Digest

Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...

Friday
Nov212014

SBC Disaster Relief leaders keep wary eye on New York snowmelt flooding

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – When massive storms dump snow accumulations taller than the average person, all of that snowmelt has to go somewhere. Officials in Buffalo, N.Y., anticipate potential floodwaters following the seven feet of snow that fell on some parts of the city through Nov. 21. 

Cities across the Northeast are facing similar flood scenarios and the prospect of even more snow. The polar blast, generated by a pacific storm that curved north into the Arctic pushing a cold front, brought freezing temperatures and snowfall to parts of all 48 contiguous states. The New York snow event has also been responsible for 12 weather-related fatalities.

Fritz Wilson, executive director for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) at the North American Mission Board, expects state SBDR teams to handle most of the flood recovery and mudout work generated by the storm. The SBDR team at NAMB is closely monitoring developments. 

“The potential for flooding is high in the affected areas that have received from five to seven feet of snow,” said Wilson. “The strength of the Disaster Relief network and the preparation of state organizations like New York and others give us optimism that our state partners will be able to respond to possible flooding.” Wilson said depending on the nature of the event, New York could request assistance from states in the Northeast, but he does not anticipate that this event will call for a national response.

The National Weather Service (NWS) had multiple lake-effect snow warnings in New York, all set to expire Nov. 21. The NWS issued a flood watch for the most heavily affected areas that will not expire until Nov. 26. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, snowmelt typically generates a 10:1 ratio in water accumulation. In the case of the area around Buffalo, seven feet of melting snow would produce almost a foot of water.

Those wishing to donate to SBDR relief can contact the Baptist convention in their state or visithttps://donations.namb.net/dr-donations. For phone donations, call 1-866-407-NAMB (6262) or mail checks to NAMB, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Designate checks for “Disaster Relief.” 

NAMB coordinates and manages Southern Baptist responses to major disasters through partnerships with 42 state Baptist conventions, most of which have their own state Disaster Relief ministries.

Southern Baptists have 65,000 trained volunteers—including chaplains—and 1,550 mobile units for feeding, chainsaw, mud-out, command, communication, childcare, shower, laundry, water purification, repair/rebuild and power generation. SBDR is one of the three largest mobilizers of trained Disaster Relief volunteers in the United States, along with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

Friday
Nov212014

Gay marriage, 'faith' spur judges to resign

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BP) – When Gayle Myrick received a memo from the North Carolina state government threatening criminal prosecution unless she performed gay wedding ceremonies, she knew she had to resign her job as a magistrate – even though resignation left her unemployed and without retirement benefits at age 64.

"When you're grounded in your faith and you know – especially at my age – what you believe and whom you believe, decisions come rather quickly," Myrick, a former magistrate in Union County near Charlotte, told Baptist Press.

Myrick is one of at least six magistrates in North Carolina who have opted to resign rather than marry homosexual couples following a federal judge's ruling that the state's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional. For at least two of the magistrates -- both of whom have ties to Southern Baptist churches -- the decision to resign has brought financial hardship. But they said obeying God required leaving their jobs.

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Friday
Nov212014

SBC Disaster Relief works disasters on deeper level, panel says

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) – Whether it's a tornado in Oklahoma, a wildfire in Washington or a hurricane in New York, disaster survivors need more than assistance with rebuilding their homes when tragedy strikes. They need help rebuilding their lives. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is committed to providing help, healing and hope to disaster survivors across North America.

Many people are aware of what SBDR does in response to these types of tragedies, however many people may not realize how SBDR works on a deeper level. Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, addressed that issue as he hosted a disaster relief panel discussion Nov. 20 as part of NAMB's monthly staff "boot camp" to give insight into the scope of SBDR.

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Friday
Nov212014

Duggars targeted by pro-gay petition

Jim Bob and Michelle DuggarNASHVILLE (BP) – Nearly 100,000 people have signed an online petition asking the TLC network to cancel the popular reality show "19 Kids and Counting," contending that its stars, Arkansans Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, use their fame "to promote discrimination, hate, and fear-mongering against gays and transgendered people."

The Duggars have 19 children and are outspoken advocates of their Christian faith as well as pro-family public policies. Their television show debuted in 2008 as "17 Kids and Counting," since which time they have had two more children. Speaking at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary last year, the Duggars said they stopped using birth control pills after the drugs caused Michelle to experience a miscarriage years ago.

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Friday
Nov212014

Floyd releases ebook for prayer, revival

Floyd

SPRINGDALE (BP) – Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd has released a motivational tool book to help pastors and churches across the SBC engage in concerted prayer for the next great awakening in advance of the 2015 annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

Floyd announced the release of his ebook in a press conference call Wednesday (Nov. 19), joined by Southern Baptist editors, writers and state convention leaders. The announcement also marked the release of the annual meeting theme, "Great Awakening: Clear Agreement, Visible Union, Extraordinary Prayer," based on Romans 13:11, for the June 16-17 gathering.

During the conference call, Floyd highlighted several recommendations from his ebook: intercessory prayer for pastors on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings in advance of weekly sermons; a month of preaching on the subjects of repentance, extraordinary prayer, revival, awakening and teaching on God's word; the dedication of a full Sunday morning worship service to congregational prayer; a day of prayer and fasting in May, and attendance at the Columbus meeting.

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