Fayetteville voters approve repeal of controversial gender ordinance

FAYETTEVILLE – Voters approved a repeal of a controversial gender ordinance Dec. 9 that would have been the first of its kind in the Natural State.

Unofficial results reported were 7,523 voting for repeal, with 7,040 voting against repeal, according to published reports.

Adopted by Fayetteville councilmen Aug. 20 following a marathon meeting, the ordinance would have extended housing, employment and public accommodation protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, which aren't covered in state and federal laws.

Within a month following approval of the ordinance, its foes collected enough signatures to place its repeal on the ballot in a special election.

Southern Baptist and other religious leaders in northwest Arkansas expressed concern that the ordinance was a significant threat to religious liberty in the city.

The passage of the ordinance by the Fayetteville City Council appeared to mark the first win in a new Southern campaign to extend LGBT rights.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the country’s largest political organization that promotes LGBT rights, announced in April such an effort with an $8.5 million budget over three years in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi. On Nov. 10, HRC unveiled its “All God’s Children” religious outreach to persuade Mississippians that homosexuality is compatible with Christianity.

In a Nov. 10 memo, Steve Clark, president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, said the city had failed to address the organization’s numerous questions about enforcement of the ordinance, including some regarding religious freedom.

Lead Southern Baptist Convention ethicist Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), described the ordinance as “one of the most broadly written and troubling nondiscrimination bills I’ve ever seen, stipulating religious exemptions only for the most narrow of circumstances, which will endanger untold numbers of men and women seeking to live out their gospel faith.”

The ordinance’s weakness on religious liberty is especially objectionable to Southern Baptists, Moore said, adding, “Religious freedom doesn’t arrive by majority vote and can’t be negotiated away by majority vote.”


SACSCOC reaffirms Brewton-Parker College accreditation

MOUNT VERNON, Ga. – During the conclusion of its annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn. Dec. 9 The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) announced it had ended Brewton-Parker College's academic probation and reaffirmed the school's accreditation and membership.

Brewton-Parker College President Ergun Caner and members of his executive cabinet met for an hour on Dec. 6 in Nashville with the SACSCOC Committee on Compliance and Reports to present new verified material evidence demonstrating the college’s compliance with the Principles of Accreditation. The evidence submitted and reviewed by SACSCOC showed that Brewton-Parker College had sufficient financial resources to
meet its obligations and its mission, is financially stable, is in control of its finances and complies with its Title IV program responsibilities to the United States Department of Education.

“This is a great day for Brewton-Parker College. We are thankful that after reviewing all the evidence SACSCOC removed us from probation and reaffirmed our accreditation. The process that Brewton-Parker College has endured over the past four years shows that the system works. Brewton-Parker College is a better and much stronger institution today,” Caner said. “Brewton-Parker College has proved that it is financially stable, fiscally accountable, and academically rigorous. We give thanks to God for this decision for it was by His guidance we were able to achieve this result.”

Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist college founded in 1904 and affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention, is located in Mount Vernon, Georgia.


Baptist Health to give away backpacks, winter supplies to underserved Dec. 11

LITTLE ROCK – For those living on the streets, predictions that this may be one of the coldest winters for Arkansas means scrabbling to find shelter and cold-weather clothing. While both are a top priority, it’s often difficult to find either when times are hard.

In an effort to help the underserved stay warm, Baptist Health Community Outreach will be handing out more than 100 free backpacks – each filled with a sweat suit, warm socks, gloves, hat and hygiene products – at their annual Christmas giveaway on Thursday, Dec. 11. This year Baptist Health employees had the opportunity to donate items for this event, too.

Baptist Health Community Clinic (BHCC), located at Stewpot, a feeding ministry of First Presbyterian Church, Little Rock, and home to one of Baptist Health’s 18 community wellness centers (BHCC). BHCC, which are funded by a grant from Bank of America, are a community clinic targeting the homeless and indigent population and offers free health screenings and services in addition to basic first aid and parasitic treatment. The wellness center is open weekly and staffed by nurses. Clients also have the opportunity to see a volunteer physician on the third Thursday of each month.

With more than 175 points of access, including eight hospitals, Baptist Health is committed to delivering “All Our Best” in healthcare to the people of Arkansas. For more information about Baptist Health’s community wellness centers, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST or visit our website at


Williams Baptist College announces $500,000 gift for new dorm project

Jim Tom Butler of Harrisburg, center, talks with WBC President Tom Jones, right, and Brett Cooper, vice president for institutional advancement during the college's board of trustees meeting Dec. 5.WALNUT RIDGE – A $500,000 gift to Williams Baptist College (WBC) is kicking off a fundraising effort for a new men’s residence hall. Williams announced the gift from the Jim Tom Butler family of Harrisburg Dec. 5.

The 43-bed facility will be built next to WBC’s Butler Hall, an existing residence facility made possible by a gift from the Butler family in 2008.

“The Butler family has a long history of making progress possible at Williams Baptist College,” said Tom Jones, WBC president.  “With male student housing nearing capacity, this project will allow us to serve a growing student body and meet their residential needs with very comfortable accommodations. This generous gift from these long-time friends moves us closer to making the facility a reality.”

The new residence hall will be a two-story structure with just over 9,800 square feet of floor space. WBC estimates the total cost of the project at $2 million. Jones said the college hopes to begin construction this spring, with completion expected by early 2016.

“Our family has been involved with this college for more than 50 years, and it is a wonderful institution,” said Butler. “Ultimately, God is the one providing this gift, and our family is simply blessed to be the means by which the Lord is meeting this need at WBC.” 

Butler is on WBC’s board of trustees, and the announcement was made during the college’s regularly scheduled board meeting Dec. 5.

Williams Baptist  is a 4-year, liberal arts college, offering degrees in 25 different subject areas. The school has an enrollment of more than 500 students on its main campus at Walnut Ridge, with nearly 400 living in WBC’s residence halls and apartments.


'Changing Attitudes' forum highlights church role in mental health

Jessica Vanderpool
Arkansas Baptist News 

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Suicide. Anxiety. Depression. 

These words often seem taboo in churches. But attitudes are changing. 

Changing Attitudes was the theme of a mental health forum held Dec. 1 by Park Hill Baptist Church, North Little Rock. About 250 people attended the event.

Garrick Conner, discipleship pastor at Park Hill Baptist Church, said the idea of “changing attitudes” refers to two things: (1) how the Church’s attitude is already changing in regard to ministering to those with mental and emotional issues and (2) how the Church needs to help change others’ attitudes and fight the stigma associated with mental issues.

The forum emphasized how churches can help those with mental illness, and it highlighted area resources like support groups and counseling services. 

Click to read more ...

Page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 83 Next 5 Entries »