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SBC DIGEST: SBCV honors T.C. Pinckney; seminarian aids Nepal quake relief

Retired Brig. Gen. Thomas C. “T.C.” Pinckney, a leader and longtime stalwart in the Southern Baptist Convention conservative resurgence of the 20th Century, died Monday (Dec. 20) at age 91.

SBCV honors T.C. Pinckney for ‘indelible impact’ in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — T.C. Pinckney, a key figure in Southern Baptist conservative causes for more than 25 years, was honored by the SBC of Virginia Executive Board during its May 4-5 meeting in Richmond.

Pinckney, 85, a retired Air Force general, published The Baptist Banner of SBC-related reports and commentary from February 1988 until ending the publication in January of this year.

The Banner began with an initial distribution of 57 copies and grew to 10 issues a year with a peak circulation of 19,600, Pinckney recounted to Baptist Press May 27.

The Executive Board certificate of appreciation was given to Pinckney by SBC of Virginia Executive Director Brian Autry. An SBCV news release said Pinckney was honored for “his dedication to the Lord, his support of the SBCV and the indelible impact he made on the mission field of Virginia.”

The Banner is archived on the Internet at www.baptistbanner.org.

In addition to publishing the Banner, Pinckney in 1992, then a member of the SBC Executive Committee, proposed amending the convention’s constitution to declare that churches which condone homosexuality are “not in friendly cooperation” with the SBC. The amendment received the required approval by messengers at two consecutive annual meetings, in Indianapolis in 1992 and in Houston in 1993.

Also during meeting, the Executive Board received word that Brandon Pickett, the SBCV’s communications director the last four years, is assuming the role of associate executive director to assist in leading field missionaries in the state. Pickett formerly served as the North American Mission Board’s communications director and held associate pastor roles in several Virginia Baptist churches.

Ishmael LaBiosa, who succeeds Pickett as communications director, has worked with the SBCV as both a media director and specialist the past four years.

Board members unanimously approved 14 new churches for SBCV affiliation, bringing the total number of churches in fellowship with SBC of Virginia to 650. With an average of 120,000 in worship attendance among SBCV churches, 1.5 percent of Virginia’s population of 8 million worships somewhere in an SBCV church on any given Sunday, according to the SBCV news release.

According to the latest ACP data, the convention news release reported SBCV churches gained in membership, new members, worship attendance, small groups and VBS during 2014. A gain of 8.4 percent also was reported in missions participation, with more than 61,000 church members having volunteered to serve through mission projects and trips in Virginia and around the world.

Seminary student sparks relief work in native Nepal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — When N.D. Lama first heard about the earthquake that struck his home country of Nepal, he immediately started thinking of ways he could help.

Lama, an M.A. student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and pastor of Asha Church in Louisville, teamed up with some of his friends in Nepal to raise $50,000 for initial relief work, more than half of which has already been distributed to provide food, clothing and other basic needs for the Nepali earthquake survivors.

But that has only given Lama bigger aspirations. He soon learned that the April 25 earthquake, which killed more than 8,000 people, had left Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu and many surrounding cities without running water. Most of the water in Kathmandu is run into the capital through pipes from outside the city, but those pipes broke during the earthquake. Finding clean, drinkable water has become a major problem throughout Nepal, something Lama’s friends told him needed to be resolved as promptly as possible.

“We are fearful that when they drink infected water, an epidemic may hit,” Lama said.

His mentor Todd Robertson, pastor of Louisville’s Antioch Church, encouraged Lama to look into WaterStep, an organization that provides safe, clean water to communities worldwide.

WaterStep agreed to help, arranging for 100 water purifiers to be delivered to villages in seven regions of Nepal and volunteers to train a few people from each community to use them to be able to run the machines. The units can provide as much as 38,000 liters of water per day.

Lama is arranging for his friends to accommodate the WaterStep volunteers in Nepal. Providing safe, clean water can have the secondary effect of allowing health workers to focus on other pressing issues, he noted.

“When you are able to prevent people from getting more sick, that means you are saving more energy to serve other victims,” Lema said. “When these people get sick, the situation gets worse.”

Since many Nepalese are without homes, Lama also hopes to help build at least 100 houses throughout Nepal before the country’s summer monsoon season begins by June.

Lama moved to the United States in 2008 to receive Bible training. After he finishes his degree program at Southern, Lama said he intends to return to his home country with the ambition to found 1,500 Christian elementary schools and 400 churches in Nepal before 2045.

Lama’s family lives in the northeast region of Nepal, where they felt the earthquake but without the devastating effects as in the capital of Kathmandu, he said. His friends in Kathmandu, however, have seen their houses completely destroyed and members of their churches killed.

“I feel a lot of pain. It doesn’t make sense sometimes, but still I believe in God,” Lama said. “Even though I don’t understand, I believe God is in charge. Even though I don’t feel it, I believe it and trust in it.”

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