Ark. WMU gets Second Century Fund grant

The Arkansas Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) was awarded a Second Century Fund grant by the national WMU executive board on Jan. 11. The grant will be used for leadership development of women in missions. From left are: Mark Shipley, chairman, WMU Foundation board; Wanda Lee, national WMU executive director/treasurer; David George, WMU Foundation president; Debbie Moore, women’s ministry and missions consultant, Arkansas WMU; Travis McCormick, men and boys missions consultant, Arkansas WMU; Charity Gardner, preschool and children’s missions consultant, Arkansas WMU; Diane Blackwood, president, Arkansas WMU; and Debby Akerman, national WMU president. The WMU Foundation manages the Second Century Fund.


Roy T. Payne, Forest Park Baptist deacon, dies at age 70  

PayneRoy T. Payne, 70, of Pine Bluff, a deacon at Forest Park Baptist Church, died Jan. 20 at Jefferson Regional Medical Center. 

He was born August 15, 1943, in Booneville, a son of the late J.D. and Marine Brown Hill. He was reared and educated in Booneville and Pine Bluff, where he graduated from Pine Bluff High School.

Payne worked in the lab at International Paper Company. He retired after 42 years on August 1, 2006. 

Payne is survived by his wife of 39 years, Barbara Payne of Pine Bluff; children Sara James of White Hall and Bryan Crawford of Conway; grandchildren Jonathan and Morgan James of White Hall; a sister, Valerie Williams of White Hall and a niece, Laura Steuart of Pine Bluff.

Funeral will be at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, at Forrest Park Baptist Church with Gary Scott officiating. Burial will follow in Union Cemetery. Visitation is 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22.


Williams Baptist to offer online degrees

WALNUT RIDGE – A Williams Baptist College (WBC) has announced that it will offer online degrees starting in coming weeks.

Williams is launching online degree completion programs in both psychology and pastoral ministries in March, with a program in business set to begin in May. The programs will allow students to complete their bachelor’s degrees through entirely online classes.

“In order to accomplish our mission completely, we have developed strategies that will expose us to a broader range of students,” said Williams President Tom Jones. “The WBC online degree program will make our Christian college experience available to those who are not able to attend the Williams on-campus program.”

The online program has been developed during the past 13 months under the direction of Eric Turner, dean of adult education. Turner said the program is for adult students, 23 years of age and older, who have successfully completed at least 45 hours of college.

Both Turner and Jones said that adults compose a sizable majority of today’s college students. Some 80 percent of the current college market is 25 years of age or older, and they typically have a learning style that differs from traditional college students.

“Typically, an adult learner is older and has significant responsibilities in their community, church, family and job,” Turner said. “These experiences have provided them knowledge and experiences that impact the way they learn. Their lifestyles often require a learning environment that is compact, intense and accessible.”

Turner pointed out that while the content of WBC’s online classes is the same as what is offered in the classroom, the online courses are better suited to the busy schedules of adult students.

“The format is asynchronous. In other words, students do not have to log in at set times,” he said. “While there are certain class participation requirements and due dates, students can accomplish these things at their convenience.”

The adult online program is designed to be an extension of Williams in every facet, and Jones emphasized that that the online format is not a “sidebar” activity for the college.

“Our online program will have the same high standards, personal approach and Christian basis for which Williams is known. Students will receive personal attention through an administrative and educational process that will accommodate their busy lives,” said Thomas.

Turner said the personal and spiritual dimensions for which WBC is known will be conveyed through the virtual campus (VC).

“The VC provides an interactive community: special interest groups like campus ministries, chapel streaming, and academic interest groups, that students can take advantage of,” he said.

“Students of any age desire to be part of a community of learners. Adults especially do not want to feel alone in their learning community and the VC attempts to build this community within the online environment.”

The program is fully accredited through the Higher Learning Commission, the regional accrediting agency for higher education in this part of the nation. The HLC extended its approval to the Williams online program following a site team visit last fall.

More information is available at


Mom’s Day of Prayer set for Jan. 18

Mom’s Day of Prayer (MDOP), which began in Fort Smith through the efforts of an Arkansas Baptist in the 1990s, has spiraled into a worldwide event held every January.

The date for this year’s event is Jan. 18. However, Kathy Coleman, founder of MDOP, said MDOP events can be hosted on other dates if the set date is not convenient.

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Fort Smith CWJC celebrates Christmas

Valerie Fitch, Fort Smith Christian Women's Job Corps (FSCWJC) executive director, addresses those in attendance at FSCWJC’s Christmas party. About 60 people attended the party, which took place Dec. 9 at Oaks Manor Conference and Retreat Center in Van Buren. The event included a meal, a speaker, music and gifts. It also served as a time to celebrate God’s work in the lives of the women and families involved with FSCWJC in 2013.