Thursday, April 28, 2011Download All Stories
'Our Katrina': death toll tops 200 in Ala., nears 300 in U.S.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)--One of the most devastating tornado outbreaks in the nation's history left at least 290 people dead in six states April 27 as Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers -- already on the ground in some locations -- scrambled to assess damaged church buildings and assist in disaster relief in the midst of power and telephone outages, and rubble.
In Alabama alone, more than 200 people died in 16 counties, and the governor estimated as many as half a million to a million people were left without electricity.
Tennessee was the next hardest hit with a reported 34 deaths, followed by 32 in Mississippi, 14 in Georgia, five in Virginia and one in Arkansas. Entire neighborhoods were leveled in the affected regions.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers in Alabama already are assisting emergency response personnel in an effort to find survivors.
The Weather Channel called the outbreak the deadliest since 1974.
Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention, said Thursday, "This is our Katrina," according to The Alabama Baptist newspaper.
Mel Johnson, director of disaster relief for the Alabama Baptist Convention, said disaster relief volunteers "have been asked to assist in search and rescue efforts" -- a first for the Alabama volunteers.
Johnson was one of about a dozen Baptist state convention disaster relief leaders who participated in a Thursday morning conference call coordinated by the North American Mission Board. State representatives shared about damage in their states while others offered resources and volunteers when needed.
"Entire communities disappeared," Johnson said. "Many hospitals, police departments, local fire departments all sustained damage. At one campsite campers were picked up and swept into a lake.
"We have teams that started responding yesterday," Johnson said. "They have had to cut their way into these areas." Read More
Rwanda's survivors choose to forgiveKIGALI, Rwanda (BP)--April is a time of annual mourning and remembrance in Rwanda as the nation reflects on the 1994 genocide in which more than 800,000 people were killed. Memorial services are being held across the country and many Rwandese are visiting mass graves where their loved ones are buried ... Read More
FIRST-PERSON (Jacob Alexander): Amazed by Rwanda's stories of healingKIGALI, Rwanda (BP)--From the small window of the Kenya Airways jet, I looked down on the beautiful green mountains of Rwanda as we slowly made our descent to the Kigali airport, where 17 years ago an airplane carrying Rwanda's president was shot down, sparking one of the most evil acts of humanity in my lifetime. Read More
50K participate in 6-hour 'Secret Church'
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--On Good Friday, more than 50,000 people across the world participated in Secret Church, six intensive hours of biblical teaching and prayer for the persecuted church led by author and pastor David Platt of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala. Read More
NEWS BRIEF: David Wilkerson dies in wreck
NEW YORK (BP)--David Wilkerson, the author of the book "The Cross and the Switchblade" and the founding pastor of Times Square Church in New York City, died in a car wreck April 27 at the age of 79.
His wife Gwen was injured in the wreck and is in the hospital.
CBN reported that Wilkerson was driving east on U.S. 175 in Texas Wednesday when his car "moved into the opposite lane where a tractor trailer was driving westbound." The truck collided with Wilkerson's car head-on, CBN report... Read More
CHRISTIAN APPS OF THE MONTH: Blue Letter Bible, Bible.is, CompassionNet
Blue Letter Bible
PLATFORM: iPhone, iPad
ABOUT IT: The app includes the Bible but also links to commentaries, sermons and Bible dictionaries. By clicking on a particular verse, the user is offered commentaries and sermons based on the specific passage. Chuck Smith -- part of the Calvary Chapel movement -- and the late J. Vernon McGhee are two of the more prominent pastors featured. The Matthew Henry commentary is also included. The app also includes sermon transcri... Read More
FROM THE SEMINARIES: items from NOBTS, SBTS, SWBTS
EDITOR'S NOTE: "From the Seminaries" includes news releases of interest as written and edited from Southern Baptist seminaries.
Today's From the Seminary includes:
New Orleans Seminary
By Frank Michael McCormack
NEW ORLEANS (NOBTS)--The Institute for Faith and the Public Square (IFPS), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary's latest research center, hosted its first event April 11. Led by New Orleans Seminary (NOBTS) church histo... Read More
TECHNOLOGY: Marketplace competitors, united with one goal
The Christian technology marketplace is unique, with competitors sharing ideas with the goal of spreading the Gospel, says columnist Aaron Linne. Read More
FIRST-PERSON: The significance of the 'individual mandate'
If the individual mandate is overturned, the health care law cannot survive, columnist Penna Dexter says. Read More