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 ...


Baptist leaders hopeful of repeal of LGBT ordinance on Fayetteville ballot Dec. 9

FAYETTEVILLE (BP) – Southern Baptist leaders in northwest Arkansas are expressing hope voters will overturn a pro-homosexual/transgender ordinance Dec. 9, turning back a significant threat to religious liberty.

Residents of Fayetteville, home of the University of Arkansas, will go to the polls to vote on rescinding a measure that includes civil rights protections for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people. Fayetteville's City Council passed the ordinance in a 6-2 vote in August, but its foes collected enough signatures within a month to place its repeal on the ballot in a special election.

A Fayetteville pastor and the local Baptist director of missions conveyed to Baptist Press a measure of optimism as the vote nears. The local Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, has added its voice for repeal.

Douglas Falknor, pastor of First Baptist Church, said he is "cautiously optimistic" the ordinance will be repealed.

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Arkansas, Mississippi same-sex marriage bans struck down by federal judge

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas and Mississippi became the latest states to have same-sex marriage bans overturned by federal judges Nov. 25, according to media reports.

However, their will be no rush the altar, as both orders are on hold so the states can consider appeals. Arkansas and Mississippi passed voter-approved constitutional amendments in 2004 that defined marriage between one man and one woman.

Click to read more … (via Reuters)


Ark. Evangelism Conference Jan. 26-27

SHERWOOD – The 2015 State Conference on Evangelism and Church Growth will be held at First Baptist Church in Sherwood, Jan. 26-27.

The two-day event will start at 1 p.m., Jan. 26, and continue through noon, Jan. 27.

Featured speakers include Kevin Hamm, pastor of Gardendale First Baptist Church, Gardendale, Ala.; Tom Elliff, former president of the International Mission Board; Alvin Reid, professor of evangelism and student ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.; Michael Catt, pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church, Albany, Ga.; Robert Smith, professor of Christian preaching, Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, Ala.; Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tenn.; and Brent Crowe, vice president of Student Leadership University, Orlando, Fla.

Worship will be led by recording artist Charles Billingsley, worship leader at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va.

For more information contact Karen West at 501-376-4791, ext. 5128, or email