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Chinese police disrupt weekend worshipCHINA (BP) -- Members of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, tried to meet together for Sunday worship (Dec. 16) only to reportedly have police detain about 60 people and shut down outdoor services. Several small groups found spaces to meet and worship without incident.
One week after Chinese authorities cracked down on the prominent unregistered church and arrested more than 100 of its leaders and members, congregants arrived at their building to find the metal gate locked and plainclothes officers and riot police blocking all the entrances, according to a church prayer update. Police arrested some of the congregants who showed up for Sunday worship. See related Baptist Press story. Read More
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Dining room table: where her missions passion beganLOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- "I learned missions at my dining room table," Joy Bolton often has said, recounting that "my mother and dad were passionate about missions."
Not surprisingly, Bolton has been a missions leader, participant and advocate throughout her ministry career. Following her recent retirement as executive director of Kentucky Woman's Missionary Union after 19-plus years, she will serve in a volunteer consulting role with national WMU as lead strategist for churchwide and associational WMU.
Bolton's WMU career harkens back to the summer of 1978 when she served as national WMU's first summer intern after graduating from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Read More
Earthquake sends Alaska Baptists into ministry modeANCHORAGE, Alaska (BP) -- Scott Belmore was outside his house, loading some old furniture into his truck with his son and a friend when Alaska experienced one of its most powerful earthquakes in half a century. The men clung to the truck as it bounced on the driveway amid the shaking.
Inside the house, Dana Belmore was shaken to the floor in her bedroom and feared for the safety of their young daughter who had been reading on the bottom bunk in her room. The two of them, terrified, were able to reunite and flee the house after the shaking, still not believing what had just happened. Read More
Study: Infidelity, porn prevalent sex sins in churchOMRO, Wis. (BP) -- A great majority of Protestant pastors were approached by staff or members for help with marital infidelity, premarital sex, pornography and other sexual sins, according to new data released by Barna Group spanning a year.
But only a third of pastors said they felt "very qualified" to address the preponderance of issues staff and members broached, Barna said in the survey of 410 mainline and non-mainline senior and executive pastors.
Eighty percent of pastors including Southern Baptists were asked to help or counsel a staff or church member dealing with marital infidelity, the most prevalent problem in the study, Barna said. Read More
Be 'coast-busters,' Bingham exhorts SWBTS gradsFORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- Alluding to the 1984 film "Ghostbusters" during fall commencement, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's interim president, D. Jeffrey Bingham, challenged the new graduates to be "coast-busters."
Preaching on the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20, Bingham exhorted the graduates to "break the coast of North America."
"And from North America, from this place on Seminary Hill in Fort Worth, Texas, go into all the nations ... and fulfill the Great Commission," he said. Read More
Bob Anderson, friend to fellow pastors, diesBATON ROUGE, La. (BP) -- Longtime Louisiana pastor Bob Anderson, a former first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, died Dec. 13 after a seven-year battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 84.
Anderson led Parkview Baptist Church in Baton Rouge from 1974 until his retirement in 1996, growing the congregation to 5,000 members.
He founded Parkview Baptist School in 1981, now one of Louisiana's largest private schools with 1,200 students from pre-kindergarten to high school. Don Mayes, Parkview's superintendent since 2013, is one of Parkview's alumni from the 1980s and the father of a high school senior there. Read More
Boy Scouts explore 'all options' amid financial woesASHEVILLE, N.C. (BP) -- The Boy Scouts of America said Wednesday (Dec. 12) it was exploring all options amid serious financial woes but would not confirm or deny it might apply for bankruptcy.
The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported late Tuesday that the organization had hired a law firm to assist in a possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh described the report as "news speculation" but said the group was "working with experts to explore all options available" in the face of declining membership and sex-abuse litigation. Read More