Ouachita board of trustees elects new trustees, honors state Baptist leaders

ARKADELPHIA – Ouachita Baptist University’s Board of Trustees elected five new trustees and one national director during a Dec. 13 board meeting on Ouachita’s Arkadelphia campus.

Board members also elected two new faculty members and two admissions counselors and adopted resolutions honoring two Arkansas Baptist State Convention leaders.

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‘Christ of the Ozarks’ to shine again in time for Christmas

The Christ of the Ozarks statue overlooks the picturesque Victorian village of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The inspiring image of the seven-story statue may be seen from the village's historic district in the valley below.EUREKA SPRINGS – The seven-story statue of Christ overlooking the picturesque Victorian village of Eureka Springs from Magnetic Mountain will be lighted for Christmas – with private donors footing the bill.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported the two floodlights that illuminate the Christ of the Ozarks are set be turned back on the evening of Friday, Dec. 14.

Statue lights were turned off in November to save money on electricity after tough economic closed the Great Passion Play Oct. 27. Christ of the Ozarks is located on 700-acre campus where the play, an Arkansas family and group attraction in the Ozark Mountains seen by millions of people since 1966, is located.

Cornerstone Bank will take over the property in January in lieu of foreclosure proceedings, according to the bank’s president.

Private donors have volunteered to pay the electric bill and turn the lights back on at least through the Christmas season, said Keith Butler, chairman of the nonprofit Elna M. Smith Foundation, which operated the Passion Play, the Democrat-Gazette reported.

The electric bill for the two 10,000-watt floodlights costs about $200 a month. Additional repairs of another several hundred dollars also are needed, said Butler.

Donors include both churches and individuals, Butler told the Democrat-Gazette. He said a fund has been established to help keep the statue lit in the future.

“It’s a symbol for a lot of people, and it’s important to a lot of people’s faith,” Eureka Springs Alderman James DeVito told the Democrat-Gazette, adding the statue serves as a landmark for people who get turned around in the winding streets of the tourist town.

Completed in 1966, Christ of the Ozarks is Arkansas’ largest and best-known sculpture and can be seen from miles away. 

Efforts to sell the play and property were unsuccessful, resulting in its closure, the Democrat-Gazette reported.


Prayer Shawl Ministry provides ‘a hug from God’ 

JACKSONVILLE – A couple of Saturdays each month, Second Baptist Church, Jacksonville, is full of prayer, clicking needles and charitable spirits. That is when a dozen or more women meet to knit and crochet prayer shawls for those in need.

“We started this ministry in 2006, with just $100 in our budget, and since then it has grown so much,” said Harriet Sherman, inreach/outreach ministry leader at Second Baptist Church, Jacksonville.

She said First United Methodist Church, Jacksonville, which already had a successful prayer shawl ministry, helped them get started.

“We had no idea what we were doing, but they came along side us and helped us get organized,” Sherman said. “They were a huge help.” 

Because of this, she wanted to have a statewide conference where similar ministries could come together, fellowship and learn from each other.

“We were lucky to have the help of a local church, but there may be other churches out there that don’t have that, and we wanted to give them an opportunity to come to this conference and learn,” Sherman said. 

A dozen or more churches from across Arkansas participated at the statewide, non-denominational Prayer Shawl Conference Nov. 10 at Second Baptist Church, Jacksonville. Attendees were given the opportunity to hear from and visit with other established ministries to garner ideas and support. 

“We hope today is a blessing to everyone here. It blesses my heart to see so many women gathered together to share God’s love through these ministries,” Sherman said.

The purpose of a prayer shawl is to give someone a tangible example of God’s love and care, said Sherman, adding that the most important part of this ministry is prayer. 

“When making a prayer shawl, we pray for the receiver of the shawl before, during and after it’s finished. Sometimes we know who we are making the shawl for, and sometimes we don’t, but we pray for the person who receives it just the same,” she said. 

Prayer Shawls are given to people in need. It may be someone undergoing medical procedure, or another who has lost a loved one. Prayer shawls are also given away for celebrations such the marriage or birth of a child.

“If this ministry has been blessed, it is because when someone gets a shawl, their heart and eyes are turned to God,” said Sherman. “We are so thankful to have a ministry like this where we can share God’s love. Think of it like a hug from God.”


Congressman Ross presents congressional materials to Ouachita Baptist University  

Ouachita Baptist University President Rex Horne (left) and U.S. Congressman Mike Ross exchange words of affirmation after announcing and signing an agreement for Congressman Ross to donate his official papers to Ouachita’s archives collection. -OBU photo by Nicole McPhateTrennis Henderson
Ouachita Baptist University

ARKADELPHIA — U.S. Congressman Mike Ross presented his official papers and related material from his political career to Ouachita Baptist University during a Dec. 7 press conference on Ouachita’s Arkadelphia campus.

Congressman Ross, who has served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, did not seek reelection this year. He is returning to the private sector after his current term concludes on Jan. 3, 2013.

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Ouachita and Congressman Mike Ross to make partnership announcement Dec. 7  

ARKADELPHIA – A special announcement and press conference are scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, on the campus of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia.

The purpose of event is to announce a "major partnership project between Congressman Ross and Ouachita Baptist University," according to a press alert issued by Trennis Henderson, vice president for communications at Ouachita.

The event is set to be held in Young Auditorium in Hickingbotham Hall on Ouachita’s Arkadelphia campus.