WMU Executive Director Wanda Lee announces retirement, WMU board meets

LeeJulie Walters
Woman’s Missionary Union

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Wanda Lee, executive director/treasurer of national Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), shared her intentions to retire during her report at national WMU’s board meeting in January. The need to share the gospel ‘by all means’ and the desire to support missionaries were also topics addressed during the board meeting, held Jan. 9–11 at Shocco Springs Conference Center in Talladega, Ala.

Lee announced a search committee will be appointed to seek her successor. No date is set for her departure. She pledged to continue to lead WMU until a new executive director is named and help facilitate a smooth transition.

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Study: Lack of support reason pastors leave pastorate

NASHVILLE (BP) - No sabbatical. No help with counseling. No clear picture of what's expected. In a new study, hundreds of former senior pastors say these were the crucial elements missing from the final churches they led before quitting the pastorate.

The study by LifeWay Research points to ways churches can encourage pastors to stay in the ministry, said Ed Stetzer, executive director of the research organization.

"Almost half of those who left the pastorate said their church wasn't doing any of the kinds of things that would help," Stetzer said. "Having clear documents, offering a sabbatical rest, and having people help with weighty counseling cases are key things experts tell us ought to be in place."

LifeWay Research surveyed 734 former senior pastors who left the pastorate before retirement age in four Protestant denominations.

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38th March for Life Jan. 17 in Little Rock 

LITTLE ROCK - The 38th annual March for Life will be held Sunday, Jan. 17, at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock. 

Arkansas Right to Life is sponsor of the march, which is held annually in observance of the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States.  

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Arkansas Baptist pastor to lead South Carolina Baptist Convention

HollingsworthUpdated 1:10 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 10:

LITTLE ROCK – Gary Hollingsworth, senior pastor of the historic Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, and current president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC), has been tapped to serve as executive director-treasurer of the South Carolina Baptist Convention (SCBC).

Hollingsworth announced that he will be formally voted on to serve in the post at a special called meeting of the South Carolina convention board Thursday, Jan. 14. He made the announcement during Sunday morning services at the Little Rock church, Jan. 10.

Hollingsworth was elected to serve as president of the ABSC this past November in Hot Springs.

He has served in a number of capacities throughout his years in ministry. An Alabama native, Hollingsworth has served as pastor of a church in Kentucky and at the historic First Baptist Church, Alexandria, Va.

In 1996, Hollingsworth returned to his home state where he served for nearly 10 years as pastor of First Baptist Church, Trussville, Ala.

Hollingsworth has also served as chairman of the board of trustees for the Alabama State Board of Missions, president of Alabama’s pastor’s conference, vice president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention and as senior director of cultural evangelism for the North American Mission Board. In 2007, Hollingsworth became the 16th senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock.

He was recognized with the 2013 Distinguished Baptist Minister Award by Williams Baptist College (WBC) in Walnut Ridge.

The SCBC was formed in 1821 and was the first state Baptist convention in the United States.



Congress sends Planned Parenthood defunding bill to Obama

WASHINGTON (BP) – Congress has forced President Obama's hand on federal funding for the country's No. 1 abortion provider.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed Jan. 6 in a 240-181 roll call a budget-related bill that would cut nearly 90 percent of federal funds in the next year for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and its affiliates. The legislation also repeals fundamental sections of the controversial 2010 health-care law opposed by nearly all pro-life organizations.

The Senate approved the same measure by 52-47 in a Dec. 3 vote.

Obama, a strong backer of both Planned Parenthood and the health-care law, has vowed to veto the legislation, which apparently marks the first time a bill to cut funding for the organization has reached a president's desk. Neither house of Congress, however, has the votes for a two-thirds majority to override a veto.

The approval by both houses of an effort to eliminate most of Planned Parenthood's federal funding amounts to a long-awaited victory. For years, members of Congress have sought to hold accountable an organization that performs more than 300,000 abortions a year, receives more than $500 million from the government annually and continues to be plagued by scandal. Planned Parenthood's latest black-eye -- which fueled the current congressional defunding action -- was last year's revelation through undercover videos it trades in baby body parts.

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