November 2013

Bay Psalm Book traces nation’s seesaw religious history

November 25 2013 by David Van Biema, Religion News Service

Three hundred and seventy-three years ago, when the chief Puritan “divines” of the young Massachusetts Bay Colony printed their own translation of the Bible’s Book of Psalms, they prided themselves on importing the continent’s very first English printing press and establishing the colony as a cultural and educational center.
What they were certainly not anticipating – the little books sold for 20 pence apiece – was that on Nov. 26 Sotheby’s will be auctioning off one of the 11 surviving copies of the Bay Psalter for between $10 and $30 million dollars. In that expected price range, it will be the most expensive book ever sold in public.
A Puritan might read this extraordinary markup as an example of God’s unknowable Providence. An economist might cite the laws of supply and demand. Either way, the blockbuster sale of “The Whole Book of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Meter” caps a fascinating seesaw act of American theology and marketplace. And depending on who wins the auction, it may say a bit more.
The book, on display at Sotheby’s Manhattan headquarters, opened to Psalm 23, is physically unimposing. About 7 inches high and 4 inches wide, it is largely undecorated. The printer, a trained locksmith who arrived with the press, had his idiosyncrasies, including spelling “psalm” two different ways. The translators, among them Puritan luminaries John Cotton, Richard Mather and John Eliot, admitted to heeding “fidelity rather than poetry”: They produced some clunky verse. The initial run of 1,700 seems in retrospect optimistic, considering that the Bay Colony had just 3,500 families. But the hymnbook was a success, and would eventually become better known for its scarcity than overproduction.

Photo courtesy Sotheby’s New York
For the first time since 1947, and only the second time since the nineteenth century, a copy of the first book printed in America will be sold at auction. The Whole Booke of Psalmes – universally known as The Bay Psalm Book – was translated and printed in 1640 in the virtual wilderness of Massachusetts Bay Colony by the Congregationalist Puritans who left England in search of religious freedom.

Most churches undoubtedly wore through their copies. Some books probably languished a while as relics of a vanished age: hymns eventually replaced sung psalms, even in most Reformed congregations. By the 1800s, only 11 known copies remained.
At which point America’s bibliophiles realized they had nearly lost their foundational document.
The Bay Psalm Book (BPB) “is for American book collecting what the Guttenberg Bible has been for collecting [wordlwide],” said Bill Reese, a major dealer in printed Americana. “Except there are 46 copies of the Guttenberg.”
In 1879, a BPB set an American auction record – $1,200. In 1947, another copy became the world’s most expensive printed book, at $151,000. As the remaining Bay Psalters were gradually sold or given to institutions such as Harvard, Yale and the Library of Congress, unlikely ever to release them, the “supply” for would-be owners seemed to shrink to one book. Old South Church in Boston owned two copies. Surely they could part with one?
“A lot of people have knocked on Old South’s door, myself included,” said Reese.
All left empty-handed. Until this year.
Re-enter religion. Like many old New England churches, Old South – once fiercely focused on the Bible as a blueprint not just for individual salvation and behavior but for government – mellowed over the years, joining mainline Protestantism’s 20th-century shift toward ministry to the poor and socially marginal.
Today, Old South is affiliated with the liberal United Church of Christ. When Nancy Taylor became its first female minister, and also its CEO in 2005, she worried not just about the church’s own finances but the sustainability of 30 grant programs that she said serve “some of the most vulnerable people in the Boston area.” After debate, some bitter, the congregation agreed to part with the less pristine of its two psalm books so it can better serve the needy.
And suddenly that second-best copy, squirreled away for safekeeping for more than 150 years in the Boston Public Library, became a frequent flyer, winging its way across the country to show itself to the public and potential buyers. Although there is a list of “usual suspects” who bid on such mega-items and donate them to big-name institutions, Sotheby’s worldwide chairman of books and manuscripts, David Redden, believes in enticing “someone who had never dreamed of owning such a thing, but whose imagination became inflamed.”
So over the last few months, the BPB flew first class, complete with in-flight security guard, to eight cities, including places such as Cleveland and Houston where, Redden said, “the book has never been. And people really cared.”
Some were enthralled by its printing history. A teacher of the history of religion at an Episcopal school brought his class. A family brought its own four-part a cappella psalm arrangements and a gospel singer attempted a few bars of the book’s Psalm 23 to the tune of “Amazing Grace.”  (“The Lord to mee a shepheard is; Want therefore shall not I . . . ”).
Redden thinks that this religious contingent may produce his big buyer.  “If you look at the Forbes 400 list” of the nation’s richest individuals, he hinted, “you will find an interesting and significant group of people with very strong religious convictions.”
One family jumps to many collectors’ minds – the Greens. David Green of Oklahoma City, listed by Forbes as having made $5 billion from his Hobby Lobby craft-equipment chain, is the only one of six siblings who did not grow up to be a pastor or pastor’s wife, and describes his company as a Christian business. The Green family is best known for its legal challenge against the Affordable Care Act, claiming it forces the company to provide employees with free contraceptive services that it objects to on religious grounds.
Steve Green, David’s son and Hobby Lobby’s president, is a major buyer of high-end religious artifacts, in anticipation of a biblical museum scheduled to go up two blocks from the Washington Mall in 2017. None of the bidders for the Bay Psalm Book has identified him or herself in advance. Nevertheless, says Reese, the Greens “are robustly on the top of everyone’s list of usual suspects.”
Their participation would add a fascinating twist to the Bay Psalm story. Most contemporary evangelicals are theologically distant from the Massachusetts Bay Puritans. But in their exaltation of scripture, they resemble the old “divines” more than, say, the current leadership at Old South.
If the Bay Psalm Book ends up with the Greens or likeminded Christians on Nov. 26, it may be said, after a fashion, to have come home.
11/25/2013 12:25:24 PM by David Van Biema, Religion News Service | with 0 comments

Affiliated educational universities trustee list

November 25 2013 by BSC

During the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) Annual Meeting Nov. 11-12, a list of trustees was shared with messengers from the BSC’s affiliated educational universities. These trustees are elected in 2013 to begin serving in 2014. They are elected in accordance to the bylaws of each institution and are not elected by the BSC. In most instances the list below states the name of each trustee, the trustee’s city of residence and the trustee’s church affiliation. All cities are in North Carolina unless otherwise noted.


Campbell University

Guilford W. Bass Sr., Holden Beach, Brunswick Islands Baptist; Michael Cummings, Pembroke, Bear Swamp Baptist; Leah Devlin, Raleigh, White Memorial Presbyterian; Annabelle L. Fetterman, Clinton, Graves Memorial Presbyterian; David J. Hailey, Raleigh, Hayes Barton Baptist; Ester H. Howard, Lillington, Memorial Baptist; Anna Drew Kirk, Wake Forest, First Baptist Durham; Bernard F. McLeod Jr., Fuquay-Varina, Fuquay-Varina United Methodist; Sadie Neel, Goldsboro, Falling Creek Baptist; William Pully, Raleigh, St. Michael’s Episcopal; and Henry L. Smith, Farmville, Farmville Methodist

Chowan University

Bynum R. Brown, Murfreesboro, Murfreesboro Baptist; Mary Anne Croom, Edenton, Edenton Baptist; Austine O. Evans, Ahoskie, First Baptist of Ahoskie; Jewell Faye Glover, Seaboard, Galatia Baptist; W. Steve Hauser, East Bend, East Bend Baptist; Lawrence P. Hollister, Moseley, Va., Mount Herman Baptist; James W. Mason, Harrellsville, Harrellsville Baptist; Jesse E. Vaughan, Murfreesboro, Meherrin Baptist; Linda B. Weaver, Henderson, Henderson First Baptist; Garry Whitaker, Winston-Salem, Winston-Salem First Baptist; and Richard S. Winstead, Moneta, Va., Calvary Baptist, Roanoke, Va.

Gardner-Webb University

W. Thomas Bell, Marietta, Ga., First Methodist Church, Marietta, Ga.; William K. Gary, Mount Holly, First Baptist Mount Holly; Ronald W. Hawkins, Cornelius, First Baptist Statesville; C. Lorance Henderson, Morganton, First Baptist Morganton; Ryan D. Hendley, Greenville, S.C., Brookwood Church, Simpsonville, S.C.; William W. Leathers III, Winston-Salem, Knollwood Baptist; Sam H. McMahon Jr., Charlotte, First Baptist Charlotte; Thomas E. Philson, Charlotte, Providence Baptist; and J. Linton Suttle III, Shelby, First Baptist Shelby

Mars Hill University

Mike Kelly, Mason, Ohio, Hope Church, Mason, Ohio; and Linda Judge-McRae, Knoxville, Tenn., Westminster Presbyterian, Knoxville, Tenn.

Wingate University*

George C. Bower, Wadesboro; Elona Edwards, Marshville; Meredith O. Galvin, Davidson; Duran McDonald, Charlotte; J.H. Patterson, Charlotte; Edward West, Charlotte; William Hudson, Durham; Thomas Perry, Raleigh
* Church affiliation was withheld.
11/25/2013 12:14:37 PM by BSC | with 0 comments

C.S. Lewis more popular 50 years after his death

November 22 2013 by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Religion News Service

As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy today (Nov. 22), many Christians will also pause to recall the death of C.S. Lewis, who died the same day, just one week short of his 65th birthday.
The British author, described by many as perhaps the 20th century’s most influential Christian intellectual and apologist, is said to have greater influence in the United States than in his own country. Yet today, a memorial stone for Lewis will be added to the storied Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey, alongside Shakespeare, John Milton and the Bronte sisters.
Many Christians are first introduced to Lewis, a philosopher, theologian, professor and author, at an early age with The Chronicles of Narnia, a place where it is “always winter, but never Christmas.” For adults, his most influential work was Mere Christianity, where he argued that Jesus was either a lunatic, liar or Lord.

Photo credit
C.S. Lewis photo courtesy of Hulton Deutch Collection/John Chillingworth

Lewis’ writings still retain cultural currency – perhaps more so in death than they ever had in life. A recent forum at New York’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church between pastor Tim Keller and Harvard Humanist chaplain Greg Epstein opened with a reading from Lewis’ On Living in an Atomic Age.
After the discussion, Keller said his wife had always been a huge Lewis fan, “beating me over the head with his books.”
Kathy Keller’s interest in Lewis came at a young age, when at age 12 she wrote to Lewis to tell him she was one of his few fans, and he responded – four times. The last letter from him arrived 11 days before he died.
“I wrote thinking I would console the man and tell him he had least a few admirers, not knowing he was huge,” she said. “He was formative because my whole intellectual life as a Christian was shaped of nothing but Lewis, not even the Bible.
“He was so gracious,” she said. “I didn’t know he had died until February (1964) because of course Kennedy took up all the headlines.”
Raised in the Church of Ireland but an atheist by age 15, Lewis slowly embraced Christianity through the works of authors George MacDonald, J.R.R. Tolkien and G.K. Chesterton. Lewis joined the Church of England, to the disappointment of Tolkien, who had hoped he would become a Catholic.
Lewis has been dubbed an “evangelical rock star” by The New York Times, but as the New Yorker noted, both mainline Protestants and Catholics also lay claim to him. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia invoked Lewis’ Screwtape Letters in an interview with New York magazine, and U2 frontman Bono named him in an interview with Focus on the Family. One of the most remarkable things about Lewis is the range of genres he used to communicate messages about faith.
“The great appeal that Lewis has today is that he has an extraordinary range of a diversity of genre in communicating truth,” said James Houston, one of the founders of the respected Christian institution Regent College in Vancouver, who ran in Lewis’ circles while they were both at Oxford.
“He used fairy tales, mythology, poetry, science fiction, children’s stories, scholarly essays. He used the whole gamut to communicate the depths of truth.”
Lewis’ influence continues to grow, though it’s difficult to calculate his book sales because his books live on through various publishers. HarperOne, which publishes all of Lewis’ non-Narnia books, is approaching 10 million in sales of the C.S. Lewis Signature Classics since the publisher began the program in 2001 – with nearly 200,000 copies sold in the past year.
Lewis has been a publishing phenomenon, said Mickey Maudlin, senior vice president of HarperOne, who became a Christian by reading Lewis’ Surprised by Joy at 21 years old. Lewis is claimed as “one of us” by Mormons, Catholics and mainline Protestants, as well as evangelicals, Maudlin said.
“Name another author whose books are being sold more now than they were when they were alive,” he said. “His vision for the Christian life is seemingly simple while being very complex. He took the stance of explainer without being an expert.”
Lewis had many personal views about theology, but he decided to write about Christianity broadly.
“Writing on Mere Christianity allowed him to not close any doors. So few books cross the aisle across tribes,” Maudlin said. “Catholics want to talk to other Catholics; mainline Protestants only want to talk to those in their denomination; evangelicals want to show everyone else that they’re right; no one wants to engage the culture as a whole, or very few do.”
As with many authors, Lewis’ fame came after his death. But even while he was alive, an estimated 90 percent of his income went to charity.
“There was a level of authenticity. He wasn’t flying in jets, or showed signs of getting rich off of his books,” Maudlin said. “I wonder what he might have been tempted to say if he was worried about profits.”
11/22/2013 3:02:49 PM by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Religion News Service | with 0 comments

Congress pushes for release of Saeed Abedini

November 22 2013 by Katherine Burgess, Religion News Service

WASHINGTON – Congress is pressing for the release of Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini, a U.S. citizen who has been imprisoned in Iran for his religious beliefs since September 2012.
On Nov. 20 the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a bipartisan resolution condemning Iran’s persecution of religious minorities and urging Abedini’s immediate release. The resolution will now go to the full House.
The Senate unanimously passed a similar resolution Nov. 14.
The U.S. and Iran are conducting talks in Geneva aimed at reining in Iran’s nuclear program, and those backing Abedini hope the time is right for his freedom.
“It is important especially with the nuclear negotiations in Geneva that Congress speak out with one voice on behalf of pastor Abedini in support of his immediate release,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican.
The House and Senate resolutions follow Abedini’s transfer from Evin Prison, a facility for political prisoners, to Rajai Shahr Prison. He is now held in a ward for rapists and murderers, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, a law firm that represents Abedini’s wife, Nagmeh. Abedini has been allowed visits from his Iranian family, who have confirmed he is alive.
The Iranian government sentenced Abedini to eight years in prison after convicting him of “undermining” the government by spreading his religious beliefs. Abedini had previously worked with house churches in Iran; in 2012 he helped at an orphanage and visited family.
Smith said that Abedini promised the Iranian government he would not proselytize – and that Abedini had upheld his side of the bargain.
Since his arrest, Abedini has endured beatings causing internal bleeding and has had medical care withheld, according to the ACLJ.

His wife and two children await his return.
Abedini’s persecution is part of a wider policy against religious minorities in Iran, Smith said.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have both spoken out for Abedini’s release.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Katherine Burgess has lived in California, Cambodia and Tennessee. She has covered subjects as varied as a United Nations tribunal, church leadership conferences and a maximum security prison. She is currently based in Washington, D.C.)

11/22/2013 2:43:52 PM by Katherine Burgess, Religion News Service | with 0 comments

Kivett’s offers fine church furniture

November 22 2013 by Emily Blake, BR Editorial Aide

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Kivett’s has been advertising with the Biblical Recorder for more than 10 years. We’re showcasing this company in gratitude for their support.)
Kivett’s Fine Church Furniture Inc. is the largest family-owned and operated pew manufacturer and pew refinisher in the United States.
It was founded in 1958 by Rev. R.L. Kivett and is now owned by his son, Jerol Kivett, who started working for the company at age 11.

Kivett’s photo
Known for its furniture, Kivett’s Fine Church Furniture Inc. also offers steeples, stained glass and more. It is family-owned and has been in business more than 50 years. There are many options for theater seating as well as church pews.

Since then, Kivett’s expanded their expertise and now produces not only pews but chairs, office furniture, pulpits, stained glass, steeples and more. They do complete church renovations with products manufactured in their own workshop, and they are one of the few companies that build and repair steeples.
“Our company is unique because of the employees working here for decades, some as long as 40 years,” said Kivett.
“The people who work here really are like family.”
Inside the Kivett’s plant, employees manufacture custom products that have been fine-tuned specifically to meet the needs of individual buyers. The furniture is set apart by strict attention to detail and a commitment to high quality craftsmanship.
They work with church leaders to choose the best style of furniture for their needs, build it and deliver it for installation.
Speaking about his 55 years in the business Kivett said, “It’s really neat to see the whole dynamic of a church change with a renovation.
“Seeing the smiling faces when they see a completed project … it’s very rewarding.”
Kivett’s longevity is a success in itself, but their customer base has developed significantly as well. The company has sent crews for major projects nationally and internationally.
Churches in Guam, the Caribbean, Canada and South Korea have called on Kivett’s to aid in the beautification of their churches.
“I just think it’s a blessing to be part of a business that’s been able to maintain in a down economy,” said Kivett. “You’re no stronger than your weakest link, and we’re strong from the floor up.
“That’s the benefit of having a family-based business.”
Visit or call (800) 334-1139.
11/22/2013 2:30:24 PM by Emily Blake, BR Editorial Aide | with 0 comments

Student dies in shooting at Liberty University

November 22 2013 by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Religion News Service

A Liberty University (LU) student was shot and killed by a campus officer during a shooting at a Liberty women’s dorm Tuesday (Nov. 19) morning.
Shortly before 4:15 a.m, the student and the LU official were engaged in a “physical altercation,” according to the local newspaper.
Police in Lynchburg, Va., identified the dead 19-year-old student as Joshua Hathaway, of Lubbock, Tex. Police said the officer, who was unidentified, was taken to an area hospital for treatment and was released.
“Joshua Hathaway, a Liberty University student, told the security officer he had been robbed and someone stole his vehicle. The security officer then began to investigate Hathaway’s complaint but Hathaway then pulled out a hammer from his clothing and assaulted the officer,” according to a search warrant affidavit written by Lynchburg police Det. Collin Byrne provided by Liberty to Religion News Service (RNS).
The Liberty officer fired two shots at Hathaway, hitting him at least once, which killed him. Officers found the student’s car in a nearby parking lot and are unsure why he said it was stolen. Hathaway’s roommate said he “had been displaying unusual behavior recently,” saying he had been having academic and financial trouble, according to the report.
Liberty policy is that men are not allowed in female residence halls. The all-women’s dorm is off campus. One student estimated that the dorm is five floors and holds about 200 students.
Liberty has provided the following statement:
“Liberty University confirms initial reports that there was an altercation between a Liberty University Emergency Services Officer and a male student that led to a shooting last night at a women’s-only residential hall (Residential Annex II) that is under investigation by the Lynchburg Police Department. The entire campus, including Annex I & II, are open and operating as normal.”
All university officers carry firearms, said Liberty spokesman Johnnie Moore. There are more than 45 officers, and Liberty University requires an additional 24-36 hours of training for all officers, requiring recertification twice annually.
Liberty made news earlier this year in an effort to increase campus safety. Its board of trustees approved a new policy allowing students and faculty members with permits to carry concealed weapons on campus, though concealed weapons are not allowed in dorms.
Liberty, the nation’s largest private Christian university, was founded by the late Jerry Falwell and is based in Lynchburg, Va. It describes itself as the largest university in Virginia, with more than 100,000 residential and online students.
“The Liberty University community is deeply saddened by this tragic event and is prayerfully supporting all those impacted,” president Jerry Falwell Jr. said in a statement.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Sarah Pulliam Bailey joined RNS as a national correspondent in 2013. She has previously served as managing editor of Odyssey Networks and online editor for Christianity Today.)
11/22/2013 2:16:12 PM by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Religion News Service | with 0 comments

Relief team seeks remote Filipino villages in need

November 21 2013 by Caroline Anderson, Baptist Press

TABUELAN, Philippines – Social media and news programs around the world have reported on relief teams entering Filipino communities devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. But hundreds of other villages in extremely isolated areas have yet to see any relief.

Many of these villages are tucked away in northern Cebu’s rolling hills. They can be found down winding, bumping roads barely wide enough for vehicles to traverse. They are the villages that Southern Baptist relief teams hope to find.

While millions of dollars in relief aid is flowing into some hard-hit areas, many smaller communities must fend for themselves.

People in remote areas far from the main roads often are neglected for one to two weeks in the aftermath of a major disaster, said Larry Shine, a member of the four-man Baptist Global Response (BGR) team sent to Cebu Island. The team’s goal is to go into areas not highlighted in the media and partner with local pastors to bring relief to neglected communities.

Shine, pastor of Pine Forest Baptist Church in Onalaska, Texas, and Scottie Stice, pastor of Southwest Texas Cowboy Church in Uvalde, Texas, traveled Nov. 16 to work with Filipino pastor Nabanglo Driz. Shine leads the international disaster relief task force for Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Stice is the assistant state director of disaster relief for the convention.

First visitors

They were the first people to visit three mountain villages after the typhoon. On a rural road, their van passed a sign tacked to a post that read “Help Us.”

Facebook photo
The North Carolina team packed almost a ton of supplies, equipment, and gear to help the people of Tacloban with medical assistance and water purification at Bethany Hospital. The team packed Nov. 19-20 and left Nov. 20 to volunteer in Tacloban.

The houses in this area are perched on hilltops, which left them exposed to Typhoon Haiyan’s ferocious winds. People in these villages are still living in their collapsed homes. One family with a 1-month-old baby is living in a badly damaged hut not even tall enough for someone to kneel.

To get relief supplies, villagers must hike to the main road and carry the goods back down windy, bumpy paths.

In one village the team visited, the five concrete houses of Leonilo Liquigan and his extended family look as if a wrecking ball came through. People in the village came to his home because it was concrete and stronger, but even his concrete home was unable to withstand the storm.

Living without electricity, Liquigan said he’s cooked coconuts and taken the oil and inserted a wick to make candles. Shine holds Liquigan’s hand and prays a blessing over him. He asks God to “bring order where there is chaos.”

Survivor with a scar

In the village of Kapilya, 5-year-old John Carl Ulila plays with a plastic lid, a metal bolt and a rock. He does not have any toys. He is a survivor, but he carries a scar that he may have for the rest of his life.

During the typhoon, a flying piece of tin hit Ulila and cut his nose and cheek – coming dangerously close to his eye. His mother took him to a medical clinic but they were referred to a more expensive clinic the family could not afford.

They returned home without any medicine.

Stice noticed Ulila’s eye when he arrived at his home. He gave Ulila’s mother antibiotic cream to treat the wound.

Driz, the Filipino pastor, identified Kapilya as one of the neediest villages out of the nine he serves. There are 30 families in Kapilya, where a house church meets each week for worship. The gazebo they meet in was destroyed by the storm.

The closest water reservoir to Kapilya is 11 miles away. The village’s water system operates off of a pump, but because the power is down, it doesn’t work. Right now, Ulila’s mom says they are collecting rainwater to drink. Stice and Shine discussed having a pump station to help bring water closer.

Later that day, the team discussed how to handle aid relief and sharing the gospel among women in the area who aren’t open to hearing about Jesus. “The best ministry is to come build the house, share with her and tell her why you came and built the house,” Shine told Driz.

Driz believes this distribution project will open doors to the community. Many people close their hearts when they see him approach with a Bible, Driz said. Showing Christ’s love by helping the hurting is a bridge to sharing the gospel.

“With this project, I believe there will be more fruit,” Driz said.

Cowboys and pastors

That evening, Driz, Stice and Shine sat down and continued their discussion about the areas they visited. Shine asked questions to help Driz think through the rebuilding process and what resources they would need.

He encouraged Driz to use Filipino church members to deliver the relief supplies.

“By using an existing network, it is more effective,” Shine said. “The church is the best network in the world.”

Filipino churches know the people and the culture – and will be there after all the international aid workers and media have left, Shine said.

“What Western churches can do is provide the financial aid resources he [Driz] doesn’t have,” Shine said.

Shine encouraged Driz and his church to train others and then encourage them to pass the knowledge on – an approach to humanitarian aid that facilitates church planting.

The discussion then moved to what to include in relief kits – items every Filipino family must have in their kitchen to survive – and how best to transport the goods. Shine asked Driz to make himself available to minister to the families while others of his team are distributing supplies.

Driz, Stice and Shine formulated a plan for aid relief and packets to be delivered the following week. Baptist Global Response will purchase supplies for the relief packages with funds donated by supporters in the United States and elsewhere.

“We have full confidence in your ability to do this,” Shine told Driz.

N.C. efforts

A medical and water purification team departed for the Philippines on Nov. 20 to work in Tacloban at Bethany Hospital. The team of eight will assist with relief efforts and also assess future involvement for Baptists on Mission, also known as North Carolina Baptist Men, in this effort.

Medicine and water purification equipment has been purchased in order to provide much needed assistance. More than 100 personal/family water purifiers are targeted for distribution.

Prayer concerns were shared:
  • Pray for those affected to receive the help they need.
  • Pray also for the team that they may be effective in their service in both word and deed.
  • Pray that the team and all of the equipment arrive safely.
Visit to respond for North Carolina. Donations may be sent here.

The Burnt Swamp Baptist Association is collecting funds to be given directly to relief efforts as well. Designate funds for “Philippine Relief” and mail to Burnt Swamp Baptist Association, P.O. Box 1207, Pembroke, NC 28372.
Every dollar given toward Philippines disaster relief through the International Mission Board goes directly to meet needs, since IMB personnel are supported through churches’ gifts to the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Online giving can be accessed at

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Caroline Anderson writes for the IMB from Southeast Asia. Dianna L. Cagle, Biblical Recorder production editor, contributed to this report.)
11/21/2013 2:36:32 PM by Caroline Anderson, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

God intervened in HIV cure of baby, Hannah Gay believes

November 21 2013 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

JACKSON, Miss. – The continued good health of a Mississippi baby born with HIV causes Hannah Gay, the HIV specialist who treats the child, to speak of divine intervention.

The baby remains in remission more than 18 months after her last anti-viral treatment. “Hopefully we’ll be able to find out what it was about this case that was different from all the others that we’ve ever seen and be able to replicate that for other babies in the future.”

The 3-year-old’s continued lack of any replication of the virus indicates the first documented case of HIV remission in a child, The New England Journal of Medicine reported Oct. 23, fostering renewed hope that the child is permanently cured.

“The big question, of course is, ‘Is this child cured of HIV infection?’” the Journal article stated. “The best answer at this moment is a definitive ‘maybe.’”

Photograph courtesy of the University of Mississippi Medical Center
Pediatrician Hannah Gay, an associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, says she doesn’t know why God picked her, self-described the “shiest pediatrician in America,” to prescribe the treatment that has led to the continuing remission from HIV of a baby born with the disease three years ago.

Gay, an associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, was first credited in March with achieving a “functional” cure of the child, indicating the viral presence remained in the child but was no longer replicating. The viral presence was so low it could only have been detected by ultrasensitive methods, but not the standard clinical tests.

Gay treated the child, born to a mother who received no prenatal care, with an unprecedented, aggressive regimen of three anti-viral medications within 30 hours of birth three years ago. The mother discontinued treatment of the baby after 18 months, but when she returned the baby for treatment at 23 months tests revealed that the virus had not been replicating.

Gay has been in the spotlight for months because of the achievement. She presented a case study of the baby Nov. 5 to the prestigious Oxford Union in England, a forum for debate and discussion at Oxford University which has hosted an array of notables, including world leaders, since 1823.

The case gives Gay opportunities to share in general terms her faith in God, she told Baptist Press, and is further maturing her as a Christian.

“I think He’s teaching me submission with all of the speaking business. I don’t particularly like that, but it is an opportunity for me to be able to say ... when I treated this baby I was not even thinking of curing the baby. That was the furthest thing from my mind. I was simply trying to prevent infection and I failed at what I was trying to do,” she said, seeing failure in her inability to keep the baby from being born HIV-positive. “However, my failure in God’s hands turned into a miracle. And it was God that cured the baby and I just happened to be standing close by at the time.”

The pediatrician, who served six years as a Baptist medical missionary in the Horn of Africa 20 years ago, said she doesn’t know why God is using her for such a public task as breaking barriers in the cure of pediatric HIV.

“I still have no idea why He picked the shiest pediatrician in America to do this, but I suppose I’ll find out in heaven,” she said. “I am by basic nature very shy. And fortunately I have a husband [Paul Gay] who is very outgoing and well-spoken. So in most cases I depend on him to do the talking. But the problem is in this particular case, he’s an accountant and he knows nothing about pediatric HIV disease.”

She and her husband continue to teach Bible drill at Trace Ridge Baptist Church in Ridgeland, Miss. A sermon her pastor Steve Street delivered in March, shortly after Gay was credited with achieving the functional cure, reminded her of Moses’ reticence for the spotlight.

“The first Sunday back when I went to church I found that my pastor was ... just starting a series of sermons from Exodus. And on that first sermon he started preaching about the call of Moses, and God saying to Moses, ‘What’s that in your hand?’ and Moses said, ‘It’s just a stick, God.’

“And then God proved to Moses that He can use just a stick to get water from a rock, or to part the Red Sea, or whatever. So with Moses protesting all along the way, ‘God I can’t talk,’ God sent him anyway,” Gay said.

“I have felt very much like that and I can’t tell you that I’m happy with the idea of having to be the one on the speaker’s stage all the time. I’m still not happy with it, but there have been a lot of things that I have learned,” she said. “Yeah, I can’t talk but God is providing words.”

Still, she has welcomed venues in Mississippi, where she’s using the platform to encourage prenatal care.

“I’ve been able here in Mississippi, in my own backyard, to really promote the prevention and get the message out there [that] all women need to get ... prenatal care. They need to be tested for HIV during every pregnancy and, if positive, they need to be treated,” Gay said. “So I’m giving the prevention message out here in Mississippi and that’s something that I’ve wanted to do, because we’re much more interested in preventing HIV rather than curing it.”

Gay continues to monitor the child, whose identity has remained anonymous, and sends samples of the patient’s blood to labs of her colleagues for ultrasensitive studies.

“I see the child on a regular basis, but several times a year I will be continuing to send samples of her blood to their research labs so that they can do these ultrasensitive tests,” Gay said, “and in that way I’m better able to maybe get some early indication that, yeah, her virus may be getting ready to come back. And if that’s the case, then I’ll know to start medicines right away. But hopefully it’s not going to happen.”

Deborah Persaud, a virologist and pediatric HIV expert at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, is chairman of the cure committee of the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Network that will conduct a trial in early 2014 to determine whether the early, aggressive treatment of pediatric HIV can be termed a cure.

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ staff writer.)
11/21/2013 2:16:51 PM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

Troutman Baptist girls place ‘Hero Rocks’ on graves

November 21 2013 by Donna Swicegood, Special to the Recorder

Many children their age enjoyed a holiday away from school on Nov. 11, but a group of girls from Troutman Baptist Church learned the reason behind the day off.
The girls went to the Salisbury National Cemetery the morning of Nov. 11 and put specially painted rocks on the graves of some of the veterans.
This is an annual tradition that started four years ago, said leader Marcia Perrell.
A member of the church, Dale Wilson, served in Vietnam and lost both legs and one arm in combat. His wife, Linda, heard about the project, called Hero Rocks, and brought the idea to Troutman Baptist.
“We thought it was a real nice project,” Perrell said. “Since we are so close to the National Cemetery, we decided we’d be able to do that.”

Some of the girls in the Troutman Baptist Church Girls in Action program painted “Hero Rocks” that were placed on the graves of veterans at the Salisbury National Cemetery on Nov. 11. On the front row, from left are Emma Hutchens, Quincy Sherrill and Emma McMullen; back row, Lily Landis, Kaitlyn Landis, Kaite Dickinson and Grace Hutchens.

She said it is a great way for the girls to learn about the role veterans play in the nation and to show gratitude for their service.
Perrell said the last three years, when the girls have placed the rocks on graves, they’ve come across family members who are visiting on Veterans Day.
Many of the families are overwhelmed, Perrell said. “One lady could not even talk, she was so touched,” she said.
The pastor at Troutman Baptist, Steve Kramm, said he is proud of the girls and the adult leaders. He said they are practicing Christ-like ideals in being grateful and paying tribute to others.
As the father of two sons, Ethan and Ben, who are in the National Guard, Kramm said this is a personal project for him.
Kaitlyn Landis and Katie Dickinson went to the cemetery for their second year.
While neither may totally grasp the significance of honoring the veterans, both said they are learning valuable lessons.
“It teaches me to be nice to everybody,” Kaitlyn, a third grader, said.
Katie, who is in the fourth grade, said it feels good to pass out the rocks. This year, the girls will also be honoring a church member who is now in Hospice care, David Morgan. For the past three years, Morgan has accompanied the girls to put one of the rocks on his wife Jessie’s grave.
Perrell said Morgan, who is a veteran, was in the thoughts of the girls as they traveled to Salisbury on Nov. 11.
The rocks, each painted red, white and blue with the word “Hero” on the front, are a project that takes a couple of days to complete but the memories created for family members and the girls are longer lasting, Kramm said.
“It is a Christ-like attitude to show respect for those that paid the sacrifice of serving their country,” he said.
The members of the Troutman Baptist Church Girls in Action group are: First graders – Emma Hutchens, Lily Landis, Quincy Sherrill and Emma McMullen; second-graders, Addison Lippard and Abby Sharpe; third-graders, Grace Hutchens and Kaitlyn Landis; four-graders Katie Dickinson, Rhylie Keller, GraceAnn Patrick and Trinity Tevepaugh; and fifth-graders, Rachel Adkins and Everette Sherrill. The leaders are Kimberly Benfield, Misty Hutchens, Terry Lyons, Marcia Perrell and Andrea Sherrill.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – This story originally appeared Nov. 8 on the Statesville Record & Landmark website.)
11/21/2013 2:07:34 PM by Donna Swicegood, Special to the Recorder | with 0 comments

Camp Caraway earns ACA accreditation

November 20 2013 by Caraway Conference Center

The American Camp Association® (ACA) announced recently that Camp Caraway has received ACA-Accredited® Camp status for 2014-2016.
“ACA Accreditation means that Camp Caraway submitted to a thorough (up to 300 standards) review of its operation by the American Camp Association (ACA) – from staff qualifications and training to emergency management – and complied with the highest standards in the industry,” said Cindy Moore, National Standards Commission.
“Parents expect their children to attend accredited schools. They also deserve a camp experience that is reviewed and accredited by an expert, independent organization,” Moore said.
Camp Caraway and ACA form a partnership that promotes growth and fun in an environment committed to safety,” said Jeremy Jackson, associate director for camp operations, “ACA accreditation demonstrates our commitment to quality camp programming.”
Camp Caraway was founded in 1963 and is located in Randolph County. The camp is in operation year-round and offers weekend and week-long programs, as well as retreat and conference hosting services.

ACA is the only independent accrediting organization reviewing camp operations in the country. Call (336) 629-2374 or visit
11/20/2013 1:26:12 PM by Caraway Conference Center | with 0 comments

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