News Articles

BP Ledger, Oct. 28 edition

EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.

Today’s BP Ledger contains items from:
University of the Cumberlands
Campbellsville University
Kentucky Baptist Convention
Baptist Global Response

Coy Webb speaks to UC
students about disaster relief

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (University of the Cumberlands) — Coy Webb, director of the Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief, encouraged University of the Cumberlands’ (UC) students at the United Campus Worship on Thursday, to participate in the first Collegiate Disaster Relief training in Kentucky.

When disasters strike, Webb oversees mobile feeding units, which can provide 66,000 meals a day; mobile chainsaw units, and shower units. He deploys them to disaster areas to provide help and healing. Other ways to serve are through chaplaincy, communications, child care, and flood relief. The training was about these different areas of service, safety training, and what to know about different types of disasters.
“Statistics are great, but sometimes we lose sight that there are real people hurting,” Webb said. “We are there to provide a reminder that we care and that God has not forgotten them.”

A Disaster Relief video was shown to give eyewitness accounts of disasters and show volunteers serving the people. Webb told motivating stories about the difference Disaster Relief teams can make. Their purpose is to exemplify Christ’s love and then tell the people about Christ’s love.

Webb shared his favorite scripture that describes Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief’s ministry. First John 3:16-18, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Webb encouraged UC students that God can use them to bring hope and make a difference. He was excited for the first Collegiate Training in Kentucky that took place on October 25, 2013, with around forty students participating.

After students are certified, they will be able to be sent out to disaster areas when notified by the Baptist Campus Ministries of a need. Transportation, food, and lodging will be provided. Students will be giving up some of their weekends and breaks to serve others who have suffered through disasters.

Located in Williamsburg, Ky., University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees more than 40 major fields of study; ten pre-professional programs; ten graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs. For more information, visit www.ucumberlands.edu.
Campbellsville Univ. hears about
racism from Renee Shaw of KET
By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Campbellsville University) — “It’s all about the love. If we get that part right, we’ll all be better off,” according to Renee Shaw.

Shaw, producer, writer and host of Kentucky Education Television’s “Connections with Renee Shaw,” a KET interview and discussion series that explores the cultures and concerns of Kentucky’s diverse minority communities and celebrates everyday heroes, was the guest speaker at Campbellsville University’s Dialogue on Race address Oct. 23 at chapel.

She spoke of racism, challenges in everybody lives of dealing with civil rights and ways we can help defeat racism. Shaw defined racism as “really about fear of losing at least three things: power, privilege and political leverage.”

For her dedication to the cause of racial reconciliation across her community, through education and her faith, Shaw received Campbellsville University’s Kente Cloth, which is “bestowed upon outstanding individuals who have attained milestones in their lives.”

Dr. Frank Cheatham, senior vice president for academic affairs, and Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers, along with John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president, who was in charge of the ceremony, draped the cloth on her shoulders.

Chowning said the cloth is given to those who have “shown their worth to family, community and God … a servant leader.”

Shaw is one of a few recipients of the Kente Cloth given by CU. Its origins date back to 12th century Africa, in the country of Ghana. Kings, queens and important figures of state in Ghana’s society wore the cloth during ceremonial events and special occasions.

“Truly, it was a symbol of valor and honor,” Chowning said.

In her chapel address and in a luncheon in her honor following chapel, Shaw talked of “burying the hatchet, building a bridge and shining a light” as she quoted Dr. Robert Baker of Calvary Baptist Church in Lexington who delivered that message to her church First Baptist Church Bracktown in Lexington.

She talked of meeting with United States Congressman John Lewis (the only surviving speaker from the March on Washington 50 years ago) during which she took Baker’s words of “With faith, I will find patience and study the truth to work toward peace with love for reconciliation.”

She said even in the midst of facing criticism and name calling, these freedoms are guaranteed and protected and enshrined in the United States Constitution, and “I thank God for it.”

“In the Bible of our government and democracy, are the rights of speech and belief guaranteed to those who seek to unify and those who seek to divide,” she said.

“Racism may dwell among us, but it is our choice to let it not dwell within us,” she said. Shaw, said she believes, like Lewis and the late Dr. Martin Luther King, in the “beloved community and transformative progress toward racial reconciliation. If I didn’t, I couldn’t do the work I do in good conscience.”

She said, before she takes communion in her church, pastored by Dr. C.B. Atkins Sr., she urges herself “to be slow to take offense and to be always ready for reconciliation.”

She said we must “respect the dignity of humankind, not those we agree with or whose paths we understand, but every human being,” as Congressman Lewis said.

“That’s how we undo racism,” she said. “What we have to believe is that we are light that curses the darkness. Those of us who believe in justice, peace and equality cannot, and will not, rest until it’s done.

“Our faith does not call us to be docile in adversity. Our faith arms us with
everything we need to stand up against evil and wrong doers.

“As Dr. King once said, ‘other-centered folks can build up what self-centered men chose to destroy,” she said.

Shaw said the dialogue on race starts with self-examination. “It’s asking ourselves what we don’t understand, seeking out friendships with folks who don’t share our block, zip code, bank account or church.

“And it’s constantly remembering and practicing love and light that is slow to offense and quick to seek reconciliation,” she said.

She received a standing ovation for her address that Campbellsville University president Michael V. Carter called “one of the most outstanding in the history of chapel.” He called her words “brave and wonderful” and “needs to be said.”

At the luncheon in her honor, she thanked the university for the work, passion and dignity demonstrated in race relations at the university.

Chowning said volunteerism is the key to helping eradicate racial problems, and he, with the support of Campbellsville University and Greater Campbellsville United, presented the Rev. James Washington, pastor of New Zion Baptist Church, with the Racial Reconciliation Award for his work with the university’s Dialogue on Race, a program begun over a decade ago, to discuss reconciliation, dialogue and civil discourse, and for Washington’s church and community work.

Chowning said the university’s Dialogue on Race is ongoing in October with about 200 students participating with 10 groups of study led by community and university leaders to facilitate discussion. He thanked the City of Campbellsville and Taylor County for their support of Greater Campbellsville United.

Carter said he isn’t aware of other programs that intentionally immerse racial dialogue with students like CU’s does.

Terry Allen, a native of Cumberland County who works as associate vice president for employment equity at the University of Kentucky, said CU’s Dialogue on Race is an “incredible event that starts with the use of CU’s mission and goals, strategic plan, etc.”

He said CU’s 25 percent diverse student population is “exceeds all reasonable expectations.”

CU has about 3,620 total head count enrollment this semester with about one out of four students as minorities.

“We live in a global community of learners,” Carter said, “and we’re moving in that direction.”
KBC, Southern Seminary help
train young supply preachers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Kentucky Baptist Convention) — Filling another pastor’s pulpit on Sundays or Wednesdays can be challenging and frustrating work for young preachers. Just ask Paul Chitwood about his inaugural sermon at First Baptist Church of Jellico, Tenn.

Filling in while the church lacked a senior pastor, Chitwood prepared a seven-page, handwritten manuscript. However, the young speaker’s Wednesday-night sermon only lasted six minutes of a 16-minute-long meeting.

“Those in attendance were extremely gracious with their comments,” recalls Chitwood, executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. “In part, I credit the fact that I later rose to preach a second time to the graciousness of those saints.”

Sometimes those greeting a guest speaker can be more blunt, such as the elderly member who told Jeff Crabtree that he was sorry, but the music director wasn’t there, so “you need to talk to the piano player about what you’re going to sing.”

“To say the least, I’m not musically inclined,” said Crabtree, who was then serving as director of missions for Warren Association of Baptists. He can still laugh at the memory.

Seeking to help seminary students prepare for sermons and similar encounters, the KBC and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recently co-sponsored a pulpit supply training workshop.

The event attracted 53 students, said Matt Haste, ministry connections specialist at Southern Seminary. Haste said the seminary wants to serve local churches while providing students with ministry experience.

With an emphasis on the practical, three speakers reviewed suggestions for supply preaching, the state’s unique dynamics, and the need to share the gospel.

“I would have loved to have had practical training when I started out,” said Alan Witham, the KBC’s regional consulting group leader. “I still do pulpit supply preaching at least three out of four Sundays.”

Witham said he approached the training as a way to review basic information that would-be pulpit replacements need to know—things such as attire and a church’s preferred scripture translation.

He presented a series of questions to review in advance, such as sermon length, biographical information, style of closing invitation, and best travel route to the church.

Also central region consultant for the KBC, Witham advised arriving at least 30 minutes early, reviewing the bulletin before the service, getting a microphone from the sound booth, and discussing transitions with the worship leader.

“A lot of the things were common-sense, but we need to be reminded of them,” Witham said. “We preach at a church so we can represent the Lord in the best way possible.”

Now the state convention’s south central region consultant, Crabtree reviewed Kentucky’s cultural make-up. Among the factors: the prevalence of small churches — more than half the 2,400 in the KBC average fewer than 100 in attendance—doctrinal emphasis in different regions, and people’s expectations.

At the start of his session, Crabtree asked how many participants were from Kentucky and was surprised to see only a few hands go up. He said the main point he wanted students to appreciate was the differences they would face in the state.

“I deal with a lot of guys who have been in one church all their life and they think every church is like theirs,” said Crabtree, who fills a pulpit nearly every week.

Two students who attended gave the seminar high marks, saying it will help them in the future.

Although Michael Wellman has been doing guest sermons since June, the Louisa native said presenter Hershael York’s warning to avoid controversial topics helped him almost immediately following the training.

Soon after the talk by York, pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort and a professor at Southern Seminary, a member at the church where Wellman spoke asked about the seminary being “a bunch of Calvinists who don’t believe in evangelism.”

“I remembered what York said,” commented Wellman, the seminary’s new student evangelism coordinator. “I said, ‘No, we do believe in evangelism.’ I quickly went back to the heart of the gospel and what’s important about sharing it.”

Josh Gervacio also found the training helpful, since his only prior speaking appearance was filling in for his pastor at his home church, Covenant Baptist in Valdosta, Ga.

The workshop was well organized and emphasized that students should preach the gospel, not their favorite subject, Gervacio said.

Not only does he want to make a good impression to facilitate sharing the gospel, the first-year student said it helped him see the need to break out of his shell.

“When I’m around new people, I’m not always friendly,” Gervacio said. “But I don’t need to be reserved. After all, I’m there to preach the gospel.”
Story by Ken Walker, KBC Communications
In Istanbul, Eagle Scout
helps refugee moms
By Ann Lovell

ISTANBUL, Turkey (BP) — Fergie Mitra grew up around refugees. So, when the 17-year-old high school senior began exploring options for an Eagle Scout project, one of his first thoughts was how best to help at least some of the 2,500 U.N.-registered refugees — and countless unregistered ones — living in his city.

“Living in Istanbul, I have made friends with lots of refugees. It has made me sensitive to their needs and the situation they are in,” says Mitra, who attends Union Church of Istanbul. The church supports a number of social ministries, including Moms and Tots, a program designed to help young refugee mothers and their children.

“When I asked around my church for opportunities for my project, one of the women involved with Moms and Tots told me they needed baby layettes,” Mitra says. “I knew this was what I wanted to do.”

Mitra submitted a proposal to Baptist Global Response, the Southern Baptist relief and development organization, to fund items for the layettes, which include clothing, hats, baby bottles and other newborn necessities. He also enlisted women in his church to purchase the items. In the final count, Mitra assembled 44 layettes and donated remaining funds to the Moms and Tots program to use for additional layettes, as they are needed.

Mitra says he learned a number of lessons from the effort — both practical and spiritual.

“I learned a lot about organization,” says Mitra, who now is studying physics at Rice University. “I also learned that it is generally easier — for uniformity’s sake — to have fewer people involved.”

Mitra explains that he first delegated purchasing the items to a large number of women — mothers of his friends — but quickly learned that the decision caused a lack of consistency in the items available to new mothers.

“It was much easier to buy all of the items all at one time,” Mitra says.

He also gained respect for the struggles refugees face.

“I learned just how little refugees have,” Mitra says. “These baby layettes cost around 100 lira ($60 USD). It isn’t much money to us, but it is difficult for a refugee to make enough to live, much less take care of a baby.”

“It was really something special to see these people carrying on and making it through really tough circumstances.”
Ann Lovell is a correspondent with Baptist Global Response, located at www.gobgr.org.

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