Around the State: Three Trees blesses Richardson families

Members of The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson served 294 low-income families at its annual Three Trees event. (Photo courtesy of The Heights Baptist Church)

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Members of The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson ministered to children—mostly from Buckhair Elmentary School—and their families.

The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson served 294 low-income families at its 13th annual Three Trees event. Three Trees takes its name from a children’s story that traces the significance of three trees in the life of Jesus—trees used to build a manger, a fishing boat and a cross.  More than 90 percent of the 1,088 children served are enrolled in the Richardson Independent School District, and most attend Bukhair Elementary. School. Volunteers from the church played games with the children, led them in crafts and helped decorate Christmas trees their families took home with them at the end of the event. Each family also received a bag loaded with Christmas presents for each child, a gift card for children’s shoes and a gift card to buy the family’s Christmas dinner. Church members donated nearly $60,000 in cash and gifts for this year’s event. Gary Singleton is senior pastor and Richard Covington is missions pastor at The Heights Baptist Church.

CommonCall: Mobilizing advocates for Texas schoolchildren
Charles Foster Johnson, executive director of Pastors for Texas Children, makes a point during a gathering at Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary. (Photo / Robert Rogers / Baylor University)

The board of directors of named Charles Foster Johnson, founding executive director of Pastors for Texas Children, as 2018 Baptist of the Year. The organization is a statewide group created to mobilize the faith community in support of public education. Johnson is former pastor of Second Baptist Church in Lubbock and Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio. He is founding co-pastor of Bread Fellowship, a faith community in Fort Worth.

Baylor University received a $500,000 gift from Jeremy and Kristy Fudge of Parker toward its Baylor Built program, which focuses on student-athletes’ character formation. The gift coincided with the public launch of Give Light, a $1.1 billion philanthropic campaign at Baylor. Baylor Built is a key component of Baylor Athletics’ “Preparing Champions for Life” vision and is a collaborative effort between departments across the university campus and the Baylor Student-Athlete Center for Excellence. Baylor Built promotes character formation through workshops and seminars that focus on spiritual growth, money management, healthy relationships and career goals. Key elements of Baylor Built programming are career development, personal skills, leadership development, social responsibility and community engagement. Baylor Athletics has set a goal of raising $5 million toward an endowment for Baylor Built to cover the added annual expense and secure programmatic funding for future generations of student-athletes.

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad awarded Baylor University and its Louise Herrington School of Nursing a $900,000 grant for Bangalore Baptist Hospital to construct a new Women’s and Children’s Healthcare and Research Center in Bengaluru, India. The center will increase the number of services delivered to more women and children in Bengaluru; empower them to lead healthy lives and improve access to healthcare among vulnerable populations; build future healthcare leaders, particularly among women; and serve as a setting to implement evidence-based practices and new innovations in obstetrics, gynecology, neonatology and pediatrics. The center, which will include a high-risk obstetrics care clinic, will increase the total number of facility beds at the hospital from 340 to 442. Construction is expected to begin in 2019, and the project will be completed by September 2022. Baylor University’s relationship with Bangalore Baptist Hospital dates back to 1974, and it has included faculty development, student exchanges and research on building nurse capacity.


20th for Vernon Ferguson at Broadview Baptist Church in Abilene, where he is campus pastor at Broadview West and mission pastor at the church’s main campus.

20th for Mike Woodard as pastor at Southwest Park Baptist Church in Abilene.

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