Bus Tour to National WMU Office

Join us as we celebrate the 125th birthday of WMU with a tour of the national WMU office in Birmingham.  We will visit the Kentucky room, tour the building, meet WMU staff, and have lunch. There will be time to linger in the Alma Hunt Museum and see items from WMU history and shop in the WMU Gift Shop.  We will also have cake and ice cream with the staff.

The tour leaves on Thursday, May 9.  You can join us in Louisville (KBC Building), Elizabethtown (Severns Valley Baptist Church) or Bowling Green (Warren Association office).  We will stop in Nashville for lunch at the LifeWay Building cafeteria followed by a tour of the building to see where our Sunday School and other literature is produced.   We will arrive in Birmingham by early evening in time for supper and shopping at the Riverchase Galleria Mall.  Our hotel, The Wynfrey, is adjacent to the mall.

On Friday morning, May 10, we will arrive at the WMU headquarters early so that we will have the morning for the tour, visiting the museum, shopping, and lunch.  Wanda Lee and other staff will meet with us.  It will be a special time to express our appreciation to the national staff for their hard work to produce the missions resources we use in our churches and associations.

After lunch we will get on the bus and head home with stops in Bowling Green and Elizabethtown to let off those who joined us en route.  We expect to return to Louisville by 9 p.m.

Cost of the trip is $150 until April 1. Price includes bus transportation, hotel (double occupancy), and lunch at the WMU buildiing.  (Other meals at your own expense.) After April 1 the tour price goes to $200.  Once the bus is full, registration will close. Get your registration in this week to get the lower price!  For more information and online registration, go to www.kywmu.org/wmubustour.






Join the Annual Meeting Celebration!

The 110th Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting will be held at First Baptist Church, Hopkinsville, and celebrates the 125th birthday of WMU, the 100th birthday of GA (Girls in Action), and the 100th anniversary of the Eliza Broadus Offering for state missions. The Woman’s Missionary Union Annual Meeting begins on Friday morning, April 5th, 9:00 a.m. and concludes on Saturday at noon.

Rosalie Hunt, Recording Secretary, National WMU, will provide theme interpretations in each session. Rosalie is a former missionary and author of Bless God and Take Courage,  Jason Stewart, Music Consultant, Kentucky Baptist Convention, will lead the music. Emory Riley, Minister of Music at First Baptist, will be the pianist.

Last Frontier missionaries in Southeast Asia and NAME (North Africa and the Middle East) will speak on Friday morning. Three conference times on Friday (11 a.m., 12 noon, 1 p.m.) will offer a variety of conferences and activities. A boxed lunch (by preregistration) will be served.

The work of Kentucky WMU will be featured on Friday afternoon, including the role of the Eliza Broadus Offering in state missions.  Officers and Executive Boards members for 2013-14 will be elected during the business session.

A 125th Birthday Celebration and Heritage Fund Banquet will be held in the Christian Life Center at 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 which includes a donation to the Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund. Participants are also invited to come early for the banquet and share their WMU story during the WMU Time Line Activity which begins 4:30 p.m.

The Cooperative Program will be highlighted in the Friday evening session. Curtis Woods, Associate Executive Director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention and others will share the importance of the Cooperative Program in funding Southern Baptist missions. The Kentucky Missionary of the Year award will also be presented in the Friday evening session.

On Saturday morning, conferences and other activities will begin at 9:00 a.m. Nurses are encouraged to attend the BNF meeting which will be offered during the Saturday conference period. WMU is the sponsor of Baptist Nursing Fellowship, a national organization for Christian nurses and medical workers.

Children are also invited participate on Saturday morning.  A number of kid-friendly options are being offered.  The Saturday session begins at 10:00 a.m. and will include a celebration of the 100th birthday of GA. All participants are invited to wear their missions badges or special outfits. Children are invited to bring a special “birthday in a bag” to help low income families have the resources to provide a birthday celebration for their children.

A special Disaster Relief lunch will be served the Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) Feeding Unit. Participants can experience a typical DR meal and see the unit in operation. Suggested donation is $5.00.

The 2013 Annual Meeting includes a collection project to bring toiletry items for Impact Ministry of Hopkinsville and FamilyFEST, a ministry of WMU to take place in the Paducah and Henderson areas this summer.  Requested items include: toothbrushes, toothpaste, bars of soap, shampoo, combs, razors, and deodorant. Full size (not travel size) preferred.

An offering for Kentucky WMU ministries to missionaries and Missionary Kids (MKs) will be received  Kentucky WMU provides Christmas gifts to Kentucky born international missionaries as well as a fall and spring gift to Kentucky MKs who are attending college in Kentucky.  The Kentucky Missionary Parents Fellowship, another facet of Kentucky WMU ministries to missionaries, will meet on Saturday during the DR lunch.  All parents of international missionaries are invited to participate.

A special tour of Hopkinsville area ministries will be offered at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. Preregistration is required with a limit of 100 participants. Transportation will be provided.

Pre-registration for meals closes on Tuesday, March 26.  Contact Kentucky WMU for registration information or download an informational brochure from the Kentucky WMU web site: www.kywmu.org/annualmeeting.  Online registration is also available.

From start to finish, we will focus on how The Story Lives On through WMU and as we share Christ around the world.  Everyone who cares about missions will want to be at our meeting in Hopkinsville.  Come hear missionaries, attend conferences, visit displays, and participate our WMU birthday celebration. You will enjoy the fellowship, music, and missions inspiration.  Be there!

Stop Predatory Gambling Launch

Today I attended my first Board meeting for Stop Predatory Gambling Kentucky. We introduced ourselves and found that we were a pretty diverse group. Some have a faith perspective. Others represented social service organizations or were business people in the community who had seen first hand the problems related to predatory gambling practices.  Regardless of why we came, every person around the table was committed to revealing the broken promises of the gambling industry, telling the truth about the true cost of gambling to society, and fighting to protect our citizens from predatory practices by our own state government.

During our meeting we discussed the need for educating lawmakers, media, and the population at large.  A new book, Addiction By Design, has been written by Dr. Natasha Schull of MIT’s Program in Science, Technology and Society. Her book  is “the most important and revealing investigation into the design and technology behind electronic gambling machines to date. Every public official, member of the media and concerned citizen needs to read the book, especially in light of the reality that state governments across the U.S. are actively pushing these machines to their own citizens.”  Dr. Schull’s work is based on years of research and reveals that the gambling equipment of today is highly addictive and designed to encourage people to “gamble to extinction.”

After our meeting, we gathered in the Rotunda for the Stop Predatory Gambling Kentucky launch event.  Keren Henderson, executive director for the new group, introduced the launch. John Mark Hack, a businessman who has been active in anti-gambling efforts for a number of years, spoke about the issues that the group will be bringing before lawmakers. He explained that Stop Predatory Gambling Kentucky will be using data obtained through the Kentucky open records law to expose the truth about gambling impact. He challenged the media to use the law and do their own research, explaining that his findings show that lottery ticket sales per capita are the highest in the the zip codes with the lowest incomes, making the lottery a regressive tax on the poorest citizens.  In addition, the very program the lottery is supposed to fund does not receive enough money to provide all of the promised scholarships.  (http://www.kentucky.com/2012/07/15/2259066/kentucky-lawmakers-divert-thmillions.html).

Katie Carter of Kentucky Youth Advocates spoke about the impact of gambling on families and youth.  We saw a feature on gambling addiction which was aired on Sixty Minutes in 2011. In this segment Lesley Stahl reported “on the proliferation of gambling to 38 states and its main attraction, the slot machine, newer versions of which some scientists believe may addict their players.”  Dr. Natasha Schull was among those interviewed.

The last speaker for the launch was Tom Riesbeck whose plumbing business in Lexington was nearly destroyed by the embezzlement of his book-keeper who stole from him to fund her gambling addiction.  Tom spoke from personal experience of all the people who were hurt because of the actions of this one person.

I have to wonder – what if the lottery and other gambling commercials were honest?  Here’s what they would say:  “Hey, Kentucky. Come on in and lose your money.  We need part of what you lose to pay our bills. Play responsibly – it’s only a game to you – but it is big money to us.  Hurry up – lose today.”

I am investing my time and energy into this effort because my faith calls me to love God and love my neighbor. Love of neighbor compels my efforts in combatting social and moral problems.  And predatory gambling is a problem that causes a ripple effect of other problems including crime, destruction of families, increased foreclosures, and the list goes on.   Thus, I must speak out and challenge you to join me.

Bequest to Kentucky WMU to have far-reaching impact

Leaders of Kentucky WMU were quite surprised to learn that Kentucky WMU had been named as a beneficiary in the will of Mabel Brigance Grinstead, a retired teacher from Western High School and member of Bethany Baptist Church.  Ms. Grinstead, a teacher for over 40 years, died in December 2010 at the age of 98.

Ms. Grinstead’s will specified that ten percent of the value of her estate after expenses were paid was to be given to the Lord’s work. One-third of the tithe of her estate was given to her church and two-thirds was given to Kentucky WMU in memory of Jennie Graham Bright who served as Corresponding Secretary (now executive director) from 1925-33. Kentucky WMU received $137,625.92.

The connection between Ms. Grinstead and Miss Bright is not specifically known.  Miss Bright was serving as the Young Peoples Leader of Kentucky WMU when she was selected as corresponding secretary in 1925 upon the resignation of Janie Cree Bose (Anderson) who went to be the principal of the WMU Training School.

Kentucky WMU leaders became aware of the gift in mid-2012 when it became necessary to provide documentation confirming that Kentucky WMU was the intended recipient of the bequest. An error in the exact name of Kentucky Woman’s Missionary Union in the will made it necessary to provide information to the court showing the history of Kentucky WMU and the connection with Miss Bright.

The Finance Committee of Kentucky WMU considered several options for use of this generous gift. A desire to share this blessing and honor Mrs. Grinstead’s legacy led Kentucky WMU to divide the gift among three uses.

$50,000 will be given to Crossings Ministries to help with rebuilding cabins at Cedar Crest.  Because Ms. Grinstead had an obvious concern for children and Kentucky WMU has been holding camps at Cedar Crest for many years, an investment in this facility which ministers to children was selected. Construction of the first of four cabins (which sleep 44 each) is under way and the first new cabin will be ready for summer use. Eventually all of the current cabins at Cedar Crest will be replaced and other gifts to assist in the rebuilding are welcomed.   (David Melber, president of Crossings Ministries, will be with us at the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting to receive the check on Friday afternoon!)

$50,000 has been given to the Kentucky WMU Heritage Fund, a permanent endowment which provides annual distributions for the work of Kentucky WMU.  The Development Committee of Kentucky WMU approves the use of distributions each year. Ministries funded include associational WMU leadership training, resources of new WMU organizations, and other means of promoting missions education and involvement. (Barry Allen, president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation which holds the Heritage Fund, will also be with us at the Kentucky WMU Annual Meeting.)

The balance of the gift, $37,625.92 will be used to help seven smaller state WMUs reach the $10,000 level in their state Touch Tomorrow Today (TTT) endowment with the National WMU Foundation.  Kentucky WMU has notified these states that they will match gifts to the these state TTT endowments up to the amount needed to reach the $10,000 threshold required to begin receiving TTT distributions.  A total of $18,900, if matched, will be given to the TTT endowments of California WMU, Canada WMU, District of Columbia WMU, Indiana WMU, New York WMU, Utah/Idaho WMU, and Wyoming WMU.   The unused portion will be placed in the Kentucky Touch Tomorrow Today Endowment. 

Touch Tomorrow Today was selected not only as a way to share the blessing of the estate gift with seven other state WMUs that need the help in reaching the distribution threshold, but also in supporting the work of National WMU. State TTT distributions are 5% of the total value of the endowment calculated annually.  When the state TTT distributions occur, half goes to the state WMU, and the other half goes to National WMU. The state distributions are unrestricted and may be used in any way needed by the state WMU. The money that goes to National WMU is used primarily for the Vision Fund (which supports all WMU ministries) and a small portion goes to the WMU Foundation for their work.

We are excited to share the news of Ms. Grinstead’s bequest to Kentucky WMU.  We believe that her desire to support missions education through WMU will be honored through the use of these funds.  Sharing the blessing of this gift with other state WMUs is our way of ‘tithing’ this gift.  In addition, children attending camps and retreats held at Cedar Crest will be blessed for years to come through the renovation of the facilities there.  We are grateful to have a part in this work through this bequest.  We hope that others will follow the example of Ms. Grinstead, choosing to tithe their estates to the Lord’s work, and that her gift will inspire others to name Kentucky WMU in their wills.

Stop Predatory Gambling Kentucky

I have been asked to serve on the Board of Directors for a new organization called Stop Predatory Gambling Kentucky. The group will have a launch event on Wednesday, March 6, 11:30 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.

We would like to invite supporters, friends, lawmakers, media to the launch event which will include a video clip from 60 Minutes on gambling addiction and several speakers.

You may remember that I was involved with WAGE (Women Against Gambling Expansion) several years ago. Some of the same folks are spear-heading this effort which is a state affiliate of the national organization (www.stoppredatorygambling.org).  The focus of this organization is predatory gambling which is the “practice of using gambling to prey on human weakness for profit. For-profit gambling, or commercial gambling, is illegal unless the government makes it legal. Where you have legal gambling the government has given its support and in nearly every instance operates in partnership with gambling interests, whether in the form of state lotteries, commercial casinos or tribal casinos.” 

One might ask, “How is government’s predatory gambling program different than social gambling like the office Super Bowl pool or a Friday night poker game with the guys in the neighborhood?”  Predatory gambling has these distinctions:
    1) The speed of the games.
    2) The “buzz” or high people get when they play.
    3) The frequency of gambling and the length of time doing it.
    4) The amount of money people lose.
    5) The business practices used to promote it.

In the midst of continuing efforts to expand gambling, it would be easy for me to say, “Gambling is a stupid tax and if you want to pay it, go ahead.”  But I cannot let it go without a fight.  I cannot condone a state government that encourages people to gamble  their money (READ: waste, throw away, etc.).  Expanding gambling is not about offering people more ways to have fun.  It is about a predatory industry that wants people to lose money to them and our government is encouraging it in order to get a slice of what people lose.

It can be argued that people waste money on recreation (movies, trips, golf, etc.).  Why not let them waste it on gambling if they want to?  Because unlike purely recreational pursuits, gambling is addictive.  It destroys families.  And when children go hungry because of compulsive gambling, we as taxpayers foot the bill and there will not be enough gambling revenue to cover those costs. So why should our government encourage destructive behavior in the first place?

Take the lessons learned about tobacco.  When the health industry finally woke up to what it cost to treat all of the medical problems caused by smoking, they got on-board with anti-smoking efforts.  Now we have many smoke free buildings and society at large no longer favors smoking.  We need to understand the costs of expanded gambling.  They are huge and far exceed the revenue generated.  And even if the revenue did exceed costs, how can we justify allowing any family to be destroyed by encouraging a behavior that is known to be addictive and destructive?

If a company introduced a new product that did as much harm as gambling, there would be a hue and cry to take it off the shelves.  Yet, our government turns a blind eye to the harm of gambling out of sheer greed.  Expanding gambling options puts our state government in league with the gambling industry, encouraging people to lose money.  Any government that operates on the misfortune and stupidity of people is a sorry government indeed. 

I am investing my time and energy into this effort because mission action includes combatting social and moral problems.  Gambling causes a ripple effect of problems including crime, destruction of families, increased foreclosures, and the list goes on.

Join Stop Predatory Gambling Kentucky for our launch event at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 6 at the Kentucky State Capitol Rotunda. Please help us spread the word about the launch event and keep this effort in your prayers.