RETIRING: Dr. James Dobson will retire from the Focus on the Family daily radio show in February, the ministry announced Oct. 30. Dobson, 73, stepped down as president of Focus in 2003, then resigned from its board of directors last February. In a public statement, Focus president and CEO Jim Daly said Dobson "has done a superlative job in modeling the graceful transition of leadership from one generation to the next." In a Nov. 2 letter to "praying friends," Dobson said the board of directors privately voted to ask for his resignation and that he and wife Shirley Dobson expressed agreement with the decision: "We can only guess the reason for their decision, but it apparently has to do with the desire for closure on my tenure and the beginning of another. . . . Not one word of criticism or conflict was spoken."
MISSING: Gilda Ghanipour has lived the last nine years in hiding in the United States to avoid deportation to her native Iran following her conversion to Christianity. A group of Pepperdine University Law School students took on her case and won her amnesty in late August, but now cannot find her to let her know. Law student Kristin Heinrich told The Los Angeles Times, "Part of me doesn't want to celebrate until we find her."
HONORED: Max McLean's one-man presentation of "Mark's Gospel" has won the Jeff Award for Best Solo Performance celebrating excellence in Chicago theater. McLean's latest acting venture was a dramatization of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters. Of McLean's acting alone on a minimalist stage to dramatize the Gospel of Mark, Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones said, "Life-changing moments come from the text."
ELECTED: Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., will become the first female president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the civil-rights organization her father founded. While some same-sex marriage advocates link their cause to the fight for black civil rights, King (described by CNN as a "fundamentalist preacher who is anti-gay") is not likely to take the SCLC in that direction. The pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., King frustrated some when she participated in a 2004 Atlanta march opposing same-sex marriage.
DIED: Former Louisiana Gov. David Treen, 81, the state's first post-Reconstruction Republican to serve in Congress and as governor, died Oct. 29. In a brutal 1983 campaign he lost to Democrat Edwin Edwards, Edwards famously called Treen so slow "it took him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes." But when Edwards went to prison for gambling corruption, Treen asked former President George W. Bush to commute the sentence. Bush refused, but Treen became what Edwards called "a good friend" and served with a prison ministry called Project Return. The Times-Picayune called Treen a "compassionate conservative" who "continued to embody the label."