A federal judge has approved a settlement in a 14-year legal battle over government funding of Baptist homes for children in Kentucky. The lawsuit started in 2000 when Sunrise Children’s Services fired a staff member, Alicia Pedreira, after discovering she is a lesbian. Pedreira and other taxpayers sued the agency—formerly known as Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children—claiming government money was being used for services “infused with the teachings of the Baptist faith.” The courts dismissed Pedreira’s employment discrimination claims, but in 2009, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals permitted the portion of the suit alleging state-funded activities advanced religion to continue. Sunrise was not a party to the settlement but unsuccessfully tried to halt the agreement between the plaintiffs and the state, and the agency announced plans to appeal the decision. Under the agreement, Kentucky officials must commit to ensuring that religious preferences of children in their care are respected. The judge said the agreement, which changes the way the state works with child service providers, did not have to satisfy Sunrise.
Texas pastor elected BWA vice president. Jerry Carlisle, pastor of First Baptist Church in Plano, was elected as one of 12 Baptist World Alliance vice presidents for 2015 by the global organization’s general council during the BWA annual gathering in Izmir, Turkey.Carlisle is a past president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Ngwedla Paul Msiza of South Africa was elected BWA president. Msiza, 53, will take office at the conclusion of the 21st Baptist World Congress in Durban in July 2015, succeeding John Upton of the United States. Msiza, a BWA vice president, has been actively involved in the international group since 2000, serving on the BWA General Council and numerous committees. Msiza was president of the All Africa Baptist Fellowship, one of six regional fellowships of the BWA, from 2006 to 2011 and general secretary of the Baptist Convention of South Africa from 2001 to 2010.
Criswell College trustees elected Barry Creamer, vice president of academic affairs and professor of humanities, as the Dallas Bible school’s president, effective Aug. 1. He succeeds Jerry Johnson, who left to become president of the National Religious Broadcasters. Creamer, 51, has served as a Criswell College professor since 2004 and was pastor of Woodland West Baptist Church in Arlington 17 years. He earned his undergraduate degree in English from Baylor University, his master of divinity degree from Criswell College and his doctorate in humanities from the University of Texas at Arlington.Creamer elected Criswell College president.