SBC DIGEST: Sunrise Children's Services & foster siblings; Dave Miller kidney surgery; Florida church communicators network; Betty Dilday dies

by Kentucky & Florida convention & BP Staff, posted Wednesday, August 15, 2018 (2 months ago)

Baptist entity plans 2 homes for foster care siblings

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- Sunrise Children's Services has announced plans for a facility where siblings removed from homes due to abuse or neglect can be nurtured together.

Sunrise, which is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, plans to locate two five-bedroom foster homes on a 130-acre farm near Winchester donated to the ministry in 2016.

"We often see sibling groups broken apart physically and emotionally by separate foster placements because homes aren't large enough to house them together," Sunrise President Dale Suttles said in a report by Kentucky Today of the state Baptist convention.

The property, named Solid Rock Children's Ranch, was donated by longtime Clark County educator Judy Huls Singleton. Sunrise anticipates the ranch will be partly sustained by agriculture revenue.

Suttles said Singleton's gift will provide a "life-changing experience" for children where they will live in a safe, nurturing environment and be introduced to innovative animal and plant therapies.

Singleton's donation is a promise kept to her father that one day their family farm would be used to benefit children.

Singleton, a Sunrise-certified respite care provider, will remain in her home on the land and play a role in day-to-day activities by serving as the ranch community caretaker offering support and guidance.

Sunrise, which cares for more than 1,200 children in 13 facilities supported by state funding, is Kentucky's largest private foster care provider among more than 8,000 at-risk children under state care.

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Dave Miller 'on the recovery trail' after cancer surgery

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (BP) -- Iowa pastor Dave Miller, president of last year's Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference, has reported he is "on the recovery trail" after surgery to remove a cancerous tumor on his kidney June 26.

Miller, senior pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa, underwent surgery to remove his gall bladder and spleen on May 3, when the tumor was discovered. His wife Jeni also underwent surgery to remove a growth on her thyroid that turned out to be cancerous.

The tumor on his kidney, as assessed by a specialist, was "small, found early, and ... my chances of full cure ranged in the neighborhood of 99%," Miller recounted in an Aug. 13 blog post at the SBC Voices website he edits.

As summed up by Miller "... in the space of 2 months, we had 3 surgeries to remove two organs and treat two cancers.... This has been a tough year -- 6 months of illness, more pain than I can imagine, and the challenge of a mountain of medical bills."

Yet, he noted, "God has walked us through this and we are blessed."

One of the writers at SBC Voices, Brent Hobbs, lead pastor of New Song Fellowship in Virginia Beach, Va., initiated a GoFundMe account that raised about $5,750 toward the Millers' medical bills.

And, Miller noted, "I saw two doctors, neither of whom are believers, talk about how amazed they were at the way that my surgeries went. When I told them that people all over the country were praying for them, they looked a little uncomfortable, but I had to give credit where credit was due. Both of them did a great job (and I told them that), but I believe they had some help!"

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Fla. convention initiates church communicators network

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP) -- A statewide Baptist communicators network has been created by the Florida Baptist Convention.

Through the Florida Baptist Communicators Network, "church communicators from around the state can collaborate, share experiences and challenges and encourage one another as they seek to tell stories of impactful ministry taking place in their churches."

"Florida is the first state to have a church communicators network in the SBC," Mark MacDonald, strategic communication catalyst for the state convention, said in an Aug. 14 news story. "The network allows us to encourage church communicators and together raise the bar on all church communication around the state."

The network -- on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/floridabaptistcommunicators -- follows a retreat MacDonald led for church communicators Feb. 5 at the Florida Baptist Convention Building in Jacksonville.

An article about the benefits of a church communication strategy can be accessed at http://flbaptist.org/3-reasons-church-needs-communication-strategy.

In two communications competitions, meanwhile, the 2018 Florida Baptist Convention's Cooperative Program campaign video "Be the Spark" -- at https://vimeo.com/257749150 -- garnered a Bronze Telly Award (tellyawards.com) in its religion/spirituality category and an Award of Distinction in the Communicator Awards in the film/video fundraising category as judged by the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts.

The CP video tells the story of how Florida Baptists are "the catalytic spark that transports the light of the Gospel worldwide when [churches'] generous gifts are provided to the Cooperative Program."

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Betty Dilday, wife of former SWBTS president, dies

DALLAS (BP) -- Betty Dilday, 87, wife of former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Russell H. Dilday, died Aug. 9 from pulmonary fibrosis complications, according to an obituary in the Dallas Morning News.

Betty Dilday served with her husband during his 16 years as Southwestern's president (1978-1994) and his 17 years as pastor of churches in Texas and Georgia. They met during their undergraduate years at Baylor University.

She became a Christian at age 9 and was baptized at First Baptist Church in Houston. A longtime public schoolteacher, she taught Bible and missions in their churches and was a choir assistant.

In 2011, she was named a Woman of Distinction by the Baylor Dallas Women's Council and in 2017 the R.H. Dilday family was awarded the title Baylor's First Family by the Baylor Line Foundation.

Russell Dilday currently is chancellor and professor of philosophy of religion and preaching for the B.H. Carroll Theological Institute, an accredited seminary based in Arlington, Texas, with a network of online platforms, ministry partners and teaching churches.

In addition to her husband of 66 years, survivors include their son Robert and daughters Nancy and Ellen; nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held Aug. 14 at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas.

Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston, with reporting by Robin Cornetet of Kentucky Today and Nicole Kalil of the Florida Baptist Convention.
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