Maternity home transitions into home for adult single mothers, their children 

LITTLE ROCK – Following several years of decline in admissions, referrals and resident population, the Promise House Maternity Home in Little Rock is transitioning into a new ministry, leaders of the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries (ABCHomes) announced recently. 

Beginning in early 2015, ABCHomes, in partnership with Baptist Health of Little Rock, will provide a Family Care Home to assist adult, single-parent mothers and their children at the now Promise House location. Baptist Health owns the West Little Rock facility, which has housed the maternity home since 1999. ABCHomes opened its first Family Care Home in June 2014, in Jonesboro. 

“This change has not been an easy decision,” said David Perry, ABCHomes executive director.  “Our leadership staff and board of trustees have struggled with this for months. The Promise House has been a vital area of ministry for ABCHomes for many years.  

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Family named winner of ABN Christmas card contest

NEW EDINBURG – For the first time, the Arkansas Baptist News (ABN) has named a family winner of its Christmas card contest. Jennifer Reaves Bryant, member of First Baptist Church, Fordyce; her sons, Jack, 8, and Nate, 6, and her sister, Jodi Reaves, member of First Baptist Church, Kingsland, each created a Christmas card design as a family project.

The family members’ crayon drawings depicting the birth of Jesus will be combined into one design and featured as the official 2014 Christmas card of the Arkansas Baptist News.

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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