Legislative Session 2012
Feb 29, 2012
New organization raising funds for ‘sound financial footing’
TALLAHASSEE (FBW) – One state representative has advice for Florida Baptist pastors regarding their public policy voice in Tallahassee – financially support Bill Bunkley now before risking the loss of religious liberty later in the absence of his work there.

“Don’t wait until they come to arrest you for preaching biblical truth,” Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, said Feb. 28.
Feb 6, 2012
School prayer, pro-life, trafficking other bills reviewed by Bunkley
TALLAHASSEE (NSF/FBW)—As the Legislature moves towards its half-way point in the 60-day session, a controversial bill to permit three “destination resort” casinos appears to be dead after failing to get a vote in a House committee Feb. 3.

Meanwhile, Bill Bunkley, president of Florida Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, surveyed other legislation pending before the Legislature in a Feb. 3 interview with Florida Baptist Witness.
Jan 23, 2012
TALLAHASSEE (NSF/FBW) – Although glamorous destination resort casinos have been the focus of the Legislature for months, legislation addressing so-called “storefront casinos” took center stage in the second week of the session – and may be a chip used in negotiations later in the session, according to Florida Baptist lobbyist Bill Bunkley. Meanwhile, bills relating to abortion, human trafficking and assisted-living facilities are at various stages of consideration.
Jan 20, 2012
TALLAHASSEE (NSF)—Setting up a potential clash with the House, a Senate committee Thursday approved a bill that would regulate Internet cafés—and rebuffed a proposed ban on the hundreds of businesses that critics compare to "storefront casinos.''
Jan 19, 2012
TALLAHASSEE (NSF) -- Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday showed his hand in the debate over Internet cafés, calling the gambling hybrids "illegal" and saying they should be shut down.
Jan 17, 2012
TALLAHASSEE (NSF) -- With critics likening them to storefront casinos, a House panel Tuesday approved a proposal to ban Internet cafés that have opened in shopping centers across the state in recent years.
Jan 13, 2012
TALLAHASSEE (NSF) Attorney General Pam Bondi issued an opinion Thursday that will lead to the state rejecting proposals for slot machines at pari-mutuel facilities outside Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
Jan 12, 2012
TALLAHASSEE (NSF) -- A key House panel listened to arguments Wednesday about a proposal to allow resort casinos in Florida, but it remained unclear whether the traditionally gambling-resistant House will move forward with the idea.
Jan 11, 2012
Progress cited in establishing new organization
TALLAHASSEE (FBW)—Although Bill Bunkley will be tracking as many as 500 bills during the new legislative session, killing a bill allowing “mega casinos” in Florida will be his “number one priority,” he told Florida Baptist Witness surveying legislation to be considered during the 60-day session that began Jan. 10.

Bunkley also provided an update on the new organization he and Florida Baptist pastors are starting, Florida Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, to support his work in Tallahassee.
Jan 10, 2012
Bunkley calls legislation ‘legacy bill’
TALLAHASSEE (NSF)—With lobbyists jamming the room and lawmakers making last-minute changes, a Senate committee Monday approved a controversial bill that would allow up to three resort casinos in Florida.

The bill, SB 710, also would allow slot machines at pari-mutuel facilities throughout the state – subject to voter approval – and would regulate strip-mall Internet cafes. A limited number of pari-mutuel facilities might end up being able to offer casino-style games such as craps, black jack and baccarat.
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Special Reports
Disaster relief volunteers find love while serving
LEESBURG (FLBaptist)—Working in the midst of a massive cleanup after severe flooding hit Pensacola, two Florida Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers, Cheryl King and Frank Sledjeski, found more than a Read More
Crestview's Mosaic Church: seeker driven, disciple making
CRESTVIEW (FLBaptist)—Working bivocationally at the local Starbucks in Crestview as he planted a new church, James Ross often invited co-worker Marisela Davis to Mosaic Church. After Read More
Gifts, Gospel and God's love embrace migrant children
LEESBURG (FLBaptist)—She was 8 years old when Ami Martinez first went to the Florida Baptist Migrant Children’s camp held annually at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center. While there she made a Read More
Miami church meets in unique setting
MIAMI (FBW)—In today’s day and age, many evangelists are having to rethink their traditional approaches to spreading the Gospel. Pastors have traded suits and ties for jeans and button Read More
Winter Park carpenter is building churches, relationships in Brazil
WINTER PARK (FBW)—John Hemphill, a layman at First Baptist Church in Winter Park, went on his first mission trip 31 years ago, and he has traveled dozens of times across the Western Hemisphere to Read More
High Springs pastor Derek Lambert, family feel blessed after his kidney donation
HIGH SPRINGS (FBW)—Only two weeks after his surgery to donate a kidney on May 19, Pastor Derek Lambert and his wife, Nichole, gave their testimonies in the evening service of his church, First Read More
Relationships are vital part of keeping college students in church
There’s no question college students approach life differently. Their constant engagement with technology, their community and the diverse global environment in which they live and work have shaped Read More
Florida Focus: News and event announcements from churches around the state
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Transgender-identity resolution adopted by SBC messengers
BALTIMORE (BP)—Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution on transgender identity for the first time while returning to such issues as civil rights, gambling and world hunger Read More
SBC annual meeting sees increase in messengers attendance
The Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting drew 5,294 messengers to Baltimore from the nation’s 45,000 Southern Baptist Read More
Crossover Baltimore leaves lasting effect
BALTIMORE (BP)—Dante Carter wanted Crossover Baltimore to communicate compassion to the hurting people he often encounters in the city. “There’s a lot of hurt and pain ...,” said Carter, Read More
Churches sharpen focus on mental-health issues, but stigma remains
BALTIMORE (FBW)—Some of the people who are helping equip Southern Baptist churches to respond to mental-health issues talked about their challenges during a breakout group as part of the SBC annual Read More
Ronnie Floyd headlines newly elected SBC leaders
BALTIMORE (FLBaptist)—In a year when the Southern Baptist Convention focused on “Restoration & Revival Through Prayer,” Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd, who has sought to encourage Southern Baptists to Read More
Gay marriage now claims the Northeast
WASHINGTON (BP)—A federal judge has legalized same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania, handing the increasingly successful campaign to redefine mankind’s oldest institution a clean sweep of the northeast Read More
Bivocational ministry not a stretch for those called to field
Gilder was a full-time pastor before becoming the Tennessee Baptist Convention’s Bivocational/Small Church specialist nearly 20 years ago. At his insistence, he has served Read More
Heart languages soar with songs of faith in Nepal
KATHMANDU, Nepal (BP)—Emotion was palpable amid cautious but fervent prayers as Nepalese women dabbed tears with their shawls and men let intense worship furrow their brows. Read More
Disaster relief volunteers find love while serving
LEESBURG (FLBaptist)—Working in the midst of a massive cleanup after severe flooding hit Pensacola, two Florida Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers, Cheryl King and Frank Sledjeski, found more than a Read More
Crestview's Mosaic Church: seeker driven, disciple making
CRESTVIEW (FLBaptist)—Working bivocationally at the local Starbucks in Crestview as he planted a new church, James Ross often invited co-worker Marisela Davis to Mosaic Church. After Read More
Gifts, Gospel and God's love embrace migrant children
LEESBURG (FLBaptist)—She was 8 years old when Ami Martinez first went to the Florida Baptist Migrant Children’s camp held annually at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center. While there she made a Read More
Miami church meets in unique setting
MIAMI (FBW)—In today’s day and age, many evangelists are having to rethink their traditional approaches to spreading the Gospel. Pastors have traded suits and ties for jeans and button Read More
Winter Park carpenter is building churches, relationships in Brazil
WINTER PARK (FBW)—John Hemphill, a layman at First Baptist Church in Winter Park, went on his first mission trip 31 years ago, and he has traveled dozens of times across the Western Hemisphere to Read More
High Springs pastor Derek Lambert, family feel blessed after his kidney donation
HIGH SPRINGS (FBW)—Only two weeks after his surgery to donate a kidney on May 19, Pastor Derek Lambert and his wife, Nichole, gave their testimonies in the evening service of his church, First Read More
Relationships are vital part of keeping college students in church
There’s no question college students approach life differently. Their constant engagement with technology, their community and the diverse global environment in which they live and work have shaped Read More
Missionary, Mohler are testaments to ripple effects of mission camps
How does one judge the value of Florida Baptist mission camps? Is it through the number of those in attendance; the number of professions of faith at the camp; or the number of lives dedicated to Read More
Giving hope to the homeless through clothes, food, faith and fellowship
Lem Simmons is not your typical pastor. In fact, most people would not identify him as a member of the clergy just by looking at him. With his cap turned backward and a body covered with Read More
The Cooperative Program Factor: Mandate, Missions, Ministries
Following the Great Commission Mandate, the Florida Baptist Convention has set as its priorities to reach people for Jesus Christ, start new churches and strengthen existing churches. The summary of Read More
Aug. 24 Explore the Bible: Victory for God's Kingdom
We live in tumultuous, albeit interesting, times. Daily news provides mind-boggling accounts of horrific evil, wars, atrocities and persecution. Daniel and his contemporaries lived in a transitional Read More
Aug. 24 Bible Studies for Life: God's Work with Creation
A person rises no higher than his or her prayer life. The opposite is also true. Failure in prayer often leads to failure in actions and character. Prayer focuses upon God and His Kingdom, yet the Read More
Aug. 17 Bible Studies for Life: Victorious Faith
In approaching our assigned texts for this study, we must note the word “therefore” in verse six. It could be interpreted to mean, “on the basis of what was just written.” It points to the important Read More
Aug. 17 Explore the Bible: Disciplined Prayer
A person rises no higher than his or her prayer life. The opposite is also true. Failure in prayer often leads to failure in actions and character. Prayer focuses upon God and His Kingdom, yet the Read More
August 10 Explore the Bible: Pride Goes Before Destruction
Archaeology and historical records provide support for the accuracy of the biblical text of Daniel 5. Critics formerly debunked Daniel because the last king of Babylon was Nabodinus rather than Read More
August 10 Bible Studies for Life: Joyful Faith
As we progress in our study of Peter’s writings, placing the writing in historical contest can be helpful. Peter wrote under the shadow of a sobering prophecy. Following his restoration and Read More
July 27 Bible Studies for Life: Enduring faith
When witnessing to a woman in a home, I have sometimes asked her whether her husband is a Christian. It is not uncommon for her to say, “I don’t know. I will have to go ask him.” That answer tells Read More
August 3 Bible Studies for Life: Ready Faith
In reading Peter’s epistles, I am reminded of a casual remark made by a former fellow student and dedicated pastor. He shared that as he tried to study in sermon preparation, his mind would wander Read More
La Convención Bautista de la Florida esta “confiada” que el fallo de $12.5 millones será anulado
JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—Abogados de la Convención Bautista de la Florida indicaron el martes que están “confiados” que el fallo por un jurado de Lake County de conceder $12.5 millones a un hombre quien Read More
Junta del Witness elige nuevo editor por unanimidad
JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—La junta de directores del Florida Baptist Witness voto por unanimidad el 9 de enero emplear un editor que ha mantenido altas posiciones con publicaciones Read More
EDITORIAL: Dios Con Nosotros
FRESNO, Calif. (BP) -- La rapidez de cambios muchas veces nos sorprenden. He observado las reacciones de muchas personas al enfrentarse con los ajustes que vienen con los cambios. En el trabajo, con Read More
Autista MK ayuda a alcanzar los uruguayos
ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay (BP) -- Dentro de un pequeño templo budista en Shiojiri, Japón, el misionero de 23 años Steven Kunkel -- quien es de América del Sur -- se sienta frente a Read More
Missions College apoya la participación de la iglesia
CARY, C.N. (BP)—Con más de dos décadas de experiencia misionera en las Américas, Marty Childers tiene una pasión por ayudar a las iglesias a ser más efectivas en el Reino a través de las misiones. Read More
La convención de Florida ratifica asociación con Cuba Oriental
LEESBURG, Fla. (BP) -- La Junta Estatal de Misiones aprobó una asociación histórica con la Convención Bautista de Cuba Oriental y un presupuesto de $30.5 millones del Programa Cooperativo 2014 que Read More
Ted Traylor de Pensacola el grupo de trabajo para estudiar la declinacion de bautismos SBC
NASHVILLE (BP)—La Junta de Misiones Norteamericanas está convocando a un grupo de trabajo de pastores nacionales tocante al impacto del evangelismo y la declinación de los bautismos para tratar la Read More
Se envían a Cuba instrumentos musicales y Biblias para impulsar el reavivamiento
LA HABANA, Cuba (BP)—Lo que alguna vez fue un instrumento musical polvoriento y abandonado en una esquina ahora es un instrumento de esperanza y evangelismo en Cuba, gracias Read More
Longtime First Baptist Brandon organist Zelda P. Shenning dies
Zelda P. Shenning, 72, died May 26 in Brandon, where she served as organist of First Baptist Church for 30 Read More
FBC Eustis mourns death of Executive Pastor
Longtime First Baptist Church of Eustis Executive Pastor Dr. Hoyt “Skip” Haymans III died on May 22 at the age of Read More
Former ‘first lady’ of First Baptist Church Ocala dies in Virginia
Hilda Johnson, long-time first lady at First Baptist Church of Ocala, died May 21 in Newport News, Va. Johnson was the wife of Ed Johnson, who served as pastor of First Ocala from 1983 Read More
Retired Jacksonville pastor, James Branch, 85, dies
JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—James Branch, 85, pastor emeritus of Faith Memorial Baptist Church in Jacksonville, died Feb. 24. Read More
OBITUARY: Charles L. (Chuck) Gray, pastor of Bay Haven Baptist Church, dies at 72
SARASOTA (FBW)--Charles L. (Chuck) Gray, 72, pastor of Bay Haven Baptist Church in Sarasota, died Nov. 4. He was a Vietnam Era veteran of two tours of duty and the recipient of two purple Read More
Babb H. Adams, former FBSC president, dies at 84
INVERNESS (FBW)–Babb H. Adams, past president of the Florida Baptist State Convention, died Oct. 30 in Inverness, his home since 1981. He was 84. Read More
Jacksonville youth pastor, Jon Moody, 33, dies
JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—Jonathan "Jon" E. Moody, 33, middle school pastor at Chets Creek Church in Jacksonville died Aug. 9. Moody is survived by his wife Lindsay; Read More
OBITUARY: Former moderator of Southwest Fla. assn. Charles Beal, dies in Texas
SARASOTA (FBW)—Charles Beal, retired pastor of Bay Haven Baptist Church in Sarasota, died July 1 in Richland Hills, Texas. He was Read More