EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each Monday from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today’s BP Ledger includes items from:
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief
United Methodist Church
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief
to join New Madrid Seismic Zone exercise
ALPHARETTA, Ga.–The week of May 16-20, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief will participate along with many other governmental, private and non-profit organizations in NLE 2011. This exercise will be centered around the scenario of a major earthquake along the New Madrid fault. The New Madrid fault runs along the Mississippi river around Memphis, TN and St. Louis, MO. In 1811-12 major earthquakes occurred along this fault line causing church bells to ring as far away as Charleston, SC and the Mississippi River to turn and flow north.
Much planning has gone into this exercise and it is clear that should there actually be a major earthquake here it would stretch the capabilities of all disaster response organizations.
No units will be deployed during the May 16-20 exercise, but state conventions and unit directors may be asked what it would take for them to respond. Exercises of these types help us to be able to look for issues and make corrections before a disaster occurs. If you, your church or business would like to be involved, you can go to the FEMA website for information.
Baker named winner of 2011 Novak Award
By Tim Ellsworth
JACKSON, Tenn.–The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty has named Union University professor Hunter Baker the 2011 recipient of the Novak Award.
According to a news release from the organization, the Novak Award “rewards new outstanding research by scholars early in their academic careers who demonstrate outstanding intellectual merit in advancing the understanding of theology’s connection to human dignity, the importance of limited government, religious liberty, and economic freedom.”
Baker, who is associate dean of arts and sciences and associate professor of political science, will present the institute’s annual Calihan Lecture. The award is named after distinguished American theologian and social philosopher Michael Novak.
“I hope to live up to Michael Novak’s fine example in terms of both his intellectual acuity and the diligence embodied by his work ethic,” Baker said. “I am also pleased to bring this award to Union University, which is the kind of institution that encourages Christian thoughtfulness about public issues.”
Baker is the author of a widely acclaimed book entitled “The End of Secularism” (Crossway Academic, 2009) and a frequent contributor to a variety of scholarly publications.
Union University President David S. Dockery nominated Baker for the award.
“With the publication of ‘The End of Secularism,’ along with his other writings, Professor Hunter Baker has established himself as one of the most significant and well-reasoned voices for the place of religion and faith in our nation’s public square,” Dockery said. “He often brings illuminating clarity to the confusion regarding matters of religion and politics.”
Dockery said Baker also regularly offers thoughtful analysis about the meaning and place of pluralism in public deliberations.
“The Union University community joins me in offering our heartiest congratulations to Hunter Baker on being named the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Novak Award,” Dockery said.
Exodus celebrates 60th Love Won Out Conference in Phoenix, AZ
— Conference continues to offer compassionate and biblical response to homosexuality
ORLANDO, Fla.–Exodus International, the global Christian ministry whose mission is mobilizing the Church to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality, is celebrating a major milestone — the 60th Love Won Out conference. The event was held at Church for the Nations in Phoenix, AZ on February 19th.
Homosexuality is one of the most complex, controversial and challenging issues facing individuals, families and churches today. While the church was previously reluctant to address the taboo topic, Love Won Out conferences helped to bring the issue to the forefront. Since 1998 the conference has been a vehicle to encourage and equip individuals to stand on biblical truth regarding sexuality AND also reach out in a Christ-like manner to those affected or impacted by homosexuality. In our current culture of incivility Exodus believes the need to offer both a compassionate and biblical response to homosexuality is essential.
In the last 13 years Love Won Out has traveled to more than 60 cities and 6 countries. It has inspired, encouraged and educated over 60,000 people. In addition to those who have attended a Love Won Out Conference, the event has been broadcast worldwide on GODTV and the Love Won Out booklet series and conference recordings have sold more than 100,000 copies. In 2009 Focus on the Family, who originally launched the conference, asked Exodus International, their partner in the event since the beginning, to take the reigns in running the popular conference.
When asked about the longevity of the Love Won Out conferences, Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International, said, “People increasingly have questions about sexuality and faith. Love Won Out has been a vehicle that has provided answers for individuals struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions, friends and family members impacted by homosexuality as well as ministry leaders wanting to be equipped to minster effectively.”
Noted speakers at the event included former homosexual and Exodus International President Alan Chambers, California-based author and counselor Joe Dallas, Exodus’ Senior Director of Church Equipping Jeff Buchanan, Mike Goeke of Cross Power Ministries and Anne Paulk, author of Restoring Sexual Identity: Hope for Women Struggling with Same-Sex Attraction. Angela and Leon Yuan will also be sharing a personal and inspiring testimony.
Rushing earns 300th career win at LC
PINEVILLE, La.–Louisiana College men’s basketball coach Gene Rushing earned the 300th win of his career Feb. 5 when his team defeated LeTourneau 65-51.
Rushing, who has been the head coach at Louisiana College since 1985, was formerly a player and later an assistant under Billy Allgood, a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
“Coach Rushing was coaching here when I was still a student at Louisiana College,” Louisiana College President Joe Aguillard said. “He’s an institution within this college who stands for morals and an uncompromising faith. He is a plumb-line for right and wrong for the young men that he influences every day.”
Rushing expressed his gratitude for his current and former players.
“They’ve meant so much to me as I’ve traveled down this coaching road,” Rushing said. “I appreciate all of the assistant coaches I’ve had over the years. They’ve helped me immensely in this process.”
Rushing also thanked the Louisiana College administration and fans.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have been at Louisiana College as long as I have,” he said. “This college has meant so much to me and my family all these years. I could never begin to repay them.”
United Methodists called to ‘Alcohol Free Lent’ for 2011
— Congregations urged to set up ‘Spirit Fund’ to raise money equivalent to cost of ‘spirits’ not consumed during Lent.
WASHINGTON, D.C.–The General Board of Church & Society has issued a call for United Methodists to have an “Alcohol Free Lent.”
The call is inspired by Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, N.C., whose members responded to their own “Alcohol Free Lent” challenge several years ago. The congregation created a “Spirit Fund” to which members could contribute the equivalent cost of “spirits” that they did not drink during Lent.
“We were inspired by the faithful story of Myers Park UMC in challenging members to give up alcohol for Lent and by the results of that challenge,” said the Rev. Cynthia Abrams, director of GBCS’s work area on Alcohol, Other Addictions & Health Care. “Not only was money raised to aid those battling alcoholism, it gave rise to reflection among church members about the role and prevalence of alcohol in their own lives.”
Dr. James Howell, senior pastor, issued the challenge to the Myers Park congregation. “How do we unwittingly harm our children?” he asked. “It could just be by the way we consume alcohol, and not just that we drink, or how much we drink, but all the fond meanings we attach to drinking.”
Howell, a member of GBCS’s board of directors, said he issued the challenge in a sermon on Leviticus 6: Instead of a cocktail before dinner, drink water and put $6 into a Spirit Fund jar; instead of a glass or two of wine at night, put $7 in the fund; instead of a cooler of beer while watching basketball, have soft drinks and invest the $24 in the jar.
“The next year, we broadened the challenge to the entire city of Charlotte,” Howell said. “The local newspaper gave us some coverage. We contacted pastors and lay leaders of as many congregations as we could to ask them to join us. If nothing else, a robust conversation was sparked on the role alcohol plays in the life of our city.”
The call to an “Alcohol Free Lent” is mindful of the legacy of this important work, according to Abrams. She said the call enhances, rather than conflicts with contemporary alcohol-prevention advocacy work.
Abrams called the challenge provocative. “The call to remain Alcohol Free during Lent is meant to inspire an international discussion among United Methodists,” she said. “It is to encourage them to grapple with the ‘elephant in the room’: alcohol use among our members.”
Frank conversations are unlikely to happen without some sort of bold action, according to Abrams. “We hope that the conversation raises awareness and sheds light on the efforts of the alcohol industry to permeate society and influence our choices about alcohol usage,” she said. “This is particularly worth discussing as it relates to the industry’s efforts to encourage underage drinking.”
Abrams encourages congregations and individuals to establish a Spirit Fund in conjunction with the Lenten challenge. Proceeds could benefit a local recovery/addiction prevention project or one of the worthy national projects listed in the Alcohol Free Lent section of GBCS’s Web site.
To become involved register your church’s participation: Alcohol Free Lent (www.umc-gbcs.org/alcoholfreelent).
The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center at the United Nations.