May 2009

Mundo Vista dedicates Parker-Wyrick Lodge

May 18 2009 by press release

ASHEBORO — A new building that will strengthen programming in music, missions and crafts was dedicated May 16 at Camp Mundo Vista, just in time for the start of summer camping.

Participants attended the outdoor ceremony under a light rain and then toured the 1,800 square foot Parker-Wyrick Lodge.

“On Sunday night, our staff will gather in the new lodge and pray for every single camper who registers on Monday morning,” said Camp Director Tammy Tate of the 1,900 girls who are expected to attend this summer.

The building is named in honor of Sara Parker of Winston-Salem and in memory of Shannon Wyrick of Greensboro. Parker, 90, served on the committee which recommended the site for a Woman’s Missionary Union encampment and helped pave the way for its opening in 1969.

Wyrick devoted 35 years to deaf ministry, and died in 2007.

The Rye Foundation has contributed $122,000 for expansion projects at Camp Mundo Vista and nearby Camp Caraway for boys.

Warren Steen, foundation president, spoke on “A Worthy Investment” and stated that financial gifts to help children are rock-solid, risk-free, and recession-proof.

Ruby Fulbright, executive director of Woman’s Missionary Union North Carolina, which operates the 168-acre camp, expressed appreciation to resident manager Bob Navey, project manager Bob Wainwright, and volunteers who helped at the construction site. “For the past 40 years,” said Fulbright, “little girls have come to camp and learned that their prayers and their lives are important to God.”

5/18/2009 6:41:00 AM by press release | with 0 comments

Liberty Association pilots NCBAM project

May 15 2009 by BCH Communications

THOMASVILLE — A $5,000 grant from North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM) will help Liberty Baptist Association churches pilot a three-month test program to discern the needs of aging adults.

BCH photo

Sandy Gregory, center left, presents a $5,000 check to Mike Ester, director of missions for Liberty Baptist Association. The money from North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry is to fund a pilot project for the association.

The association, with offices in Thomasville, will work with NCBAM to implement “Pilot One,” which will “test the concept and goals of NCBAM before expanding the services across the state,” said NCBAM Director Sandy Gregory. “We are excited to partner with the Liberty Association and its churches. There are tremendous needs in our local aging population. This is a great place to begin.”

NCBAM is operated by Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, which has statewide headquarters in Thomasville. NCBAM aids aging adults across the state to maintain their independence and a quality life.

The ministry focuses on providing information and referrals, on connecting the aging and their families with resources to meet needs, and on coordinating practical ministries. This includes aiding North Carolina Baptist churches and North Carolina Baptist associations.

Partnering with the Liberty Baptist Association and its churches for Pilot One marks NCBAM’s first efforts in working directly with an association. The participating churches are located in the Thomasville and Lexington area.

The goals of the pilot program are to create awareness for the needs of aging adults through local churches and civic organizations, identify beneficial resources, establish partnerships with existing services to the aging, and identify a number of aging adults to be a part of Pilot One.

“Working with NCBAM is a unique opportunity for us as North Carolina Baptists to help the aging in our state,” said Mike Ester, Liberty Baptist Association Director of Missions. “As our population grows older we need to be more effective in providing services as well as developing services we are not even aware of yet.”

“Once Pilot One is finished we should have strong measurable outcomes to help NCBAM determine the specific needs of our local aging adults and the ways we can best address those needs,” Gregory explained. “The results will certainly help us proceed in taking the next step to create a statewide network of outreach.”

5/15/2009 6:00:00 AM by BCH Communications | with 0 comments

Religious people make better citizens, study says

May 15 2009 by Daniel Burke, Religion News Service

First, the silver lining: people of faith are better citizens and better neighbors, and America is “amazingly” religious compared to other countries, says Harvard University professor Robert Putnam.

Now, the cloud: young Americans are “vastly more secular” than their older counterparts, according to Putnam.

“That is a stunning development,” Putnam said. “The youth are the future. Some of them are going to get religious over time, but most of them are not.”

A celebrated political scientist, Putnam has long been concerned with declining participation in American civic life, as described in his best-selling book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. When Elks clubs and parent-teacher associations lose members, the ties that bind civil society unravel, Putnam argues.

But religious people may be God’s gift to civic engagement, Putnam and University of Notre Dame scholar David Campbell argue in their book, American Grace: How Religion is Reshaping our Civic and Political Lives, which is scheduled to be released next year.

Putnam and Campbell unveiled some of their research at a recent conference in Key West, Fla., hosted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Data show that religious people are just “nicer”: they carry packages for people, don’t mind folks cutting ahead in line and give money to panhandlers.

The scholars say their studies found that religious people are three to four times more likely to be involved in their community. They are more apt than nonreligious Americans to work on community projects, belong to voluntary associations, attend public meetings, vote in local elections, attend protest demonstrations and political rallies, and donate time and money to causes — including secular ones.

At the same time, Putnam and Campbell say their data show that religious people are just “nicer”: they carry packages for people, don’t mind folks cutting ahead in line and give money to panhandlers.

The scholars say the link between religion and civic activism is causal, since they observed that people who hadn’t attended church became more engaged after they did. “These are huge effects,” Putnam said.

The reason for the increased civic engagement may come as a surprise to religious leaders. It has nothing to do with ideas of divine judgment, or with trying to secure a seat in heaven.

Rather, it’s the relationships people make in their churches, mosques, synagogues and temples that draw them into community activism.

Putnam calls them “supercharged friends” and the more people have, the more likely they are to participate in civic events, he says. The theory is: if someone from your “moral community” asks you to volunteer for a cause, it’s really hard to say no.

“Being asked to do something by a member of your congregation is different from being asked to do something by a member of your bowling league,” Putnam said.

The effect is so strong, the scholars found, that people who attend religious services regularly but don’t have any friends there look more like secularists than fellow believers when it comes to civic participation.

“It’s not faith that accounts for this,” Putnam said. “It’s faith communities.”

But many of those faith communities are dwindling, according to numerous studies of religious membership in the U.S., and those pews are not being replenished by young Americans, Putnam and Campbell said.

The 1950s was “probably the most religious period in American history,” according to Putnam, when 55 percent of Americans attended religious services regularly. Cultural changes — think: sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll — led to a massive decline in religious observance in the 1960s, the scholars said.

Religion — particularly evangelicalism — bounced back in the 1970s and the 1980s, but began to drop off again in the 1990s after the political ascendance of the religious right, according to Putnam and Campbell.

“That so-called politicization of religion triggered great hostility toward religion,” leading to a “dramatic growth in secularism and ‘none’s” — sociologists’ term for people who claim no religious affiliation.

As many as a quarter of young people would be in church — many say they still believe in God — but they’re turned off by how political American religion has become, according to Putnam.

But not everyone thinks that’s a bad thing, or agrees with the proposition that religious people are better citizens.

Ron Millar, acting director of Secular Coalition for America, said that nontheists are just as likely to volunteer for worthy causes as believers. For example, he noted that the Secular Student Alliance went to New Orleans to help build homes with Habitat for Humanity a few years ago.

“We’re out there,” Millar said. “We just don’t say we’re driven by our nonbelief in God to do good work.”

5/15/2009 5:57:00 AM by Daniel Burke, Religion News Service | with 0 comments

Insecurity keeps pastors silent on creation care

May 15 2009 by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press

DULUTH, Ga. — Because “a lot of pastors feel they are two bad sermons from, ‘Do you want fries with that?’“ they avoid controversial subjects, according to Florida pastor Joel Hunter, speaking at a May 13 conference promoting creation care.

Hunter pastor of Northland Church in Lakewood, Fla., and author of A New Kind of Conservative, said pastors are key to winning the hearts and minds of evangelicals when it comes to caring for the environment but they need to be “equipped and empowered in order to care about this issue.”

Hunter, a member of President Obama’s advisory council on faith-based partnerships, said pastors need to know enough about the science of climate change to be able to “explain to those who will inevitably come back — as they should — with skepticism on any subject.” 

Hunter said there is both good news and bad news for supporters of creation care.

“The bad news is that this movement honestly is going very slowly in the church,” he said during his address at Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga. “By now we would have hoped to be meeting with multitudes, and you see what’s here. There’s a gathering of leaders.”

Despite that, Hunter said, “the time is growing in its ripeness from several aspects,” so environmentally conscious evangelicals should not be discouraged.

Along with new technologies that allow humans to cultivate the earth in new ways, Hunter said “there is a ripeness in the church” in form of an expanding moral agenda.

“There is now an unstoppable expansion of what it means to be an evangelical Christian,” he said. “We are no longer going to be stuck on one or two major issues.”

Hunter added that evangelicals must not abandon concern for the unborn in order to embrace a broader agenda. “Frankly, if you cannot protect a baby in its mother’s womb, that is the paradigm of all vulnerable life,” he said. “If we don’t continue to lift that up as central, then woe be unto us.”

But Hunter said evangelicals need to understand “that ‘pro-life’ means a whole lot of things.”

“It’s not just inside the womb, it’s outside the womb,” he said. “Life outside the womb is just as important as life inside the womb to God.”

Hunter said evangelicals have “an unprecedented platform in this country to speak to power on behalf of those who have no power.”

“You must know that those in power are listening to evangelical Christians in a way they have never listened before,” said Hunter, one of a quartet of preachers identified as praying with candidate Obama before his election as president.

He said the nation’s leaders are listening “if for no other reason because of our sheer number,” but also “because of our activism that has turned from being narrow, negative and combative to being constructive and helpful.”

“All of politics runs not on those who can argue the loudest — not even those who can present the best arguments — but runs on those who are willing to offer solutions,” he said. “Politicians are like everybody else. If you’ve got something that can help me, I want to see it, and especially this particular administration, although all administrations have been like that.”

With that kind of clout, Hunter warned that evangelicals “need to not lose our way.”

“Power does funny things to people,” he said. “Attention does very funny things to people and all of a sudden we begin to think that it’s the justice of our cause rather than the Creator, the sovereign God who put us there, and the principles of Scripture that are more important than anything we can come up with.”

Hunter said Christians “need to attach everything we do to Scripture” and “have to be sure that we can be steadfast in knowing the facts and not merely be more clever with our opinions.”
Hunter said the best way to build awareness about environmental stewardship is telling stories about vulnerable people most hurt by neglect for the earth.

“People are not moved by syllogistic certainty,” he said. “They are not moved by philosophy. They are moved when they see somebody they can help.”

Jonathan Merritt, manager of the conference and national spokesman for the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative, introduced Hunter at the event, sponsored by Flourish.

“Dr. Hunter taught me that you can be a conservative who unashamedly defends the sanctity of human life, that you can believe traditional orthodox Christian views about some of the most pressing issues of our day and at the [same] time care passionately about God’s creation,” Merritt said, “that those things are not mutually exclusive.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.)  

5/15/2009 5:55:00 AM by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Hunt says church is ‘king’ to bureaucracy’s ‘prince’

May 14 2009 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

Part of the reason SBC President Johnny Hunt was ready to “shock the system” with a strongly worded call to a “Great Commission Resurgence” is that he and other leading Southern Baptist pastors feel a large denominational structure that depends on gifts from churches is not flexible enough to appreciate churches that sometimes do missions outside of that structure.

Hunt shared his feelings on a new Koinonia podcast conducted by Doug Baker, public relations director for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and posted May 14 at

Hunt said in Baptist life, “the church is King,” but “some in our denomination feel the church can be king in word only.”

BR file photo

Johnny Hunt

Hunt’s church, First Baptist of Woodstock, Ga., gives millions to missions and has started numerous other churches, but he received criticism last year when running for the SBC presidency over Woodstock’s giving just 2.2 percent of its undesignated funds for missions through the Cooperative Program.

Ten percent has become an implied leadership standard, even as average church gifts have sunk to just over five percent. In the 30 years since the “conservative resurgence” launched, the churches of only four SBC presidents have given as much as 10 percent, a fact that a committee commissioned by the SBC Executive Committee said contributed to the decline of CP giving overall. Executive Committee President Morris Chapman’s church was one of the 10 percent givers when he was SBC president 1991-92 and pastor of First Baptist Church, Wichita Falls, Texas.

“I feel sometimes…that bureaucracy is speaking down to church and holding us accountable, such as, ‘Here’s what Johnny Hunt gives through the Cooperative Program. Question mark. Would we want someone to lead who has no greater commitment to CP?’

“There we have speaking down to the pastor. Now this is an opportunity for us to speak back up to the state and ask, ‘What is fair?’”

“Should it be the church holding the denomination accountable…or should they be holding us accountable?” Hunt asked. “If the church is king, anyone else that speaks to us is a prince speaking to the king.”

Hunt emphasized that the 10 commitments called for in the “Great Commission Resurgence” document, posted online for supporters to sign, reflect “what we hear from grass roots pastors and grass roots leaders of local churches across America,” and are not just his feelings and those of its primary author, Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

Chapman himself raised the possibility during an address April 5, 2004 at a Baptist Identity Conference at Union University that an “overhaul” of the processes by which national and state conventions function “appear(s) to be an absolute necessity.”

 Hunt said that without being aware earlier of Chapman’s remarks, “I am literally attempting to lead the SBC to do literally, literally what he said. If he said the SBC needs fine tuning, let’s tune it up. If it needs an overhaul let’s tune it up.”

Hunt favors messengers approving a study committee during the 2009 SBC annual meeting in June. “Let’s let the facts speak for themselves,” he said. “No one in our denomination should have to be afraid of what we discover if indeed we discover the facts. I want to know this denomination does a better job of serving the churches.”

“Facts are our friends,” he said repeatedly.

  He said Southern Baptists have more resources, pastors and churches than ever before but the primary measure of effectiveness – baptisms – is at its lowest rate since 1972.

“We should be doing more,” he said. “Why are we not? It’s time to take a look.”

He said “the church is king” and “we should be giving proper leadership to denominational staff” to “help us to experience the ‘Great Commission resurgence.’”

Hunt expressed gratitude for state convention executives and “those in Nashville,” home offices of the SBC, but wants accountability to begin at the local church and from there have a committee study the national system of associations, state conventions and national agencies and institutions so Baptists can “do the best we can with what God has entrusted to us.”

Baker said in a question to Hunt that Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler raised the issue in 2004 of “theological triage,” or first, second and third levels of importance for particular theological positions. Fellowship is contingent, Mohler said, on agreement on first level theology.

Hunt said he is not going to break fellowship over “non-essentials” and said “a team from across denominational life” could “help us determine what are these first things.”

His own list of “first things” is short, but a denominational consensus would help Baptists determine more clearly where they should be “spending valuable resources, valuable time and valuable energy,” Hunt said.

“One thing that can steer us in the right direction is that we Southern Baptists agree almost always on far more than we disagree on,” Hunt said. “I hope we can get our arms around the gospel, the Great Commission, the building of churches, global missions, evangelism to the point we can agree to agree on so much that it will start pointing us in the same direction.”

Hunt said some say his call for a “Great Commission resurgence,“ particularly Article 9 that refers to “commitment to a more effective Convention structure,” and a willingness to streamline at all levels, is threatening the Convention.

He said trust is “really missing in this denomination” and asked if either he or Akin had given any evidence that they would “desire anything other than God’s best for the denomination.”

“If Southern Baptists as a Convention win, we all win,” Hunt said.

5/14/2009 10:21:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments

Human trafficking a growing N.C. problem

May 14 2009 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

You don’t think human trafficking is a current — or local — issue?

Some of the estimated 27 million people enslaved worldwide are in North Carolina and Sandra Johnson has started an organization to help free them. It was while she was working under a federal grant for World Relief that Johnson learned about human trafficking. Since then she founded Triad Ladder of Hope, a Christian Womens’ Job Corps site in Greensboro, which is dedicated to rescuing North Carolina’s human slaves. The group is also registered with the Health and Human Services Rescue and Restore Campaign.

“God gave me a passion for helping the helpless victims of human trafficking and slavery,” Johnson said.

The numbers can be staggering:
  • Women sold as many as 30 times a day.
  • 50 percent of child pornography web sites originate in the United States
  • Between 15,000 and 20,000 people trafficked annually in United States
  • Trafficking is a $35 billion business.
“They can actually be anywhere,” Johnson said, emphasizing that her data is four years old and the problem is increasing. While there are cases in North Carolina, Johnson said no statistics have been formally collected by any agency. The results wouldn’t be accurate anyway, she said.

BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Sandra Johnson, president of Triad Ladder of Hope, a Christian Womens’ Job Corps site in Greensboro, leads a human trafficking session March 21 at Ridgecrest during Missions Extravaganza.

“The No. 1 thing people want to know, is give me some statistics,” said Danielle Mitchell, executive director of Triad Ladder of Hope, in a video made about human trafficking. “A lot of times I want to say ‘How many is enough? What number’s large enough to make me care? What number is large enough to get the body of Christ, to get the world, our community to stand up and say that’s enough? What statistic is going to be powerful enough to say it’s not OK?”

One of the main ways of tracking victims, Johnson said, is only after they have been issued a T visa, a type of visa that allows victims of human trafficking to stay in the United States if they assist law enforcement and testify against the perpetrators.

Johnson, who works part time as an administrative assistant at Central Triad Baptist Association and is a member of The Journey Church of the Triad in High Point, said 95 percent of prostitutes “are not there by choice.

“We label them and we try to avoid them because it makes us uncomfortable,” she said.

As Christians, Johnson said, “We are called to love those who are hurting.” She hopes Triad Ladder of Hope will set more men, women and children free and on a firm foundation.

“Victims will not be rescued until the community is educated,” she said, admitting that she too did not know it was a problem until she attended a seminar on the issue.

Although she had been on several international mission trips, she “still lived in a little box.”

Victims can be working in a restaurant – seemingly of their own will – or providing private child-care for a family.

If people believe it is not happening in North Carolina, they should read the newspapers or watch television news more carefully.

Johnson referenced a woman in Thomasville selling her daughter in exchange for drugs as well as a woman who was brought in as a bride and was instead used for prostitution.

In Raleigh, Johnson said homeless people were offered a job on a farm with room and board but they wound up trapped and owing the boss money because their room and board cost more than they were being paid.

“It is a growing crime,” she said, “and there are many hopeless, voiceless victims.”

One of the churches that has helped one of the victims is Guilford Baptist Church in Greensboro.
“Our church is just real giving,” said Susan Carter, WMU director. “Until I talked with Sandra … I was totally unaware (about human trafficking), our whole church was. It’s unbelievable.”

The church began helping one of the victims in fall 2008 with furnishings for her new apartment.

The victim had gotten a job and was just getting started. She’s a packaging contract worker with a local company and speaks French fluently.

“She loves to come and worship at our church,” Carter said, but she mainly goes to another church with friends. “I just know her as who she is. She’s a compassionate person. It doesn’t matter where she comes from.”

BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Human trafficking is a growing problem but many people remain unaware that it could be occurring next door.

Carter hopes to have Johnson come and teach the church about human trafficking, until then the church is walking by faith with us (WMU).”

Triad Ladder of Hope received items to help its ministry during the annual Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) Missions Extravaganza at Ridgecrest in March.

Johnson led sessions informing women about human trafficking and how they can get involved in helping victims during the weekend-long event.

“The response of the (WMU-NC) was wonderful,” Johnson said. “We will be able to put together a lot of bags to help victims who are identified and to use in outreach projects.”

Since Johnson became aware about human trafficking she has worked to educate the public as well as policy makers and law enforcement about the growing problem in North Carolina. While her main focus has been education, Triad Ladder of Hope has helped five victims to escape the trafficking trade.“At this point very few victims are identified and rescued,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of variable as to why … they are brainwashed to believe no one will help them, they cannot escape, they are afraid they or their family will be killed, they don’t identify themselves as a victim, they do not know they are protected under U.S. law, they do not know their rights, our culture, do not speak English, etc.”

But Johnson said it is not hard for church members to help.

“Helping can be simply being a mentor, teaching someone how to ride a bus, putting out posters,” or a full-blown ministry, she said.

The next community training is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 30 at Westover Church in Greensboro and is free. In July there are training opportunities for service providers on three days in three cities.

Cost is $15 and continuing education units (CEUS) are available. Representatives from the Salvation Army and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will provide this training. For more information or to register, visit

Johnson is also available to teach groups or churches about how to spot human trafficking and what to do if a victim is discovered.

An error some churches might make is to reach out to those possibly involved in trafficking but without a plan to get them out once they’ve been reached.

“We need to make sure we have a safe place for victims to stay and a network of organizations in place to offer assistance,” she said.

Prayer points

Prayer is always important, said Sandra Johnson, founder and president of Triad Ladder of Hope, a ministry to help victims of trafficking. She says pray for victims, predators, rescuers and for protection for those working to stop human trafficking

Look for clues
  • Evidence of being controlled
  • Evidence of inability to move or leave job
  • Bruises or other signs of physical abuse
  • Fear or depression
  • Not speaking on own behalf and/or non-English speaking
  • No passport or other forms of identification or documentation
Source: National Human Trafficking Resource Center
Key questions
  • What type of work do you do?
  • Are you being paid?
  • Can you leave your job if you want to?
  • Can you come and go as you please?
  • Have you or your family been threatened?
  • What are your working and living conditions?
  • Where do you sleep and eat?
  • Do you have to ask permission to eat/sleep/go to the bathroom?
  • Are there locks on your doors/windows so you cannot get out?
  • Has your identification or documentation been taken from you?
Source: National Human Trafficking Resource Center

Related Story:

Human trafficking issue captures N.C. missionary's heart
5/14/2009 9:50:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

Chicago’s diversity is his mission field

May 14 2009 by Mickey Noah, Baptist Press

CHICAGO — Michael Allen could have been the guy who comes to install or repair your computer. Originally, that was what he was trained to do.

Instead, his work today takes place in uptown Chicago, about a mile northeast of Wrigley Field’s ivy-covered outfield fence. The church he serves as senior pastor, Uptown Baptist, is close to the corner of Sunnyside and Sheridan or “Blood Alley” — famous locally for its unsolved murders, rapes, gangs and prostitution.

NAMB photo

Michael Allen, pastor of Uptown Baptist Church in Chicago and a North American Mission Board missionary, prays with Denise Davis, chief of staff for a Chicago city alderman.

None of this deters Allen, who also has served as a North American Mission Board (NAMB) missionary the past three years.

“I like it here because it fits who I am, fits my journey and fits the vision that God has given me for my life,” Allen said. “It allows me to be Jesus to so many different kinds of people.”

It’s hard to say what’s more diverse in Allen’s life — his ministry or his congregation.

When Allen is not preaching sermons and shepherding his multicultural flock of 180 at Uptown, he’s leading a “Men’s Fraternity” discipleship group for businessmen in downtown Chicago; overseeing a Monday night meal for up to 350 homeless men, women and children; directing a shelter for 50 women; managing a church staff of six; counseling; serving on the board of Pacific Garden Mission; and serving as moderator of the Baptist association of which Uptown is a member. And in his spare time, he and his wife Marla homeschool their four children.

“As pastor of Uptown, one day I can be in a suit and tie at a press conference with the mayor of Chicago and other movers and shakers, and later that day be on the street talking to somebody who just gave his girlfriend AIDS or to a drunk,” Allen said.

“It’s a powerful thing and an amazing thing,” he said, getting choked up. “It’s God at work changing people’s lives, and I feel like a pawn on God’s chess board. It’s just remarkable to be His piece being moved into position wherever He wills, and being available wherever He wants you on that board.”

NAMB photo

Michael Allen, a North American Mission Board missionary, preaches at the multicultural church he leads in Chicago, Uptown Baptist.

The Uptown area of the Windy City, like the church Allen leads, is diverse by any measure: ethnically, economically, educationally, gender, age.

“There must be at least 80 or 90 languages spoken in the public schools here in Uptown, so it’s a fun place,” Allen said. “There’s not a dull or boring day in ministry, in business, in school or in government because of that diversity.

“There are still so many more ethnic groups out there that are not represented in our church right now. We might have 10 or 15 different ethnic groups in church on a Sunday morning,” he said. “But there is much more to be done and we’re just beginning.”

Born in Jamaica, Allen grew up in a Christian home and accepted Christ in a Nazarene church at age 9. After earning a computer electronics degree and working as a technician in south Florida, he was called to the ministry as a member of First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1989. Allen holds a Bible degree from Trinity College in Miami, Fla., and a master of divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill. He also has served on the staffs of Moody Church in Chicago and Sagemont Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in Houston.

Allen is one of more than 5,600 North American Missionaries supported by Southern Baptist gifts to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions and the Cooperative Program.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Noah is a writer at NAMB. To learn more about the Annie Armstrong Offering, go to; to learn more about the Cooperative Program, go to

5/14/2009 9:44:00 AM by Mickey Noah, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Baptist Men readies volunteers for W. Virginia

May 14 2009 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

North Carolina Baptist Men is soliciting clean up teams as early as this weekend for flood recovery efforts in West Virginia. 

Gaylon Moss, who coordinates disaster relief efforts for NC Baptist Men, issued a call May 13 through the NCBM network, asking coordinators to begin assembling teams.

When coordinators in the probable target area of Beckley, in southwest W. Va., are ready, local teams will be notified by email. A registration form will be included with the email.

The hardest hit area was Mingo County, according to the local newspaper. Emergency officials said as many as 400 homes were affected. McDowell and Wyoming counties also had significant flooding and 10,000 electric customers were without service.

 NC Baptist Men volunteers worked May 5-9 in tornado recovery in Wilson and Johnston counties, especially in the Rock Ridge development in Wilson County where eight homes were badly damaged.

Overall, volunteers put in 130 volunteer days and completed 19 projects.



5/14/2009 4:54:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 0 comments

Two named Addie Davis award winners

May 13 2009 by Special to the Biblical Recorder

Marquette Bugg and Tammy Jackson Gill are the 2009 recipients of the Addie Davis Award, named for the first Southern Baptist woman to be ordained to the ministry, in 1964.

Contributed photo

Marquette Bugg

Baptist Women in Ministry gave the first awards in honor of Addie Davis in 1998.  Addie Davis died in December 2005.

Bugg is the recipient of the Addie Davis Award for Excellence in Preaching.  She graduated this month from George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco, Texas, with a masters of divinity in theology.  She preached from Mark 10:46-52 on “Blind Bart Has a Daydream.”

Bugg said it is good to dream but that we need to check our dreams with Jesus, because Jesus is asking us the same question he had for Bartimaeus: “What do you want me to do for you?” Bugg is moving to Ghana, West Africa to help begin a sports ministry in basketball and soccer.

Tammy Jackson Gill received the Addie Davis Award for Outstanding Leadership in Pastoral Ministry. She is a master of divinity student at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Ks., and is pastor to children and families at Holmeswood Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo. She also is clinical director for Wellspring Ministries in Lee’s Summit, Mo., and is the founder and executive director of Healing Grace Counseling Centers in Lee’s Summit and Warrensburg, Mo.

“God called me to ministry from the moment I could hear and sense God,” she wrote. “I was drawn to the preacher boy in high school because I was drawn to preaching myself. I often wonder how many other girls have tried to be the “preacher’s wife” because they did not know they could be the preacher? Thank God for Addie Davis, Mary Magdelene, Molly Marshall, and the many others who have helped blaze the path and shine the light for girls and women who live to share of God’s amazing, healing grace.”

Contributed photo

Tammy Jackson Gill

5/13/2009 10:47:00 AM by Special to the Biblical Recorder | with 1 comments

Ky. leader to be 1st VP nominee

May 13 2009 by Todd Deaton, Baptist Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky pastor John Mark Toby will be nominated for first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention during the June 23-24 annual meeting at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

BP photo

John Mark Toby

Toby, pastor of Beacon Hill Baptist Church in Somerset, Ky., since 1999, currently is president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. He will be nominated by Kevin Smith, pastor of Watson Memorial Baptist Church in Louisville and assistant professor of church history at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“I want to nominate Brother Toby because he is a fine representative of a Kentucky Baptist and a Southern Baptist,” Smith told the Western Recorder, newsjournal of the Kentucky convention.

“He is obviously supportive of the state convention as demonstrated by his volunteer service in a variety of positions, culminating with his election as president last November,” said Smith, who served as KBC first vice president in 2007.

“Additionally, (Toby’s) church has been a regular supporter of the Cooperative Program and other state and national offerings,” Smith noted. “He has a good working relationship with a broad cross section of Baptists and he has a gracious spirit. On top of this, he leads his church on short-term missions trips and serves as a (Kentucky) National Guard chaplain. On many levels, he is a fine Christian leader.”

Information from the 2008 Annual Church Profile (ACP) for Beacon Hill Baptist Church lists 24 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 513. The church gave $132,257, or 15 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $882,807.

According to the ACP, the church also received $23,736 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $7,768 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

Toby, a member of the Kentucky National Guard since 1983, is an endorsed chaplain of the North American Mission Board, supervising four chaplain unit ministry teams that minister to 1,645 soldiers. He has served as a Task Force New Orleans chaplain in relief and recovery operations for victims of Hurricane Katrina and is a volunteer chaplain at Lake Cumberlands Regional Hospital.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Deaton is editor of the Western Recorder, Kentucky Baptists’ newsjournal.)
5/13/2009 7:22:00 AM by Todd Deaton, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

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