Around the State: UMHB hosts TouchDOWNS event

At halftime during a game between the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Cru and the East Texas Baptist University Tigers, 60 individuals with Down Syndrome took the field and were allowed to carry a football across the goal line. (UMHB Photo)

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Twenty young people with Down Syndrome served as honorary members of the UMHB cheerleader squad at the Oct. 12 game in Belton. (UMHB Photo)

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor athletic department hosted its third annual TouchDOWNS event on Oct. 12 in conjunction with Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Families and caregivers of individuals with special needs received free admission to a football game between the UMHB Cru and the East Texas Baptist University Tigers. Prior to the game, TouchDOWNS participants met for a tailgate party in the Bawcom Student Union. At halftime, 60 athletes with Down Syndrome took to the playing field, and 20 served as honorary members of the UMHB cheerleader squad.

Texas Baptists’ annual Hispanic Leadership Conference will be held Oct. 25-26 at Dallas Baptist University. The conference theme, En Sus Manos (In Your Hands), is inspired by Jeremiah 18:6. “What makes this conference unique is that it will focus on two areas—training and equipping,” said Rolando Rodriguez, director of Hispanic ministries with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. “Attendees will receive training at the conference, and when they leave, they will be equipped to put the things they learned into action.” Topics include personal growth, conflict resolution, evangelism, missions, church planting and discipleship. The Hispanic Leadership Banquet immediately follows the conference in the Great Hall of DBU’s Mahler Student Center. Registration cost is $15 per participant for the conference and an additional $10 for the banquet. For more information or to register online, click here.

Texas Baptist Men disaster relief volunteers and ministry partners from Missouri, Florida, New Mexico, Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama have completed relief operations in the Golden Triangle area of Southeast Texas after Tropical Storm Imelda. They donated more than 23,000 volunteer hours and made more than 2,900 personal contacts. Volunteers prepared more than 33,700 meals, distributed 4,000 boxes for affected residents to gather and store their possessions, and treated 182 homes to mitigate the growth of mold. They also provided access to more than 2,000 showers and washed more than 1,000 loads of laundry. Volunteers distributed 352 Bibles and recorded 41 professions of faith in Christ.

Charles “Rusty” Walton

The Baptist General Convention of Texas recognized Charles “Rusty” Walton as outstanding interim pastor of the year. Walton, currently interim pastor of First Baptist Church in Sour Lake, received the Maples-Williamson-Daehnert Award Oct. 10 at a banquet at Dallas Baptist University. Walton was pastor of First Baptist Church in Duncanville and First Baptist Church in Conroe before entering into interim ministry in retirement. “Dr. Walton embodies the best of interim pastors as he provides grace, a non-anxious presence, and sound wisdom,” said Karl Fickling, coordinator of Interim Ministry for Texas Baptists. E.L. “Skip” McNeal, a prior recipient, presented the award to Walton.

Lane Craig and Helen Sperling, seniors at East Texas Baptist University, received the Bob and Gayle Riley Servant Leadership Award. ETBU President Emeritus Bob Riley and his wife Gayle presented the students a replica of the “Divine Servant” statue, created by Max Greiner. (ETBU Photo)

East Texas Baptist University presented the Bob and Gayle Riley Servant Leadership Award to seniors Lane Craig of Marshall and Helen Sperling of Quitman. Peers, faculty and staff at ETBU nominate students for the award in recognition of their commitment to Christ’s model of servanthood. Craig, a religion major, is involved in Baptist Student Ministry, Kid’s Club, Tiger Camp, Rec-Team and Men’s Ministry. He also volunteers at Travis Elementary School, at Price T. Young Elementary and with Mission Marshall and other community organizations. He also has served in churches as a student ministry volunteer and student intern. Sperling, a mass communication major, has served as a resident assistant, Tiger Camp leader, Titus discipleship leader and mentor to other students.

Wayland Baptist University President Bobby Hall and Flying Queens Foundation President and former Flying Queen Linda Price participate in an induction ceremony into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. (Photo courtesy of WBU)

The Flying Queens women’s basketball program at Wayland Baptist University was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on the strength of its history, impact on the game and continued success over an extended period of time. The Flying Queens were named to the Hall of Fame by a veterans’ direct-elect committee. The Hall of Fame officially inducted the program from 1948 to 1982, when the Queens were instrumental in changes made to women’s basketball. Wayland Baptist University was the first college to offer women athletic scholarships, decades before Title IX. The Queens hold the record for the still-standing longest winning streak in basketball at 131 games, accomplished in a five-year span from 1953 to 1958. Dozens of former Flying Queens and their families, plus other representatives of the university and the Flying Queens including WBU President Bobby Hall and Head Coach Alesha Ellis, traveled to Springfield, Mass., for the ceremony and related events. Linda Price, who played for the Flying Queens from 1966 to 1969 and current president of the Flying Queens Foundation, represented the Flying Queens at the Hall of Fame jacket presentation and other ceremonial functions.

Sen. James Lankford

Speaking in chapel on Oct. 2, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., challenged Dallas Baptist University students to be willing to follow Christ into unexpected places. Lankford served in youth ministry 22 years before he ran for Congress. “For months, I kept telling God what a crazy, dumb idea that was. Nobody in my family had been in politics. I had no background in politics,” he said. Once he felt certain God was leading him to pursue elected office, he encountered people who asked why he was leaving ministry to go into politics. “After a while hearing that, I got sarcastic enough to say: ‘Yes, I know, it’s terrible. It seems so odd for God to send light into dark places.’” Lankford encouraged students to be open to God’s leadership, even if it means entering occupations outside the typical notions of Christian vocation. “If our Father calls you to go there, why don’t you follow him, and see what the mission is when you get there?” Lankford said. “The decision we make is not what we’re going to do one day. It’s who we’re going to follow that day when we get there. That’s the real decision.”

Lisa Morris Simon, chair of Morris Strategic Investments and president of the Joella and Stewart Morris Foundation, will speak during the Prince-Chavanne Distinguished Lecture Series at 6:30 p.m., Oct. 23, in Belin Chapel at Houston Baptist University. The lecture series highlights the role of Christian ethics in business. The event is free and open to the public.

East Texas Baptist University presented Hal and Joyce Cornish of Marshall with a Founders Society Award during an Oct. 9 chapel service. ETBU recognized the couple for their recent donations that made possible additional enhancements to the Cornish Soccer Field. Originally built in 2000, the field was initially upgraded in 2007 with funds also provided by the couple, and the current soccer facilities were named in their honor.

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Baylor University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science has been awarded a five-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The grant will support scholarships and activities for 22 students who are pursuing Bachelor of Science degrees in engineering, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science and bioinformatics. Students in the Engineering and Computer Science Scholars program will participate in varied activities, including an orientation, a monthly seminar series and faculty mentoring. The purpose of the program is to increase STEM degree completion of high-achieving undergraduates with a demonstrated financial need. Through the course of the program, ECS Scholar progress will be tracked and documented in addition to using predictive analytics toward achieving benchmark goals in retention, graduation rates, internships, undergraduate research experiences and job placement.


150th for Clearwater Baptist Church in Scroggins. Bill Holmes is pastor.

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