Today's BP Ledger contains items from:
Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
President of the SBC hopes to encourage Virginia churches
By Ishmael LaBiosa/SBC of Virginia
GLEN ALLEN, Va. (Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia) -- The former president of the SBC Pastor's Conference is opening up his church for a special conference with the current President of the SBC.
Dr. Grant Ethridge serves as the senior pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton and the President of the SBC of Virginia (SBCV). He served as president of the SBC Pastor's Conference in 2011. Ethridge and his church will host a new SBCV event - Empowered Conference.
This is a new event that will bring evangelism, leadership, and a Bible conference into one to help strengthen churches. Dr. Fred Luter, the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Senior Pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, and a personal friend of Ethridge, is one of the guest speakers.
"It is an honor to have the first African American President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Fred Luter, to meet with us," said Ethridge. "Dr. Luter has a pastor's heart. He has poured his life into reaching his city, New Orleans, where he was born."
Dr. Alvin Reid, the Professor of Evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, will also take the stage at the conference. Reid plans to challenge attendees through evangelism.
"I love leaders," exclaimed Dr. Alvin Reid. "I love encouraging leaders. I love the next generation. I have a real burden to not only help reach the next generation, but also equip the next generation to help reach their friends and to be on mission for the rest of their lives."
"We're calling SBC of Virginia pastors, church staff, church leaders, and members from our churches together to be encouraged and equipped," said Dr. Brian Autry, Executive Director of the SBCV. "We know the Lord Jesus has told us that we will be His witnesses because of the power of His Holy Spirit. "
Ethridge added, "We believe pastors, staff members, and attendees will return to their churches energized and empowered to carry out the Great Commission."
Empowered Conference is a one-day event on March 11 from 10 am – 3 pm held at Liberty Baptist Church in Hampton, Virginia. Go to www.sbcv.org to learn more.
CU swim teams sweep Buffalo Funds NAIA Champions of Character Awards
By Chris Megginson/Campbellsville University
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (Campbellsville University) -- For the last five years, Campbellsville University has used the slogan "More Than a Game." The NAIA recognized that in two of CU's 25 sports teams on March 5, awarding both the CU women's and men's swimming programs as the Buffalo Funds NAIA Champions of Character Team Award for their respective sport.
CU sophomore Shelby Mattingly was also recognized as CU's individual Champion of Character.
The team award is nominated for by each school and presented annually to one team from each of the NAIA's 23 championship sports.
"Congratulations to Coach (Casey) Smith and both of her swim teams for being recognized for their character, servant leadership and service to others. This validates that our efforts with the Champions of Character program are being successful. This is a great honor for our swim teams, the athletics department and the entire campus community," said Rusty Hollingsworth, athletic director.
Campbellsville University's nomination was lengthy with just some of the many things the swim teams do throughout the year to demonstrate positive character on campus and in the community.
"With a team of mostly freshmen and sophomores, it is particularly exciting for me to see both Swimming Tigers receive this award. They have such a strong desire to reach out not only to each other but also to other student-athletes on Campbellsville University's campus, swim teams from other schools and the local Campbellsville community," CU swim coach Casey Smith said. "From moments about honesty of missed classes to the desire to run a marathon to honor God, my athletes have been a wonderful model of what it means to truly be a Champion of Character. Being with them as they show such amazing character reminds me why I love to coach!"
Last April, Smith and freshman Jenna Rueff completed the 26.2 mile Kentucky Derby Marathon as a promise Rueff made with God more than a year and a half prior. Rueff did so after overcoming brain surgery and continuing her swim career. That moment, along with others sprinkled in through the 2012-13 season, built a foundation and desire for character among the returning "Fab Five" of the CU women's team.
This men's program, which was reestablished in 2012-13, has a completely new roster this season and also quickly formed together to build character.
"As this is the first full season with our reinstated men's team, it has been particularly exciting for me to see this group of guys not only bond together, but be willing to catch my vision for the program and incorporate that into their building of the men's program," Smith said. "The current roster is a wonderful group of guys who have been working very hard to establish a foundation of positive character traits. They have had to create a healthy and positive atmosphere for each other and in cooperation with the women's team."
During the first week of the 2013-14 season, as CU's athletic department began to emphasis character building more, so did Smith's swimmers. For the last few seasons, Smith has rewarded Champions of Character swim caps to her swimmers who are displaying positive attitudes and examples. This, along with teachings throughout practice and meetings, expanded in 2013-14 with student-led movements.
In September 2013, both swim team participated with the entire athletic department in the Green River Lake Cleanup, and then also helped host the inaugural CU Tigers Fall Festival for the local community. Also, in the fall, Smith was featured in CU's Live 5 video series to talk about servant leadership. Each CU head coach will be featured in a Champions of Character video through the 2013-14 academic year.
During each home meet this season, the teams placed a "Change for Change" jar at the front door to help raise money for an organization called Beading to Beat Autism, a non-profit run by a girl in her teens from Louisville, Ky. Even though the regular season is over, the jar remains in the swim office to help Beading to Beat Autism reach its $5 million fund-raising goal.
In November, Mattingly rallied her team around the idea of having a 12-hour dance marathon called Dance Maroon to raise awareness for the St. Baldrick's organization, which gathers funds and research for pediatric cancer. More than 100 students and community members participated to launch the men's and women's teams' combined goal of raising $5,000 for St. Baldrick's. Members of both teams will also participate in the annual Color to Conquer 5K on March 15 and the St. Baldrick's Shave-a-thon on campus March 22.
CU also has been a servant leader in the swim community, by extending a helping hand to other programs. In January, CU invited fellow Mid-South Conference team Bethel University to share in their Senior Day festivities since Bethel did not have any home meets. On Feb. 8, CU opened its doors to host the first high school meet in the community in more than 20 years in Powell Athletic Center. The Tiger and Lady Tiger swimmers worked as life guards, timers, meet managers, staff to aid fans and high school athletes, ticket sales and concessions.
Most recently, Smith arranged a special trip to Briarwood Elementary School and Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla. CU was scheduled to visit with both schools during the day on March 4 to begin their trip to Oklahoma City, but inclement weather forced the teams to cancel the event with Moore Schools being closed and CU's bus being stuck on I-40 in Arkansas.
Campbellsville's student-athletes took advantage of the traffic jam though, finding a way to serve others despite being stuck on the road for 42 hours. CU, which was sharing a bus with the Bethel swim teams, gave away bottled water and offered snacks to the University of the Cumberlands swim team, which was also stuck on I-40 in front of them, and loaned the bus' bathrooms to other motorists stuck in the traffic jam.
While the list of acts of kindness could go on-and-on, as well as stories of team and personal Bible studies within the team, one thing that stands out about CU's program is the character building and life changes which occur during the season.
As part of the nomination process, coaches are asked for student-athletes to comment on character.
For the women, sophomore Bailey Foxworth described how she has learned to enjoy her sport once again at CU. Foxworth's essay described how she used to be focused solely on her result, but has learned to cheer for her teammates once out of the water.
"If swimming isn't a team-oriented sport, then I don't know what is," Foxworth wrote. "I have been swimming competitively since I was 6 years old, and for 13 years I've dedicated my life to this sport, but until I started swimming for Campbellsville University, I held fast to my belief in swimming as individual sport."
Foxworth, who admitted she considered during her first semester in Fall 2012 of transferring at the end of the year to get away from swimming, accepted Christ in Oct. 2012 during a campus revival.
"I finally let Jesus into my heart. I stopped worrying about being the best swimmer on the team, and started to fall in love with swimming again. It was through my teammates, my wonderful coach, and my growing relationship with Christ that I learned sportsmanship, and what it truly means to be a part of a team," Foxworth said.
In the men's nomination, freshman Devon Cross admitted the men's team has had to learn good communication, commitment and accountability this season, even at times when it wasn't fun to do so.
"We've learned the hard way this season, but yet through any trial, it builds more and more character," Cross said. "Our coach taught us that being on a team, we are one body. It has several different parts that make the whole system operate, some seem small and insignificant, but when you move just one of those parts it cannot work like it used to."
Smith's message of her teams being one body comes from 1 Corinthians 12, a passage she has taught throughout the year and placed on her team's shirts during preseason – a lesson which the teams are now living out and sharing with others.
"I am blessed by my teams and so proud of the way they are learning to serve together. Living and loving like Christ is not an easy lifestyle choice, especially in collegiate athletics, but it is a choice that is much more possible when you have support," Smith said. "My athletes have been working on supporting one another to live, practice and compete in a way that is not the norm, a way that takes much more effort.
CU women's and men's swimming are the third and fourth Campbellsville University sports teams to receive the NAIA Champions of Character Team Award since 2010. CU women's basketball received the award in March 2010 and CU football received it in December 2010.
The 2013-14 women's swimming roster includes Lindy Charity of Pretoria, South Africa; Jessica Cook of Tilbury, Ontario; Bailey Foxworth of Georgetown, Ky.; Casey Galyon of Louisivlle, Ky.; Emily Hunter of Newark, Del.; Katylnn Lanham of Owensboro, Ky.; Shelby Mattingly of Versailles, Ky.; Olivia Murphy of Mt. Sterling, Ky.; Jessica Paasch of Valley Springs, Calif.; Kyle Perkins of North Pole, Alaska; Jenna Rueff of Louisville, Ky.; and Rebekah Tilton of Crestview, Fla.
The 2013-14 men's swimming roster includes Filippo Albertino of Turin, Italy; Brad Clem of Scottsburg, Ind.; Devon Cross of Lewisburg, Ky.; Daniel Fathergill of Lexington, Ky.; Jonathan Kattus of Versailles, Ky.; Tanner Marcum of Frankfort, Ky.; Alex Meade of Paintsville, Ky.; and Tyler Vaughn of Lewisburg, Ky.
Both teams are coached by head coach Casey Smith and graduate assistant Zac Malyon.
World Congress of Families calls on pro-family groups around the world to pray for Ukraine; WCF Meeting in Kiev Planned for Summer 2014
ROCKFORD, Ill. (Christian Newswire) -- World Congress of Families managing director Larry Jacobs today called on the international pro-life and pro-family network to pray for peace in Ukraine. "We are concerned about the crisis in Ukraine and pray for world leaders to come together to promote peace and resolve the conflict," Jacobs said. "We echo Pope Francis's prayer, 'that all parts of the country work to overcome misunderstandings and to build together the future of the nation.' We have many Christian friends and pro-family leaders of all faiths in all regions of Ukraine. We pray for their safety and their important work to promote authentic human rights, encourage the natural family, and protect human life from conception to natural death."
Jacobs announced that planning for a special World Congress of Families event in Ukraine's capital city of Kiev would continue. "After speaking with our friends and supporters in Ukraine, we are pleased to announce that they are continuing their efforts to organize a World Congress of Families regional meeting in Kiev this summer in collaboration with WCF leaders from Eastern Europe and Russia to promote the natural family as the fundamental unit of a free and stable society that transcends all political differences and the interests of nations and armies," he said.
Quoting from Pope Benedict XVI, Jacobs said, "peace begins at home." He continued: "May these words inspire world leaders to true lasting peace in Ukraine...'Where does true education in peace and justice take place? First of all, in the family, since parents are the first educators. The family is the primary cell of society; it is in the family that children learn the human and Christian values which enable them to have a constructive and peaceful coexistence. It is in the family that they learn solidarity between the generations, respect for rules, forgiveness and how to welcome others. The family is the first school in which we are trained in justice and peace.'" Jacobs concluded, "Amen. May it be so."
For more information on World Congress of Families, visit www.worldcongress.org. To schedule an interview with Larry Jacobs, contact Don Feder at 508-405-1337 or email@example.com.
Bettie F. Ferguson, wife of former Midwestern Seminary president, passes away at 86
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) -- Bettie F. Ferguson, the wife of former Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Milton Ferguson, died on March 6 at St. Luke's Hospice House in Kansas City, Mo., according to the family. She was 86.
Dr. Jason K. Allen, president of Midwestern Seminary, offered his condolences to the family, "The entire Midwestern Seminary community celebrates Mrs. Ferguson's life, mourns her death, and prays for Dr. Ferguson and the family at this time. It has been my personal joy to know Dr. and Mrs. Ferguson since my election as president of Midwestern Seminary. They have been a deep source of personal encouragement to me. Their love for Christ, the seminary, and one another, have made a deep impression on so many."
Mrs. Ferguson was born on Oct. 10, 1927. She met Dr. Ferguson on the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University in 1949, and they married on June 12, 1951. The Ferguson's had three daughters Jane Anne, Julia, Jo Catherine (deceased), as well as several grandchildren.
Dr. Ferguson became the second president of Midwestern Seminary in 1973 after Dr. Millard Berquist retired in 1972. He served in that capacity until he retired in 1995.
According to Allen, Mrs. Ferguson played a key role during her husband's tenure at the school. "Throughout Dr. Ferguson's tenure as Midwestern Seminary's president, Mrs. Ferguson served faithfully and sacrificially by his side," Allen said. "Her love for students and the seminary community as a whole remains a part of the seminary's memory and is a tribute to her legacy."
"Mrs. Ferguson was a kind and gentle figure on campus," recalled Midwestern Seminary Librarian, Dr. Craig Kubic, who was hired during Dr. Ferguson's tenure. "She graciously hosted many student's wives and faculty wives events. Her pleasant personality always made students and visitors to the campus feel at home." He added that Mrs. Ferguson was also a very visible figure at seminary chapel services, special occasions, and ladies' events. She was also a faithful member of the Midwestern Singers.
Mrs. Ferguson's presence was also felt within the local community, serving as president of the Assistance League of Kansas City, including when it was chartered as a chapter in 1983. Her work led to the establishment of the current ReSale shop on North Oak Trafficway in Kansas City, Mo.
The family will hold a memorial service at First Baptist Church of Independence Mo., 500 Truman Road, Independence, Mo.on Friday, March 14 at 2 p.m. A reception and time to visit with family and friends will take place following the memorial service.
Judson equestrians win national all-academic awards
By George Frangoulis
MARION, Ala. (Judson College) -- The Judson College Equestrian team is proud to announce this year's Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National All-Academic Award recipients. The purpose of the award is to recognize the individual academic achievements of our participating undergraduate members each year.
Team members named to the All-Academic First Team (achieving a grade point average of 3.8 or higher, based on a 4.0 scale): Senior, Rebecca Malphurs of Dothan, Ala.; junior, Brianne Culp of Bruinswick, Ohio; freshman, Katie Gehr of Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Team members named to the All-Academic Second Team (achieving a grade point average of 3.5 or higher, based on a 4.0 scale): Junior, Kayla Syck of Deatsville, Ala.; sophomore, Dakota Runnels of Gainesville, Florida.
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