News Articles

SBC DIGEST: GuideStone releases tax guide; Virginia pregnancy center gets ultrasound; NOBTS students awarded for ‘personhood’ papers

GuideStone announces release of its Ministers’ Tax Guide

By Holly Taylor/GuideStone

DALLAS (BP) – GuideStoneFinancial Resources has released its most popular annual publication, the 2023 Ministers’ Tax Guide for 2022 Returns prepared by Richard Hammar, available now for GuideStone members at GuideStone.org/TaxGuide. The tax guide includes tax highlights for 2022 — including 2023 annual contribution limits, 2023 standard business mileage rates and key features from The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 — along with step-by-step filing instructions for ministers’ personal taxes and comprehensive examples and sample forms.

Additionally, GuideStone ministry partners and church administrators have access to the annual Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches.This publication is included in the full tax guide or as a separate electronic copy. Both are available to GuideStone members.

Hammar, the author, is a noted CPA, attorney and widely published author who specializes in legal and tax issues for ministers.

“Our commitment is to enhance financial security and resilience for those who serve the Lord,” GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck said. “The tax guide is one area where GuideStone seeks to make available the educational resources ministers and pastors need to take care of their financial well-being.”

ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project dedicates ultrasound machine to Virginia center

By ERLC Staff

NASHVILLE (BP) – The Psalm 139 Project, a pro-life ministry of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, in partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia (SBCV), has donated an ultrasound machine to Warrenton Pregnancy Center in Warrenton, Va.

The dedication ceremony was Tuesday morning (Jan. 31).

“Placing ultrasound machines in pregnancy centers is always a joy for our staff at the ERLC,” said Rachel Wiles, director of the Psalm 139 Project. “But when we can partner with state conventions to place these machines, it’s an extra special blessing as we cooperate together to see lives changed.”

The machine was provided through a grant by the SBCV.

“The churches of the SBC of Virginia are thankful to be able to come alongside the Warrenton Pregnancy Center,” said Brandon Pickett, director of strategic initiatives and communications for the SBCV. “We count it a privilege to be able to support this incredible ministry with our partner, the Psalm 139 Project. We pray that countless women, men, and families are loved and served because of the work of the Warrenton Pregnancy Center. We believe that we won’t know until eternity the lives that were changed because of our partnership in the Gospel.”

Warrenton Pregnancy Center was founded in September 2017 and opened in March 2018. This center has served Fauquier County for nearly five years, offering medical services including ultrasounds and medical-grade pregnancy tests, and educational programs such as advocacy, abstinence, parenting, post-abortion healing and material support. The city of Warrenton has a population of 10,000 and the surrounding communities make up a greater population of about 50,000. Warrenton Pregnancy Center is open five days a week and walk-ins are welcome.

“Our sonogram machine is 10 years old, so the new machine from ERLC is a great blessing to us,” said Patrick Novecosky, executive director of Warrenton Pregnancy Center. “The new technology will help our clients to see their babies more clearly and hear their child’s heartbeat with clarity. We’re grateful to the Psalm 139 Project for their generosity!”

One hundred percent of financial contributions designated to the Psalm 139 Project go toward purchasing ultrasound machines and providing training for workers. No ERLC Cooperative Program resources are used for these machines. Tax-deductible gifts may be made online to The Psalm 139 Project, or via check to ERLC, 901 Commerce Street, Nashville, Tenn., 37203. Learn more at psalm139project.com.

Two NOBTS students among top winners at Exploring Personhood conference

By Marilyn Stewart/NOBTS

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – Two New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary doctoral students won top prizes in a paper competition sponsored by the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Micah Chung, NOBTS doctoral candidate in theology, won first place in the second annual paper competition in conjunction with the SEBTS Exploring Personhood annual conference. Alex Wendel, NOBTS doctoral resident in the counselor education and supervisor doctoral program, took third place.

Participants submitted first an abstract of their papers and then were invited to submit the full paper. The competition focused on factors and practices that shape identity and lead to human and spiritual formation.

Chung’s paper, Deleting Trauma: A Christian Response to Memory-editing Technologies and the Crisis in Human Identity Formation,” addressed today’s fast-growing trend of memory-editing that promises to dampen, erase or replace unwanted memories.

This trend of memory-editing, or “memory-modifying technologies (MMTs), is “yielding frighteningly provocative results” with ethical implications, Chung said.

“Given these unsettling possibilities, I explore in this paper a Christian response to MMTs in light of the crisis they would bring to human identity formation,” Chung explained.

Chung traced out past and current models of memory to explore what memory is and then drew from Miroslav Volf’s “The End of Memory” as a Christian theological guideline to help develop a Christian understanding of memory as well as a response to MMTs.  

“I specifically address MMTs targeting memory erasure,” Chung said. “Finally, I employ these insights to draw out implications for MMTs regarding personal and communal formation from a Christian perspective, centering the discussion on the Christian virtues of mercy, justice, godliness, and love.”

Chung, an NOBTS adjunct professor, has served as an assistant pastor and high school teacher in New York City. Chung’s paper will be published in the Spring 2023 issue of the Southeastern Theological Review.

Wendel’s paper, “Tidings of Comfort and Joy: Trinitarian Processions, Participation in God, and The Holy Spirit’s Formation of Human Holiness,” explores how the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in believers leads to joy and comfort.

Wendel said that in researching the paper he found a description of the Holy Spirit as a “gift of love” shared between God the Father and God the Son. Wendel pointed to Jesus’ words that a “comforter” would come.

“The Spirit is naturally in and of Himself, a gift of love,” Wendel said. “The Spirit shares Himself with us, but also in that, He shares love.”

Believers are not left alone in their trauma, in their own sin or in the sins committed against them, Wendel explained. He added, “We have the Spirit who empowers us to overcome.”

Wendel, the associate director of clinical training for the NOBTS graduate counseling program, is a licensed professional counselor.

Second place was awarded to Wes Treadway, assistant pastor at First Baptist Church, Durham, N.C., and a Ph.D. student in Christian worship at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His paper was “Embodied Worship: Defying the Disintegration of a Digital Age through Regular, Gathered Formation.”

The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture is directed by Ken Keathley, SEBTS senior professor of theology. The winners will be announced also at the Exploring Personhood: Human Formation conference, Feb. 2-3, at SEBTS.

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