Kentucky GCR update:
State convention task force
enters next work phase
By Todd Deaton Editor
Louisville—The Kentucky Great Commission Task Force has completed its initial phase of fact gathering and interviewing and now will begin turning its attention toward exploring specific aspects of how Kentucky Baptists can refocus their energies and move into the future, chairman Hershael York reported after its April 23 meeting in Louisville.
During its first three meetings this year, task force members have heard from all of the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s team leaders and agency heads and studied the convention’s governing documents.
The criterion the task force is using to evaluate the KBC’s work is “how does this agency or department help Kentucky Baptists fulfill the Great Commission,” the Frankfort pastor said.
“What we have discovered is that really in so many ways Kentucky Baptists are doing just a great job,” he affirmed. “We have been thrilled to hear what God is doing through Kentucky Baptist work.”
In offering his assessment that “everything we are doing is effective,” York noted, “The question is not, are we doing good work. We are.” The real question, however, is, “Is there any way we can do God’s work better?”
“That’s a tough question to ask when you feel like you are doing things well,” York added.
Charged with finding ways that will enable Kentucky Baptists to more efficiently and effectively fulfill the Great Commission, the task force’s assignment is about more than Cooperative Program dollars, York said. “It’s about people. It’s about obedience to Christ. It’s about the gospel.”
While the task force is watching the proceedings of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force “with some interest,” York added that the Kentucky group is not directed by that task force or by its recommendations.
“We are really seeking God’s will for Kentucky Baptists,” York said. “We are working hard to come up with something that is visionary and exciting and that Kentucky Baptists will be proud to follow.”
Kentucky Baptists have a great history of “stretching toward one another” as they work through challenges to discover God’s unique vision together, York observed. “It is our hope that Kentucky Baptists will lead the way with the Great Commission resurgence and in the way we allocate our resources and our energies,” he added.
In complementing the makeup of the task force, York described the group as “an eclectic mix of Kentucky Baptists from all over the state, of different ages and of different outlooks on so many things. And yet, already there is such a trust among the members of the committee. We feel free to say what we think and to share ideas without fear of being reviled, rejected or repeated outside of the committee meetings.”
Strong March CP totals
exceed working budget
Louisville—With more than $13.5 million collected through the end of March, Cooperative Program totals for the current fiscal year now are ahead of last year’s pace by $219,053 (1.6 percent).
According to Lowell Ashby, Kentucky Baptist Convention’s business services team leader, Kentucky Baptists gave $2,083,872 through the Cooperative Program in March, enough to also push totals ahead of pace for the $23 million 2009-10 working budget.
The more than $2 million received in March was $164,520 more than the $1,919,352 needed to stay on pace for the working budget, Ashby said. In order to stay on pace for the working budget through the remainder of the fiscal year, an average of $1,886,448 is needed each month.
At this point during the 2008-09 fiscal year, Kentucky Baptists had given a total of $13,328,709.
According to Ashby, CP totals remain behind the original fiscal year budget of $24.48 million by $712,238 (4.99 percent). However, because of the challenging national economy, the KBC is operating under the approved working budget of $23 million for the 2009-10 fiscal year, he pointed out.
“It has been exciting to see God working this past month as Kentucky Baptists have given to CP missions and ministries even as they actively participated in gospel outreach during the Find It Here campaign,” said Billy Compton, KBC’s executive associate for Cooperative Program and resources. “This truly is an example of how we can do more together than we ever could alone.”
Western Recorder issue date: April 27, 2010
Western Recorder, KBC staff
honored with BCA awards
Chicago—Staff members of the Western Recorder and Kentucky Baptist Convention’s communications department recently were honored with four awards from Baptist Communicators Association.
The 2010 Wilmer C. Fields Awards Competition honors were presented April 8 in Chicago.
The winners were:
- Western Recorder Partnerships Editor Dannah Prather, first place for her feature story, “Christianity has no color,” about the racially diverse Hunsinger Lane Baptist Church in Louisville.
- KBC Electronic Media Specialist Brenda Smith, first place in the category of disc-based media for her production of the CD-ROM version of the 2008 KBC Annual.
- The KBC communications team, second place for its Crossover Louisville 2009 public relations campaign.
- KBC Media Production Associate Larry Brannin, second place for his video production of “It’s Harvest Time!”
State’s high court denies funding for Cumberlands pharmacy school
Frankfort—The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled last week that University of the Cumberlands cannot use $10 million of taxpayer money to build a pharmacy school.
The high court said the funds, appropriated by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2006, violate the state constitution’s prohibition on public funding of “any church, sectarian or denominational school.”
In a divided decision, justices also ruled that a $1 million scholarship program for students at the school also was a constitutional breach.
State lawmakers appropriated funds to begin a school of pharmacy at the university so that students from the area wouldn’t have to travel so far to get a pharmacological education. Legislators reasoned the action also would make it more likely they would remain close to home to pursue their careers.
Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson, however, said in the court opinion that if Kentucky needs to expand the opportunities for pharmacy school education, the General Assembly may do so, “but not by appropriating public funds to an educational institution that is religiously affiliated.”
The university released a statement from President James Taylor saying the school had not yet reviewed the Supreme Court’s decision, but that because of the ruling, “we will not begin a pharmacy school here at University of the Cumberlands.”
While the decision may have ended Cumberlands’ pursuit of such a school, Taylor pointed out that other pharmacy schools have been started or expanded since the Cumberlands case began.
For instance, University of Kentucky has expanded its School of Pharmacy while both Midway College and Sullivan University in Louisville have opened pharmacy schools as well.
“Thus, in our view, we have accomplished our purpose which was to meet a critical need for pharmacists in the Appalachian area and beyond,” the statement read.
Justices rejected an argument by university lawyers that the state constitution ban violates the free-exercise and free-speech clauses of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They also rejected a defense argument that the law is Kentucky’s version of “Blaine Amendments,” constitutional provisions passed in several states in the 1800s restricting government aid to “sectarian” schools prompted by anti-Catholic bigotry during that time. (ABP)
With additional reporting by News Director Drew Nichter