Mike Manning began serving as Harmony Baptist Association’s associational missionary June 1. He previously served as director of missions at Linn-Livington Baptist Association in Medadville, Mo. He also has pastored churches in Texas, Illinois, Louisiana and Arkansas, including Levy Baptist Church, North Little Rock; Calvary Baptist Church, Batesville, and First Baptist Church, Oden. Manning and his wife, Leslie, were both born in Arkansas. They have three children who live in central Arkansas.
WALNUT RIDGE – Joshua Richards will join the English faculty at Williams Baptist College starting this fall. Richards, a specialist in American and English literature, has teaching experience on three continents and an extensive background in research.
“We had any number of outstanding candidates, but Richards was a clear first choice,” said Kenneth Startup, academic dean at Williams. “We’re deeply gratified to have a young scholar of this caliber join our faculty.”
Richards comes to Williams from Shantou University in China, where he has been associate professor of foreign languages and literature, and he previously served on the English faculty at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He was also a postgraduate tutor and lecturer at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
He holds a Ph.D. in literature from the University of St. Andrews and a master’s degree in English from Florida Atlantic University. He earned bachelor’s degrees in both English and physics from Ouachita Baptist University.
“In 2013, he received the Fathman Prize for Young Scholars from the T. S. Eliot Society, and Dr. Richards also has a fine record of publication and scholarly presentations,” Startup noted.
The Williams English department offers majors in both English and secondary English education. Williams is a four-year, liberal arts college at Walnut Ridge.
Rankin Chapel Baptist Church, Dumas, celebrated its 75th anniversary on May 24 with almost 90 people in attendance. Dewayne Tanton (left), who at the time was serving as interim associational missionary for Harmony Baptist Association, presented a plaque to George and Mattie Rawson, longest attending members of Rankin Chapel. Pastor Monty Meek is pictured on the right.
SAGE – Lois Faye James Hacker, wife of Rocky Bayou Baptist Association associational missionary S.D. Hacker, died May 4 in the couple’s home in Sage.She was 78.Lois Hacker was born in Bellefonte in 1936 and married S.D. Hacker on Christmas Day in 1953. She graduated salutatorian from Berryville High School in 1954 and later attended Ouachita Baptist College (now Ouachita Baptist University) in Arkadelphia.The Hackers’ 61 years of marriage were devoted to ministry.Lois Hacker partnered with her husband throughout 20 years during which he served as pastor of local churches and more than 40 years during which he served as associational missionary of White River Baptist, Independence Baptist and Rock Bayou Baptist associations. Lois Hacker led Bible drills for children and youth, led conferences for children’s ministry leaders, served as a special district worker for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and was a longtime Sunday school teacher. She served as clerk for the Rocky Bayou Baptist Association for 19 years, wrote curriculum for the Southern Baptist Convention for more than 17 years and served on the Arkansas Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) board. Hacker served as pianist for multiple churches during her more than 60 years as a minister’s wife and taught piano lessons for six decades.“She taught piano to over 250 pupils in a 60-year span that began when two Baptist preachers backed her into a corner and asked her to teach each of their sons to play,” said S.D. Hacker. “She was still in high school at the time.” According to her husband, one of Lois Hacker’s favorite hobbies was writing poetry. He said she specifically enjoyed writing poems, which described the Christian journey through life and into the full presence of God in heaven. Her poetry had become a fixture of the Memorial Moments segment of each Rocky Bayou Baptist Association annual meeting. Lois Hacker’s surviving family includes her husband, three children, seven grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, two sisters, a brother and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, a sister and a brotherin-law.
Ouachita Baptist University
Howie Mandel called the trio a “real boy band” and Howard Stern labeled them “beautifully nerdy.” The results? Triple Threat earned a standing ovation and four yes votes from the celebrity judges for their audition performance on the May 26 season premiere of the popular NBC program, America’s Got Talent.
Triple Threat, a trio from Benton, includes two recent Ouachita Baptist University graduates, Tyler Davis and Will Richey, as well as Caleb Conrad, a student at the University of Arkansas. Following the group’s performance of MKTO's song "Classic,” they will be moving to the next round of competition as contestants battle for the show’s $1 million grand prize.
Davis and Richey both graduated from Ouachita on May 9 with Bachelor of Arts degrees. Davis majored in mass communications and Richey majored in music. Richey said he and Davis grew up singing in church together “since we were in about the third grade” and that the trio formed while they were in high school.
Explaining the group’s name during a 2013 interview with Ouachita’s campus newspaper, The Signal, Davis noted, “Well, first off, there are three of us. We wanted a name that sounded contemporary, but also had a meaning behind it. We came up with Triple Threat because our music has three common things: pure and tight harmonies, individual vocal talent and the ability to come up with creative and entertaining arrangements of popular songs.”
During the first few days since their appearance on America’s Got Talent, a video of their performance posted by KARK 4 News has gone viral with more than 3.5 million views – and that total continues to climb. Triple Threat’s previous performances posted on social media include “Hey Grude” which has almost 200,000 views on YouTube and “Never Yield,” featuring a cameo performance by American Idol Season 8 winner Kris Allen, with more than 100,000 views. The trio also has released a seven-song EP titled “Got It Covered.”
“We want to make a career out of this,” Conrad told the AGT judges, “and we think we can do it.” They definitely are off to a great start as millions of viewers across the nation discover the “beautifully nerdy” boy band from Arkansas.
Trennis Henderson is vice president for communications at Ouachita Baptist University.