Brownsville Baptist, Greers Ferry, completes sanctuary 

Brownsville Baptist Church, Greers Ferry, recently completed remodeling their sanctuary. They are continuing remodeling work on their kitchen and fellowship hall.


Hispanic missions day held May 30

HISPANIC OUTREACH – A dental clinic was one of many outreach tools used during the Hispanic missions day held May 30 in Russellville. Volunteers also served through evangelism, prayer walking, a block party, a soccer game, a dental clinic and a medical clinic, which included eye, ear and general physical exams. The event was called Impactando Tu Comunidad con Cristo – Impacting Your Community Through Christ – and it resulted in 46 professions of faith, 40 of which came from adults, and eight rededications. In addition, 100 people attended the block party, and about 165 patients were seen at the medical and dental clinics.


Ouachita’s Elrod Center donates books to Ascent Children’s Health Services

ARKADELPHIA – The Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community at Ouachita Baptist University recently donated more than 100 new books to Ascent Children’s Health Services in Arkadelphia.

“Meeting the needs of children in our city is a high priority for the Elrod Center,” said Ian Cosh, vice president for community and international engagement at Ouachita. “We recognize the importance of reading in the development of a child and are pleased to provide books that will bring hours of joy to the children being served.”

Leigh Anne McKinney, coordinator of public school initiatives for the Elrod Center; Ashlyn Meece, student program assistant, and Kaela Butler, a Ouachita student tutor, delivered the books to Jan Lowry, administrative assistant at Ascent.

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New Wilhelmina Lodge to open July 1

MENA – Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge on 2,681-foot Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest peak, will reopen on July 1 following a $9.6 million renovation, according to Arkanas State Parks Director Greg Butts.

"The improvements to this lodge that opened by the state of Arkansas in 1975 should receive rave reviews when it reopens," said Butts. He noted the lodge will feature all new windows that will be larger to frame the views from Rich Mountain of the surrounding Ouachita Mountains. Butts added, "Enjoying the panoramic scenery from the mountain is an important part of the Queen Wilhelmina State Park experience. Our visitors are going to enjoy the more wide open views from all the lodge’s public rooms, including the restaurant and all the guest rooms."

The exterior of the lodge features shingles and stonework. The lodge was expanded from 25,881 square feet to 37,029 square feet to include the addition of a new hearth room with wood-burning fireplace, two additional guest rooms increasing the total to 40, and more space within all the rooms. Two guest rooms on each floor at the west end include gas fireplaces and spa tubs. Three are barrier-free to meet the needs of visitors with disabilities. They include Queen, King, King with spa tub and gas fireplace, and King Suite choices.

The upstairs meeting facility increased in size and includes a balcony overlooking the south view from the mountain. Public restrooms are located nearby.

An elevator was added to the lodge, as well as more stairwells. A wrap-around porch on the building’s south side will provide visitors with comfortable outdoor space. A new porch was added at the west end. And a new fire protection system covers the entire building.

Other improvements include a new energy efficient heating and air-conditioning system, energy saving lighting throughout, solar hot water, and other such features. A new laundry will serve the housekeeping staff.

The design consultant was The Borné Firm Architects P.A. of Little Rock, Robin Y. Borné AIA president. The architect’s consultants were Pettit and Pettit Consulting Engineers, Inc. of Little Rock (MEP), Engineering Consultants, Inc. of Little Rock (Structural), Hanson and McLaughlin Engineering, LLC of Little Rock (Civil), Development Consultants, Inc. of Little Rock (Landscape Architecture), Morris & Associates of Scott (Environmental), Grubbs, Hoyskn, Barton & Wyatt of Little Rock (Geotechnical), and Stellar Sun of Little Rock (Solar Hot Water System). TriMark Strategic of Coppell, Texas, was the consultant for the new kitchen. Jake Limberg of Arkansas State Parks, the park planner for Queen Wilhelmina State Park, developed the interior furnishings design.

The general contractors were Wade Abernathy, Inc. of Mt. Ida and Nabholz Construction Services of Conway.

The project was funded by Amendment 75, Arkansas’s Conservation Fund ($4,792,365), FY 12-14 grant monies from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council ($3,331,927), and State Parks Funds ($200,000). Furnishings and new kitchen equipment totaled $1,297,000.

Today’s lodge is the third hostelry to grace this same setting on 2,681-foot Rich Mountain. The first inn, opened in 1898 by the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad (KCPG), was designed as a resort retreat for passengers on the line. The company spared no expense in constructing the luxurious hostelry of Victorian splendor. Since the KCPG was largely financed by Dutch interests, the resort was named in honor of the Netherlands’ young Queen Wilhelmina. Known as the "Castle in the Sky," the inn closed in only three years.

The second Queen Wilhelmina inn was built by Arkansas State Parks and operated by the state of Arkansas from 1963 until a fire destroyed it in the fall of 1973.

Today’s Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge opened in 1975 to carry forward this lodging tradition on Rich Mountain. The just completed $9.6 renovation of this facility is what will greet visitors and guests when the lodge reopens on July 1. To make reservations, visit QueenWilhelmina.com or call 1-800-264-2477.

Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge is one of the four hotel-like lodges in the Arkansas state park system. The others are historic Mather Lodge at Petit Jean State Park near Morrilton, DeGray Lake Resort State Park Lodge near Arkadelphia, and The Lodge at Mount Magazine in Mount Magazine State Park near Paris.

Queen Wilhelmina State Park is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. In addition to the lodge, the 460-acre park includes a campground with 41 campsites and a bathhouse; picnic areas; trails; and a seasonal miniature train and mini-golf course. Park interpretive programs highlight Rich Mountain’s fauna and unique flora.

The park is on Ark. 88 (Talimena National Scenic Byway) 13 miles west of Mena. For an alternate route from Mena or during inclement weather, go six miles north on U.S. 71, then travel nine miles west on U.S. 270, then go two miles south up Ark. 272.

Source: Arkansas State Parks news release


Ouachita dedicates new Elrod Center

ARKADELPHIA - Declaring that "this dedication has been long anticipated by me," Ben M. Elrod expressed appreciation to family, friends and colleagues who gathered for the June 11 dedication of the new home of Ouachita Baptist University’s Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community.

"This beautiful building is like a dream come true," Elrod said. "It will be a worthy house for the home of the center."

Elrod, who served from 1988 to 1998 as Ouachita’s 13th president, created and endowed the center in 1997 to coordinate and facilitate public service, volunteerism, servant leadership and community engagement by Ouachita students, faculty and staff. Trustees named the Elrod Center in his honor following his retirement.

The new two-story office complex is located on the corner of 6th and Cherry streets on the Ouachita campus. It features the Heflin Community Room named in honor of the Heflin family, including special appreciation to Sharon Heflin who chaired the fundraising committee for the new facility. Other named rooms include the Whipple Conference Room named in honor of Ross and May Whipple who have supported the work of the Elrod Center since its inception both personally and through the Ross Foundation and the Palmer Conference Room named in honor of Gordon and Melbaree Palmer, personal friends of Dr. and Mrs. Elrod who wished to honor their service to Ouachita.

Elrod speaks at the dedication service.

The new center also includes several staff offices as well as a reception area and kitchen facilities. The facility is being funded by gifts from the Heflin Family Foundation, J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation, Keith Smith Company, Morris Foundation, Olds Foundation, Ray White Lumber Company and the Ross Foundation as well as generous gifts by Dr. and Mrs. Elrod and several other individual donors.

Affirming that "today is indeed a special day to be at Ouachita," he added, "We have the privilege of celebrating and honoring two Ouachita legends as we dedicate the Ben M. Elrod Center for Family and Community. Dr. and Mrs. Elrod are truly difference makers."

Citing the Elrod Center’s mission to involve students and faculty in "dedicated service to humankind through the educational experience," Heflin said, "In 2014 alone, the signature Elrod Center programs like ElderServe, America Reads, America Counts, Tiger Serve Day and others had over 2,100 volunteers who have almost 20,000 volunteer hours. By the Elrod Center’s encouragement and example to the rest of the Ouachita community, right at 3,800 volunteers gave over 55,500 hours of volunteer time to the Arkadelphia community" during the past year.

"Dr. and Mrs. Elrod shine a beacon for all of us to follow. Their example has been lighting the way for others on Ouachita’s campus for decades," Heflin emphasized. "Dr. and Mrs. Elrod have exemplified service above self."

Ian Cosh, vice president for community and international engagement, has served as director of the Elrod Center since its inception. Noting that the work of the Elrod Center "is a story that’s tied to the transformed lives of students impacted over the past 18 years," he said a primary goal of the center is to equip Ouachita graduates "to be generous men and women in all the ways that generosity can be measured," including time commitment, compassion, creativity and sharing material resources.

"Thank you for being here today for the opening of this beautiful building that will facilitate the flow of compassionate students, faculty and staff who wish to honor God with their hearts and their minds and to love others as Christ has taught us to do," Cosh concluded. "I hope we are going to wear this building out through the energy and creativity that our students always bring to their endeavors and in particular their commitment to serve."

Ouachita President Rex Horne said the dedication service provided a reminder of a family, a man and a mission as well as a great resource and a great impact. Citing the influence of Elrod and his family, Horne described Elrod as "a man who showed great courage, great wisdom and continues to do so on behalf of Ouachita."

The Elrod Center’s mission of service "is a huge part of what Ouachita is and should always be," Horne said, adding that the center is a vital resource that equips and encourages students to be involved in activities that impact people’s lives.

He expressed appreciation "for the Lord using people like Ben and Betty Lou Elrod who give of their time and treasure to Ouachita Baptist University to make us the university that we are and the university that we aspire to be."

"I want to thank all of you for sharing this dedication with us today," Elrod responded. "It’s always a pleasure for us to come back to Ouachita where so much of our lives have been invested."

Since his retirement as president in 1998, Elrod said, "I am still under God’s mandate to ministry. The center was the answer to my continued ministry, helping young people to realize there’s life outside themselves and that being a servant, serving other people is to be like Christ." He said that goal is being accomplished as the Elrod Center helps "teach young people how to serve and not be served."


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