Ark. judge orders state to list both spouses on birth records of homosexual couples

LITTLE ROCK – A Pulaski County circuit judge on Nov. 23 ordered the Arkansas Department of Health to amend the birth certificates of the children of three married same-sex couples to include the spouse who is not the biological parent, the Associated Press reported.

But Judge Tim Fox said he was not ready to decide the bigger issues raised by the families in their lawsuit that accuses the Health Department of treating gay parents unfairly when it comes to issuing birth certificates.

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In Paris, 'death, pain and terror' met by prayer, hope

PARIS (BP) – Friday the 13th became a day of infamy in Paris after a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris left at least 129 people dead and 350 wounded.

"This has been the worst attack in Paris since World War II," said Tara Chaney*, an International Mission Board worker in France. "People are in a state of shock and mourning; however, there is also a sense of resolve. Parisians are slowly going about their lives. They want to prove to the terrorists that they have not won."

IMB officials reported all of their personnel in Paris are safe, although four were at the national stadium that was one of six locations targeted by terrorists.

The self-proclaimed Islamic State claimed responsibility, yet many Muslims around the world took to social media to condemn the attacks, citing a difference between Islam and extremist dogma.



LifeWay reopens search for new headquarters

NASHVILLE (BP) – LifeWay Christian Resources is stepping away from the purchase of a 1.5-acre site in downtown Nashville to look at other sites for a new headquarters, LifeWay President Thom Rainer said in a letter to employees Nov. 16.
Rainer said the Southern Baptist entity does intend to complete the sale of its 14.5-acre campus, also located in downtown Nashville.

LifeWay's bid for the 1.5-acre property was accepted in July for $12.7 million with a $4.9 million tax incentive, lowering the overall cost to less than $8 million. The site is owned by Nashville's Metro Development and Housing Agency and is situated across the Cumberland River from Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL Tennessee Titans.

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Supreme Court to hear GuideStone appeal in contraceptive case

DALLAS – The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Nov. 6 to hear appeals by several ministries, including GuideStone Financial Resources, to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate that would require certain ministries served by GuideStone to provide abortion-causing drugs and devices or face crippling penalties.

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the appeal means that ministries continue to be protected from sanctions until at least June 2016, when a final ruling is rendered.

The announcement is welcomed news, said Harold R. Loftin Jr., general counsel for GuideStone.

“We are grateful that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear our appeal,” Loftin said. “We trust the Court will provide a fair hearing of our arguments early in 2016 and look forward to the resolution of the case.”

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Arkansas Baptists gather for 162nd annual meeting in Hot Springs

Arkansas Baptist State Convention Executive Director J.D. "Sonny" Tucker prays for newly-elected convention officers, (from right): Gary Hollingsworth, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock, president, Sam Roberts, pastor of First Baptist Church, Stuttgart, first vice president, and Steven Bell, pastor of Otter Creek Community Church, Little Rock, second vice president.

HOT SPRINGS – Arkansas Baptists worshipped together, prayed together, conducted business, approved resolutions and heard inspiring messages during their 162nd annual meeting held Nov. 3-4 at Hot Springs Baptist Church.

Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) leaders said 615 messengers from churches across the state attended, but observers placed the overall attendance – including guests – at well over a thousand. Comparatively, messengers at last year’s meeting in Texarkana numbered 515, while the 2013 meeting in Rogers attracted 591 messengers.

Messengers approved a total of nine resolutions, including resolutions addressing racial reconciliation, the sanctity of human life, services to children at risk, on the biblical definition of marriage, religious liberty, the persecution of Christians worldwide, the 90th anniversary of the Cooperative Program and on spiritual renewal and revival.

The theme of the annual meeting was Everyone Matters, with speakers and convention leaders lifting up the theme in their messages.

Gary Hollingsworth, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock, was elected president of the convention. Other officers elected were Sam Roberts, pastor of First Baptist Church, Stuttgart, first vice president, and Steven Bell, pastor of Otter Creek Community Church, Little Rock, second vice president.

Read a complete recap of the annual meeting in the Nov. 19 edition of the Arkansas Baptist News. Subscribe here.