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SBC DIGEST: DR presents annual awards; Ergun Caner moving to Texas college

LYNCHBURG, Va. (BP)–The Southern Baptist Disaster Relief network presented its top annual awards during its Disaster Relief Roundtable at Eyrie Conference Center in Lynchburg, Va., on April 26.

The “Joel W. Phillips Outstanding Achievement Award” — an MVP-type honor named for Phillips, longtime DR leader from Georgia — was presented posthumously to the late Bernard Randall and was accepted by his family. Randall was honored “for his above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty” service in disaster relief in Kentucky over many years.”

Randall “has often been the first to respond and the last to leave [a disaster scene],” said Coy Web, associate men’s ministry director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention. “Bernard had a servant heart that exuded the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

“This past year, even as difficult as it was for him with his health [battling colon and liver cancer], Bernard continued to serve faithfully,” Webb said. Randall, who died in January at the age of 69, was a longtime member of First Baptist Church of Monticello.

Also receiving the Joel W. Phillips Outstanding Achievement Award were Craig and Karlene Campbell, two longtime Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers in northeast Pennsylvania.

“Karlene and Craig Campbell are a team … whose efforts in disaster relief have opened avenues of service for many believers across our Penn/South Jersey State Convention,” the citation accompanying the award states.

North American Mission Board disaster relief team leader Mickey Caison presented the “Robert E. Dixon Award” to John LaNou, a longtime leader of Texas Baptist Men and one of the pioneers in Baptist disaster relief ministry. The award was accepted by Dick Talley, state DR director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

An article in the Baptist Standard in February noted of LaNou, “He was builder of the first mobile clinic along the Rio Grande. Designer of the first Baptist disaster relief mobile unit. Leader of one of the first American Christian teams to enter Iran since the Islamic Revolution. Member of one of the first groups from the United States in more than four decades to spend extended time in North Korea.” LaNou has chronicled his experiences in a book titled, “Walking with God in Broken Places.”

Distinguished Service Award winners were Marie Lawrence, Region 1; Terry Ryan, Region 2; James Guy, Region 3; Harold Smith, Region 4; and Cricket Pairett, Region 6. Region 5 was not represented.

ERGUN CANER MOVING TO ARLINGTON BAPTIST COLLEGE — Ergun Caner, a professor at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Va., was named provost and vice president of academic affairs for Arlington (Texas) Baptist College May 17. The vote by the college’s board of directors was unanimous. Caner has co-authored several books, including “Unveiling Islam,” “Why Churches Die” and “When Worldviews Collide”

Founded by Dr. J. Frank Norris, Arlington Baptist College is affiliated with the World Baptist Fellowship.

“I have the utmost confidence in Dr. Ergun Caner,” D.L. Moody, the college’s president, said in a statement. “I believe that he has the abilities, wisdom and passion to enhance the work and ministry of Arlington Baptist College as we prepare a Generation of Giants for Jesus Christ. He shares the values that I have for biblical authority, evangelistic fervor, and godly example. I am excited to welcome him to our administrative team.”

MISS. RACE RELATIONS ADVOCATE DIES — Richard Brogan, a longtime race relations advocate among Mississippi Baptists, died April 25 in Jackson, Miss. He was 73.

After serving as pastor of several Mississippi congregations in the 1950s and 1960s, he became a Home Mission Board-appointed teacher and missionary at Mississippi Baptist Seminary, a school to train African American ministers. Brogan went on to direct the Mississippi Baptist Convention’s work with black Baptists and later served as president of Mississippi Baptist Seminary.

He was also a consultant in the state convention’s cooperative missions department, director of the Mississippi Baptist Biracial Commission and a trustee of the American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tenn.

In 1971, Brogan said he first became interested in working with black Baptists when he was invited to teach part-time at Mississippi Baptist Seminary and subsequently “became more and more interested in” faith within black culture and history.

A graduate of Mississippi College and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Brogan cited Ephesians 2:14 as the basis for his work to bring black and white believers together: “For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility.”

JAMES PLEITZ DIES — James L. Pleitz, a former chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, died May 15 in Pensacola, Fla. He was 82.

Pleitz was pastor of Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas from 1977 until his retirement in 1993. He previously was pastor of First Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., from 1959-77.

His involvement in the SBC included: president of the Florida Baptist Pastors’ Conference, 1964; chairman of the SBC Executive Committee, 1968-69; president of the Florida Baptist Convention, 1971-72; president of the board of the former Radio and Television Commission, 1972-73; and president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference, 1974-75. He preached the annual convention sermon at the 1983 SBC annual meeting in Pittsburgh.

Pleitz was one of six nominees for SBC president in 1980 in St. Louis, when Bailey Smith was elected to succeed Adrian Rogers. In subsequent years, Pleitz aligned himself with Southern Baptist moderates and was a founding director of Associated Baptist Press in 1990.

A native of Jonesboro, Ark., Pleitz was a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

He is survived by a son and daughter; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His funeral was May 18 at First Baptist Church in Pensacola.

JAMESON AFFILIATES WITH RELIGIOUS HERALD — Norman Jameson, former editor of the Biblical Recorder in North Carolina, has joined the staff of the Religious Herald, newsjournal of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, as a contributing writer.

The Herald reported May 13 that Jameson “will cover North Carolina Baptists for the Herald as part of the paper’s wider coverage of news relevant to moderate Baptists in the Mid-Atlantic region.”

Jameson resigned last October as editor of the Biblical Recorder, newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of North Carolina, “to prevent a threatened motion to defund the paper at the convention’s annual meeting,” as the Herald described it. Jameson had led the paper since 2007.

Allan Blume, the Biblical Recorder’s new editor, begins his duties May 25. Blume has been pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Boone, N.C., the past 16 years.
Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston, associate editor Michael Foust and writer David Roach of Shelbyville, Ky.

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