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ATLANTA (AP) — Rosalynn Carter was remembered Tuesday as a former U.S. first lady who leveraged her fierce intellect and political power to put her deep Christian faith into action by always helping others, especially those who needed it most. A gathering of first ladies and presidents — including her 99-year-old husband Jimmy Carter — joined other political figures in tribute. But a parade of speakers said her global stature wasn’t what defined her.

PLAINS, Ga. — The chefs who prepared meals for hundreds of Secret Service agents, Georgia Highway Patrol troopers, National Guard troops, and others providing security during three days of memorials for former first lady Rosalynn Carter have vast experience feeding huge crowds, usually in disaster zones. In their trademark yellow shirts and caps, Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers will spend the next three days in the mobile kitchens where they will prepare tasty cuisine served at no charge.

AMERICUS, Ga. (AP) — Hundreds turned out to salute Rosalynn Carter on Monday with the former U.S. first lady and global humanitarian's final journey from her rural hometown to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta as her family began three days of memorials following her death at age 96.

Renowned for its stunning biodiversity, the Amazon rainforest region is also home to a vast array of people and cultures. “People usually think that the environment doesn’t contain and include people, but it does,” said soil scientist Judson Ferreira Valentim, who lives in Brazil’s Acre state. “There are many different Amazonias and many different Amazonians.”

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has provided more than 85 ultrasound machines to pregnancy resource centers since 2004 through what the organization calls the Psalm 139 project. That includes 12 machines, which cost, with training included, about $40,000, so far in 2023.

ROME, Ga. — Hall of Fame College Football Coach Mark Richt will be the featured speaker at Shorter University’s 2023 President’s Gala on December 7. Richt, a committed Christian, philanthropist and author, served as the head football coach for the University of Georgia and the University of Miami for 18 seasons.

DALTON, Ga. — Boxes of Kleenex are always at the ready in the sanctuary of McFarland Hill Baptist Church. They’re for wiping tears of joy among a growing congregation that nearly ceased to exist just more than a decade ago. The 83-year-old church that sprouted from an old-fashion brush arbor service had fallen into a funk, and worshippers were leaving in mass. By 2011, the congregation had dwindled to about 35 regular attendees, and they were shouldering some $330,000 in church debt. They had cut off electricity to the gym and canceled the insurance to save money. They didn’t see a path forward. They were considering shuttering the church permanently.

PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — Rosalynn Carter was never a lawyer. But the former first lady used her powerful posts to address injustices imposed as part of the racist Jim Crow system that prevailed in Georgia courts as her husband climbed the political ladder. The most personal of those cases for Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter involved Mary Prince Fitzpatrick, who met the Carters in Georgia's Governor's Mansion and went to Washington as White House nanny to their daughter, Amy, with a felony murder conviction still on her record and the president of the United States as her parole officer.

PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — Linda Campbell decorated the Lions Club Christmas tree in her small hometown just as she would any other Thanksgiving week, but this was no ordinary Monday in late November. All around Plains, neighbors mourned the death of their matriarch, former U.S. first lady Rosalynn Carter, while worrying about their patriarch, former President Jimmy Carter.

PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — The Washington chattering class, often unsure what to make of outsiders, dubbed Rosalynn Carter the “Steel Magnolia” when she arrived as first lady. A devout Baptist and mother of four, she was diminutive and outwardly shy, with a soft smile and softer Southern accent. That was the “magnolia.” She also was a force behind Jimmy Carter’s rise from peanut farmer to winner of the 1976 presidential election. That was the “steel.”

ATLANTA (AP) — Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, the closest adviser to Jimmy Carter during his one term as U.S. president and their four decades thereafter as global humanitarians, has died at the age of 96. The Carter Center said she died Sunday after living with dementia and suffering many months of declining health. The statement said she “died peacefully, with family by her side" at 2:10 p.m. at her rural Georgia home of Plains. “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” the former president said in the statement. “She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”

Former President George W. Bush called Carter a woman of dignity and strength. “There was no greater advocate of President Carter, and their partnership set a wonderful example of loyalty and fidelity. She leaves behind an important legacy in her work to destigmatize mental health. We join our fellow citizens in sending our condolences to President Carter and their family,” Bush said in a statement with former first lady Laura Bush.

CORDOVA, Tenn. — Former Southern Baptist Convention president and Tennessee Baptist pastor Steve Gaines announced to his congregation at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova on Sunday that he has been diagnosed with kidney cancer. Gaines has served as pastor of the Memphis-area church since 2005. Gaines said that he has “a great team of doctors in Memphis who are treating me.” He added that he plans to go to M.D. Anderson in Houston to consult with their physicians.

SNELLVILLE, Ga. — The Georgia Baptist Convention annual meeting added a new feature to the programming at the recent gathering at Snellville’s Church on Main. Six different forums provided helpful information on a stage adjacent to the display area. The "second stage" panels proved to be so popular, the mission board will continue the practice next year.

THOMSON, Ga. — Some have been miserable for days because of aching teeth. Others have cavities in need of immediate attention. But Ron Belcher is convinced the people gathered for appointments at a mobile dental clinic parked outside Washington Heights Baptist Church have an even greater need, a spiritual need. So the deacon tells them about Jesus as they wait their turns with one of the volunteer dentists who help to care for Georgia’s 1.3 million uninsured residents.

ROCK SPRINGS, Ga. – Confetti is no longer limited to sports championships, weddings and New Year's Eve celebrations. Peavine Baptist Church in Rock Springs recently celebrated the 300th baptism of the year by launching a deluge of confetti in the sanctuary. Joel Southerland, lead pastor at Peavine, has a history of emphasizing the absolute importance of reaching the lost. He has been a successful pastor and has led evangelistic initiatives for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board and the North American Mission Board.

SNELLVILLE, Ga. — Fayetteville pastor Josh Saefkow will serve a second one-year term as president of the Georgia Baptist Convention, the state’s largest religious group with some 1.4 million members. Saefkow, with his winsome personality and unwavering work ethic that had him crisscrossing the state for preaching engagements and meetings throughout his first term, had no opposition and was elected by acclamation.

SNELLVILLE, Ga. – Georgia Baptists are projected to give more than $60 million through the Cooperative Program and a series of special offerings to cover the cost of sharing the gospel throughout the state, across the nation and around the world. That total represents a projected 4.2% increase in the Cooperative Program budget, a needed shot in the arm for what been described as the greatest evangelistic initiative of the modern church age.

SNELLVILLE, Ga. — Georgia Baptists have given an additional $1.7 million to the International Mission Board to support missionaries serving around the world. Georgia Baptist Mission Board Executive Director W. Thomas Hammond, accompanied by Finance Committee Chairman Steve Browning, Executive Committee Vice Chairman Stephen Fountain, Administration Committee Chairman Tim Oliver presented the check to IMB President Paul Chitwood at the Church on Main in Snellville.

SNELLVILLE, Ga. – Organizations that receive funding from the Georgia Baptist Health Care Ministry Foundation have reported 1,585 salvation decisions so far this year, the leader of the philanthropic group reported Monday. Executive Director Larry Wynn told the Georgia Baptist Executive Committee that the foundation’s grant recipients have introduced 21,421 people to Christ since it was created from the sale of the state’s Baptist hospitals in 2005.

SNELLVILLE, Ga. – Johnson Ferry Baptist Church pastor Clay Smith challenged “young, old, and everyone in between” at the opening session of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s annual meeting to listen for God’s call on their lives to take the gospel to the nations. “There is a specific role for some of you to go — to go to another culture, to go to another nation, to go to another land,” Smith told a crowd of nearly 1,000 people gathered at the Church on Main in Snellville.

SNELLVILLE, Ga. — More than 1,100 messengers have preregistered for the Georgia Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, which kicks off Sunday at the Church on Main in Snellville. President Josh Saefkow, who will be seeking re-election to a second term, said the emphasis of the three-day gathering will be on Calling Out the Called, the title of a broader initiative aimed at identifying the next generation of church leaders and helping them navigate pathways to ministry.

SUWANEE, Ga. — Five years ago, W. Thomas Hammond Jr. was recommended to become executive director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board because of his heart for pastors and their churches and his passion for reaching wayward souls with the gospel. Now, he’s being applauded for his accomplishments in the role. The Georgia Baptist Administration Committee recognized Hammond on his fifth anniversary and thanked him for the strides the Mission Board has made in helping churches and their pastors navigate through uncertain times that included a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — When churchgoers find a new congregation, most say their reasons for change had a little to do with both their old and new churches. Lifeway Research studied 1,001 U.S. adults who identify as Protestant or non-denominational, attend church worship services at least twice a month and have attended more than one church as an adult. During the research screening process, it was determined 53% of U.S. regular churchgoers say they have attended more than one church as an adult.

Few today recognize the impact “singing schools,” which used “shape-notes” to teach music, has had on American worship. This music, which is associated with the tradition of “Sacred Harp Singing,” enhanced worship across the nation. Singing schools began in New England in the late 18th century. Their purpose was to raise the quality of music in worship services by teaching people to sight read and lead music.

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