DR HELPS 253 FAMILIES AFTER FIRES

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Disaster relief volunteers of Knox County Association of Baptists work on some trees at the site of a burned home in Gatlinburg.

GATLINBURG — Disaster relief fire response “is so different … . We can’t go door to door saying, ‘Hey, we’re here for you,’ because there are no doors,” explained Kaye Thomas of Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, referring to the hundreds of homes destroyed here by fires three months ago.

“But our yellow hats and blue shirts out on the mountains have really impressed people,” she added.

The Nov. 28 fires in Sevier County took 14 lives, left 160 people injured, and destroyed or damaged 2,800 structures including three Tennessee Baptist churches. [Read more…]

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DR LEADERS MARK 50 YEARS OF MINISTRY, EYE FUTURE

Baptist Press

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Southern Baptist Disaster Relief leaders celebrated the ministry’s 50th anniversary during their annual conference, Jan. 23-27. -Photo by Jane Rodgers/Southern Baptist TEXAN

DENTON, Texas (BP) — Southern Baptist Disaster Relief leaders throughout North America met for their annual “Round Table” meeting and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of SBDR.

Representatives from nearly all the state Baptist conventions participated in the Jan. 23-27 event at Camp Copass in Denton, Texas. Portions of the week focused on celebrating five decades of ministry efforts, looking at the present state of the ministry and preparing for the future.

“Fifty years represents a significant event for us,” said Mickey Caison, the executive director of SBDR at the North American Mission Board. [Read more…]

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MATTRESSES SENT TO LA. FLOOD VICTIMS

Baptist and Reflector

dr-disaster-relief-logoMORRISTOWN — Nolachucky Baptist Association disaster relief, based here, with help from Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, is delivering four tractor trailer loads or about 236 sets of mattresses and box springs to Louisiana flood victims, reported Don Owen, director of disaster relief.

Owen learned of the need at the end of November from a ministry partner and Louisiana Baptist, Johnny Huffman of Covington, La. Huffman knew that Nolachucky Association had sent mattresses to Israel through the Harvest of Israel project of the association and First Baptist Church, Morristown. [Read more…]

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STILL ANSWERING THE CALL IN TIME OF NEED

By Randy C. Davis
TBMB Executive Director

Randy C. Davis

Randy C. Davis

The news media may have moved on, and that’s okay. As we say, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers get there when the disaster hits and stay long after the media has left.

And that’s definitely the case in Sevier County where November’s wildfires devastated countless homes, businesses, and woodlands. Tennessee Baptists have been well represented as hundreds of committed volunteers have served — and continue to serve — thousands in their time of need.  [Read more…]

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DR VOLUNTEERS SHOW CHRIST’S LOVE

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

161230-gatlinburg-drGATLINBURG — One month after a devastating fire swept through the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg residents are still picking up the pieces, literally.

Hundreds of Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have provided assistance since relief efforts began. Volunteers have done everything from providing hot meals and sack lunches to clearing charred trees off property and some demolition to sifting through ashes and debris in hopes of finding a family heirloom or simply an item with only sentimental value. [Read more…]

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TORNADO KILLS TWO IN OCOEE, BAPTISTS RESPOND

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Charles Campbell, pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church, Ocoee, stands outside the Family Life Center of the church which was damaged by a Nov. 30 tornado which left two people dead there while the storm left two other people dead in the Decatur area.

Charles Campbell, pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church, Ocoee, stands outside the Family Life Center of the church which was damaged by a Nov. 30 tornado which left two people dead there while the storm left two other people dead in the Decatur area.

OCOEE — Two people known by members of Shiloh Baptist Church here died in the Nov. 30 F-3 tornado which struck the community. The couple, new residents, rented a home from members of the church, reported Charles Campbell, pastor. A mother of one of those who died lost her home though she is okay, he added.

“We’ve had to do a lot of grief counseling and support in that way,” said Campbell.

About 60 families lost their homes or suffered substantial damage to their homes here including about eight families of Shiloh Baptist, he added. Also the church building was damaged.

[Read more…]

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THE IMPORTANCE OF SHOWING UP

By Randy C. Davis
TBC Executive Director

Randy C. Davis

Randy C. Davis

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Churches charred. Businesses gone. Homes nothing but ash heaps and rubble. Some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen left a blackened wasteland.

A few hours of raging fire forever changed the lives of thousands.

One of those homes on top of one of those mountains belonged to the late Dr. Clyde Martin and his precious widow, Ruth. The families of their son, Mark, and their daughter, Debbie, also had homes there. All three houses and all the cars were destroyed. The Martin family lost everything and very nearly lost their lives. Downed trees blocked their driveway but they crawled into a truck with a nearby family and raced down the mountain to safety. My wife, Jeanne, and I sat and listened as they told how God orchestrated a way out of the inferno. We wept; we prayed.  [Read more…]

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TENNESSEE BAPTIST ASSISTANCE CONTINUES

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

TBC President Steve Freeman surveys the damage to property immediately behind Roaring Fork Baptist Church. Several homes near the church were destroyed, four of which belonged to church members. Freeman has called on Tennessee Baptists to give $20 for tragedy to help in the disaster relief effort. Contributions can be made at TNDisasterRelief.org/contributions.

TBC President Steve Freeman surveys the damage to property immediately behind Roaring Fork Baptist Church. Several homes near the church were destroyed, four of which belonged to church members. Freeman has called on Tennessee Baptists to give $20 for tragedy to help in the disaster relief effort. Contributions can be made at TNDisasterRelief.org/contributions. -Photos by Chris Turner

GATLINBURG — Tennessee Baptist Mission Board (TBMB) leaders are grateful for the quick response, both financially and with physical assistance, following the wildfires which struck the Smoky Mountains in late November.

What’s more, help will continue in the months to come, leaders agreed.

“I am thankful for the quick response of our disaster relief volunteers at the very start of this tragedy in Sevier County to meet the immediate needs of first responders and evacuees,” said Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB. [Read more…]

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MORE SCENES FROM THE GATLINBURG AREA

Photo gallery.

  • A Weakley Country Disaster Relief team member helps a National Guardsman load supplies for distribution. Ton of supplies are being delivered then divided for delivery to areas around Gatlinburg. With so many houses destroyed, the greatest need currently is financial and money contributed through Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief is used to supply specific needs individuals have in their recovery effort.
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GATLINBURG FIRE SUSPECTS ELICIT SYMPATHY

By David Roach
Baptist Press

Banner Baptist Church in Gatlinburg, Tenn., lost its fellowship hall to fire and sustained damage to another small building.

Banner Baptist Church in Gatlinburg, Tenn., lost its fellowship hall to fire and sustained damage to another small building.

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (BP) — The arrests of two teenagers in connection with deadly wildfires in and around Gatlinburg, Tenn., have provoked expressions of sadness from three local Southern Baptist congregations that lost buildings in the blaze.

The three Gatlinburg churches — Roaring Fork Baptist Church, First Baptist Church and Banner Baptist Church — also report God’s continued work in their midst, including at least four first-time professions of faith in Christ over the past two weeks.

Authorities announced the arrests Dec. 7, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. The teens, whose names and genders have not been released, have been charged with aggravated arson in connection with a fire that started Nov. 23, killing at least 14 people and destroying more than 2,400 homes and businesses. [Read more…]

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