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c. 2007 Religion News Service

Kingsbury First Novelist to Win Christian Book of the Year Award

(RNS) Author Karen Kingsbury has won the 2007 Christian Book of the Year award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, marking the first time a novelist and a female author has earned the honor.

The award for Kingsbury’s “Ever After,” which was published by Zondervan, was announced Monday (July 9) during the annual International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta.

Kingsbury is a best-selling author known for her inspirational novels, with almost 6 million copies in print. The former sportswriter for the Los Angeles Times began writing inspirational fiction in 1998 and has completed more than 30 novels.

Winners in other categories were:

_ Bibles: Archaeological Study Bible NIV (Zondervan)

_ Bible Reference & Study: The IVP Atlas of Bible History, by Paul Lawrence (IVP Academic)

_ Children & Youth: “Sexy Girls,” by Hayley DiMarco (Revell)

_ Christian Life: “What Jesus Demands From the World,” by John Piper (Crossway Books)

_ Fiction: “When Crickets Cry,” by Charles Martin (Thomas Nelson)

_ Inspiration & Gift: “Pearls of Great Price,” by Joni Eareckson Tada (Zondervan)

_ Adelle M. Banks

Baptist World Alliance Elects Jamaican Pastor as General Secretary

(RNS) The Baptist World Alliance has chosen its first black general secretary at its annual meeting in Ghana, the organization announced.

The Rev. Neville Callam, 56, was elected during the alliance’s General Council meeting in Accra, Ghana, on Friday (July 6).

Callam is a Jamaican theologian and the first person outside North America or Europe to be elected to the leadership post of the global Baptist organization based in Falls Church, Va. He will begin his new role in September, succeeding the Rev. Denton Lotz, who has served as general secretary since 1988 and is retiring. The alliance has more than 200 member bodies.

The author of five books and an international speaker, Callam is a senior pastor in Kingston, Jamaica. A Harvard Divinity School graduate, he also is a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and served as vice president of the BWA between 2000 and 2005.

Callam told members of the BWA’s General Council that the “Baptist world family joyfully declares that the BWA has become a worldwide body with a truly global reach,” reported Associated Baptist Press. “In this alliance, every member is God’s gift to the membership as a whole. We all belong together.”

The day before his election, participants in the meeting held a service in honor of Africans sold into slavery during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Callam noted that his ancestors were born on the African continent.

“They were rounded up and shipped to the West Indies, where they endured many years of enslavement,” he said. “Then God emancipated both them and their oppressors.”

_ Adelle M. Banks

New Orleans Synagogue Succumbs to Flooding _ Again

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Copper thieves reflooded Congregation Beth Israel, a synagogue in New Orleans’ Lakeview neighborhood that had already been badly flooded after Hurricane Katrina.

Sliced pipes on the building’s second floor sent a torrent of water downstairs, scattering acoustical ceiling tiles and covering the ground floor with several inches of water.

Worst was the huge sunken sanctuary, measuring about 50 by 30 feet, which resembled an open well, filled with 4 feet of water. Left behind were yards of foam that once had wrapped copper piping in the massive building’s air-conditioning and heating system.

After the hurricane, Beth Israel moved from the building that had been its home for 35 years, said Jackie Gothard, congregation president.

“It was too big for us to redo,” she said. The task was made more daunting by the fact that many congregation members had lived near the synagogue, in homes that took in the same 10 feet of water. The congregation remains active, holding services at Congregation Gates of Prayer in Metairie, and making plans to build a new synagogue, although the location is undecided. A new rabbi and his family recently moved to town.

Still, hard-hit congregants and volunteers from across the nation gutted and cleaned the entire building, stripping out the carpeting and cutting up century-old pews and benches with chain saws before putting them out for Federal Emergency Management Agency debris crews. Now that process has begun again, albeit on a smaller scale.

The damage was discovered Thursday (July 5) by a real estate agent who was about to show the property, which had attracted a few interested buyers. Thursday’s prospective owner, an engineer, was able to staunch the worst leak, in the main valve of an upstairs hot-water heater.

At some point between June 30 and July 5, burglars pushed in a second-floor window air-conditioning unit and crawled inside the building. After pulling out all of the building’s copper, they left, leaving behind a pipe cutter and a watery mess.

“The whole neighborhood is vulnerable because not a lot of people are living there,” Gothard said. “And the few who are living there can’t be sitting there with a shotgun, watching at all hours of the day.”

Quote of the Day: The Rev. Richard Estrada of Los Angeles

(RNS) “We don’t accept a broken law that causes separation of families. We will protect families, those in danger of being separated. … We’re doing what we think is the right, moral thing to do.”

_ The Rev. Richard Estrada, an associate pastor at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Los Angeles, describing his congregation’s perspective on supporting illegal immigrants, which includes sheltering them from deportation. He was quoted by USA Today.

KRE/PH END RNS

A photo of Callam to go with 2nd item is available via https://religionnews.com

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