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SBC DIGEST: ERLC donates ultrasound machine in Alabama; Arrest made in FBC Montgomery arson case

ERLC helps dedicate ultrasound machine for Andalusia, Ala., center

By Staff

Leroy Cole, director of church and community ministries for the Covington Baptist Association, leads in prayer at dedication ceremony Oct. 3 for an ultrasound machine placed through the ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project at Sav-A-Life Family Hope Center in Andalusia, Ala. Also gathered around the machine in prayer are Sav-A-Life staff, volunteers and board members, as well as ERLC team members. Photo from ERLC

ANDALUSIA, Ala. (BP) – The Sav-A-Life Family Hope Center in Andalusia, Ala., held a dedication ceremony Sunday (Oct. 3) for an ultrasound machine donated by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

The ERLC gave the machine to the pregnancy resource center in southern Alabama through its Psalm 139 Project, a ministry to help provide ultrasound technology to pro-life ministries and train staff members in its use. In addition to two ERLC team members, participants in the dedication ceremony included Sav-A-Life staff members, volunteers and board members, as well as Covington Baptist Association staff, local pastors and community leaders, according to the SBC entity.

Elizabeth Graham, the ERLC’s vice president of operations and life initiatives, described it as “a privilege to partner” with Sav-A-Life as it “meet[s] women where they are, provide[s] life-saving care and share[s] the hope found in the Gospel.”

“The generosity of individuals committed to the serving of vulnerable mothers and preborn babies as well as the support of local churches helps us bless centers like Sav-A-Life with these life-saving machines at no cost to them,” Graham said in an ERLC news release. “We will continue to advocate for the vulnerable until abortion becomes unthinkable and unnecessary across the globe.”

Ultrasound technology has proven 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.

“Early in a client’s pregnancy when the movement of the fetus can’t be felt, the client may not feel like a mother but as the monitor shows life in the womb and that tiny heartbeat is revealed, it’s at that very [instant] the spirit in the mother is stirred up and the bonding begins,” Sav-A-Life Executive Director Christy Watts said, according to the ERLC release.

In addition to ultrasound scans, Sav-A-Life Family Hope Center, which opened in 1992 and serves a five-county area, provides free pregnancy tests, maternity clothes and baby items, the ERLC reported. Local obstetricians-gynecologists, the health department and about 25 churches and organizations have furnished support, according to the ERLC.

Otis Corbitt, director of missions of the Covington Baptist Association, and Leroy Cole, the association’s director of church and community ministries, participated in the dedication ceremony. Cole is a Sav-A-Life board member.

The machine placed with Sav-A-Life is the Psalm 139 Project’s 22nd placement made or committed to be made in 2021, easily a record for the ministry’s 17 years of existence. The ERLC expects to place a total of as many as 25 machines during the year, including seven provided by a grant from the state of Tennessee. It also 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.

Since 2004, the Psalm 139 Project, which is funded by contributions from donors, has helped place ultrasound equipment at centers in 16 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The project made its first international placement Sept. 29 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.

Arrest made in arson at First Baptist Church Montgomery

By The Alabama Baptist Staff

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP) – An Auburn, Ala., woman has been charged with setting fire to First Baptist Church Montgomery last week.

Xiaoqin Yan

Xiaoqin Yan, 27, is charged with second-degree arson, according to court records made public today (Oct. 5).

Yan was arrested Oct. 4 and remains held in the Montgomery County Detention Center on $30,000 bond.

In an update at the church’s website, FBC Montgomery Pastor Mark Bethea said news reports regarding the damage amounts are inaccurate. Teams continue to repair and clean the church, he said, and more updates on the progress will be released later.

He also asked for prayer for the international community at the church, which has a long-running Conversational English school that serves English as a Second Language students in the region, as well as other ministries.

“To my knowledge, this person was not part of our international fellowship at FBC (International Bible Fellowship and Worship, Conversational English, English as a Second Language, Citizenship Classes, etc…),” Bethea said, adding, “We deeply love and value our international brothers and sisters.”

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