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:
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
University of Mobile
Religious Communicators Council
June Richards Scholarship to benefit women at SWBTS
By Bonnie Pritchett, TEXAN Correspondent
FORT WORTH, Texas–In a gentle voice true to her northern Louisiana upbringing, June Richards said she was humbled by and grateful for the establishment of a scholarship that will bear her name at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The seed money for the June Richards Endowed Scholarship came from Dorothy Patterson, who wanted to honor Richards for her commitment to the Lord’s work as exemplified in her life as wife, mother and selfless partner in the work of her husband, SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards.
“I am so grateful. I just teared up,” Richards said when she recalled Patterson privately telling her of plans for the scholarship during the 2010 SBTC Annual Meeting last November.
Somewhat taken aback by the recognition, Richards asked, “Who am I?”
But Patterson, professor of theology in women’s studies and wife of SWBTS President Paige Patterson, already had an answer. She was at the SBTC meeting to address the annual women’s luncheon. Knowing her audience was filled with pastors’ wives and women serving their churches and communities, Patterson seized the opportunity to encourage them by recognizing their often behind-the-scenes work—as typified by June Richards.
In a January letter addressed to Jim Richards, Patterson expounded upon her reasons for singling out his wife.
“She is the epitome of what I am trying to teach in my student wives class. … I have attempted to prepare young women to be helpers and partners with their ministry husbands in the work of the Lord. Your June has certainly done that.”
Paige Patterson concurred: “June Richards embodies all those qualities that the Bible features as the classic understanding of biblical womanhood. As a consistent support and encouragement to her husband, a magnificent mother and a woman who walks close to the Lord, June Richards’ exemplary lifestyle is one that we honor here at Southwestern. Indeed, Mrs. Patterson has so profited from June’s life and witness that she really felt that we needed to honor June and help students in this way. Hopefully, Southwestern will graduate an army of young women who will follow in June Richards’ steps.”
The role of wife, encourager and prayer partner is a life Richards seemed to seamlessly assume after a “whirlwind” romance that began her first day of school at Baptist Christian College (now Louisiana Baptist University). That was the day she met Jim Richards. And, after just three dates, she accepted his proposal of marriage.
It was during those early days of marriage, school and childrearing that June said she would have appreciated the financial support of scholarships like the one being offered in her name. Especially gratifying is knowing the scholarship will help women called to ministry or wives of pastors, she said.
As her husband worked toward his advanced degrees, pastored for 21 years in Louisiana, preached revivals, and traveled to all 50 states and 19 countries, Richards readily took on a variety of roles to support and enhance those ministries.
She recalled serving as pianist, children’s director, bus captain (“When we had such things,” she said.), and Sunday School teacher—all while raising their three children and maintaining their home. Richards set aside her career as a grade school teacher to commit to full-time work as a mother and the wife of a pastor.
The role is not one that can be planned like a career after college.
Richards said if women “focus and die to self” they can discern the will of God. “I’m not trying to be pious or super spiritual. She will be able to say, ‘Yes, Lord’ and prepare herself. [She] will have such a servant’s heart,” she said.
Two women who most influenced and encouraged Richards were her mother, Ruth Swain, and mother-in-law, Betty Richards.
It was her mother who showed her, through example, how to be a lady and how to take her petitions to the Lord.
She would speak out loud to the Lord,” Richards recalled.
As her mother was her spiritual mentor, Richards’ mother-in-law instructed her in the more practical matters of how to run a house and home. With the foundation of prayer and the framework of organization, Richards established a home that is a “haven from the rest of the world.”
Though she cannot speak individually to all those who will be recipients of the scholarship, Richards wanted to convey the very crucial nature of the role a woman accepts when she marries a pastor.
“A woman can make or break a man,” she said. Richards has had to keep many things private, especially any criticism she might have of her husband. Being publically critical of a pastor-husband can harm not only the marriage relationship but the husband’s relationship with his congregation. Even in private, Richards urged wives and wives-to-be to temper their criticism with kindness.
More often than not, Richards said, taking her concerns to the Lord in prayer first solved an issue before it became a problem.
For children brought up in a pastor’s home, Richards said, prayer cannot be overemphasized. Citing Job’s prayers and offerings to the Lord on behalf of his children, Richards said she prays God will protect her three adult children, her two sons-in-law, and her grandchildren from the distractions of this world.
It is through prayer that Richards most simply and dramatically assists in the ministries of her husband—ministries that she has made her own. Jim Richards has been the SBTC executive director since the inception of the convention in 1998. And though not a staff member, June Richards has taken on the job of praying for every convention staff member by name. She prays through each department, calling for God’s provision as they seek to do his work.
Knowing it will be wives and single women who will benefit from the June Richards Endowed Scholarship, Richards entreated all to seek God’s face, submitting their lives to him and the role God would have them play in the lives of others.
Mike Hughes, SWBTS vice president for institutional advancement, said in an e-mail statement: “The formulation of the June Richards Endowed Scholarship, as in many of our scholarships for women, is a unique way to honor the life and influence of the women in our lives while at the same time investing in the lives of tomorrow’s women who will continue that legacy.”
Once the endowed fund reaches $10,000, the scholarship will be awarded to women studying within Southwestern’s biblical homemaking program. If there is not a qualified applicant in that track any given year, the scholarship will be awarded to a woman studying in any other field at SWBTS.
Southwestern, Hughes said, welcomes all contributions to this endowed scholarship or the creation of new scholarships in an effort to honor the lives and legacies of others.
Heritage Foundation Conference Highlights Practical Ideas to Impact Community
By Amy Wright
MOBILE, Ala. –Students and members of the Mobile community learned practical ideas about effectively impacting the community during the “Seek the Welfare of the City” conference held Feb. 10 and 11 featuring keynote speakers Jay Richards and Ryan Messmore.
The University of Mobile was selected to host the conference by the Heritage Foundation, a research and educational institution whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies. The event was hosted by the UMobile Center for Leadership and the Twelve23 Movement.
Richards, author of “Money, Greed and God: Why Capitalism Is The Solution And Not The Problem,” addressed the topic, “When Good Intentions Aren’t Good Enough.”
Richards urged listeners to study legislative policies and consider possible unintended implications.
“If we can learn to ask, ‘and then what will happen?'” said Richards, “then we can make a difference.”
Messmore, the William E. Simon fellow in religion and a free society at The Heritage Foundation, gave a lecture titled, “My Neighbor’s Keeper,” in which listeners were given a practical understanding of how to seek the welfare of the city through nurturing right relationships in the family, community and society as a whole.
“Justice, at its core, is about restoring the foundation of relationships that human beings need to thrive,” said Messmore.
He discussed the necessity of governments to facilitate a free society in which citizens can help one another restore broken relationships within homes and communities, but ultimately, “governments cannot provide love,” said Messmore.
A wide array of panelists presented practical ideas on restoring justice to the community through families, churches, education, business, welfare reform, and strategic partnerships.
Audience members were encouraged to take personal responsibility in seeking the welfare of the city. Messmore concluded, “Government protects what civil society cultivates. Civil society cultivates nothing less than justice.”
Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution-a think tank-whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.
The University of Mobile Center for Leadership was founded in 2010 to bring national attention to the goal of helping leaders fulfill their responsibility to God as American citizens. The Twelve23 Movement, a project of the UMobile Center for Leadership, focuses on the need for a spiritually transformed nation and how individuals can start that transformation. For more information, visit www.twelve23.org.
Campbellsville University signs agreement with St. John’s College in Belize
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Campbellsville University recently signed an agreement for academic exchange and cooperation with St. John’s Junior College, located in Belize City, Belize.
“St. John’s College is considered to be the best junior college in the country,” Dr. Frank Cheatham, vice president for academic affairs at Campbellsville University, said. Cheatham travelled to Belize to sign the agreement with St. John’s President Frank Garbutt.
Few individuals who receive associate degrees in Belize have the opportunity to complete their bachelor degrees within the country, he said. Because of this, many students in Belize come to the United States to complete their bachelor’s degrees.
The agreement states: “The two institutions, based on the principles of respect for each other’s independence and of mutual benefit, will engage in the following activities: exchange of students and academic staff, joint research activities, and exchange and joint development of academic materials.”
“It is our hope that some of the better students from St. John’s will find CU attractive,” Cheatham said. “This would benefit both CU and St. John’s by giving their students additional opportunities.”
Dr. DeWayne Frazier, associate vice president for academic affairs at Campbellsville University, also went to Belize for the signing. He said students from St. John’s Junior College would come to Campbellsville University and complete their bachelor’s degree.
“There is only one true university in Belize, University of Belize, and one small for profit group, Galen. They have little options to complete a bachelor’s degree in the country.”
Frazier said, “CU will benefit from the transfer of extremely bright Belizean students.” Dianne Lindo, provost and chief academic officer at St. John’s College, said, “St. John’s College and Campbellsville University share many commonalities in our missions: we both cherish our liberal arts grounding and our focus on personal growth, academic excellence, lifelong learning and service; and we both strive to expose our students to the wider world and its varied opportunities for service and leadership. St. John’s College welcomes the agreement for academic exchange and cooperation with Campbellsville University as a way to expand opportunities for students of our institutions to pursue their educational and life goals.”
Frazier said, “Belize is a great location for faculty exchange programs and study abroad. Belize offers a great location to study Africa Diaspora, Caribbean cultural and environmental studies and British Colonial history.”
Dr. Keith Spears, vice president for regional and professional education at Campbellsville University, also went to Belize for the signing.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with over 3,000 students offering 63 undergraduate programs, 17 master’s degrees and five postgraduate areas. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.
Al-Jazeera Head to Open Religion Communicators Council Convention
NEW YORK, N.Y.–Dr. Abderrahim Foukara, Head of Operations for Al-Jazerra’s United States Branch, will open the 2011 Religion Communicators Council (RCC) Convention. Speaking on the topic, “Worldwide Communications in the New Millennia,” Foukara will share insights building on his experience working for the media outlets Al-Jazerra and BBC, along with his reputation as a valued international event analyst. He will discuss his observations of the fast moving events in Egypt and the Middle East.
The 82nd RCC annual convention, “Communicating Outside the Box” will be held March 31-April 2, 2011 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The convention boasts an impressive array of speakers and workshops addressing the effects of technological advances, social media, economic pressures, and political developments on religious communicators and the communities they serve.
In addition to Foukara, plenary speakers include Paul Monteiro, Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, James “Skip” Rutherford, William J. Clinton Professor and Dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service and Lorri Allen, author of Be A Newsmaker: Master the Media with Clarity, Command, & Credibility.