European leaders endorse seminary move. Leaders of the European Baptist Federation voted overwhelmingly to move the International Baptist Theological Seminary from Prague to Amsterdam as an international Baptist studies and research center with close ties to the Union of Baptist Churches in the Netherlands. The European Baptist Federation Council approved three recommendations from seminary trustees at their annual meeting in Elstal, Germany, near Berlin—to sell the Prague campus for the best possible price; to convert an Amsterdam church into a "Baptist House" with studies to begin in fall 2014; and to focus mainly on doctoral work in Baptist and Anabaptist studies and practical theology. The proposals respond to changing needs for theological education, costs of maintaining an aging campus in the Czech Republic and loss of donor support in a poor global economy.
M&M Benefit Board head to retire. Sumner Grant, executive director of the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board since 1998, has announced plans to retire after his successor is named. Grant led the church-benefits organization started for American Baptists to open its membership to other Baptist denominations and has been a key leader in the restructuring of American Baptist Churches USA. Before Grant joined the retirement benefit board in 1993, he served as executive director and treasurer of American Baptist Churches of New York State and previously as senior pastor of churches in New Hampshire and Maine more than 15 years. Formed in 1911, the board primarily serves churches and ministers affiliated with American Baptist Churches USA. Its ministry partners also include the Baptist General Convention of Missouri, the Alliance of Baptists and the four largest African-American Baptist denominations.
Beeson dean represents BWA in Rome. Timothy George, dean and professor of divinity, history and doctrine at Beeson Divinity School, is representing the Baptist World Alliance in Rome as a fraternal delegate to the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Catholic Church's Synod of Bishops. The Vatican meetings began Oct. 7 and end Oct. 18. Discussion topics include a rediscovery of the heart of evangelization; discerning changes that affect how the faith is lived and influence Christian communities; the transmission of the Christian faith; and pastoral activity. George serves as chair of the BWA Commission on Doctrine and Christian Unity and a member of the BWA Division of Mission, Evangelism and Theological Reflection.
LifeWay won't sell 'womanhood' book. A new book by an author who for one year kept her vow to follow literally every instruction for women found in the Bible won't be sold at LifeWay Christian Stores. Rachel Held Evans, whose book A Year of Biblical Womanhood is due out Oct. 30, reported on her blog she learned her book wouldn't be available at 165 bookstores owned by the Southern Baptist Convention's publishing arm. LifeWay responded with a statement saying the company does not comment on reasons why it chooses specific products out of thousands that it reviews, but factors include "alignment with evangelical beliefs, past sales by an author and how they fit within LifeWay's values and vision."
Georgetown College president to retire. Bill Crouch, who steered Georgetown College through financial woes, established bonds with African-Americans and loosened ties with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, has announced plans to retire next summer. Crouch was 39 years old and working as vice president for development at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., when he was named 23rd president of Georgetown College in 1991. A graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, he also was pastor of two churches in North Carolina.