ABN requests Christmas info, year-end reflections

Arkansas Baptists: Does your church decorate its facilities (inside or outside) for Christmas? Do you have a Christmas program? Do you do ministry outreach in your community? Tell the ABN about your Christmas plans and send us your photos, and we may use them in an upcoming edition or online!

We also want to hear your 2014 reflections for possible publication!

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WBC receives $750,000 estate gift

Williams Baptist College (WBC) has announced that it recently received an estate gift of $750,000. The gift, which came from a couple in northeast Arkansas, will go toward scholarships for Williams students.
“This gift comes from a wonderful couple who supported scholarships at Williams during their lifetimes. Now, they will benefit countless other students through the thoughtfulness and generosity of their estate planning,” said Tom Jones, Williams' president.

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Sparkman FBC: ‘Beautiful Past, Bright Future’ – 100 Years of Service

SPARKMAN – The air of excitement was for the church’s 100-year anniversary celebration held Oct. 26, 2014, which featured two church services with special music and lots of reminiscing and preaching from two former pastors. The theme of the services was Beautiful Past, Blessed Present, Bright Future – 100 Years of Service. It was also the name of a special book of memories and history of the church given to members and guests.

Read more in the Nov. 13 edition of the print edition of the Arkansas Baptist News. Subscribe here.

View a photo gallery of the day's events.

View a portion of book of memories and history about First Baptist Church, Sparkman.


Auman Named WBC Distinguished Young Alumna

Tom Jones, president of WBC, and Auman

WALNUT RIDGE – Lynsey (Riley) Auman was named Williams Baptist College’s 2014 Distinguished Young Alumna during Saturday’s Homecoming/Parents Day festivities.

Auman, who is a native of Sherwood, graduated from Williams in 2006, earning a degree in English education. She now lives in Nashville, Tenn., where she works for World Relief.

The mission of World Relief is to empower the local church to serve the most vulnerable of people. In the United States the organization largely serves refugees who have had to flee their home countries due to persecution.

Auman began her work with World Relief Nashville four years ago, helping secure employment and promote self-sustainability for refugees living in the Nashville, Tenn., area.

In 2011, she took on the role of Journey Youth Services Program Manager. Journey provides after school programs, mentorships and cultural activities for refugee youth as they adjust to life in America and teenage life in general.

“I had an excellent college experience at Williams,” said Auman.  “I was given the opportunity to grow both as a learner and a leader. Because of the personal attention given to me by incredibly talented professors, I gained skills and experience that I still use in my job today.” 

Auman is married to Joshua Auman and is the daughter of Lynn and Cheryl Riley.


Graydon Hardister, Arkansas native and former IMB missionary, dies

Obituary for Graydon Bridges Hardister

Graydon Bridges Hardister, 80, of Benton passed away November 1, 2014. He was born May 22, 1934 to the late James Buckner and Eunice Bridges Hardister in Reydel, Arkansas.

Graydon grew up in Pine Bluff and graduated at Pine Bluff High School in 1952. He studied at Ole Miss for 2 years, felt the call to serve in the ministry and then transferred to Ouachita Baptist University to prepare for the ministry and graduated from OBU in 1956 with a degree in math and science. He graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1960 and 1961. He served on the staff of Second Baptist Church in Little Rock as Associate Pastor and director of youth services. He also served on staff at Westmont Baptist Church in Memphis, TN as pastor.

Graydon met his wife, Betty, while he served on staff at Second Baptist Church in Little Rock and they married in March 1962. In September 1965 he and his wife, Betty, were appointed by the International Mission Board to serve in the country of Jordan and they faithfully served for 34 years before retiring in 1999. He was also a member of First Baptist Church, Benton.

Graydon was preceded in death by his parents; and brother, Rex Jerome Hardister.

Graydon is survived by his wife, Betty J. Hardister of 52 years; two sons, Graydon Thomas “Tommy” Hardister and wife Janean of Little Rock, and David Lee Hardister and wife, Tina of Benton; daughter, Carol Anne Phifer and husband Keith of North Little Rock; two sisters, Jimmie Carol Woodfield of Rogers, and Kay Bailey and husband, James of Dallas, TX; sister-in-law, Marilyn Hardister of Brenham, TX; and 8 grandchildren, Nathanael, Christopher, Mary-Madelynne, Joshua, Zachariah, Elizabeth, A. Abigail, and Emily.

Visitation will be Tuesday, November 4, 2014, 6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M. at First Baptist Church, Selph Hall, 211 S. Market St. Benton, AR 72015. Funeral services will be Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 10:00 A.M., First Baptist Church with Rev. Clay Cunningham and Bro. Darin Buscher officiating. Interment at Pinecrest Memorial Park. Pallbearers are Tommy Hardister, David Hardister, Nathanael Hardister, Christopher Hardister, Keith Phifer, Steve Bailey, Alan Woodfield, and Mike Phifer. Honorary pallbearers are Joshua Phifer, Zachariah Hardister, Mary-Madelynne Hardister, Elizabeth Phifer, A. Abigail Hardister and Emily Phifer. Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church Building Fund. For information, call Smith-Benton Funeral Home, 501-778-7100. Online guestbook: