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CBF DECEMBER 2003

fellowship! C O O P E R AT I V E B A P T I S T F E L L O W S H I P

INSIDE

Churches Demonstrate True Spirit of Christmas

Texas Church Accepts ‘Missional Possible’

Offering Helps Most Neglected in Thailand

Virginia Children Impact Rural Poverty

Intentional Interim Ministry Assists Churches

WWW.CBFONLINE.ORG

Missions Vision of Houston Church Reaches around the Globe WHEN SOUTH MAIN BAPTIST CHURCH

marked its 100th anniversary in November,

there was much to celebrate, including a ministry-rich heritage and an innovative mission spirit that reaches from its neighborhood to throughout the world. The congregation can also celebrate the fact that five Cooperative Baptist Fellowship global missions field personnel call the Houston, Texas, church “home.” “The church has been involved in missions all of its life,” says David D’Amico, a former minister to internationals at South Main who now serves as one of CBF’s field personnel to the United Nations in New York with his wife, Ana. “Our missionary calling antedates [came after] our involvement with South Main Baptist Church, but it was reinforced by our 10 years of

service with the congregation,” he explains. Ana adds: “Every day I serve in New York City at the United Nations and in my neighborhood, I remember [continues p. 2]

Online Newsletter You can access the fellowship! newsletter online in a PDF format. Go to Newsstand/fellowship! newsletter at www.cbfonline.org.

Photos courtesy of South Main Baptist Church

South Main volunteers sort and pack shoes collected for Buckner Baptist Benevolences’ ‘Shoes for Orphan Souls’ program.

COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP’S MISSION: SERVING CHRISTIANS AND CHURCHES AS THEY DISCOVER AND FULFILL THEIR GOD-GIVEN MISSION.


GLOBAL MISSIONS & MINISTRIES 2

the years I was a member of South Main. I am grateful for this church. They have called the world to come, they have embraced the world and they have accepted the peoples of the world in their own home.” Aligned solely with the Fellowship, South Main has innovative missions in Houston, “big time,” according to its pastor, Steve Wells. The church is a pioneer in teaching English as a Second Language and a leader in creative international ministry. The congregation currently reaches out with programs such as SMILE, the South Main International Learning Experience, that shows the love of Jesus to immigrants and temporary visitors; Friends ‘n’ Deeds, a ministry offering support to patients at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and their families; and Sojourn House, where cancer patients and their families who come to the Texas Medical Center can rent an apartment for a nominal fee. Wells believes South Main’s strong involvement in missions is a result of the church doing a good job of developing mature Christians. “South Main is a place where people come to pray through, think through and wrestle through what God wants them to do,” he says, “so we get people who start to wonder, ‘Should I do something occupationally with my Christian faith?’ For some, the answer to that question has been that their daily work turns out to be the work of the church.”

Teens enjoy video games in the after-school program for young people in the neighborhoods surrounding South Main.

A South Main volunteer teaches needlepoint and cross stitch to participants in SMILE, the South Main International Learning Experience.

“I have experienced South Main as a church that has embraced other cultures and related to them as brothers and sisters in partnership,” Morgan explains. And to the Cayards, South Main has been the “tangible eviTell Your Story dence” of what they learned in seminary Let our staff know about ways that about what it means to you and your church are actively be church. engaged in the mission and “It is because of our ministries of the Fellowship. commitment to the local Contact Lisa Jones, managing editor, at ljones@cbfnet.org or church that we value (770) 220-1658. CBF’s approach to global missions,” Michelle says. “Global missions can only be effective when it is a partnership between sending and receiving churches. If our work does not build up the local church on both sides, it is less than it is called to be.” “As we begin this new assignment in China, we are mostly thrilled and thankful,” Bill says. “This is a dream we have been expecting for 17 years. We are grateful for the support of CBF churches that make it possible for us to do this work, and we are grateful for the support of family, friends and church that have given us their blessing and prayers to do this work.” f! * Name has been changed due to security concerns.

In addition to the D’Amicos, the three other South Main members who have answered the call to CBF Global Missions are: Sydney Morgan,* who has just finished language school in Spain and will soon begin work in North Africa; and Bill and Michelle Cayard, who have recently begun an assignment in China. All three agree that the 2,500-member church’s strong emphasis on missions partnership encouraged their decisions. C O O P E R AT I V E B A P T I S T F E L L O W S H I P

www.cbfonline.org

For more information about CBF Global Missions career opportunities, contact Tom Prevost at (662) 871-2444, tprevost@cbfnet.org, or Becky Buice Green at (770) 220-1624 or bbgreen@cbfnet.org. Or go to Missions/Involvement at www.cbfonline.org.

By contributing writer Gay Campbell, Brentwood, Tenn.


BUILDING COMMUNITY

Two Churches Demonstrate the True Spirit of Christmas “These are children who wouldn’t have much in the way of a Christmas present if it weren’t for churches and other groups stepping in to help them out,” says John Finley, senior minister at

Finley is referring to the yearly involvement of First Baptist, Savannah, with the Morningstar Treatment Services – an in-residence facility near Darien, Ga., housing 60 children diagnosed with mental retardation and other behavioral issues. “Essentially, we ask members to choose the name of a child, get sizes and go shopping,” Finley explains. “We generally buy the same items for everyone.” Finley says the gifts are then wrapped, placed under the Christmas tree in the church’s fellowship hall and delivered to Morningstar during the first part of December to be included in the gift-giving season. Another church-wide holiday effort will begin as soon as the Morningstar project concludes. For eight years, First Baptist, Savannah, has been involved in an ongoing partnership with Christians in Cuba, providing Spanish hymnals, teaching aids, Spanish/English books and worship-related items. Much needed medicine and medical supplies, impossible to get in the area, are often among the items provided. This year, preparation for the trip takes place during the Christmas season. Then in January 2004, a 10-person Partnership Mission Team will carry approximately 700 pounds of medical supplies and medicine to the Genesaret Baptist Church in the small Cuban town of Sancti Spiritus. “We have had some touching encounters with people there,” Finley recalls. “I remember meeting a young couple in 1997 that approached me looking for medicine for their newborn child diagnosed with cystic fibrosis – which is like a death sentence in Cuba.” Chip Reeves, assistant minister at First Baptist, Savannah, is an active participant in the seasonal ministries. “It sometimes feels like we don’t do enough, but it is this time of year that helps us understand that we are a missional church, actually accomplishing missions here together.” First Baptist Church, Kannapolis, N.C.

This Christmas, First Baptist Church in Kannapolis, N.C., seeks to be missional in its area by providing additional assistance to families affected by the 2003 closing of a

Curtis Lewis III photo

First Baptist Church, Savannah, Ga.

Children participate in a Sunday afternoon worship service at a Cuban church that meets in the home of one of its members.

local company headquartered in Kannapolis. When 7,000 employees in the community lost their jobs, First Baptist, Kannapolis, established an emergency food bank and school supply closet. For the holidays, pastor Tom Cabaniss asked congregation members Lynda and Melvin Rape to chair the church’s Christmas Toy Ministry, an effort to help struggling families celebrate Christmas. Rather than do a “give-away,” Melvin says the church opted to have a toy store, allowing parents to come in and shop for children at a greatly reduced price – paying pennies on the dollar. The proceeds from the toy store will then be reinvested in the food pantry. Melvin Rape says families are being added daily to the qualified shopper’s list, providing a conservative estimate of several hundred children benefiting from the Christmas store. “This overwhelming need creates opportunities for others to get involved,” he says. “We are relying on generous contributions to help us provide this ministry.” For more information on these projects: • First Baptist, Savannah: Contact the church at (912) 2342671, or go to www.fbc-sav.org. Updates on activities can be found in the online newsletter. • First Baptist, Kannapolis: Contact Melvin Rape at (704) 9321854 or the church at (704) 938-4697.

By staff writer Jo Upton www.cbfonline.org DECEMBER 2003

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BUILDING COMMUNITY

Texas Church Accepts ‘Missional Possible’ Through Community Outreach S O M E T I M E S T H E B E S T W AY T O S T AY P U T I S T O M O V E O U T .

Church of San Angelo, Texas, found while providing missional ministries that seek to be the presence of Christ both in the local community and in the global community of God’s world. The process meant dramatically boosting First Baptist’s involvement in the local community. It also meant thousands of eggs, hammers and paint brushes, heavy lifting – and even helping people pay for their gasoline. The church already had made a public commitment to remain downtown rather than relocate, indicating that members recognized that the area offered Christ-honoring ministry opportunities. So when discussions began in November 2002 on what it meant to be a true missional body of believers, the ideas began to flow freely. “First Baptist has a long history of missions Related Resources involvement,” Pastor Kyle Reese explains. “We THE FELLOWSHIP has several are involved directly in resources for churches wanting to ongoing mission projects explore the missional journey: in Peru, Brazil, Venezuela • The Missional Journey: Being and the Ukraine, in addithe Presence of Christ. Outlines tion to supporting misthe characteristics of missional sion work in the United churches. Includes a CD of the video, The Missional Journey: States and around the Being the Presence of Christ. world through prayer and (free, plus shipping) financial support.” • The Missional Journey Guide. Assists churches as they discover, claim and commit to the mission God has for them. ($29.95 for workbook, CD and binder; $19.95 for workbook only, plus shipping) Order from the CBF Resource Link at (888) 801-4223 or the CBF e-Store at www.cbfonline.org.

First Baptist volunteers repair and paint a house as part of the city of San Angelo’s annual Christmas in April project. C O O P E R AT I V E B A P T I S T F E L L O W S H I P

www.cbfonline.org

Photos courtesy of FBC, San Angelo

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That’s what First Baptist

The Fellowship But it soon Missional became apparent Church Initiative that the congregation’s local missions involvement didn’t match its global vision. “We realized we didn’t really know a lot of the people who lived all around us,” Reese says. “We started looking for some simple things that would let us become part of the normal traffic patterns of their lives.” So last spring, “Missions … with our community in mind” involved First Baptist members ages 18 to 85 in six projects: • repairing and painting two homes as part of the city’s annual Christmas in April project;

• filling 5,500 plastic eggs with donated candy for First Baptist’s first city-wide Easter Egg Hunt;

• making crafts and gifts for San Angelo’s House of Faith (a ministry to “at-risk” and unchurched children, youth and families) and preparing used Sunday school lessons for distribution throughout the community;

• packing clothes, medicine and other supplies into a 40-foot sea container bound for Peru;

• providing food for the volunteers; and,


BUILDING COMMUNITY

• in the most unusual effort, staffing a neighborhood gas station for two hours on a Saturday – not only cleaning windshields and pumping 2,686 gallons of gas, but also paying 25 cents of the cost of each gallon. (That’s $671.50 if you’re keeping score.) All expenses were covered by donations outside the regular church budget. There was no local publicity (except a sign about the discounted gasoline posted two hours in advance). Anyone who asked “why” was told, “this is a gift, no strings attached. We feel like God wants us to share with others because He shares with us.” Since April, different groups have continued the servant evangelism. In August, the university Sunday school department helped students move into the dorms at Angelo State University and passed out drinks and snacks. A men’s group formed to do home repair and upkeep for neighborhood residents in need of assistance. The next step is to open the church facilities for use by local nonprofit organizations. Major annual efforts are planned for Christmas and Easter. Reese described one church member’s response as typical. “He stood up and said, ‘We can stay within the walls of this church and die – or we can reach out to the community and grow.’ That wasn’t a great revelation – but

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Volunteers wash the windshield and pump gas for one of the drivers they served at a neighborhood gas station.

it was to him.” And missional members make up missional churches. f! For more information about the Fellowship’s Missional Church Initiative, contact Bo Prosser at (770) 220-1631 or bprosser@cbfnet.org, or Terry Hamrick at (770) 220-1615 or thamrick@cbfnet.org.

By contributing writer Craig Bird, San Antonio, Texas

Class Notes: News from Partner Schools Baptist Studies Program, Candler School of Theology, Emory University. The Baptist Studies program will offer the following educational opportunities in Atlanta next year: • May 6-7, 2004, Theology of Hope, featuring Jurgen Moltmann • Sept. 16-18, 2004, New Vision of Youth Ministries • Oct. 11-13, 2004, Role of Church in Health. For more information, contact David Key, director of the Baptist Studies program, at (404) 727-6350 or dkey@learnlink.emory.edu. Campbell University Divinity School. The divinity school will begin offering a Doctor of Ministry degree in January 2004.

Less than a year after Jimmie Suggs graduated from the divinity school, he became the first alumnus to create a scholarship. He and his wife, Janice, recently created a scholarship in honor of retired pastor Roger White and his wife, Mildred.

will include a missions trip to Haiti, Jan. 7-24, 2004. Students will minister alongside the Nzunga family, an American Baptist missionary family who were missionaries-in-residence at Central last year. Robert E. Johnson will coordinate the class.

Central Baptist Theological Seminary. The seminary is launching a Missional Church Institute led by Robert E. Johnson, associate professor of church history and missiology. The seminary recently named John O. Propert, a 1962 Central graduate, “Alumnus of the Year.” He has been an American Baptist pastor for more than 45 years. A special January term class

McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University. The theology school has established the Sylvan Hills Baptist Church Endowed Chair of Baptist History. The chair was endowed by the members of Sylvan Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta, using part of the funds received from the selling of the church’s property. The chair will be held by Wm. Loyd Allen, professor

of church history and spiritual formation at McAfee. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University. Todd Still has joined the Truett faculty as associate professor of Christian scriptures. He was formerly the Bob D. Shepherd Chair of New Testament Interpretation at the M. Christopher White School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University. The Divinity School, Wake Forest University. The Divinity School Spring Convocation has been scheduled for 11 a.m., Jan. 20, 2004, in Wait Chapel with James M. Dunn, adjunct professor of Christianity and public policy, as the keynote speaker.

www.cbfonline.org DECEMBER 2003


GLOBAL MISSIONS & MINISTRIES

Missions Field Personnel Serve Most Neglected Alongside Northern Thailand Churches A LT H O U G H A S C A N I O A N D YA N I R A P E G U E R O

live and work in Northern Thailand,

while Annette Ellard lives and works in Kentucky, all three share a common 6

bond: a deep love and affection for the Karen and Lahu people groups. Both people groups have two significant similarities: dire physical needs and an animistic religion that attributes conscious life to objects in and phenomena of nature. The Pegueros are Fellowship global missions field personnel working alongside the Karen and Lahu people in Northern Thailand, hoping to minister to both their physical and religious needs through medical ministry. One of the populations the Pegueros work among is youth hostels supported by local Thai churches. “In those villages where they [the Karen and Lahu people] are, there is no school, and mainly these children have to come from their villages to the city where the school is located,” Ascanio explains. “The church is ministering to those people as they build a place for them to stay as they go to school. “There in the hostel, they not only receive love but also receive a place to sleep, a place to live,” Ascanio adds. “Together with that, they will have a meal, they will learn the Bible, and they will also learn things about their own culture, including their own language.” Painting one of these hostels on a missions trip with Louisville’s Crescent Hill Baptist Church was Ellard’s first contact with the Karen people. It was then that the children Annette Ellard spends time with a young girl at the House of Love in Thailand. The House of Love, a part of the Health Project for Tribal People, is home to hill tribe women and children infected with HIV or who have been orphaned by HIV.

captured her heart. “The Karen of Northern Thailand are now my Jerusalem,” says Ellard, referring to Acts 1:8, where Jesus tells his followers to share the gospel in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and everywhere in the world. “They may not be closest to me in geographical terms,” Ellard continues, “but they’re certainly closest to me in terms of my concern, my love and my passion for those people.” The theme for the Fellowship’s 2003-04 Offering for Global Missions is “Everyone … Everywhere, Being the Presence of Christ.” As the Pegueros work alongside the Karen and Lahu people, they are careful to respect their native culture. “We believe that the Holy Spirit can work in our brothers and sisters and can envelope a church according to God’s will, and according to their own culture. So, instead of coming to lead them, we have come to walk by their side in the ministry that God has called them to do,” Ascanio emphasizes. Through it all, the Pegueros believe that prayer is the foundation of their ministry. “Through prayers, God gives us vision. Through prayers, God talks to us. So people praying [for us] will help us find solutions to our problems,” Ascanio says. So what does a world without borders look like? “Just stretch your arms as far as you can to minister to all the people that you can,” Ascanio says. f! Volunteer opportunities to serve in Thailand with the Pegueros are in development. Contact the CBF Global Missions Office – Raleigh for updates on these opportunities at (877) 856-9288 (toll free), (919) 754-8649 or volunteer@cbfonline.org. Go to www.destinationmissions.net for additional volunteer opportunities.

Marianne Taylor photo

For more information about the Offering for Global Missions, click on the “Offering for Global Missions” button at www.cbfonline.org or call (770) 220-1653. Use the contribution envelope in this issue to enable the Offering to meets its $6.1 million goal. Please mark your check “Offering for Global Missions.”

C O O P E R AT I V E B A P T I S T F E L L O W S H I P

By contributing writer Amy Walker, Atlanta www.cbfonline.org


GLOBAL MISSIONS & MINISTRIES

Missionary Kids Face Same Challenges as Other Teens

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Milton Womack photo

T H E Y M AY H AV E T R AV E L E D T H E W O R L D , but many teenage missionary kids (MKs) think of themselves as no different from teens whose parents don’t serve on the missions field. “We watch movies, go to the mall, drink coffee, and yep, ... we even get in trouble, sometimes,” says 16-year-old Alyssa Aldape, whose parents serve as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship global missions field personnel in India. Though they may face the typical challenges of teenagers, children of field personnel have unique opportunities – related to travel, different languages and new cultures – and specialized needs. “They are kids,” emphasizes Barbara Baldridge, CBF Global Missions co-coordinator. “They are not official field personnel from the Global Missions office perspective,” she adds. “We’re committed to providing resources for their education and for their physical and mental health,” Baldridge says. The Fellowship helped meet those needs through a recent week-long retreat attended by 25 MK teenagers. “I could relate to all the campers, because they knew what I was going through,” Alyssa says. The Bible studies and MK discussions were thoughtprovoking, says Faith Shaw, who enjoyed spending time with other teens during the retreat. “Some of the best parts were just watching movies, and also just hanging out before we had to go to sleep,” says the 15-year-old whose parents serve in Macedonia. While CBF Global Missions does not treat MKs as official young missionaries, some of the children and teenagers have their own ministries. “I love to sing and dance and I’ve always loved being on stage,” says Christen “Sissi” Green, who belongs to a contemporary Christian Belgian singing group. “So being able to share my faith in ways that I love is the summit of happiness for me.” The hardest part of being an MK is not knowing where you belong, says the 17-year-old whose parents serve in Belgium. Sissi, who spent her first seven years in Africa, has spent all of her teenage years in Belgium. “I feel part American, but when I go to the States, I don’t fit in,” she says. “I don’t quite fit here in Belgium, because I’m from America.” But despite some of the drawbacks of living between cultures, Sissi says she wouldn’t change a thing. “I have learned to disagree with a culture or religion as well as understand, love and respect them,” she says.

Lindsay (left) and Alesha Dawson, whose parents serve in Russia, embrace after finishing a boat tour in Prague during an MK retreat.

CBF Global Missions structure includes a Member Care counselor who relates directly with children of field personnel and their families. Milton Womack, Fellowship associate coordinator for Member Care, offers suggestions for churches and individuals who want to help meet the needs of children of field personnel. They can pray specifically for MKs, “adopt” an MK who goes to college by providing encouragement and affirmation, and provide educational support for MKs in non-U.S. or home-schooling situations. Children and teens also can provide personal contact with their MK peers. Womack concludes by echoing the sentiments of the young people: “Our MKs are kids just like all kids, but [they] have a maturity from being part of the CBF missions family that sets them apart in a positive way.” f! For more information about providing support for MKs, contact Milton Womack at (281) 395-3759 or mwomack@cbfnet.org. The Fellowship’s January 2004 missions education curriculum highlights the children of Fellowship field personnel. (Annual subscription: adult and youth, $20; children and preschool, $80. Shipping will be charged.) To order, contact the CBF Resource Link at (888) 801-4223.

By Lisa M. Jones, CBF Communications, and staff reports

www.cbfonline.org DECEMBER 2003


“M I N I S T R Y D O E S N ’ T H AV E T O B E L O N E LY, ” says Courtney Krueger, pastor at the First Baptist Church of Pendleton, S.C. “It is possible to drop the masks – and any competition we might ordinarily feel as clergy – and actually develop a community of people who love and understand you.” Krueger’s participation in an all-clergy Companions in Christ group – a 28-week small group spiritual formation resource from Upper Room Ministries – started last year as part of a successful Cooperative Baptist Fellowship pilot group. “Clergy are in need of support and connection to other clergy. Many of them are isolated,” says Eileen CampbellReed, CBF spiritual formation consultant. “When we offered a way, a structure for them to connect to each other through Companions, they did – quite hungrily.” “Companions is really well done,” Krueger explains.

Participants in the First Baptist, Pendleton, peer learning group meet in the "picnic house" during warmer months.

Spiritual Formation Resources “I COMPLETED Companions in

available for small groups:

Christ. It was a great experience. What should I do now?” If you have completed the spiritual formation resource and are looking for another small group resource, or guidance for a personal devotional practice that will nourish your spiritual life, you may want to consider these resources:

• The Way of Forgiveness* (8 weeks). Focuses on forgiveness as understood in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. (participant’s book: $12 , leader’s guide: $8)

FOR SMALL GROUPS Two additional resources in the Companions series are now

C O O P E R AT I V E B A P T I S T F E L L O W S H I P

• The Way of Blessedness* (9 weeks). Focuses on living in the reign of God as understood in the Beatitudes. (participant’s book: $12, leader’s guide: $8)

www.cbfonline.org

Photos courtesy of Courtney Krueger

FAITH FORMATION 8

Companions in Christ, Peer Learning Groups Provide Freedom from Isolation for Clergy

Members of the First Baptist Church of Pendleton peer learning group started out as an all-clergy Companions in Christ group.

“They help you ‘get your foot in the water’ before you are asked to reveal too much. Then, in the fifth week, they ask you to share your faith stories.” It was during this sharing that Krueger says their group was “absolutely solidified.” “We didn’t give ‘Sunday school’ answers at that point,” he continues. “We really went deep and took risks, revealing things we hadn’t told many others. That week made the group.” As the Companions study concluded, the group made the decision to remain together, reluctant to end what they now considered a valuable spiritual bond. An offer to participate in the newly formed Fellowship peer learning networks was the perfect answer. • Weavings reading group. Focuses on the articles of the bi-monthly spiritual journal and encourages group members to share ways the content provides openings into their own life stories and God's presence and work in those stories. (6 issues, 1 year, $24) FOR INDIVIDUALS • Creating a Life with God: The Call of Ancient Prayer Practices by Daniel Wolpert • On the Way to Bethlehem: Reflections on Christmas for

Every Day in Advent by Hilary McDowell • A Guide to Prayer for All God's People by Rueben P. Job & Norman Shawchuck (Prices vary.) All items are available from Upper Room by calling (800) 972-0433 or visiting www.upperroom.org. * Items available from the CBF Resource Link. To order, call (888) 801-4223 or visit the CBF e-Store at www.cbfonline.org. Shipping will be charged.


The First Baptist Church of Pendleton peer learning group includes: (seated, l-r) Mary Frances Thompson, Jack Couch, Marcia Stow, (standing, l-r) Ellen Sechrest, Mark Wise, Marcy Mynatt, Courtney Krueger, Eddie Fort, Beverly Greer.

Hamrick says the positive experiences of these two groups define the primary goal of the peer learning networks: “We want to provide a community for folk to be in, addressing the loneliness/isolation issue and providing continuing education and support.” f! To learn more about peer learning networks, contact Terry Hamrick at (770) 220-1615 or thamrick@cbfnet.org. For more information about Companions in Christ, call Upper Room Ministries at (800) 972-0433 or go to www.companionsinchrist.org.

By staff writer Jo Upton For more information about becoming part of a “Spiritual Formation Network,” watch upcoming issues of fellowship!

Fellowship Endorses New Chaplains, Pastoral Counselors THE FELLOWSHIP recently endorsed 18 chaplains and pastoral

counselors. The Fellowship now has a total of 352 endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors. The following individuals were endorsed recently: HOSPICE CHAPLAINS: Richard E. Atkinson Jr., Odyssey Healthcare, LaGrange, Texas; J. Rodney Bolejack, VistaCare Hospice, Temple, Texas HOSPITAL CHAPLAINS: Julia T. Cadenhead, Department of Veterans Affairs, Pensacola, Fla.; Laura A. Mannes, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Pine Bluff, Ark.; B. Wayne Morris, Comanche County Memorial Hospital, Lawton, Okla.; Kevin J. Park, St. Joseph Hospital, Bellingham, Wash., and Washington Army National Guard; Carl N. Price, St. Thomas Hospital, Nashville, Tenn.; Peter D. Stephens, Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center, Hazard, Ky., and U.S. Army Reserve; H. Jackson Younts, Pee Dee Regional Center, South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, Florence, S.C. MILITARY CHAPLAINS: Jeffrey L. Cantrell, U.S. Air Force, Austin, Texas; John T. Johns, U.S. Navy, Mayport, Fla.; John Mark Ritchey, U.S. Air Force Reserve, Lexington, Texas; Julie M. Rowan, U.S. Army, Fort Gordon, Ga.; Arthur L. Wiggins, U.S. Navy and Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, Va.; Matthew S. Wysocki, U.S. Army, Fort Gordon, Ga. PROFESSIONAL CHAPLAINS: Gwyen A. Driskill-Dunn, board certified chaplain, Association of Professional Chaplains, Fort Worth, Texas; John D. Emmart, board certified chaplain, Association of Professional Chaplains, Stoughton, Wis.; Bethany L. McLemore, fellow, American Association of Pastoral Counselors; pastoral counselor, Pastoral Counseling Center of the Roanoke Valley Inc., Roanoke, Va. For more information on chaplaincy and pastoral counseling, contact George Pickle at (770) 220-1617 or gpickle@cbfnet.org.

www.cbfonline.org DECEMBER 2003

FAITH FORMATION

Terry Hamrick, CBF leadership development coordinator, says the peer learning groups – part of the Initiative for Ministerial Excellence, a Lilly Endowment funded program – has allowed participants to remain “connected.” “Their need to be together in a group, even after the Companions experience, was not satisfied,” Hamrick says. “The need for mutual support to avoid the isolation [among clergy] is the overriding factor here. They valued the ‘group-ness,’ fellowship and togetherness – needs the peer learning groups are trying to address.” Hamrick says the time spent together during Companions will accelerate the positive effects of the peer learning networks. “These groups already have a high level of trust. They will be able to go right into more difficult subjects, areas of real need or concern.” Beth L. McConnell, associate pastor for education at Greenlawn Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C., also participated in an all-clergy Companions group that remained together. “We just did not want to disband [after Companions],” McConnell says. “It was such a good experience for us. It is very difficult to come together as ministers and learn to be vulnerable with each other and move beyond just the information side of small groups.” McConnell feels this type of support is often missing among the clergy. “In our Baptist churches, we know how to have wonderful Sunday school classes, support groups and missions, but to be on spiritual journey together – where we share our faith walk and relationship with Christ – I’m not sure we’ve done that in quite the same way that Companions has led us to do.” McConnell says the offer to participate in a peer learning network was “perfect timing,” providing encouragement for the group to remain intact.

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GLOBAL MISSIONS & MINISTRIES

Gifts of Virginia Children Impact Lives through Partners in Hope A L I T T L E B O Y N A M E D J O H N , attending Vacation Bible School at Bon Air Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., puts a crumpled dollar bill into an offering plate. Weeks later, on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, a child checks out a book from a church library. How are these two children, nearly a continent apart, tied together? Thanks to the generosity of John and others at Bon Air, nearly $1,500 was raised through a special offering for Partners in Hope, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s rural poverty initiative. In turn, $250 was given to establish a library where Native American children can go to learn. Partners in Hope is the Fellowship’s 20-year missions commitment to join forces with people in some of the poorest counties in the United States as they change their quality of life. Celebrating its third anniversary, Partners in Hope has conducted ministries and established partnerships in eight counties across the U.S., with inroads currently being made into four more, the latest of these Shannon and Todd counties in South Dakota. Upon hearing of the Partners in Hope initiative, Lucy Dorr, associate pastor for children’s ministries at Bon Air Baptist Church, says she thought it would be enthusiastically supported by her church. John’s response was just one of many. “One of our teachers got a note from John’s mother,” Dorr says. “In it, she wrote that their family didn’t have a lot of money, but John had been

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saving his dollar for a long time. He wanted to give his dollar to help another child who needed it.” With matching funds from the Partners in Hope budget, the Bon Air Vacation Bible School donation grew to $3,000 and was shared not only with Rosebud Reservation but also five other communities where the following initiatives took place:

• 35 children in Kentucky received clothes and school supplies.

• Summer ministries were supported for children and youth in Perry County, Ala.

• Aid was provided for children and youth ministry development in Mississippi.

• A new toy-lending library was furnished in Arkansas. • Housing restoration was funded for a family in Texas. In South Dakota, in addition to the gift to establish the church library on the Rosebud Reservation in Shannon County, money was given for the networking of computers for youth in GED classes and learning job skills on the Pine Ridge Reservation in Todd County. In both counties, where the population is primarily Native American, the unemployment rate is 80 percent and nearly 45 percent of the people live below the poverty line. f! By contributing writer Bob Perkins Jr., Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Cookies Can Make a Difference Girl Scout Leads Project for AIDS Ministry

Courtesy of Steve Johnson

TEN-YEAR-OLD Malory Johnson, a member of Central Baptist Church of Bearden in Tennessee, became aware of HIV and AIDS through an educational program at church last December in response to World AIDS Day. Having participated in several projects working with Samaritan Ministry – a church ministry to individuals with HIV/AIDS in the Knoxville area – Malory began connecting human faces to the disease. As a Girl Scout, Malory wanted to use the annual cookie sale to help those with AIDS. Each year, Troop 262 participates in a community project called the “Gift of Caring” – allowing those who buy cookies to purchase an extra box to be given to a local charity. Malory explained the work being

C O O P E R AT I V E B A P T I S T F E L L O W S H I P

www.cbfonline.org

done through Samaritan Ministry to her troop. The girls agreed to the project, ultimately selling 60 boxes of cookies that were included in the ministry’s regular monthly food delivery to people with HIV/AIDS. Malory’s parents, Glenda and Steve Johnson, say Malory has “a sincere heart for community service.” Working as church youth leaders for more than 10 years, the Johnsons exposed her to community needs by involving her in youth group ministries. “Malory learned the value of helping others as a ‘tag-a-long’ on the projects,” Glenda says. “We are proud of her willingness to make a difference.”

By staff writerJo Upton.


T H E L O S S O F A L O N G T I M E PA S T O R can happen to

any congregation. During this uncertain time, many churches improve congregational health, while establishing the basis for a meaningful relationship with their next pastor, through an intentional interim ministry. Offered through the Center for Congregational Health in Winston-Salem, N.C., the intentional interim ministry is a five-step program taking 12 to 18 months and explained on their Web site as “a process that guides a congregation to explore its history, decision making, denominational relationships and core identity before the congregation authorizes the search for a new pastor.” First Baptist Church of Dalton, Ga., had been searching for a new pastor for nearly two years when the decision was made to contact the Center for Congregational Health. Through the intentional interim program, Roger Lovette was called as interim pastor. Paula Batts, licensed marriage and family therapist and member of First Baptist, describes the program as “therapy for the church.” “Our church staff was so weary,” Batts explains. “The extra work that senior pastors usually do, like funerals and weddings, our church had to do.” Batts notes that the church had excellent guest speakers to supply the pulpit, but that the church needed more than a “great 11 o’clock corporate hour of worship.” “We needed someone on-site during the week,” Batts adds. “We needed to see the lights on in the senior pastor study.” Batts feels that Lovette provided the spiritual anchor and direction the congregation needed during his ministry, preparing the church to work alongside new pastor Bill Wilson when he stepped into the pulpit this August. Wieuca Road Baptist Church in Atlanta is presently

Fellowship Interim Pastor Network “CHURCHES NEED not despair

when they become pastorless – there is an active network in CBF available to help identify true Baptists who can serve as pastors,” says Bob Beck, national chair for the Fellowship’s Interim Pastor Network (IPN). Beck, a retired pastor in Fort

Worth, Texas, has worked as national chair for IPN for three of the four years since the network began. “CBF’s Interim Pastor Network works in each state where we have a major presence,” Beck says. “We are proactive, watching for churches that find themselves without a

involved in the intentional interim ministry. Having determined two years ago to have a primary relationship with the Fellowship, Wieuca used the time devoted to examining denominational ties to strengthen their existing association. “[Wieuca] had already taken a pro-CBF stance,” says Charles Horton, Wieuca’s intentional interim pastor. “So we decided to reinforce the present relationship and educate our people as to what it is about.”

the interim gets there, things begin “Onceto settle in. People feel continuity and the anxiety begins to drop. ” — L E S R O B I N S O N , V I C E P R E S I D E N T, C E N T E R F O R C O N G R E G A T I O N A L H E A LT H

Horton served as pastor for nearly 23 years at College Park Baptist Church in Orlando, Fla., before becoming part of the intentional interim team. He says congregational feedback on the process “has been excellent.” Les Robinson, vice president for the Center for Congregational Health and manager of interim ministry resources, says the center has trained slightly more than 1,400 ministers for the interim program. “Once the interim gets there, things begin to settle in,” Robinson says. “People feel continuity and the anxiety begins to drop. They can then concentrate on finding a pastor in agreement with the congregational mission.” f! For more information on the intentional interim ministry, contact Les Robinson at (336) 716-9722 or blrobins@wfubmc.edu. Or go to www.healthychurch.org.

By staff writer Jo Upton pastor, then providing names and resumes of potential interims.” Network volunteers serve in various geographic locations. Fellowship congregations or individuals interested in the process can find out who is in charge of the IPN program in that area by contacting their local Fellowship state or regional office.

Beck concludes that IPN is always concerned about the full-time pastor called to minister within each church, but stresses that “our stated purpose is to recommend good interim pastors.” For more information about the Interim Pastor Network, contact Bob Beck at (817) 294-5511 or rjbeck@flash.net.

www.cbfonline.org DECEMBER 2003

NETWORKING/BUILDING COMMUNITY

Intentional Interim Ministry Helps Strengthen Congregations

11


CBF LEADERSHIP 12

CBF Coordinating Council Receives Good Report on Key Initiatives A F T E R T W O Y E A R S O F F O C U S on finances, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Coordinating Council was able to focus on ministries and initiatives in its October deliberations in Atlanta. “We had a very productive meeting and left energized after hearing how our staff and missions personnel are being the presence of Christ where they serve,” said the Fellowship’s moderator, Cynthia Holmes of St. Louis, Mo. “The meeting inspired Council members to go and do likewise.” The Fellowship’s 72-member Council was led in devotions and heard reports from CBF Global Missions during each of the plenary sessions. The reports came from regional missions team leaders representing work in Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East, North America and Asia. “Our role in CBF Global Missions is to fan the flames of passion for missions,” said Barbara Baldridge, co-coordinator of CBF Global Missions. The Fellowship’s national coordinator, Daniel Vestal, brought a report on progress on such key issues as finances, growth and collaborative partnerships around the world. “We are gaining consensus around our vision – being the presence of Christ,” Vestal said. “We will fulfill our vision as we, as individuals, are responsive and responsible,” Vestal said. “We will fulfill our vision as we, as a fellowship, collaborate as community. Most importantly, we will fulfill our vision with an absolute dependence on God.” In addition to the Baptist World Alliance, which granted the Fellowship membership at its July meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Vestal reported meaningful collaboration with the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, American Baptist Churches in the USA, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Baptist General Association of Virginia, the North Carolina Baptist State Convention, the Washington D.C. Baptist Convention and Canadian Baptist groups, among others. Council Finance Committee Chair Philip Wise of Lubbock, Texas, reported that through the first three months of this fiscal year, revenues are keeping pace with the budget. He also said the staff is monitoring revenue closely and is prepared to make adjustments as the year progresses. f!

By Lance Wallace, CBF Communications

C O O P E R AT I V E B A P T I S T F E L L O W S H I P

www.cbfonline.org

Coordinating Council Business THE COORDINATING Council’s other business included the following action:

• The Council adopted the finance committee recommendation of setting a notto-exceed figure for the fiscal year 2004-05 budget at $16,008,000. Staff has begun budget planning for the next fiscal year and will propose a budget to the Council’s finance committee in December. The finance committee will bring a recommendation to the Council in February 2004, and the General Assembly will adopt a budget in June 2004. • Personnel Committee Chair Elizabeth Barnes of Raleigh, N.C., announced the personnel committee is evaluating the scope of the Resource Center Coordinator position, seeking input from staff, Coordinating Council members and state and regional membership. The personnel committee will present recommendations to the Council when it meets in February. The search will begin following that meeting. The position became vacant when Reba Cobb resigned

to accept a position elsewhere. • Michele Deriso, the Fellowship’s associate coordinator for congregational life, announced that the theme of the 2004 General Assembly in Birmingham, Ala., June 24-26, will be “Being the Presence of Christ… Today… Tomorrow… Together.” For more information about next year’s General Assembly, see p. 15 of this issue. • The partner study committee met for the first time. Chair Charles Cantrell of Mountain View, Mo., reported the group began by defining the questions the committee needs to address and set the parameters for the committee. • Phill Martin of Richardson, Texas, past moderator and chair of the 18-member nominating committee, announced the committee will seek input from the Fellowship for the next moderator-elect. Bob Setzer, pastor of First Baptist Church in Macon, Ga., is the current moderator-elect.


FELLOWSHIP FARE

Fellowship Roundup News from CBF’s states, regions and national offices GEORGIA

MISSOURI

C O O P E R AT I V E B A P T I S T

O R B I T M I N I S T R I E S of St. Louis is

Fellowship of Georgia has started a Vocational Awareness Initiative with the help of David Odom of the Center for Congregational Health. Eleven Georgia ministers, led by Stephen Cook, pastor of First Baptist Church, Morrow, met as a group for the first time. The group is under the supervision of Devita Parnell, CBF of Georgia associate coordinator for congregational life, who led an initial meeting to seek ways to encourage congregations to recognize and nourish individuals who are called into the pastoral ministry. Natalie Nicholas Adams and Tony Adams are leading a CBF of Georgia church start in Cumming called Bannister Creek Church. Natalie serves as pastor and leader/ trainer of the ministry team, and Tony serves as leader/trainer of the launch team. For more information, go to www.bannistercreekchurch.com. North Broad Baptist Church in Rome recently called Tony and Katrina Brooks as co-pastors. Milledge Avenue Baptist Church in Athens has begun raising funds for a joint Habitat for Humanity house with Congregation Children of Israel and the Al-Huda Islamic Center in Athens. Construction on the project, named “Abraham Habitat House,” is scheduled to start in early 2004.

planning a new Hispanic church in conjunction with the Fellowship and the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas as part of their partnership to start 400 Hispanic churches during the next eight years. CBF Missouri continues to support the work of Pueblo De Dios, a new Hispanic church start in Columbia.

NORTH CAROLINA C B F O F N O R T H C A R O L I N A began

Dec. 22-26 CBF Resource Center Closed The Fellowship Resource Center will be closed for the Christmas holiday. The Fellowship staff wish you a wonderful holiday. Feb. 18-21 current Retreat Wilshire Baptist Church, Dallas Speakers: George Mason, Diana Garland Information: www.currentonline.org or call Mary McCoy, (770) 220-1637 Feb. 29-March 3 True Survivor Gathering for Christian Educators Providence Baptist Church, Charleston, S.C. Cost: $50 per person, plus lodging Speaker: Dan Bagby of BTSR Contact: Toni Draper, (770) 220-1654, tdraper@cbfnet.org, or Bo Prosser, (770) 2201631, bprosser@cbfnet.org For a complete schedule of events, go to Community/Calendar at www.cbfonline.org.

Courtesy of Cullowhee Baptist Church

offering children’s retreats in November and has two more events scheduled in February. The retreats cost $20 and are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 6 at First Baptist Church, Raleigh, and on Feb. 28 at First Baptist Church, Hickory. The cost includes a long-sleeved T-shirt, games, Bible study, music and a special guest speaker. Visit www.cbfnc.org/youth for more information.

Coming Attractions

KENTUCKY N E W C H U R C H S TA R T Anchor

Baptist Church in Richmond, Ky., recently started work on a building. Currently meeting on the Eastern Kentucky University campus, Anchor is led by retired U.S. Army chaplain Ron Porter.

N O R T H C A R O L I N A : After hearing about the need for a tractor at a North African orphanage, the children of Cullowhee Baptist Church in Cullowhee decided to ask the congregation to help them raise money to buy one. During the children’s time in worship for several weeks, the children passed the collection plate for the tractor. The children raised $255.59 and presented a check to CBF of North Carolina Missions Coordinator Jim Fowler during a special presentation.

www.cbfonline.org DECEMBER 2003

13


FELLOWSHIP FARE

TENNESSEE FIVE MEMPHIS-AREA CHURCHE S are working together on a Habitat

14

for Humanity house, the 250th to be built in Memphis. The churches are First Baptist Church, Second Baptist Church, Union Avenue Baptist Church, East Acres Baptist Church and Trinity Baptist Church.

TEXAS C B F T E X A S H A S F O U N D a home at the Ruble Community Center in San Antonio. CBF Texas Coordinator Rick McClatchy can be reached there at (210) 732-2225 or at cbftex@aol.com.

CBF Designated Giving at All-Time High A R E C E N T LY C O M P L E T E D A U D I T

of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s fiscal year 2002-03 finances by its independent public accountant showed revenues for the fiscal year reached an all-time high of $24.5 million. Of that, $20.8 million came from churches and individuals while the remainder came from a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., resource sales and other earnings. Total revenue increased by 15.1 percent compared to the previous fiscal year with contributions from individuals increasing by 18 percent and contributions from churches falling by 2.1 percent. While total revenue for the year was at an all-time high, undesignated contributions, which came in at $9.03 million, were flat compared to the previous fiscal year. The Offering for Global Missions raised $5.32 million, short of the $6.1 million goal but on par with the previous year. Softness in these two areas resulted in the Fellowship dipping into reserves by $513,000. The Fellowship maintains operating reserves of $8.3 million. The Fellowship is also proceeding with a plan to restore the $513,000 to the reserves C O O P E R AT I V E B A P T I S T F E L L O W S H I P

www.cbfonline.org

as contributions grow during the next few years. Designated contributions have experienced a 28 percent increase over 2001-02. To break down the designated category even further, the Offering for Global Missions brought in $5.3 million during this fiscal year, roughly the same as in 2001-02. Other designated gifts jumped by 52 percent, from $6.04 million in fiscal 2001-02 to $9.2 million in fiscal 2002-03. This increase is attributed to the grant from the Lilly Endowment and an anonymous $5 million gift. “We are committed to being the presence of Christ in the world,” said Daniel Vestal, national coordinator of the Fellowship. “We do this through our missionaries around the world and through many, creative and innovative ministries. We also do this through our partners. As the economy provides us with windows of opportunity to improve our ministry and sharpen our focus, we will continue to look for ways to strengthen our relationship with our partners and allow them to share in the ups and downs of doing ministry in uncertain economic times.” The Fellowship has also begun several new projects under the lead-

Vol. 13, No. 8 CBF COORDINATOR • Daniel Vestal EDITOR • Ben McDade MANAGING EDITOR • Lisa M. Jones PHONE • (770) 220-1600 FAX • (770) 220-1685 E-MAIL • fellowship@cbfnet.org WEB SITE • www.cbfonline.org

fellowship! is published 8 times a year in Jan./Feb., Mar., April/May, June/July, Aug., Sept./Oct., Nov., Dec. by The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Inc., 3001 Mercer University Dr., Atlanta, GA 30341-4115. Periodicals postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. USPS #015-625 POSTMASTER:

Send address changes to “fellowship!” Newsletter, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, P.O. Box 450329, Atlanta, GA 31145-0329

ership of Vestal and a new growth team. Because of this work, the Fellowship remains optimistic about future growth.

CBF Year-end Contributions Increase/ decrease

Fiscal Year

2001-02

2002-03

Contributing Churches

1,715

1,819

6.1%

Church Contributions

$13,929,598

$13,640,915

-2.1%

Contributing Individuals

3,128

3,773

20.6%

Individual Contributions

$6,104,366

$7,205,837

18.0%

CBF Ministries (undesignated) $8,943,419

$9,031,800

1.0%

Designated Giving*

$11,358,291

$14,522,428

27.9%

Total Contributions

$20,301,710

$23,554,228

16.0%

Resources & Earnings

$1,002,964

$961,556

-4.1%

Total Revenues

$21,304,674

$24,515,784

15.1%

* includes Offering for Global Missions and Lilly Foundation grant (2002-03)


FELLOWSHIP FARE

CBF Church Benefits Board Achieves Milestones T H E C H U R C H B E N E F I T S B O A R D (CBB) of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship achieved several notable milestones in the recently concluded fiscal year, including surpassing $10 million in total assets, increasing membership from 300 to 440 and growing from 80 participating employers to 134. “This is real growth, and we’re excited about the prospects for this year,” said Gary Skeen, CBB president. “Everyone continues to wonder about the direction of the markets and the impact that will have on their retirement. The good news for church staffs is that CBB is holding its own and providing access to retirement plans and medical coverage that they may not have had before.” Through a partnership with the American Baptist Churches USA benefits arm, known as the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board (MMBB), the Fellowship has been able to offer competitive benefits packages to those in ministerial vocations, and many times, at a considerable cost savings. “Nobody particularly wanted to insure a group of just six full-time staff members, and while we managed to get medical coverage through another company, the premiums went up 25 percent after the first year,” said John Finley, pastor of First Baptist Church, Savannah, Ga. “Right at that moment, the option through MMBB opened up and we literally took $25,000 out of the next year’s budget in savings on the medical premium alone. That was $25,000 that we were able to put toward a host of better causes and ministries.” CBB was strengthened in the spring by a $500,000 designated gift, part of a $5 million gift to the Fellowship that was designated primarily for global missions and church starts. In April, total assets exceeded $10 million and now stand at more than $11.6 million. For the calendar year 2002, rollover dollars exceeded $2 million, and monthly billings have exceeded $2 million. Skeen expects continuing growth, especially in light of the first quarter growth of 18 percent in new accounts. “Word is spreading that CBB is a viable option for churches and ministers in need of competitive benefits plans,” Skeen said. “As more and more churches and ministers look to us for management of their benefits, we’re working to provide the best level of service while finding ways to improve what we offer.” f!

(News articles by Lance Wallace, CBF Communications)

15

General Assembly 2004: Kinney Named Keynote Speaker JOHN KINNEY , dean of the theology school at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va., will be the keynote speaker at the Fellowship’s General Assembly in Birmingham, Ala., June 24-26. He will lead participants in exploring the Assembly theme of “Being the Presence of Christ… Today… Tomorrow… Together.” Kinney’s career in theological training spans 20 years. He received a Ph.D. from Columbia University/ Union Theological Seminary in 1979. He currently serves as pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Beaverdam, Va. In addition to his pastoral duties, he serves as a consultant to the American Baptist Convention, the Progressive National Baptist Convention, the Baptist General Convention of Virginia, and both the United States Navy and Army Chaplain Corps.

HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS Accommodations for the 2004 General Assembly in Birmingham, Ala., are filling up quickly as participants make plans to attend. At the time this issue went to press, accommodations were still available at

John Kinney

the following locations: • The Tutwiler Hotel: rate: $100 single, $109 double, two blocks from the convention center • Radisson Hotel Birmingham: rate: $89 single/double, 1.5 miles from convention center. No rooms are available at the Sheraton Birmingham, the host hotel. Hotel reservations can be made online at www.cbfonline.org/community/ga2004 or by filling out the form in the September/October 2003 issue of “fellowship!” All requests for room reservations must be made in writing or by the Internet. Contact S Stewart & Associates at (770) 6199671 for more information.

www.cbfonline.org DECEMBER 2003


ADVENT 2003 D O X O L O G Y, C O N F E S S I O N , W I T N E S S I worship the living, loving God, Creator and Sustainer of all that exists. I follow Jesus as the Messiah of Israel, the image and incarnation of the invisible God, the Savior for all humanity and the crucified, resurrected Lord. I trust the Spirit, present and active in the world, in the church and in the lives of individuals. I read the Scripture, Old and New Testaments, as the divinely inspired record of God’s self-revelation, the written word of God. I love the Kingdom of God – God’s order of things – as present in Jesus and now available to all who accept it. I celebrate the mystical presence of Christ in the gathered church and the continued mission of Christ in the scattered church. I anticipate life beyond death, the resurrection of the body, a final judgment and a future glory that words cannot describe. I cherish — the truth and power of prayer, — the beauty and goodness of life, — the redemptive power of pain and suffering, — the pure joy of family and friends. I affirm the freedom of conscience and competency of every person to respond to God for themselves. I believe in the love and grace of God for all people, including those whose confession is different than this one.

By Daniel Vestal, coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

P. O. Box 450329 Atlanta, GA 31145-0329 Address Service Requested

2003 December  
2003 December  

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