Williams Baptist College set for Homecoming/Parent's Day 2013

WALNUT RIDGE – Williams Baptist College is set to host its annual Homecoming/Parent’s Day on Saturday, Nov. 2, when alumni and parents will journey to the campus to participate in a full day of activities.

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Red River DR team departs for Colorado

Members of the Red River Baptist Association team are, (from left), Doug Higgenbotham of Caddo Valley, Murphy Manning of Sparkman, Donyce Kinard of Hot Springs, Dennis Mayher of Carlisle, James Niblett of Jessieville, Ed Whitson of Curtis, Charles Bell of Hot Springs, and team leader Joe Burt of Arkadelphia. Not pictured are James Blackwood of Brown Springs and Brenda Lewis of Timbo.ARKADELPHIA – A 10-member cooking team from the Red River Baptist Association disaster relief team left Arkadelphia on Oct. 3 for Longmont, Colo. The team is planning to work Oct. 5-11 preparing meals at the Boulder County Fairgrounds for about 200 Southern Baptist mud out and cleanup personnel, as well as incident command and support personnel from several states who are in Colorado to lend assistance to those affected by the recent flooding.

"We are pleased that the Arkansas Baptist State Convention has again selected us to fulfill a critical requirement,” said Harold Johnson, senior unit leader for the Red River team. “They know from experience that our volunteers will respond and do an excellent job."

The team is sponsored by Red River Baptist Association in Arkadelphia, which is made up of 27 churches in Clark County and 11 churches in parts of Dallas, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Nevada, Garland and Pike counties.

The Read River team has responded to 13 disasters within Arkansas and 23 outside Arkansas since its inception in 1997. The team’s most recent disaster responses were during Hurricane Isaac in New Orleans, Hurricane Sandy in New York and flooding in west Texas. In addition, the team recently supported the Mission of Mercy, the Arkansas Dental Association’s free dental clinic at Arkadelphia.

It was announced Sept. 27 that Arkansas Baptist disaster relief volunteers were being deployed to assist with recovery efforts following devastating floods in Colorado. 

In addition to the Red River team, the Arkansas Baptist State Convention activated recovery units from the Arkansas Valley Baptist Association and Tri-County Baptist Association to do mud out work in Greely, Colo. The units will be stationed at Hillside Baptist Church in Greely, Colo.

The Geyer Springs First Baptist Church, Little Rock, shower/laundry unit was scheduled to locate at Long Peak Baptist Church, Longmont, Colo., for the next three weeks, with volunteers being replaced each week.

Follow the Arkansas Baptist News on Twitter at @ArkBaptNews for the latest updates.



Longtime Ark. pastor, Andy Hall, dies at 92

FAYETTEVILLE – Andrew Maurice Hall, 92, of Fayetteville, died 
Monday, Sept.
 30, 2013, in Fayetteville. Over a period of 74 years, Hall pastored
 churches in 
Arkansas, Ken
tucky and Florida. His pastorates included First
 Baptist Church, Fayetteville, for 17 years.

HallHall was born Nov. 30, 1920, in Little Rock to Jim and Ruth Hall. He served as a sports editor at Little Rock High School and was a member of the Ouachita Baptist College (now Ouachita Baptist University) championship debate team. Hall's other pastorates were First Baptist Church, Malvern, 1942-1943; First Baptist Church, Lake Wales, Fla., 1949-1953; First Baptist Church, Fayetteville, 1953-1970, where he led the campaign in 1960 to build the sanctuary currently in use by the congregation, and First Baptist Church, Delray Beach, Fla., 1970-1984. He received a doctorate from Southern Baptist Theologial Seminary in Louisville, Ky., in 1949 and pastored Hartford Baptist Church, Hartford, Ky., from 1944-1949.

Hall retired to Fayetteville and served interim pastorates at Van Buren, Berryville, Farmington, Prairie Grove, Dutch Mills and Elkins. He also did missionary work in Barbados, Antigua and Grand Cayman. He chaired the Southern Baptist Radio and Television Commission and was on the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board). He also served as president of Fayetteville Rotary Club and was an avid golfer and Razorbacks fan.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Harriet Grant Hall; sister, Charlene Watkins; two brothers, Wes Hall and Leland Hall; brothers-in-law, George Grant and Richard Grant; and sister-in-law, Elizabeth Stanford. He is survived by one daughter, Andrea Hall Savage, and her husband Stan of Moultrie, Ga.; a son, Grant Hall, and his wife Audley of Fayetteville; two brothers, David Hall and his wife Polly of Little Rock, and Gayrie Hall and his wife Theresa of North Little Rock; grandchildren, Jason Hall and his wife Traci of Springdale, Joanna Braswell and her husband Anderson of Smithfield, Va., and Scott Hall of Fayetteville; five great-grandchildren, Andrew, Kathryn and Anna Hall, and Claire and Alice Braswell; and special friend Audrey Gateley of Fayetteville.

Funeral services were held Oct. 1 at First Baptist Church, Fayetteville, followed by a graveside service at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, at Roselawn Memorial Park in Little Rock under the direction of Moore’s Chapel in Fayetteville. Memorials may be made to the Andrew and Harriet Hall Ministerial Scholarship Award, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, AR 71923 or First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 1324, Fayetteville, AR 72702. Tributes may be recorded at


Hispanic Children’s and Youth Camp touches lives

Francisco Gómez (left), Arkansas Baptist State Convention missions ministries team member, prays with students at the Senegalese house during their tour of All People’s Village.LONSDALE – “¡Hola, bienvenidos al campamento!” Hello, welcome to camp! 

Students’ faces lit up in excitement as they arrived at the Hispanic Children’s and Youth Camp held this summer at Spring Lake Baptist Assembly in Lonsdale.

“You could feel the excitement in the air; we had a variety of returning campers among brand new campers,” said Claudia Mendoza, camp director and wife of Pastor Manuel Mendoza of Misión Bautista Ebenezer in Russellville – a mission of First Baptist Church, Russellville.

A total of 109 students and adults attended the camp’s children’s session July 29-31 and youth session July 31-Aug. 2.

IDentity in Christ was this year’s theme for the camp, which is sponsored by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) missions ministries team through the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering, as well as by First Baptist, Russellville. Ricky Rogers, associate pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista, Arkadelphia, served as guest speaker for the youth, challenging them to identify with Christ in all aspects of their lives. A number of speakers shared on the same topic during the children’s session of the camp.

“The purpose was to help children and youth understand that when we become children of God, we become someone very special,” Mendoza said. “We were created with a special purpose, and we have to stand firm in who we believe in.”

This was the first year for the camp to be held in Lonsdale, and students enjoyed a variety of activities, including a visit to All People’s Village, an area of Spring Lake Baptist Assembly where houses are built to resemble homes from various parts of the world.

Francisco Gómez, ABSC missions ministries team member and Hispanic ministries consultant for the convention, explained he enlisted speakers to share information such as the religion, mission work, culture and prayer needs for each country represented by the houses.

“We learned about missionaries, their work and their call,” said Gómez, adding, “Children prayed at each home.”

Baptism at one of the Hispanic camps.Along with visiting All People’s Village, Gómez said students took part in recreational activities, fellowship and worship. And several children and youth made key decisions, including three salvation decisions and five calls to ministry. In addition, four students were baptized during camp.

“For more than five years, the camp – along with other Hispanic missions events – has been sponsored by the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering,” said Gómez. “This support has been a blessing because it has impacted the lives of numerous children, and we have seen them grow in their spiritual lives – and we have seen leaders come out of the camp. And it wouldn’t have been possible without Dixie Jackson’s support.”

In addition to the children’s and youth camp, the convention holds a number of other events – many of which are also supported by the Dixie Jackson offering – for the Hispanic community. 

These include an annual retreat for Hispanic pastors, which was held in August; an annual conference for the Hispanic branch of the Arkansas Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) – la Unión Femenil Misionera (UFM); an annual Hispanic fellowship held at the time of the ABSC Annual Meeting and Church Planting Essentials seminars for Hispanic church planters.


Merlene Whitten dies at 72 after life of service

Merlene Whitten, 72, died July 31. She was born March 24, 1941, in Stillwater, Okla., to Merle and Opal Jackson. She married Phil Whitten Sept. 2, 1960. While her husband served as a pastor, Whitten served in a variety of ministry roles, including as coordinator of children’s choirs at Grand Avenue Baptist Church, Fort Smith, and as children’s director in Sunday school at Oak Cliff Baptist Church, Fort Smith. She is survived by her husband of 52 years, three children and three grandchildren. Funeral services were held Aug. 3 at Oak Cliff Baptist Church with burial at Roselawn Cemetery in Fort Smith.