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SBC DIGEST: Disaster relief roundup; Psalm 139 dedicates two more ultrasounds in Tennessee

Multi-state response in wake of tornadoes

By BP Staff

Several states already have teams on the ground or preparing to go help in the wake of last week’s unseasonable severe weather.

A Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief shower unit has been in Murray, Ky., this week, and Louisiana Baptists have donated roofing supplies.

Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief has sent teams to Kentucky as well as to the eastern part of its own state, which saw an EF-3 tornado Dec. 10.

Oklahoma Baptists have begun work in Arkansas and are finishing work in Houma, La., at Emmanuel Baptist Church, which was damaged by Hurricane Ida earlier this year.

At least one Tennessee Baptist church’s building was destroyed by the storms. Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief is at work helping Tennessee tornado victims.

Southern Baptists of Texas Disaster Relief teams are organizing to help Kentucky survivors.

Send Relief, Southern Baptists’ compassion ministry, also is at work in the affected areas. Donate to Send Relief here.

More ultrasound machines from Psalm 139-state partnership dedicated

By BP Staff

NASHVILLE (BP) – Two more ultrasound machines resulting from a partnership between the Psalm 139 Project and Tennessee’s government have been dedicated at pregnancy resource centers in the state.

Dedication ceremonies for the machines were held Tuesday (Dec. 14) and Wednesday (Dec. 15) at Full Circle Medical Center for Women in Athens and Next Step Resources Center in Dunlap, respectively.

The Psalm 139 Project, a ministry of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), received a grant of $182,900 from the state this year to place seven ultrasound machines at pro-life pregnancy centers in Tennessee. Through Psalm 139, the ERLC helps provide ultrasound technology to pregnancy centers and train staff members in its use. Dedications for machines placed through the collaboration have now been held at four centers.

The grant to Psalm 139 was part of a $42.6 billion budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year that the Tennessee legislature passed and Gov. Bill Lee signed into law in May. The grant called for the Psalm 139 Project to identify pregnancy centers for the ultrasound machines and to make placements at those locations. Private gifts to Psalm 139 fund the training of staff in the use of the machines.

Elizabeth Graham, the ERLC’s vice president of operations and life initiatives, said the commission is “thrilled to partner alongside” the centers in Athens and Dunlap, which are both near Chattanooga, and “their incredible work.”

“Through our partnership with the state of Tennessee in placing seven machines this fiscal year, I’m confident the hope of the Gospel will continue to reach vulnerable women and preborn babies across this region,” Graham said in an ERLC news release. “May we continue to advocate until abortion becomes illegal, unthinkable and unnecessary across the world.”

The ERLC has made commitments for 25 ultrasound machine placements this year, including those provided by the state grant. It has a goal of making 50 placements between December 2020 and January 2023, the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion throughout the United States.

Ultrasound technology has proved to be a vital tool for pregnancy resource centers in their ministry to abortion-minded women. The sonogram images of their unborn children have helped many women choose to give birth.

Full Circle Medical Center for Women began as a ministry of First Baptist Church in Athens in 1998 and has since become a separate organization serving the McMinn County area, according to the ERLC release. The center, which sees about 250 clients each year, partners with churches in the area for the purpose of directing women and families to Christ.

Julie Ladd, Full Circle’s executive director, said the effect of the machine’s placement “is immeasurable because we can’t put a price tag on life.”

“At Full Circle, we believe that our patients should receive the very best care, and this brand new technology will help us serve them at the level they deserve,” Ladd said in the ERLC release. “We believe that providing quality care is integral to women continuing to come through our doors. We are beyond grateful to be chosen for this grant by the ERLC.”

Next Step Resources Center started in 2009 as a satellite office of another center about 40 miles from Dunlap, according to the ERLC release. The center, which became a medical clinic in 2016, offers services not only to pregnant women but a program for post-abortion women. It sees about 575 clients annually.

Debbie Chandler, Next Step’s executive director, said in the ERLC release the center’s previous machine was about 10 years old, “and I knew we could get better images for our clients. I had no idea how much better these images would be!”

“Life and death and abundant life may all be determined by the image our clients see,” she said. “Thank you to the ERLC for granting this ultrasound machine and training to Next Step. We are able to perform more scans each day because of this wonderful blessing.”

ERLC staff members attended the dedication ceremonies at both centers.

Since 2004, the Psalm 139 Project, which is funded by contributions from donors, has helped place ultrasound equipment at centers in 16 states. In September, the project made its first international placement in Northern Ireland.

All gifts to the Psalm 139 Project go toward machines and training, since the ERLC’s administrative costs are covered by the Cooperative Program, the SBC’s unified giving plan. Information on the Psalm 139 Project and how to donate is available at psalm139project.org.

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  • BP Staff