At 92, She's Still at the Keyboard
by Don Kirkland
"It doesn't look like I can retire," Inez Croft said matter-of-factly. Then, with a smile suddenly appearing, she added, "I may have to play for my own funeral because there isn't anybody else."
Not that Inez Croft is thinking about retiring. Not even with her 93rd birthday coming in October. She wants to keep doing what she's done for the past 45 years -- play the piano at Pine Bluff Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C. "They depend on me," she said of her fellow church members.
Croft began playing for her home church, Double Pond Baptist in Blackville, when she was 12 or 13. "I played the pump organ," she said, "but I wouldn't play unless Mama sat on the bench beside me. I was bashful." Her family moved to Columbia in 1943, joining Pine Bluff a couple of months later. She took enough lessons to learn to read music, but "I got most of what I know from the singing schools we used to have -- sometimes lasting three weeks."
Croft still has a zest for life, and her effervescence occasionally spills over at the keyboard when she's playing a favorite hymn. "I can jazz them up and make people want to shake their feet," she said. She vows to "keep on playing as long as I'm able, but I don't practice like I used to."
Can a Higher Power Aid Your Willpower?
Faith-based weight loss programs, such as the SBC's First Place, have the potential to be very important, according to an obesity specialist quoted in Your Health magazine. "Social support is a major factor in long-term weight control," said Thomas Wadden, of the University of Pennsylvania. "When people find a community of support at the workplace or at a church, they will do better in the long-term." According to the U.S. Surgeon General, over 30% of all Americans are overweight, and the percentage is expected to rise with a new study underway.
The Camera Never Blinks, But is It a Reliable Witness?
Christian Century reports that videotapes are becoming a valuable tool for churches searching for a pastor. Rather than send a pulpit committee to the church of a prospective pastor, some churches are now asking for a taped audition of the candidates. "A video really helps cut down on travel expenses," said Forrest Streeter, quoted as he chaired the pastoral search committee for Trinity Baptist Church in Madison, Ala. Streeter said the videotapes often confirm what the committee already knows. In the same report, Christian Century noted that many churches are also doing complete background checks on prospective ministers. "It's sad it's that way, but we can't be too careful about who we choose," said Jim Splawn, from First Baptist Church, Huntsville, Ala.
Prostitution May be Legal, But That Doesn't Make it Moral!
Southern Baptist Pastor Ron Trummel agrees that most of the people in Pahrump, Nev., don't think much, one way or the other, about prostitution. "And that may very well be the problem," Trummel told the Las Vegas Review- Journal. He led a campaign four years ago to have prostitution banned in Nye County, where there are two legal brothels, but the effort failed. "We say one kind of immorality is OK, another's not," Trummel told reporter John Przybys. "At what point do you draw the line? If we say legal prostitution is OK, (then) let's legalize drugs, tax murder ... legalize all kinds of illicit (sources of) revenues. "... When I first came out against prostitution we had a couple of people who left the church. They said it was too hot a political issue. But we also had five times as many join our church because they said it was about time a minister stood up to speak the truth." As an example of what Trummel is up against, another minister in town said he doesn't oppose prostitution because, "I keep church and politics separate."
Convocations on Revival Continue
SBC President Tom Elliff has issued an urgent call to pastors, church, and denominational leaders to attend a one-day Convocation on Revival to be held on the campuses of Southern Baptist seminaries, plus the campus of MidAmerica. The remainder of these meetings are on the dates and at the locations listed below. For further information, call: 405-732-1300, ext. 204.
Meeting Location and Dates
Fort Worth, Texas
Golden Gate Seminary
Mill Valley, California
Kansas City, Missouri
New Orleans Seminary
New Orleans, Louisiana