News Articles

SBC DIGEST: Litton to address UM graduation; Ohio Baptists to sell Seneca Lake facility

Litton to address University of Mobile graduates

By University of Mobile staff

MOBILE, Ala. (BP) – Southern Baptist Convention President Ed Litton, senior pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Ala., will deliver the commencement address at the University of Mobile on Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m.

More than 300 graduates will be awarded bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in an outdoor ceremony.

Litton was born in Kingsport, Tenn. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas and a Doctor of Ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

He served as a home missionary appointed to work in the evangelism office of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention. From there, he and his wife, Tammy, moved to Tucson and founded Mountain View Baptist Church. In 1994, almost seven years after that work had been established, God led Dr. Litton to First Baptist North Mobile, now Redemption Church.

In 2007, Litton and his family, as well as the entire church family, suffered a devastating loss when Tammy was killed in an automobile accident. Several years later, Litton married Kathy Ferguson, a pastor’s wife who had lost her spouse in a similar accident. Kathy now serves as director of planter spouse development at the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. The couple each has three children from their first marriages.

Today, Redemption is one church in two locations in north and west Mobile. Redemption has helped plant churches in New York City; Cleveland, Denver, Tucson, Leesburg, Va., San Juan, Puerto Rico, northern Virginia and Las Vegas and is looking to plant more Gospel-believing churches in North America.

For graduation details and to watch a livestream of the ceremony, go to umobile.edu/graduation. In case of inclement weather, the graduation venue is Cottage Hill Baptist Church, 4255 Cottage Hill Road. Weather updates will be made on official University of Mobile social media accounts and on umobile.edu/graduation.

The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered university with a vision of “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose,” founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions in an environment where they are known.

Ohio Baptists to sell Seneca Lake Baptist Assembly

By BP Staff

COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) – The State Convention of Baptists in Ohio (SCBO), announced finalization of the sale of its Seneca Lake property in a video released Friday (April 29).

Seneca Lake Baptist Assembly is a campground property in Senecaville, Ohio, that the SCBO has used for church camps and retreats.

Jeremy Westbrook, SCBO executive director-treasurer, explained the state convention had received several offers for the purchase of the Seneca Lake property and had been considering the right offer to accept.

Ray Umphrey, SCBO president and lead pastor at Briggs Road Baptist Church, said in the video that the convention reached a decision on an offer after a collaborative effort among the convention’s officers as well as its financial and executive committees.

The two explained in the video that the convention had the property appraised at $2 million, and the private buyer had made a full cash offer of $2.1 million. The convention’s mission council met Friday at Briggs Road Baptist for its April meeting and voted unanimously to sell property to the private buyer.

Leadership already has a plan to disburse the $2.1 million.

Some of the money will be put into the convention’s operating reserves (enough to cover a few months), some will reimburse a church that was paying to build a cabin on the property and some will go toward expenses to keep mineral rights (oil and natural gas) from the property.

The remaining $1.1 million will be donated to the Cooperative Program in a 50/50 split between state and national.

“We believe in the Cooperative Program and we want to send a message that as Ohio Baptists we believe in the Cooperative Program,” Westbrook said.

“What better legacy than that some kids who may have come through Seneca Lake at some point are now being trained as missionaries, church planters or attending one of seminaries, that we can help underwrite their education and send them to the mission field.”

Umphrey closed the video by acknowledging both the sadness and excitement that this move brings.

“I know this is an exciting day of looking forward to the future, but it is also a bittersweet day for some who think back on past memories and past ministry at Seneca Lake,” Umphrey said. “We want to honor and respect that, but I now believe moving in this way positions us for Gospel ministry in Ohio for years to come.”

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