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BP Ledger, March 12 edition

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.

Today's BP Ledger includes items from:

University of the Cumberlands

Hardin-Simmons University

Compass Direct News

Patriots Baseball Teams' Team up to Help Tornado Victims

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (University of the Cumberlands)--On Friday, March 9th, the University of the Cumberlands (UC) Patriots and the St. Catherine College Patriots baseball teams partnered together in an effort to help the people affected by the tornado damage that occurred throughout Kentucky last weekend.

Although fierce competitors on the diamond, the two teams decided to come together to lend support to the East Bernstadt area and the families that desperately are searching for relief. Both schools' are within 80 miles of East Bernstadt with students that are attending both institutions from the area.

"I am glad our team can do something to help," said Cumberlands Head Baseball Coach Brad Shelton. "When our conference series got pushed back a day because of wet field conditions, it was a perfect opportunity for us to offer some assistance."

A lot of the efforts right now are focusing on cleanup, so both teams will be looking to do whatever is needed.

"This is a great opportunity for both ball clubs to help people in need," says St. Catherine Head Baseball Coach Luther Bramblett. "Our staff and players are looking forward to helping everyone that was involved in the area to recover."

"On Friday two Mid-South Conference rivals will work as a team to help the people of East Bernstadt," Shelton said prior to the initiative. "On Saturday and Sunday, we will compete on the baseball field. We will keep the families of East Bernstadt in our prayers all weekend and beyond."


For more information on the University of the Cumberlands baseball team you can follow them on twitter at @uccoachshleton or visit the athletics website http://www.cumberlandspatriots.com.


Students Exploring Desert, Canyons, Caves & Mountains in Environmental Study

ABILENE, Texas (Hardin-Simmons University)--When Whitney Browning came to Hardin-Simmons University from Seymour High School to participate in the Honors Program, she had no idea she would be studying ecosystems in the Guadalupe Mountains and visiting what is known to be one of the most beautiful places in Texas.

Whitney and 24 other students in the Discourse in Science and Math honors class are exploring the far reaches of West Texas where it touches New Mexico at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Dr. Mark Ouimette, professor of geology and director of the Environmental Sciences Program, and Dr. Rick Hammer, associate professor of biology, co-teach the class, which allows students to study natural history in real settings.

Hammer says the students will review some of the lessons learned during a recent visual experiment with string. Two weeks earlier, students did a little prepping for the trip. Standing in a circle on the front lawn of Sid Richardson Science Center, prof Hammer used bits of string to connect students representing different parts of the ecosystem.

The purpose of the exercise was to illustrate how all parts of an ecosystem depend heavily on each other. When one part is impacted, it trickles to many other parts of the environment. The web of string demonstrated how all systems are interlinked. This week, students get to see that impact for themselves as they study changes in environment as they progress through the Chihuahuan Desert to the Guadalupe Mountains.


Ouimette says they will use headlamps during a visit in a primitive cave in Slaughter Canyon, a tour led by national park rangers and volunteers. Ouimette says the rangers also instruct the students on safety regarding cave exploration and dangers presented by area wildlife.

Hammer says students are also seeing one of the places lauded as one of the most beautiful in Texas, McKittrick Canyon, and visiting Carlsbad Caverns through its natural entrance. "One of the things we continue to discuss on a trip like this is outdoor ethics and how to practice having a low impact on our environment," says Hammer.

Only 80 students can participate in the honors minor in interdisciplinary studies at HSU, which allows students to participate in areas of study that offer intriguing information outside of their major field. Honors students get a hefty scholarship, and three students are chosen to receive the Leland full-tuition scholarship each fall semester.

Ouimette says he especially enjoys honors students because they are such a lively talkative group and are not shy about participating. Students on the trip include: Zeth Barron, Katie Cheek, Justin Sizemore, Jenny Wheeler, Patrick Larson, Jessica Thorman, Margaret Perry, Kasey Shaw, Katherine Koch, Becca Rhodes, Bailey Jarvis, Emma Lyle, Stacy Henderson, Howie Ewers, Whitney Browning, Samantha Prescott, Rebecca Loney, Chad Moore, Karl Wilcox, Ian Webber, Kaitlyn Martin, Rebecca Brady, Erin LaMere, Michael Cruz, and student assistant Nathan Day.

The students will return to the campus on Saturday evening, March 3, just before sun-down.



Another Church in Jos, Nigeria Hit by Suicide Bombing

At least three dead in blast by suspected Islamic terrorists.

JOS, Nigeria (Compass Direct News)--Two weeks after a suicide bomb attack by the Islamist sect Boko Haram during a church service here left at least three Christians dead, a similar blast during a Catholic Mass today killed at least three people.

As in the Feb. 26 bomb blast outside the church walls of the Church of Christ in Nigeria service, security personnel action apparently forced the suspected Islamic extremists approaching St. Finbar's Catholic Church in Rayfield, an affluent area of Jos, to detonate their bomb before their car reached the sanctuary where worship was taking place, eyewitnesses said.

At Jos University Teaching Hospital, 14 people were reportedly receiving treatment for wounds following today's explosion, which damaged the church's roof, windows and a portion of a fence surrounding its compound. Others received treatment and were released.

Damian Babang, 26, a parishioner at the church, told Compass that he had just completed a reading during the service when he heard the explosion.

"The next thing I saw was the ceiling of the church falling on us and cries of people struggling to get out of the church," he said. "Many people are injured, and many have died. I cannot say how many died or injured, but I saw dead bodies being carried away, as well as the injured."

Babang, visibly traumatized as he spoke inside the church building, said he did not understand why churches have become targets of Muslim terrorists.


Retaliatory attacks by Christian youths reportedly took at least seven other lives today.

The Rev. Emmanuel Kundum told Compass that he had concluded the second Mass and left the third service to be conducted by another priest when he heard the explosion at 10:30 a.m.

"On getting outside, I saw members of our church rushing out from the church too - many were injured and others were dead," Kundum told Compass.

The priest said he was unsure of the number of people killed, as both the dead and the injured were evacuated to various hospitals in Jos by workers of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Red Cross Society. At press time NEMA reported three bodies at the site, but it was not clear if those included the suicide bombers.

"It is very difficult for us to say how many of our parishioners that were either killed or injured," Kundum said. "NEMA officials removed the dead and the injured to hospitals in the city. We are waiting for them to provide us with the details after calm is restored."

St. Finbar's is one of the largest Catholic parishes in Jos, with an average attendance of more than 3,000 worshippers each Sunday.

Jos, often described as a religious fault line between the north and the south, has been the site of numerous large-scale and isolated incidents of violence containing a religious component.

Suspected Islamic extremists detonated a bomb outside a church building in Suleja, Niger state, on Feb. 19, two months after Boko Haram Islamists killed 44 Christians and blinded seven in a Christmas Day church bombing in nearby Madalla. The Feb. 19 blast injured at five Christians.


Nigeria's population of more than 158.2 million is divided between Christians, who make up 51.3 percent of the population and live mainly in the south, and Muslims, who account for 45 percent of the population and live mainly in the north. The percentages may be less, however, as those practicing indigenous religions may be as high as 10 percent of the total population, according to Operation World.

Boko Haram, the name given to the Islamic extremist group officially called Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad - "The People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad" - seeks to impose a strict version of sharia (Islamic law) on Nigeria. The name Boko Haram translates loosely as "Western education is forbidden."

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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