Erin Curry

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CULTURE DIGEST: Organizers say Target boycott was successful; Falwell joins Liberty Counsel’s fight for Christmas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--An endeavor to send Target and other major retail chains a message is being considered a success by Christians who took offense at the store’s refusal to allow the phrase “Merry Christmas” to be used in their in-store promotions and retail advertising this year.

Baptisms on the rise as church experiences revival

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Adding to the number
Brent Williams, pastor of Grace Southern Baptist Church in Virden, Ill., baptizes a new believer -– one of more than 60 to accept Christ during the past two years as revival has broken out in the church. Photo courtesy of Grace Southern Baptist Church
VIRDEN, Ill. (BP)--Revival has swept into a small church in rural Illinois as more than 60 people have professed Jesus as Lord within the past two years, and the pastor says it’s because the congregation decided that God’s plans for the church are more important than their own.
      Grace Southern Baptist Church in Virden, Ill., a town of 3,500 people about 20 miles south of Springfield, was striving to have 100 people for a Sunday service two years ago, but now they easily surpass 200 each week.
      “It’s amazing over the last two years what God has done,” Brent Williams, pastor of Grace, told Baptist Press. “I’m originally from Arkansas and grew up in church in the Bible Belt, and what I’ve found out over the last two years of being here is that people are so receptive to the Gospel, that their ears and their minds are open to hear about the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

Squanto, the Indian vital to Thanksgiving story, parallels Joseph in Old Testament

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--In elementary school, most Americans learn that an Indian named Squanto played a key role in the first Thanksgiving by teaching the Pilgrims how to grow the food they enjoyed at the historic feast. But a closer look at the character’s life discloses a strong parallel to the story of Joseph in the Old Testament.
      In a portion of his 13-week educational curriculum on early American history titled “The Spirit of America,” Kenyn M. Cureton recounts the story of the Pilgrims, Squanto and Thanksgiving with a special emphasis on the role of the Christian faith.

Baptists in Biloxi give away 17,000 free turkeys, share Gospel

BILOXI, Miss. (BP)--Southern Baptist volunteers gave away 17,000 Thanksgiving turkeys in a two-day event in Biloxi, Miss., that culminated with a worship service featuring Christian music artists Newsong and Clay Crosse and country music singer Mark Wills and a message by pastor Johnny Hunt Nov. 21-22.

CULTURE DIGEST: Democrat wears faith on sleeve & wins Va. race; Methodist bishops repent over Iraq war

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Some Democrats seem pleased with how their first real experimentation with faith since the 2004 presidential election turned out after Lt. Gov. Timothy Kaine, the Democratic candidate in the race for governor of Virginia earlier this month, wore his religion on his sleeve and came away with the victory.

Church sees 2 women come to Christ after impact of Katrina

AVONDALE, La. (BP)--A small church in the New Orleans area has seen two middle-aged women realize their need for a personal relationship with Jesus through the turmoil of Hurricane Katrina and the ministry that came along afterward. Both have reported obvious differences in their outlook on life now that they know the peace only God can provide.

Welch continues churches tour, urging Baptists to share Jesus

OWENSBORO, Ky. (BP)--Bobby Welch, continuing his visits to churches across the Southern Baptist Convention, has kept his focus on urging Christians to get out of their pews and into the streets where neighbors, family members and strangers are searching for meaning and purpose in life.

CULTURE DIGEST: Sex scenes on TV double since ’98; New poll says children of divorce have more problems

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--The number of sexual scenes on television has nearly doubled since 1998, according to a biennial study by the Kaiser Family Foundation which also found that 70 percent of all shows include some sexual content, up from 56 percent seven years ago.

CULTURE DIGEST: Jeb Bush urges kids to read ‘Narnia’; Denver vote to legalize marijuana possession has roadblock

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--It seems Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is a C.S. Lewis fan. Just as the film version of Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is set for release in theaters, Bush is urging school children to read the book as part of his “Just Read, Florida!” initiative.

Leaders say abstinence is key to decline in teen pregnancies

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Children born out of wedlock today are more likely to have mothers in their early 20s than teens, according to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics that prompted leaders of the True Love Waits abstinence movement to point to virginity pledges as a leading factor in the reduction of teen pregnancies.