New $1.1 Million Grant to Help Support Samford’s Center for Worship and the Arts

New $1.1 Million Grant to Help Support Samford’s Center for Worship and the Arts

Education Extra

Animate is one of the programs at Samford University’s Center for the Worship and the Arts. The five-day worship leadership program is for teenagers and their adult mentors. Animate 2018 is June 25-29 and registration is open, www.samford.edu/go/animate

Samford University has received an additional $1.1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to further the work of the Center for Worship and the Arts. Housed in Samford’s School of the Arts, the center is advancing the conversation about teenage worshippers and teenage worship leaders.

The founding director of the Center for Worship and the Arts, Eric Mathis arrived at Samford in 2010. He holds a bachelor of music from Wheaton College, a master of music and master of divinity from Baylor University and George W. Truett Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. “We are grateful to Lilly Endowment for its support of our work and our mission as we equip congregations to build bridges between student ministry and worship ministry,” Mathis said.  “Through programs, research, and scholarship, we are creating a national platform for conversations about the relationship between youth ministry and worship ministry, and we believe this conversation is important for the church and the work of God in the world.” Founded as anima in 2013 with the help of a grant from the Christ Is Our Salvation (C.I.O.S.) Foundation, the program recently revised its name to the Center for Worship and the Arts. Animate, its flagship summer worship leadership program retains its current identity.

The center is celebrating its fifth anniversary and launching several new initiatives thanks to the additional grant, Mathis said. New program highlights are a Worship Leader Boot Camp for teenagers, allowing youth ministers and worship leaders to jump start their fall programming with teenage youth worship leaders; Student Worship Cohorts which will develop a deeper relationship with congregations participating in Animate; Student Worship Innovators which will engage church leaders in creating new resources for student worship; and new writing projects, including a book by Mathis under contract with Baker Academic Publishing. The center continues to provide online resources, an online certificate program with expanded goals and its summer program, Animate.

Other center team members include Tracy Hanrahan, Program Director; Kara Young, Coordinator of Promotion and Engagement; and three Faculty Fellows: Emily Andrews, Instructor of Church Music and Worship Leadership; Joe Cory, Associate Professor of Art; and Chuck Stokes, Associate Professor of Sociology. To learn more about the Center for the Worship and the Arts: cwa@samford.edu, 205-726-4525, @samfordcwa †

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Hit and Injured by an 18-Wheeler or other Big Corporate Truck?

Hit and Injured by an 18-Wheeler or other Big Corporate Truck?

Legal Matters

presented by: Frank S. Buck P.C., Personal Injury

 What to Do to Protect Yourself

Due to the hectic demands of life, we often find ourselves on the road. Daily interstate travel brings many drivers in frequent contact with larger vehicles like 18-wheelers or semi-trailer trucks. Many truckers work lengthy hours, driving long distances hauling cargo, which can result in fatigue and distracted driving, both of which can lead to catastrophic crashes. In addition, truckers often face strict delivery deadlines, causing some to disregard speed limits. Many drivers do not realize how different a car wreck involving an 18-wheeler is from one involving two average vehicles. 18-wheeler trucks can weigh up to 80,000 lbs. which often causes serious and substantial damage to the cars involved in this crashes and sometimes fatal consequences. One in every eight automobile wreck fatalities involves a large truck like an 18-wheeler. If the past is any indication, more people will be killed in traffic accidents involving large trucks this year than have died in all the domestic commercial airline crashes over the past 45 years. Because of statistics like these, there are strict laws and regulations that apply to trucking companies and their drivers, which do not apply to non-commercial drivers. Examples of such regulations include limitations on the amount of time that truck drivers can spend driving before they take a break and what they can haul.

If you are in a wreck with an 18-wheeler, it is important to call an attorney who handles trucking collisions immediately. The trucking company will begin investigating the wreck right away with a team of experts and lawyers on the case to protect itself, so time is of the essence for you to hire an attorney to begin investigation to protect yourself.  There is valuable evidence such as black box data or other GPS recording devices from the truck that need to be preserved promptly by an experienced attorney working on your behalf. A “black box” is a recording device that is triggered by certain events to start recording important data about the truck and its movement and speed. Black box data can provide critical evidence later for an expert such as an accident reconstructionist to determine what happened in the wreck. If this data is not requested early, there is nothing preventing the trucking companies from destroying it. It is also important to document the wreck with photographs of the vehicles at the scene of the collision to show exactly what occurred. An attorney can also investigate the background of the trucking company as well as the driver. It is important to have someone who will fight for you after an 18-wheeler collision.

Frank S. Buck, P.C., Attorneys at Law have been offering professional legal services and serving Alabama citizens for over 43 years.  We have experienced trial attorneys who have over 100 years of combined trial experience.  You can reach us 24 hours a day at (205) 933-7533.  Please call us for a free consultation.

 

Read more from Frank Buck at www.BirminghamChristian.com. Click on News/Family/Legal Matters

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Common Excuses for Delaying Estate Planning

Common Excuses for Delaying Estate Planning

Legal Matters

presented by Bradford & Holliman, Estate Planning

  1. I’m too young to need an Estate Plan. Regardless of your age, you need an estate plan. If you are not married or do not have children, you must decide who will get your things.  In my youth, I didn’t have a lot of assets; but, I still wanted certain people to get what I had if my husband and I died together in an accident. You may not want your assets to go to parents or to siblings. You may prefer your assets to be given to one parent or to one sibling. You may want your assets to be given to friends or to charity. You have the right to decide how your assets are distributed; but, you must have an estate plan to do that. If you have children, you need an estate plan that names who will take care of your children. You do not want family members to fight over who will take them.
  2. I don’t have enough assets to need an Estate Plan. There is no magic number that suddenly deems you rich enough to need an estate plan. The key question is, “Do you have assets that are important enough to you enough you want to control who gets the assets?” If so, you need an estate plan.
  3. My spouse gets everything anyway. Without a Will or Trust, your spouse may not receive everything. Alabama law has certain requirements for how much a spouse can receive. It is entirely possible that your parents or your children may receive some portion of assets to the exclusion of your spouse.
  4. I can’t decide how to divide things up. It can be very difficult to decide how much to give to children or grandchildren; but, the danger in waiting on an estate plan is that you may die without ever deciding. If that happens, the State of Alabama gets to decide who gets your assets. Wouldn’t you prefer to make a decision that you can change later if needed instead of leaving it to chance and the State of Alabama?
  5. I can’t decide who to put in charge. If you do not make this decision, the State will make the decision for you. Talk with your estate planning attorney. You may decide to name an unrelated third party; or, you may name a family member. You can always change your nomination in the future if you later feel the person is no longer a good choice.
  6. It costs too much – It generally will cost much more if you fail to have an estate plan. An administration following intestate law is more complicated and can allow more opportunities for family to fight – all of which increases the costs.
  7. I’ll be dead so who cares – While chances are pretty good that you will not care about your assets after death, if you love your family, you can help to prevent them from having disputes and lessen the difficulties of going through a long and complicated estate process. This is especially true in blended families; or, in families with well-established personality conflicts.

It is easy to make excuses and delay preparing an estate plan. Don’t let excuses determine your family’s fate. Start working through your concerns with an experienced estate planning attorney that can help you review your choices and make decisions.

Melanie Bradford Holliman 

Partner, Bradford & Holliman, LLC

Practice focuses on estate planning, elder law and special needs trust.

2491 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, Ala. 35124

205-663-0281, www.bradfordholliman.com

This article is for educational purposes and is not intended for specific legal advice.

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It’s a Safari!

It’s a Safari!

Are We There Yet?

It’s fun for kids of all ages at “Live with Characters” February 24 at Gardendale First Baptist Church-North Campus. Learn more and buy tickets at www.justkeepsmiling.org

Your children or grandchildren are sure to smile and maybe burst into laughter as they meet their favorite Disney characters, Ninja Turtles, Star Wars characters and more- all while going on “Safari.” There will be two “Live with the Characters” shows, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., on February 24, 2018, each followed by a meet and greet, autograph signings and pictures with the stars of the show. The event at Gardendale First Baptist Church-North Campus is a major fundraiser for the local non-profit ministry, Just Keep Smiling (JKS, www.justkeepsmiling.org). “‘Live with the Characters’ is a favorite fund raiser of all of our volunteers,” explains Just Keep Smiling founder, Sue Jeffreys. “It is a time we come together to do God’s work, having so much fun, while making children smile and have the time of their life.” JKS was born from the experiences of three local women, Patrice Brooks, Debra Cook and Sue Jeffreys. All three women know what it is like to live with tragically losing children or having a child with a life-threatening illness. Thirteen years ago, they established JKS which seeks to assist families with critically ill children by providing financial aid for immediate needs, offering emotional support based on personal knowledge of a child’s serious illness or death, and sharing spiritual insight that conveys the solace, grace and strength found in God. JKS works with a network of social workers at area hospitals to identify families with such needs during their time of medical crisis with a child or children.

Purchase your $10 tickets to “Live with the Characters” at www.justkeepsmiling.org, at Jeff Dennis Jewelers or at the door. Special VIP tickets are available with reserved seating, souvenir and preshow autograph and pictures (limited to 50 tickets per show). If your company or organization is looking for an opportunity to help families in need, consider a $300 Character Sponsorship at “Live with the Characters.” Contact jbusby@justkeepsmiling.org for details.

Later this year, JKS will host a Golf Tournament at Greystone’s Legacy Course on June 28, the Annual Merry Market at Gardendale Civic Center October 19-20 and Auction & Appetizers’ at Regions Field Ballroom on November 6, 2018. †

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Serving Alabama Children through CASA

Serving Alabama Children through CASA

For children who have experienced abuse or neglect, the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) can help make a difference by helping them work their way through the court and child welfare systems in search of a loving home. Each time a child is paired with a CASA Volunteer, their chances are greater to have the best possible outcome. CASA recruits and trains volunteers to advocate for the child’s best interest in the court process. They work with judges, lawyers, social workers, and families to ensure each child has an advocate in court, the child welfare, and foster care systems.

Many life goals and achievements that our culture considers normal rites of passage do not occur for children who are in foster care. Statistics show that 40% do not graduate from high school, 20% become homeless within one year and 25% will be incarcerated after leaving foster care. In contrast, children with CASA volunteers spend 7.5 months less time in foster care, experience fewer out-of-home placements, have significantly better educational performance, and are 90% less likely to reenter the system. By working to reduce the length of time a child spends in foster care, CASA saves the state thousands of dollars while drastically improving the quality of a child’s life, one child at a time. Every child that CASA helps to find a safe, permanent home is one more future adult who has a chance to thrive and succeed in our society.

In 2015, there were 10,279 dependency proceedings in Alabama. Currently, we only have the capacity to serve 10% of the children who need a CASA Volunteer. We must serve more but we cannot do it without the help of caring individuals willing to be trained to serve. You don’t have to be “qualified,” just a caring, compassionate and concerned person willing to be trained.

CASA is presently recruiting volunteers to work with abused and neglected children in all areas of Shelby County and parts of the Hoover area. Training classes begin April 2018. For more information on how you can help, please visit www.casaofshelbycounty.org or call Beth at 243-8753. †

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Addressing Curb Appeal & Safety

Addressing Curb Appeal & Safety

Addressing Curb Appeal & Safety 

John Gallagher, Bob Cooley, and their team at Classic Iron Works offer you personalized service in determining what will provide your home with not only great curb appeal but also the latest options in safety and security. Visit them on Facebook @CIWBham to see how their Tapco security products work.

Railings and a quality, secure front door are two aspects of home improvement that can quickly boost your home’s curb appeal and safety.

SECURITY DOORS offer protection, decoration and insulation, and they no longer look like the burglar bar doors of the past. “The way the doors are constructed, the workmanship, has not changed, but these doors don’t look like your grandmother or mother’s storm doors,” explains John Gallagher who owns Birmingham’s Classic Iron Works with his partner Bob Cooley and together have 70 plus years of experience in the business. A visit to the Classic Iron Works Show Room is a great way to see all the options available to you, including doors that compliment any style of home from classic to modern to log cabin, plus offer cost saving insulation and cutting-edge security technology as an authorized Tapco dealer. The team at Classic Iron Works can determine for you how best to utilize their products in your home, office or church.

Clear View. Even with a clear view door you can get ample security with the use of hurricane glass versus tempered glass.

Color Choices & Durability. “Early on black was the only color offered, “says Gallagher, “but now you can choose from many different colors that are more durable due to the power coat painting process.”

Beat the Heat. If your front door is exposed to direct sunlight much of the day, tinted tempered glass will help provide heat reflection and reduce the temperature as much as 15 degrees. “It reduces the heat but does not stop the heat,” says Gallagher.

RAILINGS are a necessity if you have steps leading in and out of your home. If you want to sell your home, you will likely be required to add railings. “Back in the day, a rail was a rail. Now we can make rails anyway you want them,” says Gallagher who adds it is important to keep in mind the more ornate you want your rails the more they will cost.

INSTALLATION is key with the purchase of security doors and railings. “Be sure to choose a company that has experience in installing your doors or railing in such a way that you get the optimum benefit from your investment,” says Gallagher. Ask for referrals to see if an installer’s customers have been satisfied.

Take your time in determining what door and/or rails is best for your home, because it is likely a permanent purchase to your home. Check out your options at Classic Iron Works, 3724 1st Avenue North. The showroom is open Monday through Friday 8:30am-5pm and Saturday 9am-2pm. A representative from the company will also come to your home and provide a free consultation to determine what options may best fit your needs, 205-322-6868, www.classicironworks.com. †

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Taziki’s Keith Richards

Taziki’s Keith Richards

Jesus, Others and Yourself: Taziki’s Keith Richards

Keith Richards began his restaurant career cooking chicken in a K-Mart kitchen and waiting tables at Olive Garden. Today he serves as Chief Development Officer for Taziki’s, which he founded in 1998 with an original location off Highway 280 in Birmingham.

After a vacation to Greece in 1997, Keith Richards was inspired to recreate the same richness of community he experienced there in his home town of Birmingham. Opening his first Taziki’s restaurant in 1998 was a leap of faith quickly bolstered by the idea of giving back. Now with locations in 17 different states, Richards reflects on how his Christian upbringing contributed to his drive to succeed and his commitment to employing and inspiring special needs teens and young adults in the communities he serves.

Growing Up in Birmingham. An alumnus of Green Acres Elementary, Charles A. Brown Middle School, and Midfield High School, Richards grew up in Ensley and says his strongest memories of childhood involve being outdoors. “Back then, of course, we had no devices that would distract us,” he remembers. “We had an area called The Trails where we rode our bikes and shot BB guns and chased squirrels and went to the Boys and Girls Club. That’s all we did—that and play baseball. Church on Sundays. It’s almost like a country song.” Richards’ family attended Fairview United Methodist Church, and as far back as he can remember, every store in Ensley was closed for Sunday services. “Sunday was the Sabbath, and that was the day we went to Sunday School, went to what we called Big Church, and then at night we would have youth group.” Even on vacations, Richards says his family would find a place to worship.

In his teens, Richards worked at Camp Sumatanga, an experience that strengthened his faith and gave him a taste of servanthood and pointing others to God. “During those impressionable years—16, 17, 18 years old when some teens are starting to wonder—it grounded me even more.” His contributions to the spiritual growth of his campers, he says, was primarily directing them toward the Lord revealed in nature. “Scripture is so important, but my perspective was more of look what God has given us.

Keith and Amy Richards married twice in 1992—once at Peavine Falls at Oak Mountain State Park with a preacher but no paperwork, then again six months later at Canterbury United Methodist Church. They opened their first Taziki’s restaurant 20 years ago with the mission “to create an environment that combines extraordinary food with the meaningful human connection missing from much of society today — all to help people achieve a deeper, more sustaining form of happiness.”

Richards’ father, Joe Richards turned 79 this past November, and inside his birthday card Keith Richards wrote, “Thanks for being my hero.” “He’s the one I strive to be like, not only with his faith but with his heart, his goodness,” Richards says, noting that his mother passed away nearly six years ago. “We had a Bible School class at church growing up, and it was the J.O.Y. class. It stands for Jesus, Others and Yourself. That has always stuck with me. I saw my parents live that.”

Growing a Business. After jobs at a Kmart cafeteria and Olive Garden followed by a 10-year career at Bottega under award-winning Chef Frank Stitt, Richards and his wife used their home as collateral to build his first Taziki’s location off Highway 280. Richards reflects on how his parents’ example served as inspiration. “My father was a telephone lineman for South Central Bell / BellSouth, and I knew what hard work looked like. It was a leap of faith… We didn’t have the money. There wasn’t an option. We could not fail,” he recalls of Taziki’s beginnings. “Ultimately, however, the challenge was how do we start giving back? That was the first thing to do. How do we get into the community to let people know we are here and who we are? Faith has a lot to do with that. You pray for success; sometimes it doesn’t come, sometimes it does, but prayer and hard work is a great combination to reap rewards.”

Giving Back. Giving back for Richards started with a chance meeting with Shelby County Schools Job Coach Cindy Vinson while on a cruise vacation. Bored with the band playing one evening on the ship, on a whim Keith offered to stand in as a drummer. An experienced musician, while he jammed on stage, Amy Richards struck up a conversation with Vinson, who was sitting nearby. Vinson asked if Taziki’s would consider employment for students with special needs. The Richards said “Yes,” and since then Taziki’s has been helping local students and young adults with challenges realize their potential, earn a paycheck, relate to peers, and be a part of a team. Richards adds that meaningful employment also meant relief, in a way, for the students’ parents. “Growing up, I wasn’t exposed to the challenges that the parents of children with special needs have. Today, if I can allow that parent 12-15 hours a week to pray, yoga, tennis, whatever their passion is, then I’ll do it.”

“They say God works in mysterious ways,” Keith Richard says of he and wife Amy being the parents of two sets of twins, one conceived with the assistance of fertility specialists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and another conceived naturally. “I think it was just something that God said you’re doing something right in your life, and I’m going to bless you again.” Seen here are Keith, Amy, Oliver (15), Charley (13), Margaux (13), and Maggie (15). Photo: Bernard Troncale

The Richards and Vinson also began the H.O.P.E. (Herbs Offering Personal Enrichment) program in 2012, which purchases herbs for Taziki’s restaurants grown by special needs students at area schools. Being taught how to grow, harvest and sell cilantro, rosemary, thyme, parsley and rosemary gives the students opportunities to practice social skills, learn the value of money, set goals, and follow through with plans. Richards is expanding the program to include at-risk students as well and hopes that in 2018 the program will become a nonprofit organization. He hopes that all of his friends in the Birmingham restaurant business will consider following his lead in cooking with locally grown herbs. “God has blessed me, and I’ve said a thousand times you have to give back. That’s the plan. That’s God’s plan. And, of course, I don’t do it for extra wing points or any kind of halo points. I do it because that’s the way that my parents raised me.”

Richards suggests that choosing to make 2018 a year for giving can be simple. It doesn’t require finding needs to meet worldwide. “In our own backyard, there are people that are hungry, people that don’t know Christ, people that are struggling on a daily basis that we can help,” says Richards. “Find something dear to your heart…what makes your heart flourish?”

 

  • Camille Smith Platt 

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Gracious Housing & the Hope of Christ

Gracious Housing & the Hope of Christ

Brought to you by: Community Partner White Plume Technologies www.WhitePlume.com

Gracious Housing & the Hope of Christ: Red Mountain Grace 

Red Mountain Grace is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing gracious housing to out-of-town patients and caregivers during their extended medical stays in Birmingham. Members of the ministry team include Ashley Weaver/Development Assistant, Debbie Tidwell/Patient Coordinator and Lizzi Wilkerson/Executive Director. Learn more at www.redmountaingrace.com.

Through local volunteers and donors, Red Mountain Grace ministry provides extended housing for families who are receiving critical medical care in Birmingham. “The stress of a diagnosis alone is overwhelming for families,” explains Red Mountain Grace, Executive Director, Lizzi Wilkerson, “But then the added stresses, complications, and expenses of extended travel for patient care often amount to a sense of hopelessness, further complicated by the disconcerting feeling of temporary homelessness.” Wilkerson stresses the ministry meets much more than a physical need. “We are able to not only help these families by relieving them of some of their financial burden, but we are able to meet them in a very difficult place where we can pray over them and give them continued hope.” Volunteers work behind the scene to make the ministry possible. “They clean and decorate apartments, provide meals for the families, visit them and their loved ones in the hospital weekly, and are continually praying over them,” explains Wilkerson.

Since opening its doors in August of 2013, Red Mountain Grace has welcomed over 200 families. The organization has grown from 2 to 12 apartments, and is looking to expand to 15-20 in 2018. “I see the love of God surrounding these families in some of the hardest moments and I’m thankful that we have the opportunity to love our patients and their families the way we do,” says Wilkerson pointing out that just last year, Red Mountain Grace served more than 70 families, but the need is even greater and growing. On average, there is a wait list of 30-40 families nightly seeking lodging that are in Birmingham for medical care. To learn more about Red Mountain Grace and the many ways you can volunteer to help visit www.redmountaingrace.com. †

Brought to you by: Community Partner White Plume Technologies, www.WhitePlume.com

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Faith In Action in 2018

Faith In Action in 2018

Encouraging Word

What is faith? Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance (substance) of things hoped for, the conviction (evidence) of things not seen.” Faith is the foundation that hope is built on. Hope is the desire for good, accompanied by anticipation and expectation. Hope helps provide meaning to life. The struggles of life can be overwhelming when there is no hope. Hope helps provide the motivation to continue when you feel like giving up. And where there is no faith or faulty faith; hope will be difficult to find.

Faith involves, belief, trust, confidence and dependence. Faith is a powerful thing. Faith is the foundation that forms your belief system. Your belief system determines your values and convictions. You use your convictions to help make choices and decisions in life. Your life style (how you live your life) is conditioned by what you believe and the object of your faith. Belief should mean “by life”; in other words, if you don’t live it, then you don’t believe it.

Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”  God needs to be the object of our faith. We must place our faith solely and completely in Him!

If we say we believe in God then we need to live like there is a God; knowing that God is real, alive and well- realizing that God is holy, sovereign, all-powerful, all-knowing and all-present. He is infinite, eternal, immortal, infallible and immeasurable. He loves us and adopts us into His family as we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Almighty God becomes our Heavenly Father. Praise the Lord!

Let me encourage you to walk by faith and not by sight. Place your faith in God and live out your faith as a “Christ follower.” Put your faith in action in 2018!

-Tony Cooper 

Celebrating 27 Years of Service as Exec. Director, Jimmie Hale Mission

www.jimmiehalemission.com

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