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Bible Study on Zoom - 06/1/2022 - 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 - 06/5/2022 - 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 - 06/8/2022 - 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 - 06/15/2022 - 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 - 06/17/2022 - 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 - 06/22/2022 - 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 - 06/29/2022 - 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 - 07/3/2022 - 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 - 07/6/2022 - 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 - 07/13/2022 - 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 - 07/15/2022 - 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 - 07/20/2022 - 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 - 07/27/2022 - 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 - 08/3/2022 - 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 - 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.

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!

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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Angry but not shocked at racist violence, the victims' families at funerals this week have a prayer: Let these deaths not be in vain.

Buffalo this week is bearing the heaviness of 10 funerals all at once.

Even though organizers tried to stagger funeral times, hundreds of cars converged on one cemetery on Wednesday for back-to-back burials. One local congregation, Elim Christian Fellowship, held memorials two days in a row this week, gathering hundreds to cry, sing, and proclaim that death did not have the last word over the loved ones they lost.

The church called for 30 days of mourning in honor of longtime member Celestine Chaney, 65. Chaney was among the 10 people killed in a racist attack at their local grocery store back on May 14. Most of the victims were devout Christians, active in Black churches in Buffalo.

The city’s Christians aren’t rushing the grieving process, even as national news reporters have left town and attention has shifted to another horrifying shooting at a Texas elementary school.

“I’m sure God is angry with what he sees,” said Bishop Glenwood Young Sr., who leads the Church of God in Christ in Western New York. Young’s sister-in-law, 77-year-old Pearl Young, was one of the victims at Tops Friendly Market.

The grief and anger in Buffalo is different than after other recent mass shootings. The shooter, based on officials’ accounts, targeted Black people because of his white supremacist beliefs. He killed the elderly, people called mother and auntie by their friends and neighbors. The incident added to the poor neighborhood’s troubles by creating a food desert, with the grocery store indefinitely closed after the shooting.

At the funerals and around the community, conversations swelled with righteous anger. CT heard from people who held to a firm belief that God would do something to address ...

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Tourists and pilgrims flock to German village as 1,800 local actors prepare to take the stage after pandemic interruption.

Jill and Oscar Schmidt vowed that they would travel from their home in Washington State to Oberammergau, a small village in the south of Germany, to see the world-famous passion play about the death of Jesus.

They wanted to go in 2010 but didn’t get tickets in time. So they decided they would not miss the next performance—no excuses!—and made plans for the spring of 2020.

“Then they were cancelled,” said Jill.

The Schmidts understood, of course. Everything was shutting down at that time, as the pandemic swept across the world and dominated the headlines. But that makes this moment, two years later, very sweet.

“We are so glad to finally be here,” Jill told CT, “and experience the play at least once in our lifetime.”

This desire—to experience the Oberammergau Passion Play once in a lifetime— has driven millions of tourists and pilgrims to visit the village over the years. It began in 1633 with a vow. Suffering the ravages of the bubonic plague, the inhabitants of the Bavarian village promised to perform a “play of the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ" on stage every ten years if God would spare them further death and devastation. The plague ended, and the people of Oberammergau have been putting on the passion play ever since.

In the 19th century, it began to draw in international visitors, mostly Catholics and Lutherans. Today, a third of the 1 million guests are from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Scandinavia. The play resonates in this moment with the feeling of surviving a pandemic, but it has long spoken to the themes of crisis and overcoming hardship. The production, after all, retells the story of Jesus’ ...

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A Hispanic Baptist leader focuses on ministering to his family after his great-granddaughter dies in the school shooting.

In the quiet, 16,000-person town of Uvalde, Texas, nearly everyone has connections to the children, families, and teachers shaken by the deadly elementary school shooting.

“I was watering my flowers in the front yard when I heard shots ring out,” said Julian Moreno, former pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista. Moreno lives two blocks from Robb Elementary School, where an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 kids and two teachers on Tuesday.

Within minutes of hearing the shots, Moreno said he saw two policemen running down the street. Then, an exchange of gunfire so close he could smell the powder.

Knowing his great-granddaughter, Lexi, was a student at the school, Moreno walked to the campus once the shots ceased.

He later learned that the attack took place in 10-year-old Lexi’s classroom, and she was among the victims.

Outside the school, Moreno said, the atmosphere radiated with fear, as parents clamored to get into the barricaded building. Officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Border Patrol shouted at one another as they put on their gear and approached the school.

“People were talking loudly, a lot were crying,” he said. “They were saying, ‘My son or my daughter is in that building,’ and the officers were just saying ‘I’m sorry, you can’t go any further.’”

Located 80 miles west of San Antonio, an hour from the Mexican border, the town of Uvalde is 82 percent Hispanic, with sizable Catholic and Baptist populations. Around 20 local churches have joined together to support their community, now known as the location of the third-deadliest school shooting in the US.

Because he’s a faith leader, people in the community have turned to ...

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The recent SBC abuse report shows that churches often prioritize tribal unity and safety over “divisive” truth.

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

If you ever want to do something kind for me, please don’t send flowers.

If I were to see a bouquet of them at the door, I would probably have a reflexive adrenal response. That’s because, for years in my Southern Baptist context, the lore was always about a leader in the denomination—who fancied himself a sort of party boss or even bishop—who would send to those who crossed him a bouquet of flowers, with nothing but a card with his name. The flowers were interpreted to signify something along the lines of “You’re dead to me” or “I know what you did” or some such thing.

The first time I heard this, I stopped and thought, “Wait, how is this not the mafia?”

Now I don’t know how many people ever received such flowers. When younger people asked about it, the leader would grin and look away. Maybe the legend was always bigger than the reality. But when it comes to fear and intimidation, legend is really all it takes.

And behind the legend is an even larger truth—one that the rest of the world can now peek into ever so slightly, after the release of an independent investigation that describes a culture of cover-up, retaliation, and stonewalling by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee on matters of church sexual abuse, church sexual abuse survivors, and the advocates and whistleblowers who stood with them.

Since then, many people from outside the denomination called or texted as they watched some of the official proceedings, and all expressed some variation of how creepy they found the southern politeness—with everyone calling ...

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Joel Taylor, who directed the popular label since the beginning, has resigned.

Millions of Christians would not be gathering to “Raise a Hallelujah” had it not been for Joel Taylor, the producer and executive who helped to lead Bethel Music from a worship ministry to a major label.

Taylor announced last week that he was resigning “after 13 wonderful and challenging years” as CEO of Bethel Music. During that time, the organization captivated Christian listeners with long, spontaneous worship sets and harnessed its digital brand with high-quality music videos.

“When we founded the label, we knew God was going to use us to build something special,” Taylor wrote on Instagram. “But God’s plan was even bigger than our dreams … and we had big dreams.”

The launch of Bethel Music under Taylor in 2010—when the label was cofounded by worship pastors Brian and Jenn Johnson—coincided with a notable rise in the popularity of worship music for consumption via radio, streaming, and live performance.

“They didn’t play worship on the radio back then, and they told us we wouldn’t ever be on the radio. When we wanted to bring worship to the world on tour, we were told people wouldn’t host us,” Taylor wrote. “We had to listen to God and believe in our hearts the ‘impossible’ could happen.”

Bethel Music began as an extension of the music ministry at the Redding, California, charismatic megachurch. Within the first couple years, the budding label had released worship hits like “Love Came Down” and “One Thing Remains.” From 2014 to today, its singles have consistently landed on the Christian charts, with six songs reaching ...

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Biblical Hebrew uses similar names for “vanity” and the slain brother. That’s no accident.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” So says Qohelet, the author of Ecclesiastes, as he begins his reflections. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

For many, these words resound with a skeptical and, some may say, nihilistic tone. But must they? Russell L. Meek, a gifted Old Testament scholar at Moody Theological Seminary, has endeavored to answer this question in his new book, Ecclesiastes and the Search for Meaning in an Upside-Down World.

Meek seamlessly weaves together scholarly insight, theological profundity, pastoral tact, and moving anecdotes drawn from his own experiences with pain, abuse, sin, and ultimately redemption in Christ. His work is quaint and accessible. I believe it will bless discouraged ministers and laypeople alike, and perhaps would make an excellent guide for a small group study or Sunday School class working through the book of Ecclesiastes.

Well-acquainted with ‘Abel-ness’

Meek begins by observing how Qohelet portrays our upside-down world—one tainted by human sinfulness and still reeling (to borrow from John Milton) from paradise lost. Meek suggests that Qohelet uses the creation narrative of Genesis “to remind us that sin is the ultimate cause for death and injustice in life.”

And yet, as Meek puts it, Qohelet teaches that when we enjoy “fleeting gifts from God,” we “return to the good that once was,” with “God’s gifts represent[ing] a portion of life before sin.” He further notes that, for Qohelet, even in a fallen world, God’s justice may be delayed (Ecc. 8:11), but it is never denied (3:17, 8:12, 12:14).

As for the time between the lost paradise of Eden and the arrival of God’s final ...

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More change needed, survivors say, but new lawyers bring signs of hope.

Days after a bombshell investigative report, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee (EC) decided to do what previous leaders refused to for 15 years: release a list of pastors who had been credibly accused of abuse.

Sitting on either side of interim EC president Willie McLaurin during a meeting over Zoom on Tuesday, a new pair of lawyers discussed the EC’s initial response. They proposed immediately issuing a statement repudiating the dismissive stance EC leaders had taken toward victims in the past and making public a list of 700 alleged abusers that former leaders kept in secret.

The quick moves contrast with the historic approach captured in the investigative report and in last year’s meetings, where ascending liability was a common talking point and lawyers defaulted to closed-door session to advise the trustees.

“We have become too familiar with using techniques to slow processes down,” said SBC president Ed Litton. “We need to be very mindful that the world is watching, and they don’t need to see business as usual… we have to do this right.”

The two lawyers from Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP—Gene Besen and Scarlett Singleton Nokes—began as outside legal counsel at the start of the year. They spoke openly in the meeting, with Nokes reflecting on her faith and the need for the fruit of “gentleness” to drive the EC’s work on this issue going forward.

On Twitter, survivor Jennifer Lyell called them “the most positive consequential thing to happen in the @sbcexeccomm in the past 20 years.”

It’s the first time in a generation the EC has been represented by attorneys other than Jim Guenther and Jaime Jordan. ...

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Jesus’ return to heaven was not an awkward stage exit but the climax of our redemption story.

For a long time, I never really understood the Ascension.

To me, the disciples’ question in Acts 1:6 seemed eminently reasonable. Why did Jesus have to go? Why not just usher in the fullness of the kingdom then and there, and start wrapping the whole thing up? Wouldn’t it be a great asset to our labors in missions and apologetics to have Jesus still around?

As it stands, the Ascension plays right into the skeptic’s darkest doubts about the gospel narrative. How convenient that the supposedly risen Messiah should vanish without showing himself to anyone other than his friends and family!

The Bible, however, stubbornly refuses to agree with my sensibilities. Far from treating the Ascension as a weird stage exit whose main function is to explain why Jesus isn’t around anymore, Scripture speaks of it as a necessary part of God’s plan. Not only is it necessary, but the disciples even refer to it as a primary proof of Jesus’ messianic identity.

Rather than trying to explain away his absence, they tout it with vigor. The Ascension stands on equal footing with the Crucifixion and Resurrection in the earliest declarations of the gospel (Acts 2:33–36; 3:18–21; 5:30–31).

Even Jesus connects the Ascension with his work of dying and rising again. When Mary Magdalene sees him in the garden after his resurrection, he’s not simply strolling about, enjoying the fact that everything has been accomplished. No, he’s a man on a mission, and there is still another: “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father” (Jn. 20:17).

Yet in my experience within evangelical churches, I have seldom heard the Ascension preached with emphasis ...

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In England, some rally to restore aging and emptying Anglican sites, while diverse congregations look beyond traditional sanctuaries.

A survey released by evangelical organizations in the United Kingdom last month found that, while around half of the country’s population identify as Christian, only 6 percent are “practicing” and active enough in their faith to attend church at least once a month.

The attendance decline is one reason over 2,000 churches have closed during the last decade. Communities are grappling with whether or how to save the historic buildings as new expressions emerge through church planting.

“If you were running a commercial organization, and you had a branch on every single High Street in the country but dwindling numbers of people visiting them, you would go bust if you didn’t close some branches,” said Theos senior fellow Nick Spencer. “That is the reality facing the church.”

The number of churches in the UK fell from 42,000 to 39,800 in a ten-year span, according to a 2021 report from the Brierley Research Consultancy.

“If you have churches in rural areas, and there are fewer people going into them, and indeed fewer people living in rural areas, and you don’t have the money to keep churches going, then they’re likely to close,” Spencer said.

A recent report from the Church of England found that up to 368 churches could be at risk for closure in the next two to five years, though the church said the rate of closure is slowing. These numbers of course don’t take other denominations into account, but many of the buildings belong to the Anglican Church.

Declines in attendance—and, in turn, involvement and giving—have left churches with fewer resources to maintain their aging buildings. Even churches with a fairly large worshiping ...

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64 scholars sign document they hope will ground more Christians in holiness doctrines.

Sixty-four scholars and theologians have signed on to a “Wesleyan witness,” a six-part, 62-page document they hope will shape the future of Methodism, define orthodox Wesleyanism, and ground more Christians in the story of sanctification and restoration through grace.

“This is classic, orthodox Wesleyan theology,” said Asbury University New Testament professor Suzanne Nicholson, who is one of the authors. “The power of the Holy Spirit is greater than the power of sin. It doesn’t matter your class, your race, your gender, God is at work among the faithful, and that leads us to a full-orbed devotion to who God is.”

“The Faith Once Delivered” was first drafted in January at a summit for “The Next Methodism.” Scholars allied with the evangelical wing of the United Methodist Church, as well as holiness and Pentecostal denominations, came together, formed five working groups, and co-wrote statements on five theological topics: the nature of God, Creation, revelation, salvation, and the church. A sixth section on eschatology or “the fullness of time” was added later.

Three editors—Wesleyan scholars Ryan Danker, Jonathan Powers, and Kevin Watson—revised the final document. It was published online by the John Wesley Institute on Monday.

Danker, who is director of the institute, told CT the document is not intended to be polemical, or even really original. The hope is to offer “a constructive voice” that clearly articulates the Wesleyan understanding of Christian orthodoxy.

“These are faithful Wesleyan scholars who are committed to the faith once delivered, to Nicene Christianity,” he said. “Methodism is entering a period ...

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