Baptist Briefs: National WMU event slated

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National WMU event slated. “Fulfilled” is the name and the theme of a national Woman’s Missionary Union weekend event Oct. 8-10 at First Baptist Church in Kissimmee, Fla. Featured speakers include guest musicians Beloved; Kaye Miller, national WMU president; Lea Ann Parsley, a 2002 Olympic silver medalist; Gayla Parker, executive director of Maryland/Delaware WMU; and several NAMB missionaries including Derek Spain, a resort missionary in Lake Placid, N.Y. Workshops and hands-on ministry opportunities will focus primarily on spiritual growth, prayer and outreach.  Missions outreach options include working at a daily meal ministry, food pantry, clothes closet, nursing home, low-income housing areas, transitional centers and pregnancy center. Additional areas of service include prayerwalking, ministries to the homeless and local-church ministries. Participants also have the option of making hospitality bags for the More than Gold team, a group that hands out gifts to people who go to the Olympics and Paralympics. Those wishing to participate in this opportunity are encouraged to bring items such as lip balm, bandages, tissue, small note pads and hand warmers. The $79 registration fee includes sessions, ministry supplies for local outreach and Friday lunch. Child care for babies through 4-year-olds will be available at no cost during conference hours only. For more information including special rates at area hotels, visit  www.wmu.com/events/fulfilled .

North Carolina convention cuts jobs. With income trailing last year’s gifts by 3.2 percent or $647,000 through seven months, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina has laid off three people and eliminated six positions, effective immediately. Two positions will be combined with related work currently being conducted by two people each carrying dual responsibilities. Those staffers will have the option to apply for the redesigned positions that also will be opened for application by others. The convention has maintained positive cash flow even during the income decline, but careful handling of resources is no longer enough to sustain operations, said Brian Davis, the group’s executive leader for administration and convention relations. Davis estimated an annual savings of approximately $500,000 resulting from the staff and position reductions.

Pen pal program changes. The Christian Corresponders program, sponsored 17 years by the Fellowship of Baptist Educators, has been renamed the Universal Pen Pal Project to become more acceptable in countries where Christians missions activity is restricted. But Kellie Ziesemer, who has been named the program’s director after the retirement of John Carter, said the goal remains the same—to enlist Christian young people in grades 7 to 12 who will become pen pals of foreign students who want to practice their English skills. Pen pals need to be enlisted by Oct. 15. The largest group of foreign participants is in China, and the Fellowship of Baptist Educators will provide suggestions to all participating groups about how to handle the correspondence and how to witness in a way that is acceptable in the Chinese schools. For more information, e-mail universalpenpalproject@yahoo.com or call (513) 732-2111.                

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