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SBC DIGEST: Evans to headline NAAF event; ERLC-Tennessee partnership dedicates first ultrasound

Tony Evans to headline NAAF Kingdom Conversation

By Diana Chandler

WILLOW GROVE, Pa. (BP) – Pastor and author Tony Evans will explore timeless truths in a Kingdom Conversation broadcast Thursday at 7 p.m. Eastern with National African American Fellowship (NAAF) President Frank Williams.

“Kingdom Conversation: Talking Timeless Truths with Dr. Tony Evans” is expected to expand on Evans’ teachings of Kingdom Race Theology and race relations in the current national social climate, Williams said.

The presentation, available on the NAAF Facebook page and YouTube, is intended to be the first of many upcoming NAAF Kingdom Conversations aimed at encouraging preachers, teachers and ministers, and featuring Southern Baptist denominational workers and pastors. Evans pastors the nondenominational Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, hosts the daily radio broadcast “The Alternative with Tony Evans,” and is a bestselling author and speaker whose works are widely resourced in Southern Baptist life.

“Who best to talk about Kingdom than Dr. Tony Evans,” Williams posed, “who has done so much work (and is) so prolific in his authorship and in his preaching about the Kingdom of God?”

NAAF hopes to provide “to the larger body of Christ opportunities to discuss in a civilized tone and through biblical lenses some of the critical issues that the body of Christ is facing today,” Williams said, “and how the timeless Word of God speaks to that and instructs us during those times of crises.

“And the body of Christ in our neck of the woods, I think, would benefit from a Kingdom conversation.”

Issues on tap for future conversations include faithful preaching in a culture that has strayed from biblical truths, navigating cultural shifts, ministry to millennials and other younger populations, justice and other issues.

Jerome F. Coleman is host pastor for the broadcast that will be livestreamed from First Baptist Church of Crestmont in Willow Grove, Pa.

Ultrasound machine from ERLC-Tennessee partnership dedicated

By Tom Strode

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (BP) – Pregnancy Resource Center in Maryville, Tenn., held the first dedication ceremony Oct. 21 for an ultrasound machine placed as result of a partnership between the Psalm 139 Project and the state of Tennessee.

Valerie Millsapps (second from left), executive director of Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) in Maryville, Tenn., and other PRC staff members gather around an ultrasound machine donated to the center through the ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project as a result of a grant from Tennessee state government.

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.

The grant 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 will fund the training of staff in the use of the machines.

Elizabeth Graham, the ERLC’s vice president of operations and life initiatives, said she is “especially grateful for the generous partnership between our state leaders and the Psalm 139 Project so we can serve centers like Pregnancy Resource Center with these life-saving machines at no cost to them. We will continue to advocate for the vulnerable until abortion becomes illegal, unthinkable and unnecessary across the world.”

The ERLC’s ability to partner with the center in Maryville “holds a special place in my heart as this is my hometown and a community I’ve grown up in since childhood,” said Graham, who participated in the dedication ceremony, in an ERLC news release. “I’m confident the wonderful staff at Pregnancy Resource Center will provide life-saving care and the hope of the Gospel to vulnerable women and preborn babies across East Tennessee.”

Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC), which opened in 1986, is a medical clinic that provides pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, sexually transmitted disease testing and support programs, according to the ERLC release. The center, which also has a mobile unit that serves the surrounding counties, sees about 1,200 clients per year, the release said.

“As we are about to embark on an expansion of our ministry, it is critical that we are able to provide a window into the womb to families facing unexpected pregnancies,” PRC Executive Director Valerie Millsapps said, according to the release. “The placement of this ultrasound machine is already at work helping brave families make life decisions for their preborn children.”

PRC received the machine in September. Ultrasound technology has proved to be a vital tool for pregnancy resource centers in their ministry to women considering abortion. The sonogram images of their unborn children have helped many women choose to give birth.

The ERLC expects to place a total of as many as 25 machines during 2021, including the seven provided by the state grant. 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. The project made its first international placement in September 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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