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Monthly Business Meeting - 08/7/2022 - 7:00 pm

We will hold our monthly business meeting immediately following the evening worship.  Please attend to review the church business.

Bible Study on Zoom - 08/10/2022 - 7:00 pm

We hold a Zoom Bible Study each Wednesday evening.  To be part of this great study, please email Kevin Mayo at kmayo73@hotmail.com for the link.

Breakfast Outreach - 08/13/2022 - 9:00 am

This is an outreach event so invite someone to come with you.  We start eating at 9:00AM.  Delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, gfits, hash browns, biscuits, pancakes, jams, jellies, etc. The cost is only $7 perperson or $20 for a family of 3 or more... the money goes to offset the cost of the food.  Please grab the family and come out for a great breakfast and fellowship.  

Bible Study on Zoom - 08/17/2022 - 7:00 pm

We hold a Zoom Bible Study each Wednesday evening.  To be part of this great study, please email Kevin Mayo at kmayo73@hotmail.com for the link.

Stemley Senior Sensations Fellowship - 08/19/2022 - 11:00 am

Come join this time of fun and fellowship with our seniors of the church.  The meeting place will be announced each week.  There will be activites and food for all.  See you there!

Bible Study on Zoom - 08/24/2022 - 7:00 pm

We hold a Zoom Bible Study each Wednesday evening.  To be part of this great study, please email Kevin Mayo at kmayo73@hotmail.com for the link.

Bible Study on Zoom - 08/31/2022 - 7:00 pm

We hold a Zoom Bible Study each Wednesday evening.  To be part of this great study, please email Kevin Mayo at kmayo73@hotmail.com for the link.

Monthly Business Meeting - 09/4/2022 - 7:00 pm

We will hold our monthly business meeting immediately following the evening worship.  Please attend to review the church business.

Bible Study on Zoom - 09/7/2022 - 7:00 pm

We hold a Zoom Bible Study each Wednesday evening.  To be part of this great study, please email Kevin Mayo at kmayo73@hotmail.com for the link.

Breakfast Outreach - 09/10/2022 - 9:00 am

This is an outreach event so invite someone to come with you.  We start eating at 9:00AM.  Delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, gfits, hash browns, biscuits, pancakes, jams, jellies, etc. The cost is only $7 perperson or $20 for a family of 3 or more... the money goes to offset the cost of the food.  Please grab the family and come out for a great breakfast and fellowship.  

Bible Study on Zoom - 09/14/2022 - 7:00 pm

We hold a Zoom Bible Study each Wednesday evening.  To be part of this great study, please email Kevin Mayo at kmayo73@hotmail.com for the link.

Stemley Senior Sensations Fellowship - 09/16/2022 - 11:00 am

Come join this time of fun and fellowship with our seniors of the church.  The meeting place will be announced each week.  There will be activites and food for all.  See you there!

Bible Study on Zoom - 09/21/2022 - 7:00 pm

We hold a Zoom Bible Study each Wednesday evening.  To be part of this great study, please email Kevin Mayo at kmayo73@hotmail.com for the link.

Bible Study on Zoom - 09/28/2022 - 7:00 pm

We hold a Zoom Bible Study each Wednesday evening.  To be part of this great study, please email Kevin Mayo at kmayo73@hotmail.com for the link.

Monthly Business Meeting - 10/2/2022 - 7:00 pm

We will hold our monthly business meeting immediately following the evening worship.  Please attend to review the church business.

Bible Study on Zoom - 10/5/2022 - 7:00 pm

We hold a Zoom Bible Study each Wednesday evening.  To be part of this great study, please email Kevin Mayo at kmayo73@hotmail.com for the link.

Breakfast Outreach - 10/8/2022 - 9:00 am

This is an outreach event so invite someone to come with you.  We start eating at 9:00AM.  Delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, gfits, hash browns, biscuits, pancakes, jams, jellies, etc. The cost is only $7 perperson or $20 for a family of 3 or more... the money goes to offset the cost of the food.  Please grab the family and come out for a great breakfast and fellowship.  

Bible Study on Zoom - 10/12/2022 - 7:00 pm

We hold a Zoom Bible Study each Wednesday evening.  To be part of this great study, please email Kevin Mayo at kmayo73@hotmail.com for the link.

Bible Study on Zoom - 10/19/2022 - 7:00 pm

We hold a Zoom Bible Study each Wednesday evening.  To be part of this great study, please email Kevin Mayo at kmayo73@hotmail.com for the link.

Stemley Senior Sensations Fellowship - 10/21/2022 - 11:00 am

Come join this time of fun and fellowship with our seniors of the church.  The meeting place will be announced each week.  There will be activites and food for all.  See you there!

Bible Study on Zoom - 10/26/2022 - 7:00 pm

We hold a Zoom Bible Study each Wednesday evening.  To be part of this great study, please email Kevin Mayo at kmayo73@hotmail.com for the link.

Bible Study on Zoom - 11/2/2022 - 7:00 pm

We hold a Zoom Bible Study each Wednesday evening.  To be part of this great study, please email Kevin Mayo at kmayo73@hotmail.com for the link.

Deacon's Pantry in need
The Deacon's Pantry is in need. This time of year, the request for pantry items are very high. If you have non-perishable items that you would like to donate for this ministry, please bring them to the kitchen and they will be added to the pantry.
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An investigation found a “culture of unchecked power” at a Virginia college. Denominational leadership has declined to speak about it publicly.

The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel has suspended a safeguarding team that was working with students who accused a former college president of manipulation, bullying, and harassment.

Members of the team—along with Foursquare ministers and former students at the affiliated school in Christiansburg, Virginia—were raising questions about how the Pentecostal denomination handled a third-party investigation into the allegations. Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE) found that Mike Larkin, president of Ignite Life Pacific University, misused his authority and that Foursquare failed to set up adequate structures of oversight and accountability.

But at the denomination’s national convention in June, ministers demanded to know why they hadn’t heard any specifics about GRACE’s report. They criticized board members for not taking abuse seriously enough and voted to recommend the 11-member safeguarding team be given more power and freedom from board interference. In late July, the board informed the team their work would be put on pause.

Larkin, a Los Angeles cop who became a charismatic minister in the 1980s, was a prominent figure in The Foursquare Church until he resigned from the Virginia school in 2019. Starting in the late 1990s, he served in the national leadership of the 100-year-old Pentecostal denomination with an estimated 255,000 regular attenders. Then Larkin turned his attention to discipleship and education. He launched Ignite at the flagship Foursquare school in Southern California in 2008. He called it a “reproducible, hands-on ministry where discipleship, academics, global ministry and local community outreach are all synchronized together.” ...

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20 European groups join as focus shifts to the internally displaced and their long-term trauma.

Her mother died of cancer. Her father was killed in the war. When her home in Donetsk was destroyed by a Russian missile, retreating Ukrainian troops brought the eight-year-old orphan and her grandparents and uncle to volunteers serving with the Chernivtsi Bible Seminary (CBS), 680 miles to the west.

Their only possessions were the clothes on their backs.

Resettled in temporary housing, last month the uncle was called back to the front lines. The girl has been sent to a Christian camp, and the seminary—serving as a ministry hub for the internally displaced—is doing what it can to assist.

“We did not think that serving a refugee is such a complicated process,” said Vasiliy Malyk, CBS president. “But no matter how difficult it may be, we can help them at least with some dignity.”

It is a team effort, and once tallied the numbers both stagger and pale in comparison to the need.

The Alliance for Ukraine Without Orphans (AUWO) has mobilized 3,000 volunteers to provide temporary housing for 6,000 people, mostly women and children. It has evacuated 38,000—more than two-thirds of which have been orphans. Nearly 59,000 people have received some sort of humanitarian aid.

“When the war started, everyone was focused on responding,” said Ruslan Maliuta, a former AUWO president and current network liaison for One Hope. “But then we realized the war is going to last, the crisis is huge, and the response will require us all to work together.”

To do so, in April the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) launched The Response—Ukraine Special Taskforce (TRUST), with Maliuta as its leader. AUWO united with Ukraine’s Baptists, Pentecostals, and seven other national church and ...

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Church and pastoral abuse can trigger a unique form of PTSD.

I first encountered the concept of moral injury during my MDiv program at the University of Chicago in an anthropology class called Humans After Violence.

The MDiv program required each of us to intern at a site of our choosing for the middle year of the program, and I’d opted to work with the clergy at my church. Earlier that year, our church had discovered reports of our priest’s abuse of power, and he was removed from leadership.

Initially, my school supervisors worried it might be a bad idea for me to work at a church where so many of us still felt betrayed and uncertain. But I wanted to conduct my internship at a church that was asking questions about how to do community and how to steward power well—rather than at a church that could gloss over these conversations simply because they were functioning better.

Halfway through the internship, I signed up for the class hoping it would help me understand what our community was experiencing. The professor told us she aimed to explore “where violence leaves us—or rather, how violence doesn’t leave us.”

Through examining various case studies, I learned that trauma is not necessarily about the way someone is hurt but about how they carry their hurt. I also discovered that the concept of PTSD was developed by mental health professionals who worked with Vietnam veterans.

What captured me the most, though, was the concept of moral injury—a term developed by these military therapists after they noticed that some classic PTSD symptoms in vets were sparked not by a reminiscence of physical threat to life but by a profound violation of their moral sensibilities. Moral injury could occur, for instance, after obeying a trusted superior’s ...

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It’s not mainline traditions anymore.

Over the last decade Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and every other Protestant family has declined except for those who say they are nondenominational.

The 2020 US Religion Census, due out later this year, tallied 4,000 more nondenominational churches than in 2010, and nondenominational church attendance rose by 6.5 million during that time.

At the same time, mainline Protestant Christianity is collapsing following five decades of declines. In the mid-1970s, nearly a third of Americans were affiliated with denominations like the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, and the Episcopal Church. But now, just one in ten Americans are part of the mainline tradition.

In 2021, nondenominational Protestants in the United States outnumbered mainline Protestants. But what is causing this tremendous shift in the church landscape?

In the General Social Survey, Americans are asked about the religion they were raised in and then their current tradition. Mainline traditions have struggled for decades to retain believers born into their churches. In the 1970s, about three-quarters of those raised mainline would still belong to mainline churches as adults. In the 2010s, the share who stayed mainline had declined to just over half (55%).

Of the 45 percent of the mainline who leave, some end up in evangelical congregations; however, the evangelical share did not increase between the 1980s and the 2010s. Instead, the bigger story is that the portion of those who leave the mainline and become a religious “none”—claiming no faith or no tradition in particular—has tripled since the 1970s, from 6 percent to nearly 20 percent in the most recent data. Thus, there’s not a lot of evidence that ...

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Only revival with reformation can heal the American church from its spiritual trauma.

This piece was adapted from Russell Moore’s newsletter. Subscribe here.

This past week’s bonus episode of CT’s The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast featured a conversation between my colleague Mike Cosper and therapist Aundi Kolber about the effects spiritual trauma can have on one’s body.

The dialogue has haunted me ever since because it’s prompted me to ask whether American Christianity has experienced collectively how some experience trauma individually—and whether that might provoke us to consider what we are asking for when we pray for “revival.”

In the interview, Mike asked how someone who has experienced a spiritually toxic environment could begin to heal. Kolber—referencing work such as Besser van der Kolk’s influential book The Body Keeps the Score—says she begins not with how a traumatized person thinks about a situation but, first, with what that person’s body is showing.

That’s because, she argues, we can numb our perception to realities that we don’t know how to make sense of. But, she says, the nervous system often points the way—signaling that something is wrong by manifesting a variety of symptoms, sometimes long before the mind is ready to acknowledge that there might be a problem.

It’s important to recognize this, Kolber says, and to not speed through healing from trauma. Often people want a checklist of ways to recover from a horrible situation—including spiritual abuse or trauma—so they can “move on” quickly with their lives.

But the path to healing is not so simple, she argues. It usually requires a slower, more deliberate attempt at grounding and sorting through what happened. This is ...

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Persistent caste discrimination holds believers from India’s most vulnerable community back.

Prem Chand has led a church for Dalit and non-Dalit Christians in India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh for years. But despite his title and experience, he’s learned one painful lesson over and over.

“A Dalit always stays a Dalit, an outcast, even if he is educated or has a good economic status,” he said. “Both believers and nonbelievers do not respect a Dalit pastor as they would a high-caste Hindu convert pastor.”

Despite making up a significant number of the Christian population—both Catholic and Protestant—Dalit Christians have historically been shut out from church leadership. As Chand knows firsthand, many Christian Dalits face persistent caste discrimination in their congregations. Outside the church, the government denies them affirmative action benefits available to Hindu Dalits, keeping millions of believers stymied in poverty and shut out from formal education.

To this day, Christians from different castes worship in different locations and bury their dead in separate graveyards in some Southern Indian congregations. Dalit believers face less overt discrimination in the northern and central parts of the country, if only because many Christians in these regions are from the Dalit or Tribal background themselves. Yet a discriminatory line remains, even though some parts of community life are shared.

“For generations people have been living following the set rules of caste, and it does not leave an individual even after they start to follow Christ,” said Chand. “Even after many years of faith and associating superficially with Dalits, when it comes to marrying their children, high-caste Christians will search for brides and grooms who belong to ...

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New financing mechanisms reduce the cost of reducing emissions.

There are two reasons to put solar panels on the roofs of Calvin University.

One, renewable energy can provide power for the private Christian campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan, without adding to the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, and nitrous oxide that are driving climate change.

Two, it will save the school some money.

At Calvin, the environmental reason is primary. The budgetary help is a bonus.

“I think taking care of the planet is a prerequisite to being a Christian,” Tim Fennema, vice president for administration and finance, told CT. “And as a Christian university, it’s something we want to do.”

Calvin is on a mission to be carbon neutral by 2057. The school got a little closer last month when it announced a partnership with the Indiana-based Sun FundED to come up with a plan to install solar arrays on university buildings, offsetting the high-carbon energy sources Calvin currently uses to heat, cool, and power the campus.

Solar panels on top of the buildings will be a visible sign to the Calvin community that they’re taking environmental concerns seriously, according to Fennema.

That sign is economically feasible because of advancements in the financing of renewable energy projects. Calvin won’t have to go into debt or ask donors to raise the funds for alternative energy. Sun FundED, a private company backed by venture capital, is a tax-equity investment. It will provide the solar power array to Calvin with no upfront costs and then leverage tax credits that aren’t available to the nonprofit educational institution.

“It allows us to do it on a larger scale on campus than we could have ever done by ourselves,” Fennema said. ...

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In this polarized moment, strong legislation isn’t a substitute for wise and discerning leaders.

This month, the United States Senate is considering a bill to protect same-sex couples’ right to marry. Seven years have passed since the historic Obergefell decision, so these initiatives might look like grandstanding or redundant efforts. But in late June, the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, hinting at the possibility of revisiting other cases.

The Dobbs ruling unleashed a flurry of legislation, as lawmakers rush to codify questions that had previously been settled through the courts. While Democrats at the federal level are working to enshrine same-sex marriage, Republicans in conservative states are working to restrict and prohibit elective abortion.

A political environment that didn’t seem like it could get any more polarized suddenly has.

The swell of policy initiatives has also highlighted the need for discerning leaders—those who know not just how to win elections and judicial seats but how best to rule. Leaders like King Solomon.

Solomon assumes the throne of Israel after a season of political instability that included an attempted coup, a contested transfer of power, a political rival refusing to concede defeat, family drama, and hefty doses of palace intrigue. According to 2 Chronicles 1:1, Solomon eventually “strengthen[s] his hold on his kingdom” (CSB).

But once in power, he faces a new dilemma and asks himself: Once I secure the ability to reign, how should I reign? Once I gain power, what do I do with it?

Rather than lean on his own understanding, Solomon seeks the face of God, offering burnt sacrifices to inquire before the Lord. In response, God promises to grant him whatever he wants. Solomon famously asks for wisdom and knowledge:

Now, Lord God, let your promise ...

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Data suggests that, when their attendance drops, these nominal Christians become hyper-individualistic, devoted to law and order, cynical about systems, and distrustful of others.

What happens to American politics and culture when white Southerners in the Bible Belt quit attending church? What religious views do they adopt? How do they vote? And will the mass exodus from church that already seems to be occurring in the South make the country less politically polarized—or more?

These questions are particularly relevant this summer because of two major news developments: the sex abuse crisis in the Southern Baptist Convention and the reversal of Roe v. Wade, which led to state restrictions that made abortion almost completely illegal the South and Midwest.

Twenty years ago, revelations of the Catholic church’s sex abuse crisis accelerated a massive exodus of white northeastern Catholics that was already well underway, and it contributed to a secularization of New England culture and politics. A region that up until the late 20th century had some of the nation’s strictest policies on abortion and divorce became a leader in expanding abortion access and legalizing same-sex marriage.

The same phenomenon occurred more recently in Ireland, in the wake of that country’s clerical sex abuse crisis. A nation that had some of the highest church attendance rates and strictest abortion and marriage policies in Europe legalized both abortion and same-sex marriage, even as church attendance rates plummeted.

It might be easy to imagine, then, that something similar could occur in the southern Bible Belt. As in New England immediately before news of the Catholic church’s sex abuse crisis broke, church attendance rates in the South were already falling before the SBC crisis was fully publicized.

Already, 30 percent of Southern Baptists “seldom” or “never” attend church, ...

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As a longtime Christian bookseller, I figured I’d enjoy a fellow bookseller’s ode to browsing, buying, and reading. Here’s why it left me feeling conflicted.

When the book In Praise of Good Bookstores released earlier this year, I started hearing from bookish friends and customers of Hearts & Minds, the Pennsylvania bookstore my wife and I have run together for almost 40 years. They would send us links to an interview with the author, Jeff Deutsch, a bookstore manager himself.

For many, the conversation evoked memories and hopes of one of the great pleasures this side of Eden: browsing a well-stocked and interesting bookstore. Naturally, as a longtime bookseller, I shared the interview and devoured the book. But I’ll admit that Deutsch’s perspectives made me a bit uneasy, and I am still trying to decipher my curious reaction toward a book most friends figured I’d commend unreservedly. This side of Eden, few things are as simple as they seem.

Scale and status

In Praise of Good Bookstores gives a fascinating account of a former Jewish kid who grew up to love books and bookselling, and Deutsch waxes eloquent about the joy of connecting book and reader. He offers an intellectually stimulating essay that will appeal to those who like books about books, the reading life, and publishing-world curiosities.

For many CT readers, In Praise of Good Bookstores would no doubt fit seamlessly alongside such titles as Karen Swallow Prior’s On Reading Well, Alan Jacobs’s Breaking Bread with the Dead, Jessica Hooten Wilson’s The Scandal of Holiness, and Claude Atcho’s Reading Black Books. Deutsch is as learned as any of those authors, and his obvious passion for books is contagious.

What makes Deutsch’s book stand out (despite an oddly tacky cover) is his status as a bookseller. Like the best of our trade, he is mostly self-taught and exceedingly eclectic ...

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    Stemley Baptist Church
    399 Rock Church Road, Talladega, Al 35160