- Henry J. Lyons, 57, resigned as president of the National Baptist Convention USA on March 16 in an emergency meeting of the denomination's board in St. Petersburg, Florida. The following day, Lyons pleaded guilty to federal counts of bank fraud and tax evasion in exchange for the dismissal of 49 other charges, including money laundering and extortion. Lyons was convicted February 27 on state charges of racketeering and grand theft in connection with business deals he made as leader of the historically African-American denomination (CT, April 5, 1999, p. 13). S. C. Cureton, a pastor from Greenville, South Carolina, is serving the six remaining months of Lyons's tenure.
- Christian recording artist Amy Grant has filed for divorce from husband Gary Chapman, host of Prime Time Country on the Nashville Network. A March 5 statement by Myrrh Records, Grant's record label, cited "irreconcilable differences." The couple, who have three children, announced their separation in December.
- James M. Dunn, 66, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee (BJC), will leave his post by September 1. Dunn, who has headed the BJC since 1981, will remain part-time with the organization as head of the BJC's newly created foundation. Dunn will also become a visiting professor at Wake Forest University Divinity School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
- The Washington, D.C.based Coalition for Christian Colleges and Universities has changed its name to the Council for Colleges and Universities (CCCU). Directors hope the new name will eliminate confusion between the association and the Christian Coalition, the political activists' group.
- Christian illustrator Joe DeVelasco, 65, died after suffering a heart attack March 5 in Park Ridge, Illinois. DeVelasco, a former courtroom sketch artist, regularly illustrated articles and covers for CT in the 1970s and '80s (example in print copy).
- David R. Befus is the new president of the Miami-based Latin America Mission (LAM). Befus, 47, served as an LAM missionary in Costa Rica and has held management positions with World Relief, Opportunity In ter national, and World Vision. He replaces David M. Howard, who had served as LAM president since 1995 and has returned to Cook Communications.
- The British Columbia Court of Appeal has ruled that the British Columbia College of Teachers (BCCT) must grant accreditation to the teacher education program at Trinity Western University, a Christian school near Vancouver, Canada. Because of the school's community standards that state students must refrain from homosexual behavior, BCCT argued unsuccessfully that the school will graduate teachers who are biased against homosexuals in the classroom (CT, Oct. 27, 1997, p. 98).
- A majority stake of Family Christian Stores (FCS) has been purchased by Madison Dearborn Partners, a Chicago-based private equity investment firm. FCS, the nation's largest Christian retailer with more than 300 stores, is adding 65 new stores this year. Les Dietzman, president of the Grand Rapids, Michiganbased chain, says he hopes to oversee growth to 1,000 stores.
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