Thoughts, insights and observations from the ABN staff


Out with the old! It's closet cleaning time at the Arkansas Baptist News!

ABN staffers Jeanie Weber (left) and Jessica Vanderpool sort through materials removed from the Arkansas Baptist News storage closet. Below are some of the items.


World News Service 2013 Timeline

World News Service 2013 Timeline
By Kristin Chapman

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (World News Service) -- Key events from 2013 (as of Dec. 11) compiled by WORLD Magazine follow:


Jan. 1: Congress approves a fiscal cliff deal, with President Obama signing the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 into law the next day. 

Jan. 4: The Church of England says gay priests in civil partnerships can become bishops if they remain celibate. 

Jan. 8: An Open Doors report states that during 2012, Christians in North Korea suffered the most persecution in the world for the 11th straight year. 

Click to read more ...


Happy New Year! Here are stories we are working on for the January 9 edition

Stories to be included in our first edition of the year (Jan. 9):

2013 top 10 stories chosen by Arkansas Baptist News staff – THE YEAR of our Lord 2013 was full of significant events. For Arkansas Baptists, many were exciting, others disappointing and some tragic. 

Little Rock couple request trial date in Glorieta suit – ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Kirk and Susie Tompkins of Little Rock have asked a judge to set a trial date in what has turned into a land ownership dispute over the sale of property in and around Glorieta Conference Center. 

New Orleans professor says resolve church conflict ‘early’ – NEW ORLEANS, La. – Conflict has many facets. Many different obstacles can generate friction in the local church. One of the major keys to resolving church conflict is to get to it early, says professor of leadership and pastoral ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Reggie Ogea.

Other stories to be included in the edition are: 

– Arkansas Renewal Project hosts Arkansas pastors

– Arkansas judge orders trial in same-sex lawsuit

– And many more you don’t want to miss!


Arkansas Baptists called to action following devastating typhoon in Philippines

The Arkansas Baptist State Convention missions ministries team encouraged Arkansas Baptists Nov. 13 to assist people of the Philippines in the aftermath of the historic storm.

“We have been in direct contact with IMB (International Mission Board) missionaries on the scene. We have told them about the Philippines relief fund that we have started, and are standing by to recruit teams for them as needed,” reads a statement posted on the missions ministries team blog. “It will be some time before they can assess the situation and formulate a plan, especially due to the chaos still taking place.”

“If you wish to donate to the fund, 100 percent of which will go directly into the hands of IMB missionaries on the field, you can do so using the Donate Now link found on our homepage: 

“Or, you can send a check made payable to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, (with Philippines Relief in the memo line) to 10 Remington Drive, Little Rock, AR  72204.”


5-years ago today: Gunman kills Democratic Party chairman, threatens ABSC staffer 

From the archives of the Arkansas Baptist News:

LITTLE ROCK – A gunman shot Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney three times at the State Democratic Party Headquarters in Little Rock at about 11:50 a.m. Aug. 13. Gwatney later died in a local hospital.

Fleeing the scene, the suspect went to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) building just a few blocks east of Democratic Headquarters.

“A middle-aged white man in a white shirt entered our building at 525 W. Capitol with a gun,” Dan Jordan, ABSC business manager, told news media. “The operator recognized immediately there was a threat. We have a process in place where she called the building manager immediately to respond.”

The gunman ran up the stairwell to the second floor of the Baptist building, according to Jordan. When Kirby Martin, ABSC building manager, confronted him, the man cocked the gun and pointed it at Martin.

Martin was able to flee the threat, but a few minutes later found the man again and asked him what was wrong. The man said he had lost his job.

The gunman and Martin took the elevator down to the first floor and the gunman left through the front door of the building.

“He left with a gun stuck in behind his back belt,” Jordan said.

The building operator had called the police, who arrived soon after the man left the building. The gunman jumped into a blue pickup truck on Arch St., across from the side entrance of the building, and sped away. Jordan said the police were in hot pursuit of him as soon as he drove off.

The man did not fire a shot while in the Baptist building.

The police chase ended in gunfire near Sheridan, south of Little Rock, during which the suspect was shot and killed. The gunman later was identified as Timothy Dale Johnson, 50, of Searcy. News reports indicated he had been fired from his job at a Target store in Conway.

Gwatney, 48, was transported to a local hospital, where he died just before 4 p.m.

News reports indicated Johnson walked into the state Democratic headquarters and fired three shots into Gwatney’s chest.

“The details and stories will be told for days to come through the local and national media, but the greater story involves the emotional and spiritual needs of those directly affected by these events,” said Emil Turner, ABSC executive director. “Their lives will be marked by painful memories and unresolved questions.”

Turner urged prayer for the Gwatney family and Johnson’s family.