Child abuse prevention among Southern Baptist aims
NASHVILLE (BP) — Southern Baptists were represented among many groups planting pinwheels in gardens across America this spring to spotlight child abuse prevention and spread awareness of the 700,000 children in the U.S. who are maltreated each year.
Accepted as symbolic of the innocent whimsy of childhood, more than 5 million pinwheels have been distributed nationally during the annual April Pinwheels for Prevention emphasis since Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA) adopted the symbol in 2008.
The pinwheel garden at Calvary Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in Chapmanville, WV, marked the church’s fourth straight year of participation, Pastor John Freeman told Baptist Press.
“We just have a great burden for kids, children at our church, and especially those who go through the awful experience of being abused,” Freeman said of the church that draws about 100 Sunday worshippers. “It just seems like each year it grows and grows.” Following a special service April 3, the church planted perhaps 200 pinwheels on its grounds and in flower pots inside the church, Freeman estimated.
Prayer is always a focus of the event, Freeman said.
“We certainly make a point of having a time of prayer in church when we have the Pinwheel Sunday,” he said, “to pray for just children everywhere, especially in our county. There just seems to be a lot of abuse in our county here in West Virginia.”
Full story available at Baptist Press.
Missing NOBTS student found in Alabama hospital
NEW ORLEANS (BP) — New Orleans Seminary student John Russell, missing since April 22, was eventually found in an Alabama hospital, the seminary’s communications office reported May 5. He had been in the ICU at D.W. McMillan Hospital in Brewton, AL, since April 22 following an accident.
Hospital officials were unable to identify Russell until May 4. After identifying Russell, who was still in ICU, Alabama authorities notified NOBTS that he had been found. Russell’s mother was been notified and traveled to be with him during his recovery.
NOBTS President Chuck Kelley asked for continued prayer for Russell as he recovers.
“We rejoice that our student John Russell has been found and is receiving the medical care he needs,” Kelley said. “Please join us in praying for his full recovery.”
CP 6.45 percent ahead of budget projection
NASHVILLE (BP) — Year-to-date contributions to Southern Baptist Convention national and international missions and ministries received by the SBC Executive Committee are 6.45 percent above the year-to-date budgeted projection, and 4.15 percent above contributions received during the same time frame last year, according to a news release from SBC Executive Committee President and Chief Executive Officer Frank S. Page. The total includes receipts from state conventions and fellowships, churches and individuals for distribution according to the 2015-16 SBC Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.
As of April 30, gifts received by the Executive Committee for distribution through the Cooperative Program Allocation Budget through the first seven months of the SBC’s fiscal year totaled $115,806,604.28. The total is $7,014,937.61 above the $108,791,666.67 year-to-date budgeted to support Southern Baptist Convention ministries globally and across North America and $4,618,397.25 above the $111,188,207.03 received through the end of April 2015.
Designated giving of $143,831,820.80 for the same year-to-date period is 8.68 percent, or $11,489,149.53, above gifts of $132,342,671.27 received at this point last year. This total includes only those gifts received and distributed by the Executive Committee and does not reflect designated gifts contributed directly to SBC entities.
Sexual addiction tragedy prompts seminary conference
NEW ORLEANS (BP) —The suicide death of a beloved colleague after a sexual addiction came to light drove the New Orleans Seminary community to their knees in prayer last August. They rose determined to help others caught in pornography and sexual addiction.
“Recalibrate,” a campus-wide conference with Greg Miller of Faithful & True, a ministry to those impacted by sexual addictions, came together as a response to the death of John Gibson, longtime professor at NOBTS’ Leavell College on the opening day of classes on Aug. 24, 2015.
Miller, speaking to a full audience in Leavell Chapel, said 50 percent of Christian men and 20 percent of Christian women self-report they are “addicted to porn.” Self-reported statistics, he added, typically skew low. By age 18, “virtually all” teens have been exposed to porn, either intentionally or unintentionally, Miller said.
Shame leads to secrecy which then fuels the addiction, Miller said. “Your first addiction is isolation,” he noted. “Secrecy is necessary for it to grow.”
Confidential counseling has been made available to the NOBTS community through the Leeke Magee Christian Counseling Center on campus with credentialed faculty members as well as master’s and doctoral students under the direction of state-licensed supervisors.
IMB’s Clyde Meador to retire after 41 years
RICHMOND, VA (BP) — Clyde Meador, who retires May 13 from the International Mission Board, is known – along with his wife Elaine – among missionary teams for steady, unflappable leadership. Yet 41 years of service, with Clyde most recently serving as executive advisor to IMB’s president, appear to testify to the Meadors’ simple steps of obedience even more than to their strategic insights and leadership.
“When you look at Clyde’s and Elaine’s lives, it’s step-by-step obedience in the same direction towards the Father’s will for their lives,” said John Brady, vice president for Global Engagement.
Clyde has worked closely with three IMB presidents as a top advisor and vice president, and even as the mission organization’s interim president from August 2010 to March 2011.
“When I first stepped into my role as president of the IMB, the first thing I did was ask Clyde to continue in leadership, for I could not imagine taking this responsibility without his leadership alongside me,” David Platt said.
Platt said he, like others within IMB, valued Clyde’s steady nature and wisdom. “His steadiness has been an anchor for the IMB during the ups and downs, trials and challenges that the IMB has experienced over the previous four decades.”
The Meadors began their careers with IMB in 1974 when they were appointed as missionaries to Indonesia. For the next 14 years, the couple served in a range of roles, with Clyde starting as a church planter in Medan, then training pastors and lay leaders in Semarang and later Purwokerto. In 1987 he became the mission administrator in Jakarta.
In 1989 Clyde took on leadership of the Southern Asia and Pacific Itinerant Mission. He and Elaine moved from leading the itinerant teams in the early ’90s to leading missionary teams across the South Asia, Pacific and Oceania regions as an associate director and then an area director. In 2001 IMB President Jerry Rankin asked the Meadors to move to Richmond and join the office of the president as part of Rankin’s leadership team. Full story available here.
Missionary slain in Jamaica was Southern Baptist
KINGSTON, Jamaica (BP) — An Iowa Southern Baptist was among two American missionaries killed in Jamaica April 30 in what appeared to be a violent attack.
Randy Hentzel, 48, a member of First Family Church in Ankeny, Iowa, was serving with the Pennsylvania-based Teams for Medical Missions when he was slain in a remote, rural area of Jamaica along with fellow missionary Harold Nichols, 53. The two men went for a motorcycle ride at approximately 8 a.m., and Hentzel’s body was found hours later beside a motorcycle in some bushes, according to a news release from the Jamaica Constabulary Force. Nichols’ body was found the next day in a separate area.
St. Mary parish, where the deaths occurred, is a region known for violence, according to media reports.
Nichols was a member of East Randolph (NY) United Methodist Church, Teams for Medical Missions told Baptist Press.