Baptist Briefs: Prison church joins Baptist association

Inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola have the opportunity to pursue seminary training through a New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary extension at the nation's largest maximum security prison. Inmate Paul Will, pastor of Grace Baptist Church of the Main Camp, is a 2007 graduate of seminary’s extension program at Angola. (Baptist Press image from “A New Hope,” a documentary about the ministry)

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A Louisiana Baptist association of churches now counts among its members Grace Baptist Church of the Main Camp in Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. paul will130Paul Will, pastor of Grace Baptist Church. (BP Photo by Mark H. Hunter)Washington Baptist Association, which encompasses 38 churches in Washington and St. Tammany parishes, unanimously voted to accept the prison church for membership. Grace Baptist is five years old and is the only Southern Baptist church among the prison’s 28 inmate-led congregations. Its 65 members meet five times a week in the Main Camp’s Education Center and twice a month in the Main Camp’s Tudy Chapel. Inmate Pastor Paul Will, 42, a 2007 graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s extension program at Angola, leads the congregation. Like most of the men at Angola, Will is serving a life sentence.

LifeWay finalizes sale of property. LifeWay Christian Resources completed the sale of its 14.5-acre campus in downtown Nashville to Southwest Value Partners, a private real estate investment firm based in San Diego. The sale price was $125 million cash, an attorney for Southwest Value Partners told The Tennessean daily newspaper. A news release announcing the sale noted LifeWay “will continue to occupy a portion of the campus over the near term until it determines the permanent location of its corporate headquarters.” The property LifeWay sold encompasses nine buildings with more than 1 million square feet of office, warehouse and parking space. 

Alabama Baptists urge abortion limits. Alabama Baptists urged lawmakers to pass legislation banning a technique used in second-trimester abortions in a resolution adopted by messengers to the group’s annual meeting in Daphne, Ala. The Alabama Baptist State Convention resolution called for passage of legislation similar to The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, first passed earlier this year by Kansas. The law would ban abortion by dilation and evacuation, or D&E. Used to terminate pregnancies between 12 and 24 weeks, the method involves dilating the cervix and using surgical instruments to remove the fetal and placental tissue. The Alabama Baptist resolution also supports “efforts to end all public funding of Planned Parenthood,” the largest single provider of reproductive health services, including abortion, in the United States.

Volunteers needed to teach in China. Volunteers for China offers six opportunities next summer to teach English as a way to show God’s love to Chinese students. Fluency in the Chinese language is not required, but volunteers need a U.S. passport valid through January 2017, and they should be prepared to work in extreme heat and humidity. The Amity Foundation Summer English Program, July 2 to Aug. 1, focuses on teaching English to Chinese English teachers. The program involves one week of orientation and three weeks teaching, Monday through Friday. Five opportunities are available July 7 to July 25 in the Changzhi, Shanxi, area, teaching Chinese English teachers and high school students. For more information, contact Ann and David Wilson at cen29529@centurytel.net, call (865) 983-9852 or click here.  

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