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SBC DIGEST: Carson-Newman recovering from fire; Brentwood-Benson to close; Illinois ex-pastor pleads not guilty

Carson-Newman University in recovery phase after fire

Baptist and Reflector Staff

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. (BP) – Leaders at Carson-Newman University are continuing to navigate through the recovery and assessment phases in the wake of a fire that damaged the school’s Pedersen Nursing Building Nov. 26.

“We are in the process of finalizing our plans for the (upcoming) semester so that our nursing students will have a consistent place where we can teach well and for them to have a home elsewhere on campus,” said Carson-Newman president Charles Fowler during a phone interview with the Baptist and Reflector Dec. 1. “I think we have a good plan in place, and we are continuing to work out all the details.”

The fire occurred in the early morning hours of Nov. 26. Carson-Newman faculty and students were on Thanksgiving break at the time of the fire, and the building was empty. No injuries were reported.

Fowler said the university is currently going through the protocols that take place following a fire – with both the fire department and the insurance companies doing investigations pertaining to the cause of the fire and other details.

Fowler noted that the insurance adjuster is scheduled to be on campus this week.

“Right now, there is nothing we can do with the building itself – aside from cooperating with the standard investigations that are taking place – so we are focused on taking care of our students,” Fowler said.

All the contents of the building were destroyed, Fowler said, either by the fire itself or from water damage that occurred while the fire was being extinguished.

Fowler noted that the building housed all of the school’s labs, including simulation labs, in addition to some of the technical classrooms.

“There wasn’t anything that was salvageable,” he said. “The contents of the building were significant equipment in technology. It’s not just chairs and desks. We lost all of our instructional equipment that is unique to nursing. So we have a lot to recoup from.”

Fowler said his immediate concern was finding out if there was anyone in the building at the time of the fire.

“That was honestly the only thing that was on my mind when I got the initial phone call that the building was on fire,” he said. “My expectation was that it had been locked up for several days, since (the campus was closed) for Thanksgiving break. And I was so thankful when I found out that was true – that nobody had been in the building for several days. It was a hallelujah moment when we discovered that everybody was accounted for and safe.”

Read the full story here.

Brentwood-Benson music publisher to close

By BP Staff

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (BP) – Music publishing company Brentwood-Benson has announced it will close by the end of this year. The company has been a longtime leader in providing new songs and arrangements for church worship, including choral music and cantatas, orchestrations, children’s musicals and more. A statement on the company website said the decision was unavoidable.

“As we have all experienced over the past two years, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been extraordinary,” the statement said. “The challenges presented to those of us charged with developing resources for church choirs and orchestras resulted in market realities that have become unmanageable.”

The company is selling its inventory at heavy discounts. Physical products ordered by Dec. 15 will be 60 percent off the retail price; digital downloads will be 50 percent off. The company said it is “cautiously hopeful” it will find a buyer for its inventory and song catalogue, so they will continue to be available for churches.

“Brentwood Benson has experienced a long and storied history developing compelling resources that have empowered churches to impact their communities with the gospel,” the statement said. “We want to honor the many arrangers, artists, songwriters, and partners who have given so much to breathe life into the musicals, collections, and anthems created over the years.”

Illinois ex-pastor pleads not guilty to grooming charge

By Illinois Baptist Staff

Former pastor Joseph M. Krol pled not guilty to a charge of grooming a minor. His plea, entered Dec. 2., came six weeks after his arrest at his home in Dawson. Krol was pastor of Rochester First Baptist Church at the time, but the charge was in connection with his ministry at Galilee Baptist Church in Macon County. Krol was accused of encouraging a minor to engage in sex-related activities in a series of texts that began in July, about the time he left the Macon County church to accept the pastorate in Rochester.

Rochester First Baptist Church suspended Krol as pastor immediately after his arrest on Oct. 15. Then, within a week, the congregation voted to terminate his employment.

Krol also pleaded not guilty to three charges in addition to grooming, including obstruction of justice. His next court appearance is scheduled Jan. 7.

Krol’s wife is employed by the Illinois Baptist State Association.

IBSA has made resources available to both churches as they have sought to minister in light of the charges. IBSA continues to urge all Illinois Baptist churches to screen potential volunteers and staff in accordance with Illinois Department of Children and Family Services guidelines and the background check system offered by Federal Bureau of Investigation. In addition, IBSA informs churches about the Illinois mandatory reporting regulations through online resources and in-person training sessions.

Messengers to the Illinois Baptist State Association Annual Meeting made protection of vulnerable people a top priority in 2019, at the same time the Southern Baptist Convention adopted similar measures. Procedures for screening of church employees and volunteers that revealed previous convictions were already in place at the time. The SBC added encouraging the sharing of information about credible accusations among its churches to its procedures, with a heightened emphasis on acknowledgement of victims and ministry to them.

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