___ Arizona foundation lays off staff. The Baptist Foundation of Arizona, which has been the subject of a fraud investigation by state officials, has laid off more than half of its staff. In a Sept. 11 letter to clients, the foundation's executive oversight committee said foundation officials have designed a plan they believe will reduce the organization's annual overhead by more than 50 percent. "One sad but necessary part of our duty to investors was laying off 72 out of 133 employees," the letter said.
___ Abilene woman honored. Associated Baptist Press presented its Founders Award for significant professional or financial contributions to Virginia Boyd Connally of Abilene. A retired physician, she has been a strong contributor to ABP and gave one of the first gifts for FaithWorks, a Christian lifestyle magazine started by the news service last year.
___ Dunn receives award. James Dunn, retiring executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, received the sixth Religious Freedom Award from Associated Baptist Press Sept. 2. Broadcast journalist Bill Moyers helped honor Dunn and offered his reflections on his longtime friend's career. "The story would have been different if James had learned a long time ago to keep his mouth shut," Moyers quipped, alluding to Dunn's knack for quotable witticisms that at times have landed him in controversy. "You can't understand James unless you understand he's not just a Baptist, he's a Texas Baptist."
___ House to LifeWay post. Polly House, editorial assistant with Baptist Press, has resigned to become corporate communications specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources. House, 43, will edit Facts & Trends, the LifeWay journal for church leaders.
___ Georgia church may be ousted. Oakhurst Baptist Church in Decatur, Ga. will become the first congregation removed from the fellowship of the Georgia Baptist Convention in its 177-year history if messengers to the annual meeting Nov.15-16 in Macon approve a recommendation adopted by the convention's executive committee during its Sept. 14 meeting. With just one audible dissent, the committee voted to recommend withdrawal from fellowship with the 86-year-old congregation known for its extensive social ministries in a racially and economically diverse community. Oakhurst has declared itself "a welcoming and affirming place in which lesbian and gay Christians are embraced as full members of our congregation."
___ Chapel construction begun at Ridgecrest. About 150 people gathered at Ridgecrest Conference Center Sept. 13 for a ground-breaking ceremony for Rutland Chapel, a 300-seat worship facility with fellowship and conference space.?The two-story facility will include a first-floor chapel with second floor space for seminars and conferences.
___ LifeWay trustees set budget. Trustees of LifeWay Christian Resources adopted a record $362,668,000 operating budget for the 1999-2000 fiscal year during their Sept. 13-14 meeting at Ridgecrest, N.C. Projected revenue for the agency's 1998-99 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, is $331.35 million, about $22.66 million (6.4 percent) below budget, but $16.19 million above last year's actual revenue.
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