briarlake Church, in Decatur. So, it may not be out of the ordinary when someone walks up and says, “We’ve met before.”
Beverly Skinner, right, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board’s collegiate ministry catalyst, poses with Georgia campus ministers at the 2024 Collegiate Summit held near Memphis, Tenn.
Georgia collegiate ministry leaders join others for largest-ever Summit Conference
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Twenty Georgia Baptist Collegiate Ministry campus ministers (full-time, part-time, and volunteer) joined more than 700 other BCM leaders from across the United States and Canada in early May for the 2024 Collegiate Summit held near Memphis, Tenn. This was the largest showing for the equipping event that is held every three years and is organized by the Baptist Collegiate Network.
The graduates of the first commencement program for the NOBTS Certificate Program, front row, pose with the NOBTS administrators and faculty, rear. (Index/J. Gerald Harris)
New Orleans Seminary's Church Training Institute holds inaugural commencement
DULUTH, Ga. — Cross Pointe Church in Duluth was the site of the first commencement for Georgia’s New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Church Training Institute. The ceremony was complete with all the dignity one might expect at such an auspicious event.
Chaplain William
A chaplain's story: The life of William E. “Billy” Dodson
WESTFIELD, Ind. — On February 18, 1966, under the heading, “Navy Seeks Ministers as Chaplains,” Baptist Press posted the following: “The Southern Baptist Chaplains Commission has put out a call for Baptist ministers ready for immediate commission and active duty in the United States Navy. The demand was brought on by a Navy adjustment of the number of Baptist chaplains and by the stepped-up manpower needs resulting from the war in Vietnam.”
Scott Cates records his podcast, Grounded. (Photo/Courtesy Scott Cates)
Scott Cates’ podcast is having a profound impact on multitudes of people
TIGER, Ga. — Scott Cates, a Georgia Baptist pastor, is touching thousands of lives from Tiger, a town that sits at the base of 2,856-foot Tiger Mountain, a prominent Blue Ridge Mountain peak in the far northeast corner of Georgia.
Hispanic student leaders and youth gather to pray on the National Day of Prayer, May 2, in Gainesville, Ga.
Hispanic pastors mobilize youth to pray on National Day of Prayer
GAINESVILLE, Ga. — On Thursday, May 2, hamlets, towns, and cities across America observed the National Day of Prayer in churches, civic centers, community complexes and public venues. In Gaineseville, a group of Hispanic youth pastors mobilized scores of second-generation Hispanic youths to pray for the United States.
Baptist Life

Joel Engle called to be senior pastor at Newnan’s First Baptist Church

The Engle family, from left, Elaine, Ethan, Valerie, and Joel pose at First Baptist Church of Newnan.
NEWNAN, Ga. — After almost three years of prayer, deliberation and a national quest, the Pastor Search Team of Newnan’s First Baptist Church recommended Joel Engle as their new senior pastor. The congregation’s response to the recommendation was overwhelmingly positive, and Engle’s first Sunday in the pulpit was May 5th. 
When I was younger, Memorial Day was the holiday that truly marked the beginning of summer. I was oblivious to those who decorated graves, never wondering how the cemeteries were suddenly covered with brightly colored flowers. Decades passed. Now I understand the import of the holiday.
What if? How many times have you lived in the “what if” world? I find myself there quite often. "What if" is a question that we ask ourselves where we imagine what “might” happen or what “might have” happened.
MOUNT VERNON, Ga. — Brewton-Parker College is pleased to announce the appointment of  Brandon Braddy as the new vice president of Advancement and Alumni Relations. With a wealth of experience from his previous roles in public service and the banking industry, Braddy is well-equipped to lead the college’s advancement efforts, focusing on community engagement, donor relations, and strategic growth.
The average church size is shrinking. Lifeway Research reported that in 2000, 45% of churches had fewer than 100 in weekly attendance but by 2021, that number had climbed to 65%. Is it time to panic? Should a shrinking church sound the alarm?
Georgia
Culix Wibonele poses for a portrait on Monday, April 29, 2024, in Lawrenceville, Ga. Wibonele is a certified nursing assistant working in long-term care. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Despite surging demand for long-term care, providers struggle to find workers

The hardest part of Culix Wibonele’s first job in long-term care was not getting injured.

Workers at Georgia school bus maker Blue Bird approve their first union contract

FORT VALLEY, Ga. (AP) — A year after they voted to unionize, workers at a Georgia school bus manufacturer have approved their first contract.

Growing publisher buying 10 newspapers in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A rapidly growing publisher is buying 10 newspapers in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi from a company owned by Alabama's public pension fund.

2 Georgia state House incumbents lose to challengers in primaries

ATLANTA (AP) — Two Georgia state House incumbents have lost to challengers, another incumbent could face a runoff, and some former lawmakers may be on their way back to the Georgia Capitol after party primaries this week.
Nation
Damage is seen at a truck stop the morning after a tornado rolled through, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Valley View, Texas. Powerful storms killed multiple people and left a wide trail of destruction Sunday across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after obliterating homes and destroying a truck stop where drivers took shelter during the latest deadly weather to strike the central U.S. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

At least 13 dead in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after severe weather roars across region

VALLEY VIEW, Texas (AP) — Powerful storms killed at least 13 people and left a wide trail of destruction Sunday across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas after obliterating homes and destroying a truck stop where dozens sought shelter in a restroom during the latest deadly weather to strike the central U.S.

What we know about the young missionaries and religious leader killed in Haiti

A family member of a U.S. missionary couple says the couple and a Haitian man who led a religious organization have been fatally shot by criminal gang members in Haiti’s capital. Davy Lloyd's …

Discerning beholders find beauty in cicadas

With rich reds, gentle greens and basic blacks, Nature's screaming, crawling artwork is the epitome of rare beauty — at least in the eyes of some beholders. To others, it may seem just creepy.

Louisiana Legislature approves bill classifying abortion pills as controlled dangerous substances

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Two abortion-inducing drugs could soon be reclassified as controlled and dangerous substances in Louisiana under a first-of-its-kind bill that received final legislative passage Thursday and is expected to be signed into law by the governor.
World
The leader of Inkatha Freedom Party, Velenkosi Hlabisa, waves to the crowd during an election rally in Richards Bay, near Durban, South Africa, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in anticipation of the 2024 general elections scheduled for May 29. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

South Africa's main opposition party rallies support as it concludes election campaign

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's main opposition party Democratic Alliance on Sunday made its final appeal to South Africans to help it unseat the ruling African National Congress (ANC) as it concluded its campaign ahead of elections this week.

Poor neighborhood in Peru's Amazon region hosts film festival celebrating tropical forests

BELÉN, Peru (AP) — In the heart of Peru’s Amazon region, a poor neighborhood put aside the trials and tribulations of everyday life and celebrated an international film festival with works from countries with tropical forests.

The death toll in Kharkiv attack rises to 14 as Zelenskyy warns of Russian troop movements

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Sunday that Russia is preparing to intensify its offensive along Ukraine’s northern border, as the death toll rose to 14 in an aerial bomb attack on a large construction supplies store in the city of Kharkiv.

Over 670 people died in a massive Papua New Guinea landslide, UN estimates, as survivors seek safety

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The International Organization for Migration on Sunday increased its estimate of the death toll from a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea to more than 670 as emergency responders and traumatized relatives gave up hope that any survivors will now be found.
Perspectives
 When the renowned evangelist D.L. Moody was asked to have a campaign in England, a skeptical pastor protested, “Why do we need this ‘Mr. Moody’? He’s uneducated, inexperienced, etc. Who does he think he is anyway? Does he think he has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?” A discerning minister stood up and responded, “No, but the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on Mr. Moody.”
Growing up, my family went to a lot of revival meetings. Not only did we attend the revivals at our home church, but we would also attend revivals at neighboring churches and camp meetings. At the time, those revivals typically lasted a week, and rarely would we miss any service.
When Jack Brown’s son Adam graduated from high school, the father decided to write down the most important things his son needed to know as he started college and stepped into life’s next chapter. ​This going away present contained 511 reminders about how to live a happy and rewarding life.
One of the distinctive characteristics of my home church was the clear invitations offered by my pastor each Sunday. Added to his encouragements for people to repent of their sins in order to follow Christ were the consistent appeals for baptism and church membership. Nearly every weekend, he also proposed the possibility that God was likely calling some to ministry as he admonished us to discern the Lord’s leading.
As many of you know, we are approaching the Georgia primary election on May 21. It is a time for Georgians to make their voices heard for those they support for the General Election coming up on Nov. 5, 2024. 
Business
FILE - Wind turbines are seen on April 16, 2019, south of Kennewick, Wash. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday, May 23, 2024, rejected a recommendation to cut a proposal for what would be the state's largest wind farm in half, giving new life to the $1.7 billion project. (Bob Brawdy/The Tri-City Herald via AP, File)

Massive wind farm proposal in Washington state gets new life from Gov. Jay Inslee

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday rejected a recommendation to cut a proposal for what would be the state's largest wind farm in half, giving new life to the $1.7 billion project.

Norfolk Southern will pay $15 million fine as part of federal settlement over Ohio derailment

The federal government agreed to a $15 million fine for Norfolk Southern over last year's disastrous derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, and the railroad promised to pay more than $500 million to complete the efforts to improve safety that it announced after the crash and address community health concerns.

Justice Department says illegal monopoly by Ticketmaster and Live Nation drives up prices for fans

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department filed a sweeping antitrust lawsuit against Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation Entertainment on Thursday, accusing them of running an illegal monopoly over live events in America — squelching competition and driving up prices for fans.

Judge signs off on $600 million Ohio train derailment settlement but residents still have questions

A federal judge has signed off on the $600 million class action settlement over last year's disastrous Norfolk Southern derailment in eastern Ohio, but many people who live near East Palestine are still wondering how much they will end up with out of the deal.

Average US vehicle age hits record 12.6 years as high prices force people to keep them longer

DETROIT (AP) — Cars, trucks and SUVs in the U.S. keep getting older, hitting a record average age of 12.6 years in 2024 as people hang on to their vehicles largely because new ones cost so much.
Sports
Josef Newgarden makes a pit stop during the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, May 26, 2024. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Newgarden goes back-to-back at Indy 500 to give Roger Penske record-extending 20th win

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Josef Newgarden put his cheating scandal behind him to become the first back-to-back winner of the Indianapolis 500 since Helio Castroneves 22 years ago and give Roger Penske a record-extending 20th win in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Acuña expects to go on injured list because of knee, gets hurt as Sale, Braves top Pirates 8-1

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. left the Braves’ 8-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first inning on Sunday after he injured his left knee in the first inning, and Atlanta won behind Chris Sale.

Mitch Keller keeps torrid May going by keeping Atlanta in check in Pittsburgh's 4-1 win over Braves

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mitch Keller pitched into the seventh inning, Nick Gonzales delivered an RBI double and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Atlanta Braves 4-1 on Saturday.

Jarred Kelenic homers, AJ Smith-Shawver works 4 1/3 strong innings as Braves top Cubs 3-0

CHICAGO (AP) — Jarred Kelenic hit a solo homer, rookie AJ Smith-Shawver worked 4 1/3 three-hit innings in his first start of the season and the Atlanta Braves topped the Chicago Cubs 3-0 on Thursday.