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Johnson Ferry’s Clay Smith on cover of Preaching Magazine

MARIETTA, Ga. – Replacing a legendary pastor in one of Georgia’s premier churches is no easy task.
In their own words: Justices raise questions about abortion's legal framework
WASHINGTON (AP) — The fate of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion throughout the United States and its 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe, probably won’t be known until late June.
Former gang member turned pastor calls for greater sense of loyalty among Baptists
ANAHEIM, Calif. (BP) – Victor Chayasirisobhon, newly elected president of the California Southern Baptist Convention, believes he can leverage his background to help unify the diverse convention.
COVID variant spreads to more countries as world on alert
LONDON (AP) — The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread.
SBC churches becoming prolific reproducers of new congregations
LAS VEGAS (BP) – Churches within the Southern Baptist Convention have become prolific reproducers of new congregations, Outreach Magazine reported in its September/October issue.
World races to contain new COVID threat, the omicron variant
BRUSSELS (AP) — Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the world raced Friday to contain a new coronavirus variant potentially more dangerous than the one that has fueled relentless waves of infection on nearly every continent.
Baptist Life

Mississippi church provides community Thanksgiving dinner, with a side of sweet faith

PONTOTOC, Miss. (BP) – Going back at least a quarter-century, First Baptist Church has called on its people to deliver a Thanksgiving meal for those unable to be with family or cook one on their own. From Day 1, however, church members have been required to contribute a staple from their own kitchen.
ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Vance Pitman, who planted Hope Church Las Vegas in 2000 and pastored there 21 years, will lead the North American Mission Board’s church planting efforts as the new president of Send Network. Pitman and NAMB president Kevin Ezell shared the announcement in a video released Friday.
NASHVILLE (BP) – Caring for orphans and vulnerable children in the United States and around the world calls for multi-faceted ministry by followers of Jesus and helpful public policies amid the dramatic decline in adoptions by Americans, says a leading child-welfare advocate.
DULUTH, Ga. (BP) – As the nation’s oldest continuously publishing religious newspaper, The Christian Index has provided news for and about Georgia Baptists since 1822. But it’s always been exclusively in English until now.
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (BP) – A Southern Baptist pastor recently joined other area clergy representing “the rich diversity in our community” and calling for peace in a video as the trial over the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery approaches a verdict.
Georgia
Georgia nuclear reactors expected to see more delays, extra $1B in costs

ATLANTA (AP) — Monitors say even the most recent pushback of completion dates for two new nuclear reactors in Georgia isn't enough to account for all the delays and increased costs they see coming.

Amazon says it plans solar farm in eastern Georgia WAYNESBORO, Ga. (AP) — Amazon announced recently that it plans to build a solar farm in east Georgia, its first in the state.
Alabama inmate who survived execution bid buried with family BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama inmate who survived an execution attempt and died years later of natural causes was laid to rest in a grave dug by family and friends, his lawyer said.
4 killed, including officer and suspect, in Georgia shooting ATLANTA (AP) — Four people are dead, including a police officer, after officers responded to a domestic disturbance call Tuesday in Clayton County, just south of Atlanta, state investigators said.
Nation
Bond set at combined $1M after Michigan parents enter pleas

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A judge imposed a combined $1 million bond Saturday for the parents of the Michigan teen charged with killing four students at Oxford High School, hours after police said they were caught hiding in a Detroit commercial building.

Parents charged along with teenage son accused of killing four students in Michigan PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — A prosecutor filed involuntary manslaughter charges Friday against the parents of a teen accused of killing four students at a Michigan high school, saying they failed to intervene on the day of the tragedy despite being confronted with a drawing and chilling message — “blood everywhere” — that was found at the boy’s desk.
Omicron coronavirus variant found in multiple US states NEW YORK (AP) — The omicron variant of COVID-19, which had been undetected in the U.S. before the middle of this week, had been discovered in at least five states by the end of Thursday, showing yet again how mutations of the virus can circumnavigate the globe with speed and ease.
US panel backs first-of-a-kind COVID-19 pill from Merck WASHINGTON (AP) — A panel of U.S. health advisers on Tuesday narrowly backed a closely watched COVID-19 pill from Merck, setting the stage for a likely authorization of the first drug that Americans could take at home to treat the coronavirus.
World
Smoldering debris, mud hinder Indonesia volcano rescue

LUMAJANG, Indonesia (AP) — Rescuers were searching for survivors Sunday on the slopes of the highest volcano on Indonesia’s island of Java after it was rocked by an eruption that killed at least …

Police shoot suspected Palestinian attacker in Jerusalem JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police shot a suspected Palestinian attacker after an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man was stabbed and wounded Saturday near Damascus Gate just outside Jerusalem's Old City, a crowded area that is often the scene of demonstrations and clashes.
Pakistan police: mob kills Sri Lankan over alleged blasphemy LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) — A Muslim mob attacked a sports equipment factory in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province on Friday, killing a Sri Lankan man over allegations of blasphemy, police said.
Ukraine says Russia amassed over 94,000 troops at border KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's defense minister estimated Friday that Russia has amassed more than 94,000 troops near their borders and said there is a probability of a “large-scale escalation” in late January.
Perspectives
The primary responsibility of every newspaper is to cover its community. The Atlanta Journal Constitution covers Atlanta. The Macon Telegraph covers Macon. The Augusta Chronicle covers Augusta. And The Christian Index, of course, covers the Georgia Baptist community, which is arguably the largest community in the state with some 1.4 million people.
I spent most of Wednesday in the kitchen. It was the day before Thanksgiving and there were eggs to devil, sweet potatoes to mash, pies, and banana pudding to be made.
I love the Blondie comic strip. In one December comic several years ago, the pesty neighborhood boy Elmo tells Dagwood, “I tried to set up a skype video chat with Santa, Mr. B, but all I got back was an email form letter.”
EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) – One snowy day in the 1940s, Robert White was working as a bellhop in the Grand Hotel in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, when a stranger showed up.
Christian florist Barronelle Stutzman, who fought an extended and high-profile legal battle over religious liberty, has settled her case and is moving into retirement. What follows is a letter she shared through Alliance Defending Freedom, the organization that represented her in court.
Business
US drugstores squeezed by vaccine demand, staff shortages

A rush of vaccine-seeking customers and staff shortages are squeezing drugstores around the U.S., leading to frazzled workers and temporary pharmacy closures. Drugstores are normally busy this …

Holiday shoppers navigate shortages with mixed results NEW YORK (AP) — Like many shoppers, Kathleen Webber understands the struggles of getting the right gifts for her three children this holiday shopping season amid widespread shortages. She …
Christmas tree buyers face reduced supplies, higher prices ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Even Christmas trees aren’t immune to the pandemic-induced shortages and inflation plaguing the economy. Extreme weather and supply chain disruptions have reduced …
Kyrgyzstan's parliamentary vote to boost president's clout MOSCOW (AP) — Voters in Kyrgyzstan cast ballots in a parliamentary election Sunday that comes just over a year after a forceful change of government in the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation. …
Honduran election could oust long-ruling National party TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Hondurans will choose a successor to deeply unpopular President Juan Orlando Hernández on Sunday in elections that could oust his National Party after 12 years in …
Sports
Ball St, Georgia St to play on Christmas in Camellia Bowl

Ball State (6-6, Mid-American) vs. Georgia State (7-5, Sun Belt), Dec. 25, 2:30 p.m. ET LOCATION: Montgomery, Alabama TOP PLAYERS Ball State: WR-KR Justin Hall, 61 catches, 613 yards …

Football Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey dies as age 77 ATLANTA (AP) — Pro Football Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey, one of the NFL's most fearsome pass rushers during the 1970s with the Atlanta Falcons but long overlooked on mostly losing teams, has died at the age of 77.
Georgia loses heartbreaker to Alabama in SEC championship ATLANTA (AP) — Bryce Young stunningly carved up the nation's top-rated defense, giving Nick Saban and Alabama a shot at another national championship.
Georgia's Smart dismisses 6-game losing streak against Tide ATLANTA (AP) — Even with Georgia undefeated in 2021 and unanimous No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 for the eighth consecutive week, Nick Saban and Alabama still cast a shadow over the Bulldogs' season.