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Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
Patricia Heys photo
Spiritual Caregivers CBF-endorsed chaplains Jeff Ross and Sunny Mitchell are both stationed at Camp Pendleton Marine Base in Southern California.
New Baptist Covenant For too much of our history the Baptist witness has been fractured by a divisive spirit. We have found it difficult to collaborate and communicate with one another across racial, geographic and theological divides. We have focused more on our differences than on our shared commitments. On Jan. 30-Feb. 1 in Atlanta, the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant will offer Baptists in North America an opportunity to renew our love for one another in a very public and profound way. It is, I believe, a “kairos” moment for us to forge a new Baptist ethos that shows the world our devotion to Christ’s Kingdom above partisan differences. That ethos will be characterized by a vision of global justice, authentic spirituality and missional churches. More than 30 Baptists organizations will be involved in the celebration. Upholding its value of cooperative ministry, the Fellowship is proud to be part of the New Baptist Covenant and through its involvement, is reaffirming its commitment to historic Baptist values, sharing the gospel, promoting peace and justice, and caring for the most neglected. Neither CBF nor any other participating group is giving up its autonomy to participate in this initiative. The aim is not the formation of a new convention but rather finding ways of cooperating that will allow Baptists to achieve more by working together than they could achieve independently. Collectively, the organizations participating in the New Baptist Covenant represent more than 20 million Baptists throughout North America. Each of the Baptist bodies represented in this covenant has unique contributions to make to this emerging ethos. Each has a treasured history and each has a valued voice in the public square. But when we join our voices in a harmonious chorus, our witness is more profound and effective. Our individual distinctives are not lost, but something beautiful happens that is greater than the sum of the parts. A new Baptist ecumenicity will have many positive results. One is that the ministry of each of the participating organizations will be strengthened. Another is that fresh avenues for collaboration will unfold and existing partnerships will be celebrated. Relationships will be created and encouraged. Networks will be born. Fellowship will be enriched. God will be glorified. It seems to me that something of a convergence is taking place within the Baptist family, and I am humbled and grateful for it. It is unprecedented in my lifetime, and it is worth our Vol. 18, No. 1 fervent prayer, energetic efforts and enthusiastic support. executive Coordinator • Daniel Vestal Coordinator, Fellowship Advancement • Ben McDade Editor • Lance Wallace managing Editor • Patricia Heys Associate Editor • Carla Wynn Davis Phone • (770) 220-1600 Fax • (770) 220-1685
E-Mail • email@example.com
CBF Executive Coordinator
Web Site • www.thefellowship.info
fellowship! is published 7 times a year in Sept./Oct., Special I (Oct.), Nov./Dec., Jan./Feb., Mar./Apr., May/June, Special II (July) 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
For information on the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, go to www.newbaptistcelebration.org.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to “fellowship!” Newsletter, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, P.O. Box 450329, Atlanta, GA 31145-0329
Spiritual Caregivers: CBF endorsed chaplains, pastoral counselors provide care in specialized settings
CBF Offering for Global Missions: Rose returns to roots, reaches out to children in Brooklyn
13 2008 General Assembly information
15 Five tips for breathing new life into Sunday School
14 Colleges to provide scholarships to children of CBF
17 Service Opportunity Spotlight: Gulf Coast Region
meet Harry Rowland Harry Rowland began serving as director of missional church ministries at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in September 2007. Rowland’s responsibilities include coordinating a network of churches and field personnel, who work together in ministries around the world. Rowland consults with congregations as they seek to become missional, using their unique talents, resources and identity to reach out to local communities and the world. Hometown: Nashville, Tenn. Education: Baylor University in Waco, Texas; Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas; and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, La. Experience: Rowland spent 11 years as a local church staff member in Texas and Tennessee and 14 years as a pastor in Kentucky and South Carolina. Most recently he served as pastor of The Baptist Church of Beaufort in Beaufort, S.C., for 11 years.
A Look Back
Church membership: Wieuca Road Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga. Interesting fact: Rowland has led more than 30 mission trips to places in the United States and 14 trips to countries around the world. “The church is in trouble. Look at Western Europe and you see the future of the American church in the next generation. The answer is not successfully navigating worship wars, becoming a slave to cultural relevance or selling out to a church growth mandate. The answer is the biblical mandate — be church. That is, be on mission — be missional. CBF is committed to being a key player in the Spirit’s movement of calling the church back to its commission. Every church and every member of every congregation is called to be the missionary presence of Christ in their world and around the world.” Contact Harry Rowland at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 352-8741.
8 years ago The CBF Church Benefits Board was formed. fellowship!
Fellowship People Roy Peterson
n Roy Peterson’s first Katrina relief trip — a mere 11 days after the storm — his church called and asked him to be Second Baptist Church’s disaster response coordinator. Looking at the destruction around him, he couldn’t say no. And he hasn’t been able to say no to the overwhelming recovery needs along the Gulf Coast. He’s been on six relief trips in the past two years, mostly on holiday weekends that allow
more church members to participate. “A trip, even a short one, will give you an experience you will never forget,” said Peterson, a business director in Little Rock, Ark. “What you are doing matters. You see it in the faces when you drive off the worksite for the last time, job completed. I truly believe God smiles at moments like that, and what could be better than that?”
ast spring, Jennifer Wilmore searched and searched for a ministry opportunity following her May graduation from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. That search eventually led her to the Fellowship’s Student.Go program through which she has been serving in Washington, D.C., since August. She works as a CBF intern in the church relations department of Bread for the World,
a Fellowship partner organization that seeks to reduce hunger domestically and internationally. “I am continually struck by God’s goodness and faithfulness in bringing me here and placing this amazing work in my lap,” she said. “My desire was to be an advocate for victims of injustice, particularly among other believers, and I am humbled to be placed in this organization which seeks to do just that.”
uzii Paynter says she has the best job in Baptist life. In 2006, Paynter became the first woman to be named director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, a Fellowship partner. “It’s my privilege to be involved with the ethics, public policy, world hunger and immigration programs of the [Baptist General Convention of
Texas],” said Paytner. Paytner, whose husband, Roger, is pastor of First Baptist Church in Austin, has been involved with the Fellowship since its beginning, having served on its national coordinating council, as well as state councils for CBF of Texas and CBF of Mississippi. And for several years, she also helped plan the Fellowship’s General Assembly.
grow,” said Jordan, who will spread the word about the Fellowship movement and help churches find ways to be missional in the local community. “People are the most important resource that national CBF has to offer,” said Rick Bennett, the Fellowship’s director for congregational life. “Regional specialists will strengthen the Fellowship movement and the churches they serve.”
ince 2002, Rick Jordan has served as church resources coordinator for CBF of North Carolina. Now, he’s picked up an additional role serving congregations. As one of more than eight new CBF regional congregational life specialists, Jordan will be a resource for the growing number of partner churches seeking to fulfill their God-given mission. “I’m excited about opportunities to help churches
Why I give... “On the CBF Web site, I read about how CBF took a donation and used it to tell others about Christ and fellowship with non-believers. I was impressed, and I instantly knew that this was the place I wanted to send my donation. I want as many people as possible to know about Jesus.”
Shannon Thompson First Baptist Church of Amite, La.
fter learning about ministries to the Romany people at church camp, Thompson realized that one person could change the lives of others. She
decided for her 14th birthday to ask friends and family for a donation instead of presents. Thompson said, “I thought if I did that for my birthday, I could use the money to help
others share the news of Christ.” The high school freshman, who hopes one day soon to participate in an international missions trip, raised $600 for the Fellowship’s ministries.
To financially support the ministries of CBF, call (800) 352-8741 or go to www.thefellowship.info/Give/Donate. Thank you for giving to CBF. Your gifts make a difference in the lives of people around the world. fellowship!
CBF-endorsed chaplains, pastoral counselors minister in specialized settings
hen the USS Cole was attacked in 2000, Sunny
Mitchell immediately called home.
Patricia Heys photo
“The freedom and the validation that comes with being endorsed by CBF allows me to be the presence of Christ in my own way,” Mitchell said. “We all have unique gifts, and Christ uses each one of us. I love the fact that we all minister in different settings, but Christ is at the center of our organization.” Mitchell and Navy chaplain Jeff Ross, who is also endorsed by CBF, are both stationed at Camp Pendleton Marine Base in Southern California — and coincidentally are both members of Northeast Baptist Church in Atlanta, a Fellowship partner. Mitchell and Ross work with different Marine regiments, but both will be deploying with their respective units later this year. “There should never be a chaplain that supports war,” said Ross, a native of Atlanta. “I pray every day for a world where there is no war, but I’m also a realist and know that wars are going to happen. It’s not my place to judge the war, but it’s my place to support the Jeff Ross, right, prays at a retirement ceremony for a Marine at Camp Pendleton. people who are there. 6
Patricia Heys photo
“I knew some of the sailors on the Cole, and I wanted to be there with them and the families who were grieving,” said Mitchell, a native of Newport News, Va. “I grew up around military bases, so I quickly identified with the families. That event helped me realize my calling to ministry.” At the time, Mitchell was a student at the McAfee School of Theology, a Fellowship partner. Now, she serves as a Navy chaplain, ministering to approximately 2,000 Marines and their families. Mitchell is one of more than 580 chaplains and pastoral counselors endorsed by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. These spiritual caregivers provide pastoral care in specialized settings — including hospitals, prisons and corporations.
I get to be in relationship with people in times of crisis and in situations where no other minister has the ability to reach these individuals if for no other reason that my willingness to be present.” Navy chaplains, who serve not only the Navy but also Marines and Coast Guard, have a wide range of responsibilities. Mitchell and Ross provide counseling on topics such as finances and marriage, conduct workshops on suicide prevention and post-traumatic stress disorder and coordinate activities with churches and community organizations. They also lead
Sunny Mitchell, far right, ministers to Marines on a daily basis at Camp Pendleton.
worship, wedding and funeral services. In addition, military chaplains provide a moral and ethical voice to commanding officers. On a military base, spiritual care occurs in a variety of places — from the rifle range to martial arts training to the mess hall. One morning, in order to keep up with a Marine on a 10-mile run, Ross rode a bike alongside the Marine as he talked about a painful personal relationship. “What I try to do is reflect Christ,” Ross said. “The great thing about being a chaplain is that I get to go places and minister to people when and where no one else is able
to. I get to talk to Marines who won’t talk to anyone else on the planet at times when they desperately need to talk to somebody. I have opportunities for ministry that wouldn’t happen any other way.” As Navy chaplains, Mitchell and Ross minister to Marines from all denominations and faiths — and those who have lost their faith. Ross said on his first visit to one Marine base, an officer said to him, “I hate God and religion, but I need you to do two things for me. I need you to pray for my Marines and take care of them.”
“Christ’s example as the suffering servant is one that has always resonated with me, and does so especially now as a chaplain,” Mitchell said. “Christ went to the people who were suffering and taught and healed them — he did it where they were. He came to them as a fellow human and fellow sufferer. I go to Marines wearing the same uniform, working in the same places and experiencing much of what they experience, and I hope they see Christ’s love through me.” By Patricia Heys, CBF Communications fellowship!
Providing spiritual care
John Halbrook helped start Metro Baptist Church, located in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, served as the congregation’s pastor for three years and now, provides counseling services out of an upstairs office in the church. Halbrook, who has served as a pastoral counselor since 1973, said many of his clients are facing transition points in their lives and dealing with anxiety, stress, depression, grief or
trauma associated with change. “I have been a pastor and I may in the future be a pastor again, but for right now, I feel my most important talents of helping people are in the counseling field,” Halbrook said. “I feel I live out the presence of Christ in the world because of my sensitivity and genuine caring because I feel God’s caring reaching out through me. I feel that my most important training to be a therapist was in my growth as a
disciple of Christ. If you are really in the counseling room for something much greater than yourself, you feel it and so do your clients.” While the majority of Halbrook’s counseling practice is near his home in Wilton, Conn., as part of the ministry team at Metro Baptist, Halbrook is able to offer counseling for a reduced fee, encourage the church staff and consult with pastors and ministers in the community.
care to staff and volunteers, he also provides training, support and encouragement to neighborhood chaplains, facilitates relationships with churches and works to raise awareness about the marginalization of the poor. For example, Cross met this year with five pastors and a commissioner in a suburban Atlanta county that
is experiencing an influx of racially diverse families living in poverty. “Our communities in America are dying because we have forgotten Jesus’ second commandment ‘love your neighbor,’” Cross said. “Our chaplains have the opportunity to remind people what it means to be a neighbor and to figure out how we can work and pray together.”
Photo courtesy of FCS
At FCS Urban Ministries in Atlanta, Dale Cross serves as chaplain for more than 50 staff members and volunteers. FCS, which works toward the revitalization and community development of urban neighborhoods, has made spiritual care an important component of its ministry. Cross not only provides pastoral
Dale Cross, center, blue shirt, leads a prayer and blessing at a home dedication ceremony.
Hospital & Hospice are hurting, they need a comforting presence — to know that they are not alone and that someone cares about them. Through my presence, I show them that God loves and cares for them too.” Sheehan provides pastoral care not only to patients, but also hospital staff and families, such as the parents on the neo-natal unit who Kim Sheehan, right, serves as chaplain for the neonatal unit at often spend months waiting Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Tenn. on their child to grow strong of God,” Sheehan said. “Jesus says to love enough to go home. one another, and love is what is at the very “You have to love on people and let heart of hospital ministry.” them know that they are special in the eyes Photo courtesy Baptist Hospital
As a hospital chaplain, Kim Sheehan ministers to patients and families at all stages of life — from birth to death. At Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., Sheehan provides pastoral care to families and patients in the neonatal intensive care unit, labor and delivery, antepartum, postpartum and nursery, dialysis units and the emergency room. Sheehan, who was born at Baptist Hospital, sees her work as an extension of the church community. She cares for people from different faiths and those without a faith community as they face illness, pain and dying. “The focus of my ministry is to embody the compassion of Christ when I care for the patients, families and staff of the hospital,” Sheehan said. “When people
Corrections Each day for nine years, CBF-endorsed chaplain Dewey Bland offered grace to nearly 2,200 inmates living at the Federal Correctional Institution in Beckley, W.Va. “The stress of being incarcerated is different than any I have encountered,” said Bland, who now works with the Bureau of Prisons in Florida. Major stressors include dealing with
grief, whether it’s the end of a marriage, loss of relationship with children or death of close friends. “When these are not dealt with, the grief becomes layered and then manifests itself in negative ways physically, mentally and spiritually,” he said. “Every incarcerated man has lost his freedom, and therefore the need to deal with this grief is paramount.”
As a chaplain, Bland advocates for inmates’ religious needs, provides pastoral care and works with religious groups meeting at the prison. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has been an ideal combination of Bland’s ministry interests — men’s issues, cross-cultural settings and pastoral care outside the walls of a church. “God has called me here, and where He calls is the best place to go,” Bland said.
When one Marine returned from Iraq — his faith shaken by what he had seen — he needed someone to listen, to understand and to help. His best friend had been killed, and he felt that he should have been the one to die. “We’re helping him cope with why his life was spared, while his buddy’s life was taken,” said CBF-endorsed Navy chaplain Arthur Wiggins. “It’s a profound question.” It’s duty as usual for Wiggins, who is stationed at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C. He ministers among the thousands of recruits training for military duty and the base’s permanent staff, including many who have
Photo courtesy of A.L. Minick, U.S. Marine Corps
Art Wiggins speaks to Marines, Sailors and their families during the U.S. Marine Corps 232nd Birthday Ball Pageant at Parris Island, S.C.
served in Iraq. While no two days are the same for
Wiggins, his message to recruits is consistent — if you know God, grow in God. Sunday morning chapel services, which many recruits choose to attend, are led by chaplains such as Wiggins. During worship, recruits are encouraged to relax and decompress from the pressures of boot camp. But the message is anything but relaxed for a group of recruits who may soon be serving in Iraq. “I, like many Christian ministers preach a message of life and abundant life,” he said. “We don’t forget that message, but the truth of the matter is, not everyone who goes over [to Iraq] will return. We do our best to spiritually prepare them for stresses of combat.” fellowship!
Chaplains extend presence of Christ
hen a man once asked CBF-endorsed chaplain Peggy Davis Gold to visit his brother, who was coming to Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C., for inpatient chemotherapy, he
asked in a way Gold will never forget. “This is not just another patient,” he said. “This is my brother.” That desire to be known as a person and not just defined by an illness is something Gold remembers when she visits patients and their families at Duke Hospital. Sometimes she only gets to visit a patient once or twice, but in this long-term case she followed the patient through death, helping plan the funeral and comfort grieving family members. “There’s this sacredness of being with someone hoping for more life, fearing he won’t get that and trusting in God no matter what,” she said. These sacred moments for chaplains include helping patients make difficult life-changing treatment decisions or helping family members make tough decisions such as when to remove life support. “In crisis moments when people are looking around and saying, ‘Where is God?’ that’s when a chaplain shows up,” said Greg McClain, a CBF-endorsed chaplain at Johnston Memorial Hospital
in Smithfield, N.C. “In many ways, we incarnate that loving, compassionate presence that people really need in those crisis moments.” Chaplains are resources to patients and families, whether it’s helping them navigate large hospitals, explaining hospital policy or connecting a patient with his or her faith community. Often chaplains are assigned specific units of the hospital, where they may visit patients, hold spirituality classes like McClain does in the hospital’s behavioral health unit, or be on call for emergency situations. Both Gold and McClain are hospital employees, who, although Baptist, provide spiritual care
for people of different denominations and faiths. In a way, the hospital is a chaplain’s congregation. McClain has performed baptisms, weddings and funerals with patients and families. Other holy moments include powerful conversations about faith and life. “There’s something extremely authentic about people when they get in the hospital,” Gold said. “They begin to see what matters most in life, and we have the unique opportunity to be with people as they’re sorting through that.”
Gold supervises chaplains in training, who are clinical pastoral education (CPE) students. CPE is a program designed to develop pastoral skills. Students minister in settings such as a hospital, prison or hospice facility and meet with a peer group to reflect on their pastoral experiences. Through reflection, supervisors like Gold help students discover more about themselves and ministry. Both laity and clergy can enroll in CPE, with programs ranging in length from a summer to a year. Students earn CPE units upon successful completion, and these units are required to apply for most chaplaincy jobs.
Carla Wynn Davis photo
Clinical Pastoral Education
Peggy Davis Gold’s ministry at Duke University Hospital includes patients, staff like
in hospital setting Chaplains also care for hospital staff — the doctors, nurses and other caregivers who can also be affected when patients die or other crises occur. “Sometimes the staff has experiences very close to home,” McClain said. “We’re there to offer support to the staff.” Gold has even led remembrance services in some hospital units after the death of a long-term patient or a surprising death. It helps staff remember a life lost and also let go, she said. Whether with staff or patients, hospital
chaplains are the presence of Christ by providing a comforting presence in what can be the most anxious times of a person’s life. “What Christ provided was assurance by sharing with us what God’s love looks and feels like,” Gold said. “This ministry is about the getting to know, forming relationships and remembering ‘he’s not just another patient. This is my brother.’ This is God’s child.” By Carla Wynn Davis, CBF Communications
Resourcing churches Chaplains and pastoral counselors minister in specialized settings and therefore have knowledge and experience related to specific areas of spiritual care. They can serve as valuable resources for congregations by leading workshops on a variety of topics or providing consultation to church staff. To locate a CBF-endorsed chaplain or pastoral counselor in your area, call (800) 352-8741. Examples of workshop topics: • Grief recovery • Divorce recovery • Career development • Parenting • Marriage and family issues • Death and dying • Addictions • Anger management • Depression Examples of consultation: • Crisis response • Dealing with difficult people • Providing care for a congregation • Clergy emotional health • Disaster relief
How CBF supports spiritual caregivers
nurse Lisa Hedgepeth, left, and clinical pastoral education residents like Valerie Nagel, right.
CBF affirms the ministry of chaplains and pastoral counselors through endorsement, an official declaration by the Fellowship that a person is in good standing as a minister. Endorsement by a faith group of a chaplain’s or pastoral counselor’s choosing is often necessary for certification and employment in many health care organizations and federal institutions, such as the U.S. Armed Forces. A chaplain or pastoral counselor can be endorsed by only one endorsing body. While endorsement is an official action, it is also a relationship of care and support by the CBF community. Fellowship Baptists pray for, encourage and support chaplains and pastoral counselors. Fellowship staff provide assistance with navigating certification, ordination and enlistment processes, and each year the CBF General Assembly includes fellowship and educational opportunities for those who minister in specialized settings. “Chaplains and pastoral counselors minister every day to people in the trauma and drama of life,” said George Pickle, the Fellowship’s specialist for chaplaincy and pastoral counseling. “It is the divine privilege of CBF to be a supportive faith community to these CBF ministers, who are the presence of Christ in their worlds.” To support chaplains and pastoral counselors through prayer, order the CBF prayer guide by calling (888) 801-4223 and ask for product #0730P001. fellowship!
Church Benefits Board transitions members to new plans
he Church Benefits Board of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has begun a new chapter in its history as the new year brings new
partners in providing benefits. “We are free now,” said Gary Skeen, president of the Church Benefits Board (CBB.) “We are free to put together customized medical plans that better meet the needs of our clients. We are free to offer retirement benefits and life and disability insurance coverage that bears the endorsement of CBF and can be configured more flexibly to better serve churches and their staff members. It’s a new day for CBB.” The transition is a major step of growth for CBB, which was founded in 2000 in partnership with the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board (MMBB) of the American Baptist Churches USA. For the seven years of the partnership with MMBB, nearly 1,000 participants enrolled in CBF-endorsed plans. Now that CBB is autonomous and working with new, highly reputable partners such as StanCorp Financial Inc. and World Insurance Association Inc., CBB members can expect outstanding customer service, high performing benefits plans and more flexibility than ever to meet their needs.
as was the case with MMBB. Although the open enrollment season for signing up for medical insurance has ended for 2008, churches can make the transition on retirement benefits and life and disability insurance coverage at any time. For questions or a free consultation, contact CBB at contact@churchbenefits. org or call toll free at (800) 352-8741. Additional information as well as all enrollment forms are available at www. churchbenefits.org.
“We appreciate the seven-year relationship with MMBB,” said CBF Executive Coordinator Daniel Vestal. “The contractual arrangement between the two entities expired Dec. 31, and we could not accept the terms mandated in a new Memorandum of Participation from MMBB for continuing the relationship. CBB has identified outstanding new 1. Complete and return the CBB Membership Election partners to provide quality Form, selecting either Option 1 or Option 2. medical, life, and disability 2. Complete and return the CBB Beneficiary insurance and retirement Designation Form. benefits to CBB clients. The 3. If you have been a part of the “Benefits for Life” new packages of benefits plan, you will automatically be enrolled in life and are not only competitive but disability insurance. You will receive a life insurance provide more flexibility. We beneficiary designation form at a later date. are grateful for MMBB’s 4. Complete and return the MMBB “CBF Membership partnership with CBF in Election Form” to MMBB and send a copy to CBB. the early years and we are 5. Complete and return the contact and employee census information forms for medical insurance confident and excited about in order for a consultant to help provide you a the future.” customized solution for your staff. One improvement is All forms are available at www.churchbenefits.org. that CBB will not require For any questions, please contact CBB at contact@ clients to participate in the churchbenefits.org or call toll free (800) 352-8741. retirement plan in order to receive medical insurance
How to enroll in CBB benefits plans:
You may have noticed some changes in this issue of the fellowship! — namely, the format has changed from a newsletter to a magazine. The fellowship! magazine will continue to provide news, information, features on Fellowship people and churches, and stories focusing on Fellowship ministries around the world. With this new format, we hope this content will be easier to read in print and online. This change also enables us to provide you with a more attractive publication at a reduced cost, allowing us to be better stewards with the resources you entrust to CBF. We’d love to hear your feedback on this new format. Feel free to send your comments to Patricia Heys, managing editor of the fellowship!, at email@example.com. 12
Assembly gives student meaningful first look at the Fellowship Because of the Fellowship’s 2007 General Assembly, Mallory Homeyer no longer questions
Mallory Homeyer, center, attended the 2007 General Assembly.
workshops and informal conversations, Homeyer learned passion for social justice among Baptists was not new. It’s what many Fellowship Baptists have been doing for years. “Ordinary radicals were all around us at CBF,” she said. The 2008 General Assembly — set for June 19-20 in Memphis, Tenn. — will have a similar focus on ministering to the least of these. Under the theme “Embrace the World: Building Bridges” Assembly highlights include: • Keynote speaker Lauran Bethell, a Baptist minister who works among victims of human trafficking and prostitution
Building Br idges
The Marriott Memphis Downtown, which will serve as the host hotel, is sold out. The Wyndam Garden Inn and Doubletree Hotel Memphis will have rooms available. For more information, go to www.thefellowship. info/assembly.
2008 General Assembly
For General Assembly meeting and workshop schedules, information, or to pre-register, go to www.thefellowship.info/ assembly.
By Carla Wynn Davis, CBF Communications
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
• Dozens of ministry workshops, including a special series on poverty and a series for college students • A celebration of missional churches that have connected with God’s mission around the world • Commissioning of new field personnel to minister among the world’s marginalized people • Assembly-wide time of prayer and discernment about the Fellowship’s future ministry priorities
Embrace the World
A social work student at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, she’s passionate about social justice but hadn’t found a group of Baptists whose ministry involved justice issues as well as evangelism. During her first CBF General Assembly, she found the Baptists she had been looking for. “It’s the first time in my life I was able to hear Baptists [place] a major emphasis on the poor and the least of these,” she said. “CBF facilitated an environment where you got to hear about that. I was able to see some of the people speaking and connect those faces with the type of Baptist I want to be.” That type of Baptist is one that advocates for the oppressed, welcomes the marginalized, and cares deeply for the least of these just like Jesus did, she said. “At [the Assembly] through various experiences I felt these truths were not only emphasized but supported,” she said. “I can be a part of a Baptist church like that.” Through keynote speakers, ministry
Photo courtesy Mallory Homeyer
whether she wants to be Baptist.
Schools to provide college scholarships for children of CBF field personnel
ight historic Baptist colleges and universities, seven in North Carolina and one in Virginia, will offer undergraduate tuition scholarships for children of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Global Missions field personnel. The schools, which are all Baptist affiliated, are Campbell University in Buies Creek, Chowan University in Murfreesboro, Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, Mars Hill College in Mars Hill, Meredith College in Raleigh, Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, Wingate University in Wingate and Bluefield College in Bluefield, Va. “We are grateful for the response of these Baptist-affiliated colleges and universities,” said CBF Global Missions coordinator Rob Nash. “These scholarships are a significant benefit to people who serve in difficult and challenging places around the world and who make significant financial sacrifices in order to pursue their calling to the most marginalized and least evangelized of the world.” These commitments bring the total to nine Baptist schools that will offer scholarships to field personnel dependents. Each school will offer an eight-semester scholarship for full-time study to field personnel dependents who meet the school’s admission standards. Room, board and other costs will be funded through one of the Fellowship’s endowments. The Fellowship is working to increase the existing $870,000 endowment to $2.5 million in order to provide for these expenses. The schools formalized their commitment in November, when leaders from the Fellowship and the schools signed a memorandum of understanding. Mercer University in Macon, Ga., made a similar committment last year.
CBF Global Missions coordinator Rob Nash, left, and Bluefield College president David Olive sign a memorandum of understanding.
Carla Wynn Davis photo
Photo courtesy Bluefield College
By Carla Wynn Davis, CBF Communications
On Nov. 13, presidents from seven colleges and universities in North Carolina signed memorandums of understanding.
for breathing new life into Sunday School often ask Fellowship staff is “How can we revive our Sunday School?” Fellowship staff members Bo Prosser and Rick Bennett, who work directly with congregations, offer these five suggestions — build relationships, keep it simple, speak from the heart, use literature as a springboard and pray.
Speak from the heart to the heart Meeting each Sunday at a local
elementary school, Lakeland Fellowship may not look like a stereotypical Baptist
church, but the congregation’s uniqueness may also be its strength. Lakeland uses a
Photo courtesy Hampton Baptist
One of the questions church leaders
Bo Prosser talks with Sunday School teachers at Hampton Baptist Church.
combination of Sunday School
classes, small home groups and prayer meetings
In its first three years, Lakeland
to reach members. By using the natural rhythm of
Fellowship has grown to more than 60
members’ lives, the church has developed genuine
members. But with only three children attending regularly, the Lakeland, Fla., congregation has
opportunities for fellowship and prayer. “I always challenge churches to become more
Pray individually and as a class A training weekend for Sunday School teachers at Hampton Baptist Church in Hampton,
Va., included an appreciation banquet, training session,
cookout, combined adult class, worship — and prayer.
wondered how it might develop a Sunday School
of who they already are, and I love seeing churches
Prosser, who led many of the weekend’s activities, en-
ministry for children.
embrace their identity and rest in the Lord to lead
couraged participants to include prayer as an important
them,” said Prosser.
part of developing Sunday School classes.
Prosser recently spent a weekend with church members, assisting them in developing
“As we are faithful in our prayers, God directs
know they’ve been prepared for and are cared for.”
Jody Long went beyond the pages of the mission
for yourself. Prayer will make all the difference in
Gestures such as a telephone call or personal visit
education literature. In Inspire, the Fellowship’s
what begins to happen in your class.”
can be key to getting people involved.
missions education resource for youth, Long read
a strategic plan. Whether it was growing one Sunday School class or an age-group ministry, Prosser encouraged members to start by building relationships. He told them, “People go where they
“Bo kept reiterating that the church is about
Use literature as a springboard
our words and thoughts,” Prosser said. “Pray during class time for one another, for your class,
At First Baptist Church of Christ in
for your church. Pray before you come to your
Macon, Ga., minister to students
Sunday School time for each class participant and
about CBF field personnel who minister to people
Each year Prosser, Bennett and Devita Par-
relationships, and that really resonated with our
living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa and decided
nell, who specifically work to resource congre-
people,” said church pastor Timothy Sizemore.
to find out about similar ministries in the church’s
gations, visit more than 80 churches. Regional
“We came away from the weekend encouraged by
neighborhood. He scheduled a visit to a nearby
specialists also lead training experiences at
the relationships we have among us and excited
shelter for people living with HIV/AIDS and invited a
Fellowship partner churches. Through leading
about the future of our congregation.”
nurse to talk about AIDS’ local impact in Macon.
workshops, training events, retreats and worship,
“It’s one thing to read statistics [about the
these personnel serve as resources on a variety
Keep it simple
incidence of AIDS] in South Africa, but it’s another
“Many of the teachers I work with
to have the nurse who works with one of the
are overwhelmed with the amount
nation’s foremost physicians in AIDS research
training and spiritual formation material, and we
of material they have to study each week,” said
tell us that we have 2,000 documented cases of
want to be their first call when they seek help,”
Prosser. “I continue to say to them, focus on
HIV/AIDS in Middle Georgia, but we suspect closer
Bennett said. “The Fellowship movement is about
what challenge needs to be put before your class
to 8,000-10,000 cases,” said Long. “[She] talked
helping churches and Christians discover and fulfill
— keep coming back to the one thing your class
frankly to the youth about how you contract AIDS,
their God-given calling. Providing resources and
needs each week. The best classes are the ones
and what are the symptoms, and especially what it
building meaningful relationships help us equip
which lead with transformation, not information.”
does in adolescent teenagers.”
clergy and lay leadership for living out their call.”
of topics related to congregational life. “Churches are constantly seeking teaching,
To find out how Fellowship personnel can resource your congregation, call (800) 352-8741.
Church S potlight
he more than 1,200 backpacks stuffed with school supplies that Royal Lane Baptist Church in Dallas gave away this year wasn’t the only impressive statistic about its mission trip to Perry County, Ala. The Alabama trip capped a five-year tour of all five regions focused on by Together for Hope, the Fellowship’s rural poverty initiative. Together for Hope works toward alleviating poverty and building community in 20 poor U.S. counties, which happen to be located in five regions of the country. And since 2003, members of Royal Lane have visited a county in each of the five regions. They took 30 members to Arkansas and Texas. Nearly 40 went to Kentucky, 42 to South Dakota and nearly 50 to Alabama.
Photo courtesy Jason WalkerCraig
Royal Lane Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas
This summer Perry County, Ala., families picked up backpacks for their children at a family festival sponsored by Royal Lane Baptist Church.
For a church that averages less than 200 in Sunday worship, taking 50 people on a mission trip with 1,200 backpacks stuffed with supplies is even more than church members thought they could do. “One summer our youth minister had us go to Arkansas,” said church member Joey Belgard. “The next summer we went to the [Rio Grande] Valley. And [because of] those two summers, we [became involved] with Together for
Hope. We always end up doing something different. We don’t go [to a place] with our pre-packaged plan. We don’t pretend like we can alleviate poverty. We just intend on showing people that somebody loves them.” By Carla Wynn Davis, CBF Communications To learn more about Together for Hope, go to www.ruralpoverty.net.
Partner S potlight
Christian Life Commission
ach year the Christian Life Commission (CLC), the ethics agency of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, partners with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to help end hunger and poverty around the world. The CLC’s Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger, which began in 1996, annually funds Fellowship ministries related to community development and relief. “Since 1996, Texas Baptists have contributed over $1,500,000 through our hunger offering in support of CBF relief and development ministries,” said Joyce Gilbreath, specialist for the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger. “The Christian Life Commission agrees with CBF’s commitment to holistic missions in reaching needy and 16
unreached people groups and to direct funding of specific projects which has made for a great and enduring partnership with the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger.” This year the CLC will fund more than $150,000 in Fellowship ministry projects, including child development centers in Kenya; loans for microenterprise businesses in Liberia; staple foods, medicine and clothing in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt; agricultural training centers and water development projects in Southeast Asia; meals, healthcare and education for orphans and widows in India; and community development projects for the hilltribe villages in Thailand. “We’re so very grateful to Texas Baptists
and to the Christian Life Commission of the BGCT for their engagement together with us in meeting the hunger needs of the most marginalized peoples around the world,” said Rob Nash, the Fellowship’s coordinator for Global Missions. “This collaboration enables us to transform lives together and to work to reduce the number of people who live on a dollar a day or less.” By Patricia Heys, CBF Communications To learn more about the CLC, go to www.bgct.org/clc.
Photo courtesy of CBF Louisiana
Sonia St. Cyr, middle, will soon return to her New Orleans home thanks to numerous church workers.
Service Opportunity S potlight
hen Sonia St. Cyr rode out Hurricane Katrina and survived, she called it lucky. When she was flown out of New Orleans before the chaotic aftermath began, she called it unbelievable. But when she arrived at a Maryville, Tenn., evacuee shelter and befriended members of Monte Vista Baptist Church — the church that would eventually restore her home — she ran out of words. “The church is like God’s gift to the world,” she said. “Words cannot even begin to say.” But somewhere St. Cyr finds the words to say that this Cooperative Baptist Fellowship partner church has been lifegiving to her and her family, many who still live in Maryville. “Not only have they helped my family,
Gulf Coast Region
they’ve helped me,” she said. “More than that, they’ve given me back life.” In six disaster relief trips church members have taken to New Orleans, two have been to help St. Cyr and her family. Now other Fellowship Baptists are helping complete repairs to the house. A $3,000 donation from another Tennessee church — First Baptist Church in Murfreesboro — has also helped in the rebuilding process. “This is a beautiful story about CBF remaining the presence of Christ, long after the flood-waters have receded and the first responders have moved on to the next disaster scene,” said Reid Doster, CBF of Louisiana’s disaster response coordinator. The St. Cyr house is one of 100 New Orleans homes the Fellowship has
committed to helping rebuild over the next three years with an organization called Rebuilding Together. And New Orleans is just one area that is in crucial need of Fellowship Baptists to help in the rebuilding effort. According to Doster, more than 1,500 Fellowship Baptists have participated in Katrina relief work in Louisiana, and the need continues, particularly in Pearlington, Miss., where more than 80 percent of the community was destroyed. Fellowship Baptists were among the first to respond in Pearlington, and “I would hope we would be one of the last to leave,” said Charles Ray, the Fellowship’s disaster response coordinator. Carla Wynn Davis, CBF Communications
For more information on service opportunities along the Gulf Coast, contact Chris Boltin at (800) 352-8741 or firstname.lastname@example.org. fellowship!
Rose returns to roots Reaching out to
children of Brooklyn
early 2,000 people live in the six buildings of Albany Homes, a government funded housing complex in the Crown At the Albany Homes Community Center, Taisha Rose is known as the “church lady.”
early 2,000 people live in the six buildings of Albany Homes,
projects, and I want to give these children
a government funded housing complex in the Crown Heights
that same hope.”
neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. In many ways, the tall, brick buildings and densely populated city blocks remind Taisha Rose of her childhood. Rose grew up in government funded
“When I looked at the ministry position,
At the Albany Homes Community Center, Rose is known as the “church lady.” She represents not only the Fellowship but Greater Restoration Baptist Church, a Fellowship partner church located just a
housing, often referred to as housing
I saw me,” Rose said. “I saw where I came
projects, in the Coney Island neighborhood
from. I saw what God had done for me in
of Brooklyn. As one of the Cooperative
my life, and I saw that I could give back.
the worst housing projects in New York
Baptist Fellowship’s field personnel, she
I was blessed with a great family that was
City, with drugs and gangs,” Rose said. “It
has returned to Brooklyn to minister to the
supportive and stable. They instilled in me
has changed for the better over the years,
children of Albany Homes.
that there was more to life than just the
but unfortunately the community hasn’t
few blocks away. “Albany has a history of being one of
Patricia Heys photos
Taisha Rose provides tutoring for the children living in Albany Homes.
fall reading program will start. With
Each summer Rose works with Missions-
Rose providing encouragement, Scrabble
Connect of North Carolina, a Fellowship
has become a favorite game among the
partner, to facilitate four weeks of camps for
elementary school kids, who must play
the children at Albany Homes. Teams from
with partners because there aren’t enough
Fellowship partner churches lead activities
for approximately 75 kids a week.
“So many of the children I work with
“If you grow up in projects, you still
have to parent themselves,” said Rose. “I
have a chance to succeed,” said Rose, who
remember sitting down and eating as a
graduated from the McAfee School of
family — that was important for me. I feel
Theology, a Fellowship partner school.
called to share with them my story — I
“But it depends heavily on who you have
grew up in the projects too, but look where
supporting you or if you have anyone
God has taken me and where I’m going.
supporting you at all. And I think that the
There’s more out there.”
church can really make a difference.”
Alisha, who at the beginning of the school quite accepted the change. It’s a constant
year barely spoke English, is now excelling
challenge for me to get others involved.”
in reading and writ-
The children growing up in Albany
ing in English. She’s
By Patricia Heys, CBF Communications
Homes face many challenges, including
also learned about
limited after school activities and access
God’s love. She said
to quality education. With area schools
recently, “God is
consistently ranking last in the state, Rose
in my heart. And I
has identified tutoring as a way to help the
know God says for us
students at Albany Homes succeed.
to forgive people, but
giving, contact email@example.com.
She’s worked with children who have
the boy who talked
Mail — Use the contribution envelope included in this issue and make your
fallen behind, but she’s also encountered
bad about my par-
check payable to CBF.
students so eager to learn that they ask
ents — it was hard to
Phone — Call CBF toll-free at (800) 352-8741.
her every day of the summer when the
Online — Go to www.thefellowship.info/give. For questions regarding online
Field Personnel S potlight
ooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Bob and Janice Newell minister among Albanian immigrants in Athens, Greece. Background: Both natives of Mississippi, Bob and Janice are graduates of Mississippi College. Bob earned master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Formerly a faculty member and administrative dean of Houston Baptist University, Bob was pastor of Memorial Drive Baptist Church in Houston from 1989 to 2002. In 2003, the Newells were appointed as field personnel. Ministry: Last summer in Athens the Newells opened Porta, a spiritual and cultural center for Albanian immigrants whose massive influx since the 1990s has led to their discrimination in Greek society.
At Porta, also an artistic and reconciliation center, Albanians find their culture affirmed and celebrated. It is a place of belonging, learning valuable life skills and finding hope. The Newells operate Porta and are the presence of Christ among Albanian immigrants — teaching them what Christ taught, feeding the Bob and Janice Newell hungry, providing clothes for struggling families, and walking alongside the grieving, the sick and the imprisoned. “Quickly, the programs of Porta have become a valuable tool through which we can show Christ’s love to our new Albanian friends,” the Newells said. CBF Global Missions photo
Bob and Janice Newell
“We are constantly energized when we confront pressing human needs, dream of innovative ways to respond, implement the ideas, learn from the process and see the results that the Holy Spirit brings.” By Carla Wynn Davis, CBF Communications
Opening a Door This February Affect, CBF’s missions education resource for adults, focuses on the work of Bob and Janice Newell among Albanians in Athens, Greece. Albanian immigrants are displaced within the Greek society because of centuries of animosity and fear between them and their Balkan neighbors. They face poverty, hopelessness and oppression. The Newells embrace the Albanians in Athens through their work with “Porta,” a culture and reconciliation center. They provide Albanians a place to find acceptance and experience the love of Christ. Adults using Affect are encouraged to examine their communities to see those around them that are considered outsiders and to seek opportunities to welcome them into their churches. To order CBF missions education resources go to www.missionseducation.org or call (888) 801-4223.
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship P.O. Box 450329 • Atlanta, Georgia 31145-0329 www.thefellowship.info (800) 352-8741
Published on Dec 1, 2010