a l l i a n c e o f b a p t is t s . o rg
A VOICE OF RADICAL HOSPITALITY
The Alliance of Baptists is a growing movement of progressive Christians— individuals and Congregations— seeking to respond to the continuing call of God in a rapidly changing world.
Honoring Nancy HastingS Sehested
Mary Andreolli, Minister for Outreach & Communications
Zach and I were struck by more awe-filled moments during this visit than can be expressed adequately in this article. But there are two experiences that frequently rise to the surface of my memories. The first was how the men interacted with Nancy during our tour of the facilities. One might expect that they treat her with a respect that comes only from a prison requirement enforced by potential punishment. Instead, what we saw was a genuine care for Nancy that I can only surmise comes from how Nancy treats these men — not as other, but as guest. Nancy describes her relationship to the men this way:
Most of the inmates have very long sentences so it allows me to develop a relationship with them. I hold up a mirror to them and invite them to see their lives in all of its horror and hope. I offer the radical gospel word of mercy. Mercy is not mercy if it is offered to those who “deserve” it. Mercy, I think, is not going soft on crime. It is not condoning violent behavior or abuse. It is not ignoring the hurt or the suffering. Mercy is God’s radical intervention in our endless cycle of violence and revenge. It is God’s way of creating an opening for the possibility of transformation of soul. In my experience, mercy is the most radical and holy gifts that can ever be offered to us.
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BELOW: Nancy and other courageous Alliance founders will be honored at the 25th Annual Convocation, April 29 - May 1.
Luncheon Honoring Alliance Founders Did you know the initial name proposed for the Alliance was “Southern Baptist Heritage Fellowship?” Gratefully, the first idea out of Jim Strickland’s mouth was not the one chosen! This story, among others of how we came into existence 25 years ago, will be shared during a luncheon honoring our founders 12:30 – 2 p.m. May 1 at Crescent Hill Baptist Church, 2800 Frankfort Ave., Louisville, Ky. The program will feature founders Mahan Siler and Nancy Hastings Sehested hosting with sharing from others present. Join fellow Alliance members as we celebrate, honor, remember— and dream about the future. The luncheon is $25 per person and by reservation only. Reserve your place at allianceofbaptists.org.
Vision/editor | Mary Andreolli DESIGN | TOBIAS BECKER email: firstname.lastname@example.org editorial board | leadership team Relma Hargus, Brooks Wicker © 2011, Alliance of Baptists
Mandy England Cole, Vice President
Jeff Haggray Watt Hamlett
Paul Richardson, Treasurer
Carol Blythe, President
Amy Jacks Dean
Brooks Wicker, Past President
Carl Gregg, Secretary
Table of contents A SPIRITUALITY OF RADICAL HOSPITALITY………………… Page 4 THE BODY BROKEN: SEXUALITY AND RADICAL HOSPITALITY…………………………………… Page 6
In this spring issue of VOICES magazine, readers will discover how people like Nancy Sehested both embody radical hospitality and find it in places where one would least expect it. As the Alliance prepares to celebrate 25 years of mission and ministry in the world, we dedicate this issue of VOICES magazine to the passionate, unconventional and loving work of Nancy Hastings Sehested. Thank you for how you embody a radical hospitality that has paved the way for mercy, transformation and hope within the Alliance family and in the world. We are grateful.
ABOVE: Nancy celebrates a birthday with her granddaughter Sydney Mark.
Before the interview, Nancy took an Alliance friend, Zach Roberts, and me on a tour of the prison. I found it to be desperately stark, filled with a grayness that felt as if it might absorb us into itself. As Nancy led us around the facility, I couldn’t take my eyes from the incarcerated men. I even made eye contact with some of them and wondered what brought each of them to this place.
VOICES is published by Alliance of Baptists: 3939 LaVista Road, E-122 Atlanta, Georgia 30084 866.745.7609 www.allianceofbaptists.org
We witnessed expressions of this care in how the men stopped to speak to her, many towering over her like gentle giants. When Nancy and the men spoke, it seemed as if she became their reconnection to humanness. The second moment occurred when Nancy, walking us out of the prison, posed a question: “What do you think would happen if, instead of reducing these men to that of a prisoner, we welcomed them— arms wide—as our guests?”
he stands a little more than 5 feet 2 inches tall with a twinkle in her eye that expresses both friendliness and fierceness. When I called Nancy Hastings Sehested to schedule an interview with her, I knew there was no way to prepare to meet this extraordinary founder of the Alliance, pastor and now prison chaplain at Marion Correctional Institution in North Carolina. After all, how does one prepare to enter, even if only briefly, a prison? Marion Correctional Institution is a high-security prison where 806 men are housed. Among the staff of 400 are two prison chaplains: Nancy and, until his current position in Cuba, Mark Siler, son of Mahan Siler, who is also an Alliance of Baptists founder. Nancy has been a prison chaplain for 11 years.
Mary Andreolli, Minister for Outreach & Communications Carole Collins, Director of Finance
Chris Copeland, Minister for Leadership Formation Paula Clayton Dempsey, Minister for Partnership Relations
IT’S ALL GRACE…………………………………………………… THEIR STOMACHS ARE SMALL………………………………… RADICAL HOSPITALITY AND THE MENTALLY ILL………… where you least expect it………………………………… THE HOSPITALITY OF GIVING …………………………………
Page 9 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 17
The cover photograph was taken by Justin Bowman at the Alliance's 23rd Annual Convocation celebrated at Parkroad Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C. ABOVE: In this photograph, friends of the Fraternity of Baptist Churches in Cuba and the Alliance prepare to embark on their journey across Cuba to explore the possibility of partnership with churches in Cuba. Throughout this journey of faithful friendship radical hospitality was freely given and received.
A Spirituality of Hospitality
Stephanie Ford is a spiritual director, teacher, retreat leader and group facilitator. Ordained at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh N.C., she received her Ph.D. in Christian Spirituality and taught for a decade at Earlham School of Religion, a Quaker seminary in Indiana. Recently, Stephanie and her family— husband, Les, and 7-year-old daughter, Deepmala—returned to North Carolina, where they make their home in Apex.
et all guests who arrive be received like Christ, for He is going to say, ‘I came as a guest, and you received Me’” (Matt. 25:35).1 And so directs the ancient monastic Rule of St. Benedict about the care of strangers and travelers who arrive at a monastery. Ten years ago as a new professor at a Quaker seminary, I experienced the vivid truth of these words. I was feeling homesick for kith and kin in North Carolina, so at the first opportunity, I set out to visit the only person I knew in Indiana, Sister Mary Luke, at her monastery in Beech Grove. When Mary Luke greeted me at the door and introduced her guest to her sisters, I felt like a freshman on a first weekend back home: smiles and hugs all around, a home-cooked meal, and later, popcorn as we watched a movie. The weekend brought times for rest, meals out on coupons, a free concert at the park, and of course, prayer. What struck me most about being welcomed “like Christ” was the sheer joy, almost favoritism, of the community’s hospitality. In the early years of my teaching at Earlham especially, I frequented this home-away-from-home every few months, always leaving with a deeper sense of my belovedness.
That’s the first picture that comes to mind when I think of the word hospitality. Nevertheless, for early Christians (4th and 5th C) tackling the harsh beauty of the desert in search of a life of prayer and Christ-like community, the word meant survival. The offer of clean water, a simple meal, and shelter for the night to a fellow seeker was a sacred obligation. Growing out of this hospitality were the beginnings of monastic life: small communities of believers living in separate huts who prayed the Psalms day and night, while supporting themselves through trades like basket-weaving. Periodically, city dwellers would make trips to confer with these desert abbas and ammas about the life with God; and another kind of hospitality began to grow, that of spiritual direction.1 Early Christians were also known for their compassionate care of the sick and those others deemed untouchable because of disease or disability. Later, medieval Christian women called beguines would be credited as probably the first to provide ongoing care for the dying,
what we now know as Hospice. Hospitality for Christians has thus long been a word linked to the example of Jesus we meet in the Gospel accounts: healing the sick, eating with strangers, and offering spiritual guidance to countless individuals and a group of disciples. The words “Baptist” and “missionary” have also long been paired, and our heritage is rich in a hospitality that brought medical care—founding hospitals and clinics—and education to the poor in our global village. Spiritual care through presence and teaching was important ministry, too, through centuries of mission effort. Listening to my friend and retired missionary Anne Thomas Neil talk about what she learned from her African brothers and sisters, I get the sense that such hospitality was also deeply mutual. Indeed, hospitality is perhaps best realized in a circle of reciprocal sharing. A glance at the 23 mission partners listed in the Bridges of Hope Mission Offering stirs me to imagine how these vital ministries are helping and healing in a spirit of mutual hospitality like that evident in the book of Acts. Spiritual direction, and thus hospitality, resides at the heart of my own vocation, be it in compan-
BELOW: From left to right: Alliance and Fraternity of Baptist Churches in Cuba friends Joy Siler, Mille Filtenborg Jensen, Wayne Grinstead, Caroll Baltimore, Manuel Delgado, Tomás Ynguanzo Tejera's wife and Tomás, pastor of Heriberto Rodríguez Baptist Church in Ranchuelo and Paula Clayton Dempsey share a meal. Heriberto Rodríguez Baptist Church members and family generously prepared the meal and all who arrived were received like Christ.
ioning individuals in their listening to God or in facilitating groups as they listen for the Spirit’s movement among them. Margaret Guenther devotes the first chapter of her book on spiritual direction to the gospel analogy, “welcoming the stranger.”2 This analogy has been true in my experience. Deep listening to the heart of another requires my prayerful awareness of her or his uniqueness; it calls me to make space within myself that bears witness to the Spirit’s work rather than my own vision or well-meaning agenda. Such listening typically calls me into transformation, too. No doubt we have each experienced what such radical hospitality looks like with friends and family members—and in our congregations, when we really heard another’s perspective on an issue that ran counter to our own. In fact, Church itself is undergoing transformation globally, one that asks us to reconsider how we “do” church. In remaining open to the new work of the Spirit, we may be asked to give up old, but familiar wineskins. This will be our hospitality to God’s work among us. Today, we are also being summoned to interfaith sharing and partnerships right in our backyards. Noted religions scholar Diana Eck contends that the spiritual practice of hospitality is no longer just a nice thing to do; it has become a necessity.3 Even about a tradition close to my own, Judaism, I am discovering that I have a lot to learn. It’s not enough to share part of a common text. I also need to hear the stories of my Jewish neighbors, as well as Muslim co-workers and the Hindu parents of children on my daughter’s soccer team. This active form of hospitality compels me to reach out and inquire sensitively, and to take the time to follow those questions into further dialogue. It calls me to look deeply at the kernels of my faith and tradition. What do I want to share about what makes me a Baptist, for example, or how do I understand God in response to suffering? All the while, I need to ask myself: How can I, in being present to these new friends, leave them with a sense of the belovedness I felt as a stranger in Indiana?
1. The Rule of St. Benedict, Ch. 53. 2. “Spiritual direction is the contemplative practice of helping another person or group to awaken to the mystery called God in all of life, and to respond to that discovery in a growing relationship of freedom
of the Heart: Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry. HarperCollins, 1991. 3. Margaret Guenther, Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction. Cambridge, MA: Cowley, 1992. 4. See Diana L. Eck, A New Religious America.
HarperCollins, 2001. See also World Religions scholar
Robert Keegan, SJ. See Spiritual Directors
and Baptist George Braswell’s thoughtful book
International website: sdiworld.org. To learn
Islam and America: Answers to the 31 Most-Asked
more about the wisdom of the desert fathers and
Questions. Nashville: Broadman and
mothers, see Henri J.M. Nowen’s classic, The Way
LEFT: A young person enjoys a generous portion of bread and juice during communion at Brian Ammon's church, Trinity's Place in Raleigh, N.C. Photograph by Ben McKeown of Organic Exposure.
The Body Broken: Sexuality and Radical Hospitality
am grateful for my church.
followed my sense of call, doors I could not even see have opened to me along the way. I found my way to divinity school, ordination, youth ministry, university teaching, and most recently partnering in midwifing a new church community. I have known hospitality, and I am grateful for the folks who— often at great risk—prepared the way for those doors to open. But to tell the truth, these days I get a little suspicious about the concept of hospitality. I mean, I certainly understand what we are usually talking about when the word is evoked. Seeing as how being a man partnered to another man casts me as one of this generation of Christianity’s favorite “others,” being invited to have a place at the table is much appreciated. I am grateful. The trouble is that hospitality is a paradox. It is an impossible task. As soon as we invite another to the table, we’ve claimed power over that table—we’ve said it’s ours to invite you to. So, while I remain grateful, I confess there’s a little piece of me that stings every time I get invited, because in the invitation is always a subtext of my not belonging. As I’ve moved more and more to the center in leadership of local congregations and denominational life, I have felt the awkward tension in attempts to extend hospitality myself—wrestling with whether I am claiming some sort of false power or just honestly acknowledging the privileges of my social location in a given context. Either way, inherent in the nature of hospitality is the impossibility of reaching its goals. Even as it works toward right relationship, hospitality reinscribes an insider/outsider dynamic. But alas, before we collapse into the most nihilistic forms of postmodernism, let’s back up a minute.
I use “church” here in reference to my local congregation and to the greater Christian community. Like a lot of us, my dance with the church has often looked more like a wrestling match, but I am grateful that in the process I have received many blessings—some formal, some just growing out of the work of folks hanging together. I am grateful for the United Methodist tradition in which I was raised, whose influences are still evident in my theology. I am grateful for the Baptist tradition that drew me in as an adult, which shaped in me a deeper commitment to freedom, conscience and decentralized power. I am grateful for the Alliance of Baptists for responding to a sacred call to safeguard particular Baptist practices and themes on behalf of the Body of Christ.
Within the context of our faith tradition, speaking of “having a place at the table” has a literal meaning. Lest we get seduced into the selfcongratulatory work of our boundary-breaking practices of hospitality ABOVE: Former Alliance board member, Brian Ammons is an assistant professor of the Practice in Education at Duke (fraught with the afore mentioned limitations and contradictions), the table University and co-pastor of Trinity’s Place in Raleigh, N.C. He lives and works at the intersection of gender, sexuality, stands to remind us that the invitation isn’t ours to issue. The invitation to spirituality, and justice. Follow him on Twitter at “nekkidbaptist.” Photograph by Ben McKeown of Organic Exposure. break bread, share the cup and practice resurrection in the re-membering of the body was issued centuries ago, and it didn’t come from any of us. The best we can do is quit getting in the way. The radical hospitality that table the terms of the conversation are changed. And so are we. is not ours to grant to, or for that matter receive from, one another. It is a gift of divine grace. This article is supposed to be about sexuality, and it is, I promise. But for too long, in too
Like many of us, the church of my adolescence left me wounded and broken, but also left me with a deep commitment to my spiritual journey. I experienced the church as a place of silencing, condemnation and exclusion. Thankfully, the earlier message that I was a beloved child of God and no one could ever take that away from me had taken root. I rode that conviction like a life raft right out of the church, and it kept me afloat through some pretty stormy seas. When I found my way back to a congregation that had room for me, I was wave-tossed and bewildered, but grateful to find steady ground. Though a few doors have been slammed in my face, the more consistent narrative is that as I’ve
Every time the folk of Trinity’s Place—the seedling Spirit collective I’ve been worshiping with for the last 16 months—gather, I am struck by how much our experience of the sacred meal defines us. We are a small group, young in our life together, and our gatherings can sometimes feel a bit unpredictable and chaotic. But in the deep joy of the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup, we experience the grace of radical hospitality, we recall that despite our differences—and there are many even in our little circle—despite the different words we use when we serve one another, despite the multiple theologies present in how we understand the ritual, when we choose to accept Christ’s invitation to
much of our Christian discourse, “sexuality” has become code for “the homosexuality debate” and that is problematic to say the least. Not only does that framing forget to include our bi, trans, and category-resistant folk, it seems to suggest that only “nonconforming” sexualities are deserving of the church’s attention. In the same way that we tend to say “gender,” but think of women; say “race,” but think of people of color; say “class,” but think of people in poverty, too often in the very way we speak the words our attempts to extend our radical welcome reflect that paradoxical hospitality. It’s not ours to offer, folks. When speaking of difference primarily
So here’s my point: We are already welcome. All of us.
So here’s my point: We are already welcome. All of us.
Changes the conversation, doesn’t it? We are one body. If that is who we are to one another, ones who have accepted an invitation to the same feast, perhaps we might consider engaging one another differently. Can you imagine showing up as a guest to a dinner party and then standing at the door re-inviting or un-inviting the other guests as they arrived? Cast in that light, suddenly our obsession with figuring out what causes me or folks like me to
love the way we love seems less important. Perhaps, as fellow guests at the table, we can replace the “why” with a “how.” Maybe we can spend a bit less energy on the categories of identity that divide us, and more on the experiences and practices we have in common.
As Christians, followers of Jesus, folks who have accepted that widely cast invitation to a common table, why are we satisfied with reducing a conversation about sexuality to the gender of my partner? Why do we assume that I have more in common with other men who sleep with men than with other folks who experience the radical and transforming experience of embodied intimacy as prayer? Far too often the church, even within the welcoming movement, has colluded in telling some of us that the defining characteristic of our personal identity is the gender of our sexual partner. [I am writing this article as an act of resistance.] However, gender is not even the defining characteristic of my sexual identity. As one standing in the Jesus story, how do I identify my sexual orientation? Sacramental. I orient myself toward prayer, toward sexual practice as spiritual practice. I reclaim the body broken. I practice resurrection. I accept Christ’s invitation to the table, and I show up. I offer, then, a reframing of the conversation to remind us that sexuality and gender are part of all our stories, not just those of us who transgress the boundaries. So let’s have the next conversation. Let’s talk about what our bodies and our lovers have to do with how we experience the sacred in our daily lives
I long to see the church take the lead in reframing the conversation and moving beyond the apologetics that keep us locked neatly in place. But as we do so, let us not forget the daily physical, emotional and spiritual violence that far too many face at the hands of those claiming Christianity as their rationale. I still believe the church plays an enormous role in working for a just and safe world for folks whose lived witness calls into question our assumptions about the rules and roles of sexuality and gender. As much as I long for the transformative grace of a common invitation to take hold, for us to move from a conversation about causes and categories toward prayer and practice, we live and breathe in a larger context. I am ready for a new conversation, but I must move toward that without ignoring that the worst of the current conversation is still destroying the lives of people I love. So friends, we’ve got some work to do. Who knew getting out of the way could be so hard?
It’s All Grace Karen Thomas Smith
he country of Morocco, where I have lived and worked for the past 15 years, prides itself on its cultural tradition of hospitality, and rightly so. Few visitors leave the country without stories to tell of being invited into homes of ordinary people, served tea, asked to stay for dinner. The image of Abraham inviting those three odd strangers into his tent at Mamre for a feast frequently springs to my mind as I sit before a round table in a rectangular family room in our town of Ifrane, or on a carpet laid on dirt floor in a hut built from mud, rocks and tin cans in the shepherding village of Tarmilat. I always catch glimpses of women bustling just out of our view, working what must be at least three generous measures of the choicest flour to make bread to serve with honey, olive oil or apricot jam and tea. Stateside, I find myself cringing when the doorbell rings unexpectedly. In Morocco, visitors are not an annoyance, but valued guests who have stories—and lives—to share. Historically, Morocco has been a meeting place of cultures and traditions due, at least in part, to its unique geographical situation. Its name in Arabic is Al Maghreb, “the land of the setting sun” with its Atlantic coast representing the westernmost limit of the eighthcentury Islamic expansion. It is also the point where the continents of Africa and Europe are separated by only eight miles across the Straits of Gibraltar. East meets West, and North meets South in this country that often feels caught in the crossfire of our world’s great contemporary compass-point tensions: Conflict between what is portrayed as the “Muslim East” and the “Christian (or post-Christian) West”; and the ever-growing crisis between the disproportionately wealthy Northern hemisphere in relation to an impoverished Southern hemisphere. The Protestant Church in Morocco, Eglise Evangelique au Maroc, embraces its identity as “church at the crossroads” living locally the tensions of these global dynamics of encounter as both recipients and givers of hospitality; both roles have their challenges.
RIGHT: Zineb Fadili serves tea to the Al Akhawayn University Christian community visiting the shepherding village of Tarmilat in November, 2010. Zineb has been involved in a women's weaving project and a literacy program started by women in Tarmilat and women from the university community, both Muslim and Christian.
functions to reinforce some constructed notion of what’s normal, whether or not we intend it to, we distort the radical hospitality we have received by falsely staking a claim as guardians, if not owners, of the table. Of the church. Of the body resurrected.
Karen Thomas Smith has been chaplain to the Christian Community at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, since 1996. She is also a pastor in the francophone Protestant Church in Morocco, the Eglise Evangelique au Maroc, and represents Protestants on Morocco’s National Council of Churches. A graduate of Candler School of Theology, Emory University, M.Div., and St. John’s University School of Theology, masters degree in theology and spirituality, Karen was ordained by Oakhurst Baptist Church, Decatur, Ga., and maintains ties to Oakhurst as well as another Alliance congregation, Jeff St. Baptist Community in Louisville, Ky. Karen is supported in her chaplaincy work in Morocco by the Alliance. Her work is non-proselytizing, focusing on interfaith relations as peacebuilding. She has spoken, written and led seminars on Muslim-Christian relations in the United States, Morocco, France, Germany, Italy, and Madagascar.
Left: An African student reads scripture during the weekly worship of the Protestant Church in Marrakesh in March, 2010. Sub-Saharan African students make up the vast majority of all the congregations of the Protestant Church in Morocco. Right: Ftouma, aunt of Ito Abou, coordinator of the "Shepherd's Loom" women's weaving project, lights a lamp—attached directly to bottled gas—in the village of Tarmilat. Ftouma was visiting from the neighboring village of Adghrar to celebrate the birth of Ito's first grandchild on the eighth day, the "Osboa", a grand occasion for offering hospitality.
representatives of empire, but African. Our congregations are made up of—and in large part, led by—young Sub-Saharan African men and women who come to study in Morocco due to agreements between Morocco and their home countries: Congo (DRC), Congo (ROC), Cameroun, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Gabon, Togo, Benin, Mali, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, to name a few. Some of these students stay in Morocco after completing their degrees, sometimes marrying and starting families. More than 90 percent of our church members are struggling dark-skinned, culturally displaced, financially insecure young people who look to the church as a new family, a new home. One of our chief roles as church in Morocco is to offer hospitality to these young men and women, to take them in and to help them find ways to grow and even flourish here in this context of internal church diversity, ecumenism and interfaith relating. We strive to mold African Christian leaders who will take back to their home countries and churches a kind of spiritual and theological spirit of hospitality—a depth and breadth of faith that embraces openness to others who are different confessionally and culturally. We like to think we are forming church leaders for the continent who will work toward peacebuilding across divides of faith and culture for years to come. Because Morocco is 99.9 percent Muslim, foreigners fill our churches and we are all acutely aware of the fact that we are guests. As guests, we obey the rules of the land in which we live—including those pertaining directly to us as Christians: the rules against proselytizing Muslims. For Moroccans, this law is a matter of protecting the vulnerable. They see the Christian evangelizing “machine” as carrying the weight of empire behind it, making it hard to resist.
While we Christians do not cease to express our profound commitment to religious liberty for all, we certainly want to reject the legacies of colonialism with its imperialistic privilege. And in any case, we are opposed to any model of Christian witness that would turn the gospel into a commodity to be marketed and consumed. We believe we have been entrusted with an important role to play for the larger church: embodying and modeling an alternative way to live our Christian faith, and our own religious
liberty, with integrity in a Muslim context; not envisioning Muslims as targets for evangelism campaigns, as enemies to be vanquished, or as competitors to beat, but rather as neighbors to know and love. That understanding and commitment seems to me to be an appropriate way to honor the hospitality and generosity extended to us.
It is therefore a great blessing that the vast majority of our Christian faithful are not European or American, thereby
African students and young professionals are not, however, the only Africans in need of hospitality: Thousands of migrants and refugees driven from their homelands by crises, violence, wars, and other forms of devastation come to Morocco every year. While Europe is their destination, many run out of money, energy and luck in Morocco. They can’t go forward (with European borders closed), they can’t stay in Morocco (with no legal status or way of earning income) and they can’t return (with no resources for such a journey
and invalid papers.) Some twenty thousand persons in this desperate condition are estimated to be in Morocco. They look to the churches for aid, as they have nowhere else to turn. And so our congregations, made up of struggling folks themselves, have organized so that we may offer hospitality as we can—inadequately, of course, but consistently—in partnership with a handful of others, Caritas of the Catholic Church and a few Moroccan NGOs.
through the week. But having offered the little, insufficient bit the church could give, he dared to pray with each person— simple, humble, trusting, powerful prayers. And over and over again, I saw people choose to go on by faith to face the next day’s struggle. While the church seeks to offer hope to the ones desperately seeking refuge, it is they who more often than not show the rest of us what faith looks like.
I have learned in Morocco the giving and receiving that make I spent an afternoon working side by side with one of up the dynamics of the economics of hospitality is very fluid, our refugee ministry team with unclear boundaries: leaders in Rabat, himself a When we think we are giving, We strive to mold African Christian refugee, listening as he told we are so often receiving, desperate people again and and vice-versa. There seems leaders who will take back to their again that we couldn’t fix to me to be a lesson about home countries and churches a their problems: We couldn’t grace in charis, that word that kind of spiritual and theological pay their full rent; we couldn’t means gift, giftedness. I find spirit of hospitality. give them enough food to myself thinking frequently, ensure they would make it “It’s all grace.”
Their Stomachs are small
he Random House College Dictionary describes hospitality as the “friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers or the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm friendly and generous way.” The significance of hospitality among the Shona and Ndebele people in Zimbabwe is shown by the number of sayings and expressions that highlight the importance of hospitality in these societies. Relationships in the lives of individuals and the community are central.
There is a belief in Zimbabwe that genuine friendship must always be symbolized by sharing food. The Shona have an expression: “No relationship is complete unless the parties involved dine or eat together.” Food as a source of life must always be shared. Eating alone is always considered as an unsocial behavior, the kind of behavior expected of evil persons such as witches. Zimbabweans welcome visitors and provide them with food and shelter, be they friends, relatives or complete strangers. They consider it an honor to have a visitor. . There is a saying in both the Shona and Ndebele cultures that the stomach of a stranger is very small, only the size of a small horn of a goat. Anyone who visits a Zimbabwean home will be offered food, no matter what time of day or whether the family has just eaten. It is considered disrespectful to refuse food that has been cooked for you. You do not have to finish all the food offered—it is not rude to leave food. In fact, if you finish everything, your hosts will think that you are still hungry and will insist that you have more food. There is also a realization that generous hospitality is only possible in part because one has the natural means to afford it. Poverty is likened to witchcraft because you end up failing to give presents even to those you love. I am always amazed by the hospitality of the poor. When I go out to preach among them, I come back with a lot of presents that include meals—frequently chicken, but I have often been given a goat. They always give their best. All this points to what is called hunhu in Shona or ubuntu in Ndebele. It means commendable character. A person with hunhu/ubuntu is one who lives in such ways as to enhance life by promoting the success and well being of the community and the happiness of its citizens through the sharing of common resources. I have visited families who have given me their bedroom while they slept somewhere with their children. They are not concerned about the inconvenience. To them it is an honor to have a visitor in the home and they will also say: “Hunger forecasts the coming of a visitor.” It means that even if a visitor turns up at a time when the host is least prepared with provisions, the host will try his or her level best to satisfy the guest and the family as well. After all: The stomach of a visitor is very small.
ABOVE: Henry Mugabe is the Principal/President of the Baptist Theological Seminary of Zimbabwe. He received his Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to his work at the seminary in Zimbabwe, Henry teaches courses in theology and African traditional religions as a visiting professor at Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Campbell University Divinity School, McAffee School of Theology, the School of Theology at Virginia Union University and the Divinity School at Wake Forest University. He is married to Hermina B. Mugabe, pictured above, and has children—Rutendo Grace, Munyaradzi Johannes and Tinashe Henry Bonganjalo. Left: Henry Mugabe enjoys time with his aunts.
radical HOSPITALITY and the mentally ill Craig Davis-Johnson
’m the one left out!” declares 10-year-old Jim in a voice that echoes across the sanctuary. My Children’s Story is about people who get “left out.” I answer Jim, “’I’m sorry you’re left out a lot. This church lets you in because you’re one of us.” Being hospitable to Jim is more than just tolerating him. It is living aware that he is as valuable as anyone else.
Aaron hears very real and demanding voices in his head. Radical hospitality asks: “Why do we find it more important to listen to a successful professional talk about work pressure than to Aaron talk about his work in taming those voices?” Sally finds great comfort in writing poems for her pastor and receiving communion. She also sometimes comes in on Monday and asks, “Is this Communion Sunday?” Radical hospitality leads her pastor to answer, “No, it’s Communion Monday.” Sara sees me meditating on a bench outside a wedding reception, and she thinks she knows what I need. I am coping with major depression. I know exactly how much rest or calm I need to be able to engage a crowd at a party. But Sara has a plan. She whisks me up and escorts me into the noisy reception. Sara, like many of us, apparently can’t imagine what it is like to spend 90 percent of a day’s energy just to “show up.” My friend, Sara, needs to learn to listen and learn from people with a mental illness, rather than assuming she already knows. Sara’s interruption saps my energy quickly, and I have to leave the party early and a little embarrassed because, as I tell my wife, “Sara looked a little like a school marm dragging a boy to the principal’s office.” The Rule of St. Benedict reads, “Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ . . . When, therefore, a guest is announced, let him be met by the Superior and the brethren with every mark of charity.” (Chapter 53) Benedictine monasteries have a strong and ancient tradition of hospitality. However, they also have limits: “On no account let anyone who is not ordered to do so, associate or speak with guests.” Perhaps we must understand that a monastery needs discipline within the community. That’s why the monastery door only opens so that selected monks may give to guests, but not so that the community may receive from guests.
ABOVE: Craig and his youngest daugher, Rachel Davis-Johnson. Alliance board member Craig Davis-Johnson grew up in small-town Indiana. While attending Indiana University, he also studied at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which strongly influenced his sense of call to the ministry. Craig was graduated from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, where he also met his wife, the Rev. Deborah Davis-Johnson. He was ordained at Lake Avenue Baptist Church in Rochester, N.Y. He has served churches in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island and has also chaired the Faith and Order Commission of the Council of Churches. Syracuse University awarded Craig a Master of Philosophy degree. However, while writing his dissertation, Craig was crippled by Treatment Resistant Depression, which disciplined him to adjust to the widespread insensitivity to mental illness in our society. Deborah and Craig are the parents of three adult children.
However, radical hospitality with the mentally ill is like a door that opens both ways: Such radical hospitality requires both giving and receiving. Despite great advances in brain research and therapies, treatment of the brain is still a science in its infancy. Most persons still harbor fears and biases about mental illness, and it may be unnerving to us that experts estimate at least a third of us will suffer some form of mental illness sometime in our lives. The upside of those uncertainties is that mentally ill persons can teach us as much as they can learn—if we are willing to step out of our boxed stereotypes and learn who the mentally ill person is and what she or he offers us in return for our understanding and welcome. Steve is welcome to use our church piano during the week because it makes him feel good. In return, he fills the church with beauty. And since he has given and received radical hospitality, he is able to say, “Because I’m accepted here (at church), I’m accepted anywhere.”
In 1967, the Israeli government attacked Egypt, Jordan and Syria and occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip that belongs to Palestine. Being hospitable under this 43-year old Israeli military occupation is very challenging for Palestinians. Within Palestinian territory, Israel severally restricts their movement, steals their prime land, confiscates their sources of water, and enacts laws directed only against Palestinians. Palestinians must carry Israeli-issued identification papers and travel permits, even when traveling within their own territories. They must pass through Israeli-controlled checkpoints when they travel anywhere. Israel is building the Separation Barrier and Israeli-only highways within Palestinian territory, which severely restrict Palestinians’ ability to travel from their homes to their farmlands, or to their places of work, or school, or to their houses of worship, or to hospitals and clinics. [United Nation’s Office for Humanitarian Affairs, occupied Palestinian Territories, http:// www.ochaopt.org/.]
ABOVE: Ghassan Tarazi with two participants in Love Thy Neighbor’s leadership training and community activism week-long workshop which is built on Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent principles.
WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECT IT Ghassan "gJ" Tarazi
ABOVE: Steve Hyde, pastor of Alliance partner congregation, Ravensworth Baptist Church in Annandale, Va., preaches at Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, Palestine where Mitri Raheb is pastor.
hroughout its long history, the region we now call the Holy Land has been under many harsh occupations. It is coveted by empires because of its strategic location; by merchants because it’s the crossroads on the trade routes between Asia and Europe; and by religionists because it’s the birthplace of the three Abrahamic faiths.
There is a misconception that the Palestine-Israel conflict is ancient, going back to biblical times. Actually this conflict is relatively recent, starting less than 64 years ago. It began when European Jewish Zionists wanted to counter the bigoted, inhuman and anti-Semitic acts that finally lead to the atrocities of the German Nazi regime. Zionists’ solution to European anti-Semitism was the creation of an exclusively Jewish state. Unfortunately, their desired state was already occupied with Palestinians. Even before the creation of the Jewish State of Israel, in May of 1947, Zionists began to cleanse Palestine of Palestinians in what is called the Nakba—Arabic for catastrophe.
Alliance board member Ghassan Tarazi is a retired public school teacher, administer and college professor after a 37 year career in New York, Maryland and Virginia. Ghassan is the post-retirement executive director of United Palestinian Appeal, Inc., the nation’s oldest NGO working directly with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank in education, child sponsorship and emergency relief. He is also an active member of Alliance partner congregation, Ravensworth Baptist Church in Annandale, Va. Ghassan is married to his best friend and teammate, Kay. Kay and Ghassan have one son and two granddaughters.
hospitality exists. [Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, http://www.btselem.org/english/water/.]
Can Palestinians living under the harsh Israeli occupation be hospitable? Because of our church’s experiences there, our answer is a resounding “YES!” Members of Ravensworth Baptist Church in Annandale, Va., have taken three trips to Palestine and Israel. We have seen most of the holy sites and walked where tradition tells us Jesus walked. But, building meaningful relationships with the “living stones,” the people of the Holy Land, are our most precious activities. The Palestinians we have met demonstrate radical hospitality.
Using its overwhelming military power, Israel is stealing Palestinian land in its on-going efforts to cleanse Palestine of Palestinians. Israel is building illegal Jewish-only colonies, aka settlements, on Palestinian land. These colonies are being built with American taxpayer money. The illegal colonies straddle the most desirable hilltops throughout the West Bank. Second, the Israeli government, using convoluted laws enacted by the Israeli Knesset directed only against Palestinians is demolishing Palestinian homes. Under this subterfuge, Israel has demolished 18,000 Palestinian homes since 1967. Even more land is being confiscated as these colonies and outposts are connected with many miles of Israeli-only highways. The route of the Separation Barrier zigzagging into Palestinian territory is stealing even more land. [For more information about house demolitions, please visit Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, http://icahdusa.org/facts/.] In addition to stealing land, Israel is stealing Palestinian sources of water. Water in the Holy Land is very precious. Israel controls the subterranean aquifers within the Palestinian territories that have supplied water to Palestinians for centuries. A UN study in 2010 reported that illegal colonists, per capita, use six times more water than Palestinians. Palestinians are forced to collect surface water by building cisterns and catch rainwater in rooftop water tanks. Even under these unjust conditions, Palestinian RIGHT: Jericho checkpoint created by the Israeli government to limit Palestinian access.
the hospitality of Giving
Radical hospitality can show up in places where and when, at times, it is least expected. We are grateful for those, who in the midst of economic and political uncertainty, continue to give faithfully to the Alliance of Baptists. Thanks to your sharing of your time, gifts and funds the Alliance is now able to celebrate 25 years of mission and ministry in the world. Listed below are all those who have so generously given throughout 2010.
$1 to $99
TOP: A highly graffitied portion of the Separation barrier constructed to restrict Palestinian travel.
With the Arabic phrase Ahlan Wa Sahlan—you are a part of my family—we have been welcomed into homes, offices, churches and mosques throughout the West Bank. Marshall shares this story of such radical hospitality: “We spent Thanksgiving in Bethlehem. To our surprise, our hosts prepared a traditional American Thanksgiving meal for us. Of course they also included many Palestinian dishes. They had to special order the turkey. They made us feel very special with their thoughtfulness.” Wael, our driver for our month-long visit, invited us to his house for dinner. Arriving there, we discovered the living room had been transformed into a large dining room. He and his wife had invited their entire family. They were so proud to have us meet them. His wife had prepared maqlubeh, a traditional Palestinian dish, and kanafeh, a traditional and popular dessert. The coffee was even more special. The coffee beans were roasted in the living room and Wael ground them using a wooden mortar and pistol set made by his grandfather. It was the best coffee we had ever had.
Yet another example of Palestinian hospitality was our visit to a student’s house in Hebron when our hosts eagerly climbed a tree in their courtyard to bring back an armful of pomegranates for us.
Steve, my pastor, said he vividly recalls the first time he and his wife, Jean, were introduced at a nonviolent leadership workshop I facilitated during a trip: “Before I knew what you said to them in Arabic, I could see their faces light up with warmth and recognition. They had been told I was pastor of the church that had raised the money for the workshop. They welcomed us into their hearts immediately. When we were last with them, I told them they had stolen our hearts, and we did not want them back. I have our group picture on the desk in my office, and it gives me joy each time I see it. Our month there was such a constant experience of being welcomed with open-hearted grace and hospitality that one-and-a-half year later, I still feel homesick for all of them.” Such memories are both heartwarming and heart wrenching for one of the students has since been harassed by Israeli soldiers and imprisoned because of his nonviolent actions. Radical hospitality is demonstrated everyday by Palestinians living under a harsh occupation. As followers of Jesus, we can support our brothers and sisters in Palestine. Please join us for the kick-off meeting of the Justice in Palestine and Israel Community during the Alliance’s 2011 Convocation. We will share specific actions we can take as individuals and congregations to show them Alliance of Baptists’ radical hospitality.
Jere Allen Al Amos Caroline Armijo Rebecca Askew & Nell Summerlin Reginald Avant Jim Avera Burton Bagby-Grose Dan & Janet Bagby April Baker & Deborah Lynn Jarrett Banks Joel Baucom Linda Benz David Bieniek Susan Blythe-Goodman John D. Blythe Kevin Brown John & SaraAnne Burgess Amy Butler Eric Cain Holmes Carlisle Peter Carman & Lynn Bodden Marty Carney Kenneth Cauthen David Cole Dorisanne Cooper Tiffany Cox Ruth Cramer Dorothy Cunningham Jennifer Dalton Andy & Beverly Davison
Gene Dewey Stan Dotson & Kim Christman Joseph Drozd John Duke Frank Ferguson Velma Ferrell Ann Files Sue Fitzgerald Janet Fluker Anne & Lewis Ford Wilma Foushee Marsha Garrison Connie Gates Everett & Rachel Gill Brian C. Graves & Beth Honeycutt Linda Green Gregory E. Griffey Leah Grundset Jeane Hackle Peter Haley Evelyn Hanneman Sandra S. Harrington Carl & Lucille Harris Linda Hart Green Michael Hester Sharon & Jim Hiett Meredith Holladay Jim & Jo Ellen Holmes Bill Hornbuckle Shirley Hubert Steven Hughes
Maggie Hurst William Jackson Helen Jones Margie Kelbel Michael & Joan Kellett James Kelsey Carol M. Kolsti Lyn and Mike Lang Candyce & Bill Leonard Philip Letsinger Madeleine Lewis Tracey Lopez Pamela Magee Basil Manly, IV Don Manning-Miller Marvin & Patty Marceron Lynelle Mason Beth McAllister Michelle McClendon Stephen R. McCorkle Claire McKeever-Burgett Edgar McKnight Mark Meeks Elizabeth Clay Mein Julie Merritt Lee Ken & Adrienne Meyers Claudia Moore Linda Moore Lee & Gerry Morris Emilie Morrison Beata Neal Paul L. Nelson
Erin Newton & Randall Lathan Damon C. Nix Nathan Parrish Mary Beth Beck Pearson Jim & Susan Pike Polly Polidoro Morgan & Peggy Sanderford Ponder Roger Prentice Jack Price Jan & Puff Puffenberger Bart Purdy Jason Ranke Leslie Raymer George & Susan Reed James Richardson Paul Richardson Robert Richardson Robert & Sue Sanders Linda Shaw Lenita J. Shumaker Dianne Smith Kristen Smith Nancy Smith R. D. & Varion Spear Marcia Sprinkle Evelyn Stagg Cecil & Elise Stevens Emily Stewart Charles D. Stratton Gordon Swan Sue Taylor
John & Nancy Thayer Joe Thomas Marcy Thomas Ruth Turk J. Brent & Nancy Walker C. Fred Werhan Gary West John C. Whatley III Cecil R. White Mark & Victoria White Charles W. Whitworth Courtney Willis Kimberly Wilson Wanda H. Wilson Sue & Warren Woolf Stephanie Wyatt & Adam DJ Brett Angela Yarber
$100 to $249 Brent Adams Ronnie Adams Samuel Adkins Robert E. Adrian Matthew J. & Sunny Alexander Bill Allen Jenny Arthur Carolyn Ashburn Barbara Atchley Esther Atteberry Royce W. Ballard Betty & Richard Barnett
Julie Barnett Jean K. Bartlett Erica Bell Eljee Bentley Joy Berger Doug & Marian Berky Jennie Plott Betton Ercell Binns Carol & Steve Bost Stephen Boyd Mary C. Bradley Jack & Shirley Brymer Betty Russell Buffum Paul D. Burnam Joseph Burnette, II John Burns Ashli Callaway Casey Campbell Dina Carroll Ward Carver Emily & Bob Cato Adriana Cavina Michael Champlin Robert Chapman Bruce Cheek Katherine Cheves Jean & Ed Christman Carole Cochran Mary Catherine Cole Walter Coleman, Jr. Lindsay Comstock David Connelly Thomas Conner William & Thelma Cooper Gary & Joanne Copeland Gail & Holland Coulter Diane R. Cox Henry Crouch
David Crum Benjamin Curry & Cody Sanders Bob & Linda Cyrus Anne C. Dahle Frank & Karen Dawkins Dan & Mary Carol Day Amy Jacks Dean & Russ Dean Joe & Carol Dean Deanna Deaton Lynn Litchfield Divers Patricia V. Dodge Ken & Sally Dodgson Raye Nell Dyer Preston & Faye Edwards Lauris M. Eek, Jr. Millard Eiland Gilbert Emmert Suzanne Franklin Martha Gale Lee & Chip Gallman Anne & Tedd Garner Darrell & Sammie Garner Jerry Gentry Donna Goddard Stephen & Peggy Gooch Len & Gerri Gradowski Rebecca L. Gurney Elizabeth Hagan Melissa Hale Stephanie & Mike Hamilton Warren Hammonds Paul & Linda Rae Hardwick James Harper, III Lynn Harper Flynn & Anne Harrell Walter Harrelson Robert & Holly Harris
Alma Hassell Greg Hathaway Kit & Todd Heifner Tiffany Henkel Robert E. Herndon James Hicks Larry & Hilda Highfill Diane & Dennis Hill J. Lee Hill, Jr. John & Margaret Hilpert Mary Hines Robbie Holland Jeanette Holt Cam Holzer Charliene Hooker & William L. Hamilton Edward T. Hooper Tracey L. Horton Charles & Jane Hosay David LaPorte Hunter James A. Hutchby Richard E. Ice Beverly Isley-Landreth Linda U. James Stacey Jaudon Bruce Jayne Matthew & Clare Johnson Kim Johnson Weyman Johnson David R. Julian Betsy Kammerdiener Robert Kerr Gerald Kersey Debra Kidd Bea Kirby Walker Knight Melissa Dawn Lamm Elaine & Dennis Lehr
Judy Lester Amy Lewis John Luft Grace E. Marquez Molly T. Marshall Marie Mason Moses E. Mason Carolyn & Louis Mathis Laura Mayo & Nicholas Stepp Tony McDade Earl & Barbara McLane Gene & Beth McLeod Clara Mercado Jillian D. Moore Karen Smith Moore Willis Moore Stacey Morgan Roy Moritz David Morton Linda Mulford Franklin W. & Marjorie L. Murdock Vikram Nambiar Randi Odom Karrie Oertli Kathryn Palen Calvin & Harriett Parker Jason Patrick Pat & Zelma Pattillo John Pendleton Aubin & Mark Petersen Elise T. Phillips Joe & Joan Phillips Hoyt & Lora Ponder Ross Prater Shanta Premawardhana Robert J. Redfearn Susan Rhymer
Larry Robert Peggy Sanders Joseph P. Schubert, Jr. Elmo & Hannah Scoggin Larry & Elaine Seberg Ken & Nancy Sehested Jennifer Sheffield Don & Susan Shelley Sheila Sholes-Ross Jerry & Pat Sims Cherie L. Smith Curtis Smith Tim Snell Samuel Sostre Laura Stephens-Reed Valerie Storms Jim Strickland & Rachel Lackey Elizabeth Stroop & Lu Stella Allison Tanner & Roehl Cinco Alan & Kimberly Taylor Joan Thatcher Betty & William Thompson John Thomson Bob & Elaine Tiller Malcolm Tolbert Rebecca Veazey & Richard Self Lillian C. Wachter Doug G. Watts Lori Watts Rebecca Waugh Lynda Weaver-Williams & Sammy Williams Timothy & Susan Wegner Amanda J. Wertz Nancy Willbanks Alan & Blanche Williams Ann Williams & Richard Ransom Nancy Plott Williams
Eunice Wilson Stan & Jennifer Wilson Susan Witty Frank Woggon Paula Womack Wanda J. Womack Valerie Wood & Lucille Perry Bill Woolf Dale Wratchford Stan Yancey Rose Young Brett & Carol Younger
$250 to $499 Z. Allen Abbott Rebecca & Bob Albritton Paul & Donna Alley Ravi A. Amin Nancy T. Ammerman Hayward & Carolyn Anderson Mary Andreolli Isam Ballenger Elizabeth Barnes Elizabeth Berry John E. Boyd Rosemary Brevard Linda Browne Wanda & John T. BurtonCrutchfield Martha Callahan Peggy Campolo Janet E. Clark & Janice Pope Sylvia Ileen Clements Mandy England Cole Jeanetta Cotman Jan Cox-Gedmark Sandra Cranford Roger H. & Mary Ruth Crook Todd Dubose
Ken Faulkner Welton & Judy Gaddy Liz Harris-Lamkin & James Lamkin Mel & Kim Hawkins Norman Hedrick Jr Robert & B.J. Herring Tami Higdon Jennifer Hornbuckle Barbara Ann & Carl Hughes Beth Jackson-Jordan & David Jordan Sandi John Stephen & Sandra Jolly Elianah Y. Jordan JoAnne Juett John W. Laney & Joan W. Yarborough Stephen Lemons Pat & Mike Levi Richard Lewallen Victor Craig Miller Lynne Mouchet Jim & Marianne Mullin Phill & Lisa Nall Anne Thomas Neil Nancy Osborne Ken & Genevieve Peterson Glenn & Sheila Plott John D. & Geneva P. Pope Terry-Thomas Primer Kristy & Larry Pullen Ken Ramsey Ray & Wylene Roan Virginia Santos David Shelby Michael C. Sibley Mark & Kiran Sigmon Siler
Doris & Weldon Simmons Bob & Nan Spinks Bill & Claydell Stone Vaughn Crowe Tipton Mica Togami James & Mary Vining Janice Wakefield Melissa Walker-Luckett Yin Watson David & Jane Waugh June Wilder Sarah & M.J. Williamson Alan Wright Tyanna Yonkers
$500 to $999 Karen Ballard Lisa Davis Brownlee Carol Burgess Mark Chamberlin Mary Jo Crawford Craig & Deborah DavisJohnson Joann & Jolly Davis Tim & Julie Dean Claudia Dickerson Peggy Foskett Marjorie & Bill George J. Carl Gregg Wayne Grinstead Bettie & Stan Hastey Michael Henson Ted Hodge Jim & Karen Hopkins Alan Hoskins Cliff & Leigh Johnson Ana Karim Margie Latham Leah Lonsbury
Michael Lucas Charles & Fannie Louise Maddux Lynn P. McLaughlin Rick Mixon Margaret Money Meredith Neill Carolyn L. Piper Tom & LeDayne Polaski Walter & Mary Lynn Porter Ann A. Quattlebaum David & Madonna Roberts Carson & Laura Rogerson Barry & Rosalie Rudert Mahan & Janice Siler Louise & Dick Stanford Kathy & Bill Stayton Eileen A. Stone G.J. & Kay Tarazi Margaret & John Tarpley The Wayne Miley Family Foundation Cynthia Thomas John & Betty Torbert Melanie Vaughn-West & Paul West Kenneth & Diana Veazey Donald & Virginia Voyles Richard & Elizabeth West Mark & Rebecca Wiggs
$1,000 to $2,499 Jo Ann Alley Bill Barr Tere Canzoneri Ann Charlescraft D. H. & Hannah Clark Carole Collins & Leslie Lowe Christopher Copeland
Donald W. & Jean C. Davis Paula & Paul Dempsey Brian Dixon Lil Galphin David Gooch Mary Jane Gorman & Duncan McArthur Fred & Margaret Grissom Randy Hall Watt Hamlett & Julie Price Hill & Cheryl Hammock Edwin K. Hampton Relma Hargus Robert Kidd Scott Landes Tim Moore & Magay Shepard Pat Parish Annette Pickard Ronald Potts Suzanne & Mac Smith Kenneth & Betty Stapp Mary Strauss Richard Tucker Lance Young
$2,500 and above Margaret Blevins & John Shippee Carol Blythe & Rick Goodman Sylvia & Gary Campbell Craig Henry Betty & Will Hodges Anita & David Massengill Daniel & Sharon Miles James T. Pollard Paul A. & Susan Richardson Jeffrey & Erin Sims Lila C. Stevens Brooks Wicker & Pat Hielscher
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