BP Ledger, March 11 edition

Baptist Press
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Posted: Mar 11, 2013 4:52 PM
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 contains items from:

World News Service

Campbellsville University (two items)

Don't Walk By: Homeless ministries complete project to canvass every block in Manhattan, as new numbers show homelessness in New York reaching record highs

NEW YORK, N.Y. (Word News Service) -- How many blocks are there in Manhattan? More than 6,000. Over the last month, volunteers from a coalition of ministries to the homeless have canvassed every block on the island in a massive outreach called Don't Walk By.

Thousands of volunteers talked with those living on the street and in the subways, provided them with emergency kits, and directed them to nearby churches where they can get a hot meal and medical care.

These ministries have been blanketing Manhattan for the last five winters, when the homeless population is most vulnerable. From 2009 to 2012, volunteers met about 4,000 homeless, and about 1,700 have returned with volunteers to neighborhood churches for care. For many homeless people, the conversations on the street are the beginning of a relationship that leads to rehabilitation programs, jobs, and permanent housing.

The ministries concluded their month-long project this past weekend, as new numbers emerged showing homelessness in New York at a record-high. In January, the city's public shelters housed 50,000 people, a 19 percent surge from a year ago, according to a report from the Coalition for the Homeless released Tuesday. The number represents a 73 percent rise from a decade ago. The latest numbers do not include those who are homeless because of Superstorm Sandy.

"New York is facing a homeless crisis worse than any time since the Great Depression," said Mary Brosnahan, president of the Coalition for the Homeless, in releasing the report.

The Bowery Mission, a private Christian shelter, has also had record numbers this year, and the ministry doesn't believe the record is attributable to residual homelessness from Sandy. Bowery has seen a 10 percent increase in those staying in their shelter this January compared to last January, and a 17 percent increase from 2011. Just a couple nights ago, Bowery's men's shelter on the Lower East Side broke its own record, housing 180 in addition to the 82 already in its program.

"I would say the economy is really destroying us," said James Macklin, the director of outreach at the Bowery Mission. As he came to work Wednesday morning, Macklin, who has historical perspective because he has worked at the Bowery for the last 25 years, noticed the subways were filled with people sleeping. Many who come to the Bowery are jobless, but others have jobs and can't make ends meet. He said the recession has hit people working minimum-wage jobs the hardest.

"We're living in a time where people have two choices: You pay your rent, you don't eat. You eat, and you're homeless," Macklin said.

New York City is obligated by law to provide shelter to anyone in need. Thus the crowded city shelters can have a warehouse feel, and some are dangerous. Anecdotally, in a recent Don't Walk By outreach, many homeless were interested in the help offered when they heard it was from a private shelter.

"You don't have to worry about getting beat up here," said Macklin, speaking from Bowery's men's shelter. "I'm not condemning . We have something going on that's different than that. We're trying to fix the human being so he can get out of the condition he's in, not enabling him to stay where he's at."

The ministries' staff trained volunteers for a recent Don't Walk By outreach in February, telling them to focus first on being interested in the homeless person as a human being—to ask for their story, for example. The campaign is directed at helping the homeless but also reorienting the aloof attitudes of well-to-do New Yorkers.

"New Yorkers are kind of lone rangers," said Brian Johansson, the Bowery Mission's vice president.

For the monthlong outreach, lead organizations divided Manhattan into neighborhoods, then assigned teams of volunteers to walk every street in each neighborhood and others to ride the subways. Each neighborhood had a designated anchor church where doctors and nurses set up a makeshift clinic, and cooks made hot meals. Teams on the street invited the homeless back to the anchor church, where they received care and then had the option of entering a private shelter program. Don't Walk By has brought hundreds of homeless into the ministries' shelters.

The project is the work of six faith-based organizations: the Bowery Mission (the project's founder), the Relief Bus, Street Life Ministries, Betel of America, Hope for New York, and New York City Rescue Mission.

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Campbellsville University's master's in social work program qualifies for Kentucky's stipend program

By Linda Waggener

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky, (Campbellsville University) -- The Commissioner of Kentucky's Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), Teresa James, has approved the Campbellsville University Carver School of Social Work's Master of Social Work (MSW) program as a participating university with the state's MSW Stipend Program.

The Carver School's MSW, a Council on Social Work Education accredited program, is the only Kentucky Baptist affiliated MSW program and one of only three Baptist affiliated institutions nationwide.

The MSW Stipend Program is available at CU to all DCBS staff working in a protection and permanency (P&P) child welfare-related position beginning with the fall 2013 semester. The prospective student must have 24 months of active service prior to May first of this year for acceptance into this program.

Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of CU, said Dr. Darlene Eastridge, dean of the Carver School of Social Work and Counseling, and the Carver School faculty have worked tirelessly since 1998 to grow the programs from undergraduate social workers, to graduate level social workers and marriage and family therapists. He said, "Campbellsville University's Carver School is stronger than ever in its rich history of preparing social workers in a Christian environment."

Eastridge said, "This opportunity for social workers in the Commonwealth has come about largely thanks to communications by Dr. Michelle Tucker, CU associate professor and assistant director of the MSW Program. We look forward to serving this group."

For more information about this opportunity at the CU Carver School of Social Work and Counseling, call (270) 789-5209, or email Tucker at tmtucker@campbellsville.edu.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master's degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.

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Campbellsville University theology professor speaks of first permanent Baptist Thomas Helwys

By Samantha Stevenson

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Campbellsville University) -- Dr. Joe Early Jr., assistant professor of theology at Campbellsville University, centered his address around Thomas Helwys, the first permanent Baptist in church history, for Campbellsville University's Baptist Heritage Lecture Series Feb. 26.

Early spoke on Helwys' apocalyptic nature of his writings in the Badgett Academic Support Center. He told the audience about Helwys' research and similarities Helwys points out between the biblical references to the apocalypse and the Church of England and Roman Catholicism in the late 15th and early 16th century.

Early said Helwys was introduced at an early age to apocalyptic teachings and how they could be related to England. His father Edmund Helwys had been inspired by England's defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Helwys saw in the defeat of the Catholic-Spanish forced by the Protestant-English forces events that reminded him of the battle of Armageddon in Revelation.

"In particular, he equated Queen Elizabeth with the 'women dressed in the sun' and 'the dragon' with the pope. Thomas's eschatology was not only similar to that of his father, but moved well beyond him," Early said.

The majority of Helwys' apocalyptic writings are found in his most influential book, "A Short Declaration of the Mystery of Iniquity." Early said, "This book has traditionally been interpreted as the first English expression of a desire for freedom of conscience in religious matters. Helwys believed that the religious events occurring in England were pointing toward an eminent Apocalypse. He believed that few in England realized what was occurring.

His book, "A Short Declaration," is his attempt at drawing these evil entities out into the open before it was too late for those in England and throughout the world that had been deceived.

Early also noted the powerful parallels to the Roman Catholic Church and the apocalyptic references in the Bible.

"Though Helwys does not explicitly state it, he seems to have identified the pope with the 'man of sin' as noted in 2 Corinthians 6:15-16," Early said.

"If the pope is the man of sin then it is impossible for Christ to be the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Helwys noted that 'the man of sin cannot sit with God, as God, in the temple of God.'

"If the pope claims to be the spiritual head of the church, then Christ can't be. God does not share His throne. Yet, the pope 'sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God,'" Early quoted Helwys.

Other issues presented at this lecture included the Church of England's "Book of Common Prayer," and Helwys' interpretation and idea of the purpose of prayer. Helwys also believed that the Puritans were false prophets and "belonged to the second beast," Early said.

Early said Helwys performed the first believers' baptism. Helwys was against the idea of catholic baptism, which occurs shortly after birth, claiming that it was impossible for an infant to have faith.

Early said, in article 13 of the Declaration of Faith of the English People Remaining in Amsterdam, Helwys said "every church is to receive in all their members by baptism upon the confession of their faith and sins wrought by the preaching of the gospel under conviction."

Because of this realization, Early said, Helwys started the tradition of baptism as we know it today.

Early said Helwys left England but later returned in 1612 when he formed the first Baptist Church at Spitafields outside of the London walls. Helwys sent a copy of his book, "Short Declaration of the Mystery of Iniquity" to King James I. Early said Helwys may have had the king in mind when he wrote the book because of the tone and the last few paragraphs were addressed specifically to the king.

In these passages, Helwys reminded the king that though he is the king's servant, Helwys had to tell the king that he supported the abomination of desolation in the Anglican Church; therefore, making the king guilty of supporting the second beast.

"Helwys then begged for freedom of religion so the king will not continue to aid the second beast by leading astray those who are forced to be a part of the Anglican Church... Convincing him was the only chance to rescue those who were being led astray (from the biblical truth)," Early said.

Helwys did not get the proper satisfaction from King James, and was sentenced to life in Newgate prison, where he died a martyr for freedom of conscience around 1615.

Early hopes Thomas Helwys is remembered for his dedication to the truth and his perseverance for the freedom of conscience.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master's degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.

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