August 31, 2014


NEWTOWN, Conn. (BP) -- Funerals were held today (Dec. 17) for two of the 20 children shot to death last Friday in the presumed safety of a Newtown, Ct., elementary school.

"We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end."
-- President Obama
At nearby Southbury Baptist Church, pastor Bryan Sims met Monday with Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers drawn to the community to speed healing and offer salvation. The church is serving as a base for Southern Baptist responders. The leaders encouraged Southern Baptists to pray for Newtown and suggested financial donations be sent to the Baptist Convention of New England's Victim Relief Fund.

"... If revival is going to happen in our nation, it MUST start with the people of God."
-- Fred Luter
At Sunday's interfaith prayer vigil in Newtown, President Obama offered the assurance of 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1 in his remarks.

"Scripture tells us: '... do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all,'" President Obama said at the vigil, quoting from the passage. "'So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.'"

Friday in the town of 30,000, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother at home, then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children and six adults, before committing suicide.

Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter said the mass murder should be a wake-up call.

"What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School could happen at any school in America. No town, city or state in America is exempt from the demonic attacks of the enemy," Luter said. "As president of the Southern Baptist Convention, I would like to call on Southern Baptists across America to do three things in the aftermath of this tragedy in Newtown, Ct." -- to pray for spiritual revival; share their faith; and be "lights in a dark world" and "salt in a salt-less society."

"If revival is going to happen in America it is not going to happen because of who is in the White House, the governor's house, or the mayor's house; but revival will happen because of who is in God's house," said Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans. "The Bible is very clear that if revival is going to happen in our nation, it MUST start with the people of God."

Like so many pastors across the nation, Sims preached on the tragedy in his Sunday (Dec. 16) sermon.

"I do trust that God will bring good out of this ... thing. For a God who created a universe out of nothing, nothing is impossible," Sims said.

Sims is keeping the congregation updated through the church's Facebook page, telling of three Mississippians trained in trauma ministry who were en route to the church.

"Along with [North American Mission Board disaster relief chaplaincy coordinator] Enio Aguero, they will use our church as a home base to coordinate efforts for ministry to Newtown and beyond," Sims wrote. "They will also help us develop a plan for the future ministry to the community." ... Read More

At Sandy Hook, chaplains pray, offer hope
NEWTOWN, Conn. (BP) -- While Enio Aguero has ministered to families of service personnel killed in action, only God's grace could prepare him to comfort those who lost their children in the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Read More
Huckabee answers, 'Where was God?'
NEW YORK (BP) -- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took to his Saturday show on Fox News to answer the question of where God was during Friday's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct. Read More
Collegians trek to N.Y. to tackle hurricane survivors' mud-out needs during winter break
NEW YORK, N.Y. (BP) -- Southern Baptist college students are spending their winter breaks making homes livable again for residents spending Christmas in dwellings damaged by superstorm Sandy.
About 325 students are working with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts through Jan. 22 on Staten Island and in other affected areas. At least 27 groups of students will gut homes, haul debris and minister while living in a tent village at Staten Island's Zion Lutheran Church. Read More
Religious freedom for military being negotiated by Senate-House conference committee
WASHINGTON (BP) -- A congressional conference committee is negotiating whether the federal government will protect the religious freedom of military chaplains and armed services members regarding homosexuality and same-sex "marriage." Read More
Christmas music enjoyed by 70% of Americans
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Christmas music is nearly inescapable every December and most Americans enjoy it.
According to a new LifeWay Research study, 70 percent of Americans enjoy hearing Christmas songs in December and 86 percent believe school choirs and bands should be allowed to perform religious Christmas music. Read More

First Person
Shannon Royce
FIRST-PERSON: Mental health & the Newtown tragedy
Shannon Royce, president of, a nonprofit organization for families living with hidden disabilities, echoes a desperate mother's plea for a discussion of mental health struggles that can lead to tragic consequences such as those in Newtown, Ct.
R. Albert Mohler Jr.
FIRST-PERSON: Rachel weeping for her children
Seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. writes about how Christians should process and speak about the murders of children in Connecticut.



 © Copyright 2014 Baptist Press. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use.

Southern Baptist Convention