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:
California Southern Baptist
International Mission Board
Oklahoma Baptist University
Retired Calif. evangelism director dies
By Terry Barone
FRESNO, Calif. (California Southern Baptist)–Harry Williams, retired California Southern Baptist Convention evangelism director, died at his home on Saturday, May 28. He was 84.
Williams served the state convention from December 1969 through August 1991, and may be remembered best for initiating Summer Evangelism Teams of high school and college students who served churches in California and Nevada.
Wendell Foss, CSBC retired associate executive director who worked closely with Williams during his almost 22-year tenure, said Williams also was innovative in relation to the State Evangelism Conference and helping to disciple new believers.
Foss noted that Williams invited contemporary speakers and musicians to the State Evangelism Conferences because “he was a great supporter of what was then considered innovative churches and young ministers entering the ministry. Harry was willing to work with and for them because he saw the need for new ideas and new innovations for new generations. He knew these young ministers were our future as a convention and he was very interested in bringing them along.”
Monty McWhorter, an associate in the evangelism department with Williams, echoed Foss’s statement about discipleship for new believers. “Harry encouraged the use of one-to-one disciple-making materials for our churches, which gives the biblical basis for disciple-making and describes the need for personal follow-up.”
McWhorter said Williams should be remembered for his commitment to lay renewal. “California was the premiere state Baptist convention to emphasize lay renewal. And we were one of the best because of Harry,” McWhorter said
However, the Summer Evangelism Teams may have had the greatest impact of his CSBC ministry. From 1971 until 1993 (after his retirement), almost 400 young men and women representing nearly 70 high schools and colleges, universities and seminaries from 15 states served on various teams. They conducted about 2,100 meetings including revivals, Vacation Bible Schools, camps and other evangelistic activities.
Some students served as many as four summers. A SET Reunion is scheduled June 6-7 at Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest and is being hosted by Rick Warren, Saddleback pastor, who served as a SET member.
Williams was to have presided at the reunion, but instead will be memorialized at the beginning of the event.
McWhorter said Williams was a “good trainer who took seriously the responsibility of teaching younger people how to be effective in evangelism and ministry.”
Foss noted Williams was “single-minded in purpose and one never doubted where he stood on an issue and always backed his beliefs with strong Christian principles. He was one of the most consistent people I’ve ever known. As his supervisor, I found Harry to be a very cooperative team player. He was a good man to serve on the CSBC staff.”
Likewise, McWhorter, who served as interim evangelism director after Williams retired, said, “Harry was one of the most godly men I’ve ever had the privilege of ministering with. When out on assignment with Harry, you always started the day on your knees before the Lord in prayer. That was the kind of man he was.”
“Harry was constantly trying to improve his method of witnessing. A very gentle man, he always wanted to be bolder in witnessing,” according to McWhorter
A native of Tennessee, Williams studied at the University of Tennessee and graduated from Georgia Tech. He also graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.
An electrical engineer before surrendering to the ministry, Williams served one church in Oklahoma and four in California – Anderson Valley Baptist Church in Booneville, 1955-1957; First Baptist Church in Sonoma, 1957-1961; Immanuel Baptist Church in Antioch, 1961-1967; and Elmhurst Baptist Church in Hayward, 1967-1969.
Williams was a vice president of the Southern Baptist General Convention of California, vice president of the State Ministers Conference (now Pastors’ Conference) and a member of the Southern Baptist Convention Committee on Committees.
Before becoming director of evangelism, Williams served six years as a special worker for the CSBC evangelism department, was an associational chairman of evangelism for 12 years, served as the national president of the Fellowship of Southern Baptist State Evangelism Directors in 1981 and was a national church renewal consultant for the SBC Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board).
Visitation is scheduled for Thursday, June 2 from 4-8 p.m. at Whitehurst, Sullivan, Burns & Blair Funeral Home, 1525 E. Saginaw Way, Fresno CA 93704.
A memorial service is slated for 3 p.m. on June 3 at NorthPointe Community Church, 4625 W. Palo Alto Ave., Fresno CA 93722, and at 1 p.m. on June 6 at Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest CA.
Preceded in death by his first wife, Maxine, Williams is survived by his wife, Joyce, whom he married in 2002; a daughter; a son; three stepdaughters; a stepson; three grandchildren; eight step-grandchildren; and two sisters.
Remembrances may be sent to the NorthPointe Community Church office, 5470 W. Spruce #105, Fresno CA 93722.
Condolences may be offered by signing the “Guest Book” in the upper right corner of the funeral home’s Web page: http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Harry-Williams&lc=7024&pid=151426613&mid=4692466&locale=en-US
South Asia News Prayer Requests (International Mission Board), February 2011, http://www.go2southasia.org
BANGLADESH. Pray for a group of American university students who are giving their summer to reach out to Bangladeshi students. These Christian youth have a God-given passion to see the lost around them come to know their Savior and Lord. They will learn to dress differently, speak some of the local language and adapt appropriate cultural norms in order to be able to share best with them about Christ. Pray that God will use these beautiful hands and feet to guide many others who are lost in their sins to the light of Christ. The student volunteers will also spend time with some of the Christian youth. They are a small minority in Bangladesh and don’t seem to live their faith. Pray that God will spark new passion in their lives through the testimony and witness of those who come to share His love. Pray for a revival among this next generation of the church.
BHUTAN. Pray for the government of Bhutan and his majesty the king of Bhutan. Pray that they will gain wisdom from God and that they will submit to and understand the one true God! “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (I Timothy 2:1-2).
DIASPORA.You have probably met them at convenience stores or budget motels. Yes, more than 37 million South Asians now live outside their “home countries” (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan). They might be recent immigrants, struggling to learn the language and navigate the government system of their host country, or they might be descendents of immigrants who occasionally visit the home of their ancestors. Four major faiths are represented–Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism–and there are some Jesus-followers. In order for there to be rapid reproduction of believers and churches throughout the South Asian Diaspora, more national partners (South Asian and local) need to be identified and trained. Please pray that such partners will be found and trained. Please ask the Father to place a burden on the hearts of His people for reaching South Asian immigrants who live near them.
INDIA. A recent news article stated that in the state of Punjab, more than 70 percent of the youth are addicted to drugs. What a staggering number of young people who are trying to fill the void in their lives with something that will ultimately leave them even more broken and empty! Please pray for these young people, asking that they will have opportunities to hear the Gospel and open hearts to receive it. Pray that the devil will not be able to blind the eyes of their hearts and lure them away with promises of false fulfillment. Ask for boldness among the local believers so that they will reach out to these young people with the only One who can really fulfill them: Jesus.
MALDIVES. The biggest national industry in Maldives is tourism. Nearly 100 resort islands cater to about 600,000 mostly up-market visitors annually. The best time to visit Maldives is between December to April. Pray that travelers going to Maldives would be an influence for good, not evil. Pray that more believers will travel to the islands with a purpose and share the Good News with those who have never heard!
NEPAL. There will be many volunteer teams scattered across Nepal this month — some working in cities, some in villages, some doing evangelism where there are no believers. Some teams will be doing discipleship training in areas where there are only a few believers, assisting in new church formation. They will likely be stretched mentally, physically and spiritually. Please pray that these teams will be ready for the challenges they will encounter as they come and work in Nepal.
PAKISTAN. “All they asked was they should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do” (Galatians 2:10). Please pray during the month of June for one community living in extreme poverty in the city, with little access to water and hardly any access to clean drinking water. As clean water is being shared with families, please claim Matthew 11:5: “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” Ask that this community will be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that God’s glory will be made known.
SRI LANKA. Through Andrew’s witness, Peter discovered the truth, and later, Peter was given access by God to a multitude who would visit Jerusalem to celebrate the “Feast of Weeks” (Pentecost). With courage, Peter declared to the crowd that forgiveness was available through faith in Jesus. Wow! That one message from one simple man would result in the salvation of 3,000 souls. Can you see the significance of Andrew’s witness to Peter, and how it led to this exciting spiritual awakening? Please pray for Sri Lankan believers who are seeking out men and women for whom they can be “Andrews.” Already in seven of the nine provinces of Sri Lanka, believers have been trained as “Andrews” to pray for and share the Gospel with the “Peters” in their lives. Ask God to empower them as they witness and to bring many to faith as a result! Pray that God will cause house churches to be started in every district in Sri Lanka.
BANGALORE HOSPITAL (BBH). Pray for the new class of nursing students that will be selected this month. Intercede for each applicant, including those not selected as they seek alternatives for their lives. Pray for the new students to learn well and to become committed Christian professionals during their time at the Baptist Hospital.
LEADERSHIP EQUIPPING AND DEVELOPMENT (LEAD) OF SOUTH ASIA.
During this spring semester, LEAD students have studied the Book of Acts, personal evangelism and church planting. Through these subjects, they have been taught that every believer has been commissioned to “go and make disciples,” and that every believer needs to be trained in how to do that. Making disciples goes beyond giving a testimony or preaching a sermon or introducing a person to Jesus. It also involves follow-up discipleship. Pray that these students will be faithful to use what they have been taught, train the flocks they have been given to “go and make disciples,” and plant churches that will multiply rapidly as the believers do what God has called each one of us to do.
SOUTH ASIAN PEOPLES. The Temple of the Tooth, located in the hill city of Kandy, Sri Lanka, is said to enshrine a canine tooth of the Buddha. Buddhist history states that the relic was brought to Sri Lanka by an Indian princess who hid the tooth in her hair. The tooth relic was brought to the island nation of Sri Lanka because the Buddha is said to have declared the Buddhist religion safe in Sri Lanka for 2,500 years. Today worshippers visit the Temple of the Tooth hoping to receive power from the tooth that is thought to possess spiritual energy left behind after the death of the Buddha. Pray for these worshippers to have their spiritual eyes open to truth. Also pray for Sri Lankan followers of Jesus to make themselves available to be used by God to share the Gospel with those who are searching for truth.
SOUTH ASIAN UNENGAGED PEOPLES. The Malayali people of the northwestern hills of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu are Tamil speakers who number more than 311,000. Their name comes from the words “malai” and “al,” meaning “hill people.” This people group divides themselves into two groups, the Karalar Gounder, who are distinguished by their tattoo marks, and the Vellala Gounder, who are without tattoo markings. The Malayali practice Hinduism and worship their ancestors in addition to the millions of Hindu gods. The Malayali are unengaged and unreached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, yet there is hope. Please pray for national partner J, who has a heart to share the truth of Jesus Christ with the Malayali people. Pray for many Malayali people to open their homes to J and their hearts to the one true God.
Gabrielse Named Dean of OBU Fine Arts College
SHAWNEE, Okla. (Oklahoma Baptist University)–Dr. Ken Gabrielse, worship and music specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, has been named dean of Oklahoma Baptist University’s Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts, President David W. Whitlock announced Wednesday, June 1.
Gabrielse, 53, succeeds Dr. Paul Hammond, who announced his retirement this spring after serving as dean for 25 years, since 1986.
“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Gabrielse to OBU and look forward to working with him to advance the mission of Christ-centered liberal arts education, particularly as that mission takes shape through our excellent fine arts programs,” Dr. Whitlock said.
As dean of the College of Fine Arts, Gabrielse will direct the instructional and administrative activities of the Division of Art, the Division of Communications, and the Division of Music.
“Dr. Ken Gabrielse brings a wealth of academic and professional experience to the position of dean of the Warren M. Angel College of Fine Arts,” said Dr. Stan Norman, provost and executive vice president for campus life. “His commitment to excellence in all things has marked his areas of professional service both in the academy and the church.”
Gabrielse attended Phillips University in Enid, Okla., for two years before earning a bachelor’s degree at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., with a degree in church music and music education. He earned a master’s degree and a doctorate at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a specialization in conducting. He previously served as chairman of the Division of Church Music Ministries and professor of church music at the seminary. As a tenured professor, he directed and taught Seminary Chorus (SATB), Seminarians (TTBB) and Handbell Choir; all levels of conducting courses, including classes and private lessons; and Choral Techniques, Choral Literature, Jazz Ensemble, Music Theory, Music History, and Worship Planning and Leadership courses.
“Dr. Gabrielse has a breadth of understanding of and deep appreciation for Christian liberal arts, and I am confident that he will build upon and enhance the great fine arts programs for which OBU is renown in the tradition of Angel, Woodward and Hammond,” Norman said. “He is a visionary and creative leader, and we believe he is the right person to lead the College of Fine Arts at Oklahoma Baptist University to the next level of Christian, academic excellence.”
In his role at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) since August 2008, Gabrielse has provided training for music leaders in Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma. He has helped lead several specialty events and conducted performing groups for music leaders in the BGCO including the Singing Churchmen of Oklahoma, a 300-voice men’s choir; Singing Churchwomen of Oklahoma, a 400-voice women’s choir; and Oklahoma Baptist Symphony, a full, auditioned symphony.
“Dr. Gabriesle has served us well in the short time he has been with us,” said Dr. Anthony Jordan, executive director-treasurer of the BGCO. “When the deanship at OBU came open, it was clear he would be a leading candidate. He served as dean of the music school at New Orleans Seminary prior to joining the convention staff. His gifting, training and work history make him an outstanding selection by OBU. While we regret his leaving, we believe God has placed him in a unique opportunity to shape church music in Oklahoma through the students at OBU. We wish him the best as he serves in this strategic position at our university.”
Gabrielse began his church music ministry career as a music intern and interim minister of music at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid in 1979. Since then, he has served in various music ministry roles including interim and associate positions at First Baptist Church, Raytown, Mo., and Immanuel Baptist Church, Independence, Mo. He served in full-time ministry at Covenant Baptist Church, Topeka, Kan., and Sharon Baptist Church, Wichita, Kan. While completing his degrees and working at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, he served at West St. Charles Baptist Church, Boutte, La.; First Baptist Church, Chalmette, La.; and First Baptist Church, Kenner, La. He also has served as interim minister of music at First Baptist Church, Lawton, Okla.
He has served as conductor and guest conductor for numerous national, state and entity events across the Southern Baptist Convention, as well as local special events. He has directed and produced several recordings by The Seminarians of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Among his responsibilities at the seminary, he served on the transitional leadership team following Hurricane Katrina, charged with developing curriculum and pedagogy that allowed the seminary to continue teaching during the displacement in 2005-06.
“I am honored to be asked by Dr. Whitlock to lead the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts, its gifted faculty, and dedicated and vibrant students,” Gabrielse said. “I am humbled to follow in the legacy established by Deans Conte, Angell, Woodward and Hammond. Growing up in Oklahoma, coming to OBU and going to Falls Creek to sing under the direction of Dean Angell and Professor Woodward, and working with OBU faculty and graduates at every turn of my professional career has given me a tremendous appreciation for the heritage of faithful training in the arts that takes place on Bison Hill.
“The present and future challenges of fine arts training within a Christian liberal arts institution are great,” he said. “Raising up successive generations of dedicated and professional Christian artists (in and out of the church) is a high calling. The challenges will be met and the calling fulfilled by God’s gracious favor. Jana and I are thrilled to be a part of the OBU family.”
Gabrielse and his wife, Jana, have two children and their spouses, Matthew and Brandy Gabrielse of Oklahoma City, and Andrea and Ronald Laitano of New Orleans, La. They have one granddaughter, Adelaide Lee Laitano, born Feb. 2, 2011.