For the week of August 14, 2003
Retirement center change
Bob Nelson has resigned as executive director of the Baptist Retirement Center
in Arcadia. Nelson resigned July 30 after meeting with members of the center’s
executive committee regarding concerns at the center. “Administrative leadership
had caused a crisis of instability among the nursing corps, residents and relatives,”
trustee Chair Bobby Dye reported. “We felt a change was needed. After talking
with Bob, he agreed with members of the executive committee that a change was
in the best interest of the center and submitted his resignation.” Dye
said interim administrative leadership was secured immediately. Also, the board
of trustees was scheduled to meet earlier this week to determine the direction
of the center.
Gifts through the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program totaled almost $13.3
million last month, a decrease of $211,788 (1.6 percent) from the previous July.
With just two months left in the convention’s fiscal year, overall gifts total
$152.3 million, an increase of $362,769 (0.2 percent) from the same time last
year. The total also stands more than $4.8 million (3.3 percent) ahead of budget
at this time. Meanwhile, designated giving totaled more than $8.4 million last
month, an increase of about $3 million (56.5 percent) from the previous July.
However, for the year, designated gifts total $157.8 million, a little more
than $5.1 million (3.2 percent) down from the same time last year.
A federal judge has ordered Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore
to remove the Ten Commandments display from the rotunda of the state judicial
building by Aug. 20 or face fines. The judge said the fines could begin at $5,000
and perhaps double each week the monument remains in the rotunda. Moore had
the 5,280-pound display placed in the building about two years ago. He has lost
his case to keep it there before two courts, both which ruled the monument violated
the First Amendment clause against government establishment of religion. Moore
has said he will appeal his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court could
issue a stay of the order to remove the monument while it decides if it wants
to hear the case. If not, the situation could turn into a battle between federal
and state authorities.
Attend church, get paid
A pastor in Shreveport decided recently he was tired of the church being so
segregated. To reverse the trend, he is offering white people money to attend
services at his mostly black, 4,000-member church all through the month of August.
Fred Caldwell is pastor at Greenwood Acres Full Gospel Baptist Church. He said
he grew tired of looking down from the pulpit and seeing only black faces in
his congregation. “Our churches are too segregated, and the Lord never
intended for that to happen,” Caldwell emphasized. “It’s time for
something radical.” For his part, Caldwell has announced he will pay whites
$5 an hour for Sunday services and $10 an hour on Thursdays. The plan was launched
Aug. 3, and 10 white people showed up for the Sunday morning service – some
glad for the money, some glad for the invitation. While some critics say the
worship-for-wages plan amounts to bribery, Caldwell said he just wants the kingdom
of God on earth to look like it will in heaven. To get their money, white visitors
must register before the service, and Caldwell pays them out of his pocket.
Members of the Greenwood Acres church have met Caldwell’s challenge with enthusiasm.
Torie Jenkins said she does not know if the white visitors will continue attending
the Greenwood Acres church after the payments stop, but she hopes they will.
California Gov. Gray Davis has signed a law designed to protect “transsexuals”
and “cross-dressers” in hiring and employment practices. Because the
bill does not include an exemption for religious businesses, those such as Christian
bookstores could be faced with a $150,000 fine if it is proven they discriminated
against a transsexual or cross-dressing applicant. The bill does have an exemption
for religious nonprofit organizations (churches, etc.), but it does not include
an exemption for non-religious nonprofit organizations, such as the Boy Scouts.
A pro-family spokesperson said Davis has awarded cross-dressers unprecedented
power to persecute the Boy Scouts and religious businesses as well as the power
to financially crush a Bible bookstore. In related news, the California Supreme
Court recently ruled that both partners in a gay relationship could adopt a
child. The practice is often called second-parent adoption and occurs when a
birth parent keeps all legal parental rights while agreeing to have the child
adopted by another person.
Capt. Joshua T. Byers, son of North American missionaries Lloyd and Mary Byers,
was killed in action in Iraq in late July. Since January, the Byerses have been
missionaries in Guam, a United States territory. Their son was a member of the
Army’s Third Armored Cavalry Regiment. He was killed when a bomb exploded near
his vehicle as it was traveling in a 50-vehicle convoy between two Iraqi towns,
Mary Byers reported. Seven others were wounded in the bombing, which was triggered
remotely by two Iraqis hiding nearby.
A Louisiana Baptist pastor has received a Pastoral Leadership Award from LifeWay
Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. LifeWay bestowed the
awards on students at Southern Baptist seminaries. Recipients included Page
Brooks, a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was presented
with a plaque during an awards ceremony at the school. In addition, he and his
wife received an expense-paid trip to one of the Kingdom-Focused Church Weeks
at one of the LifeWay conference centers. Brooks is pastor at Rio Vista Baptist
Church in Jefferson and has begun doctoral work at New Orleans Seminary.