Lone Star Scoop • May 2023

SBTC DR ministers in wake of Arkansas tornadoes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.

Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Disaster Relief workers served survivors of the tornadoes that devastated parts of Central Arkansas on March 31, meeting needs and seeing several people come to faith in Jesus. 

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief groups, along with other first responders and aid organizations, headed to Arkansas within days of the tornadoes. SBTC DR sent 45 volunteers,  included feeding teams, shower teams, chainsaw and recovery crews, chaplains, and assessors. 

Volunteers manning an SBTC DR quick response mobile kitchen prepared meals for disaster relief workers and first responders, while a mass-feeding kitchen cranked out 2,000 meals per day distributed by the Salvation Army.

For the full report on SBTC DR’s response to Arkansas, scan the QR code. 

—Jane Rodgers

SBC President Bart BarBer visits native Arkansas to encourage volunteers after devastating tornadoes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.

Southern Baptist Convention President Bart Barber, a native Arkansan and pastor of First Baptist Farmersville, visited SBDR response sites in early April along with Send Relief President Bryant Wright to encourage volunteers and help minister to storm survivors.

“I know very well that you guys here are doing ‘chopping cotton’ kind of work and are really working hard,” Barber said to a group of Oklahoma SBDR volunteers at Levy Baptist Church in North Little Rock. “I just want you to know how thankful I am for that and how important it is.”

Southern Baptist volunteers from Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas have been clearing trees off homes, affixing temporary roofing to damaged roofs, and providing meals to survivors of the deadly tornadoes that touched down in Arkansas as part of a storm system that spun off tornadoes across the nation.

—North American Mission Board

National CP giving tops $97 million at 6-month mark

NASHVILLE 

Southern Baptist churches have given more than $97 million through the National Cooperative Program Allocation Budget in the first six months of the fiscal year with $15.8 million given in March.

The convention-adopted budget for 2022-2023 is $192,270,000 and includes an initial $200,000 special priority allocation for the SBC Vision 2025 initiative. Cooperative Program funds are then disbursed as follows: 50.41% to international missions through the International Mission Board, 22.79% to North American missions through the North American Mission Board, 22.16% to theological education through the six SBC seminaries and the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, 2.99% to the SBC operating budget, and 1.65% to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. 

If national CP gifts exceed the budget projection at the end of the fiscal year, the balance of the overage is distributed according to the percentages approved for budgetary distribution. 

—Baptist Press

SWBTS, TBC launch new websites, add improvements

FORT WORTH An enhanced user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing website for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary launched on April 4, with an updated website for Texas Baptist College that went
live April 10.

“I’m delighted that we are able to launch new websites for Southwestern Seminary and Texas Baptist College, which will serve current and future students and communicate the mission and identity of this institution to equip students to live their callings,” said David S. Dockery, interim SWBTS president. 

Before beginning the transformation, which has been more than a year in the making, the Office of Communication commissioned an audit of the former websites, with the goal of identifying needed improvements in their design. According to Jaclyn Parrish, director of marketing, the team also reviewed feedback from students on what information they most needed from the online presence.

—SWBTS

State Department: Refugee resettlement numbers rise

WASHINGTON Refugee resettlement in the U.S., a cause promoted by Southern Baptists and other evangelicals, doubled in March from the previous month, the Department of State said in its monthly report.

The U.S. accepted 6,122 refugees in March, double the February total of 3,069 and far surpassing previous months this fiscal year ranging from 2,152 to 2,481. Yet, if resettlement continues monthly at the March count, resettlement would still fall far below the annual national cap of 125,000, the National Immigration Forum reported.

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) praised the increase but said more progress is needed.

“It is encouraging to see, at long last, the U.S. refugee resettlement program regain traction in helping the most vulnerable reach safety” ERLC Policy Manager Hannah Daniel said. “There is certainly more work to be done in rebuilding this vital program, but these recent numbers offer a first glimpse that progress is being made.

“Southern Baptists remain committed to supporting the refugee resettlement program, welcoming those who arrive in our communities and sharing the gospel with as many of them as possible.”

—Baptist Press

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Bradford appointed dean of Texas Baptist College

FORT WORTH—Carl J. Bradford, assistant professor of evangelism and occupant of the Malcolm R. and Melba L. McDow Chair of Evangelism, has been appointed dean of Texas Baptist College, the undergraduate school of Southwestern Baptist Theological …

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