October/ NOvember 2011
Cooperative baptist fellowship | www.thefellowship.info
Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
Blessed are the peacemakers In Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, CBF field personnel Jade and Shelah Acker are working to bring peace and hope to individuals who have lived through war and conflict, including former child soldiers.
Melissa Browning Photo
Learn more about the peace and reconciliation ministries of CBF field personnel and partners on pages 18-24.
God’s mission, my passion, our Fellowship God loves every single human being on earth and is at work in each life, whether we realize it or not. God is uniquely present within the Church continuing the incarnate ministry of Christ in mysterious and mystical ways. God is also powerfully present in the world working through human agency, natural and supernatural processes and historical developments. And always the work of our triune God is one of creation and re-creation. With grace and freedom God acts in time and space to show love and share life, to beautify and bless, to make new things and make things new. And here’s the really good news; God wants to include us in the work God is doing. God is always initiating response and relationships as well as inviting human cooperation and collaboration. God walks in the garden to visit with Adam and give him a task of naming the animals. God promises an inheritance to Abram and calls him to seek a new land. Jesus invites disciples to follow him and then gives them a commission to make disciples of all nations. The Spirit descends on the Church and it performs mighty works as the world is changed. No greater need exists than for us to recapture the reality and romance of the gospel, and then learn how to live it out together with one another. As I shared in my remarks at the General Assembly, one conviction that has sustained me is how in Cooperative Baptist Fellowship we have been a part of something much bigger than ourselves. We are participating in a viral and global conversation about the nature and purpose of the Church and Christian mission. We are helping “re-write the narrative” about pastoral excellence with peer learning networks. We are learning new patterns of prayer and spiritual formation, which are really old patterns. We are, at the same time, deconstructing and reconstructing Baptist identity in a post-denominational world. First, in birthing CBF and then, in nurturing, preserving and using it in profound ways through the years, I have witnessed and experienced divine providence. I believe we are being formed as a missional people while at the same time we are engaging with the global church in ministry among the most neglected. This has been very satisfying and humbling. What I did not share at the General Assembly is that I believe the time has come for CBF to call a new Executive Coordinator. And though I will remain involved in CBF and do all I can to encourage a growing passion for God’s mission, I believe my role needs to change. My wife, Earlene, and I are profoundly grateful for the ministry we have been given for the past 15 years. We have sought to be attentive to the appropriate time for our transition and are at peace that now is the time for it to begin. We are anticipating with eagerness and excitement how we might continue to be a part of what God is doing in our Fellowship and beyond. Vol. 21, No. 5 One of my favorite moments at the Assembly was a chance conversation with executive Coordinator • Daniel Vestal musician Ken Medema as we were walking to the hotel. I first met Ken, and was Coordinator, Fellowship blessed by his life, almost 40 years ago. But rather than reflect on the past we talked Advancement • Ben McDade Editor • Lance Wallace briefly about present and future work, learning to listen to the Spirit and how very managing Editor • Patricia Heys good God is to us as well as the sheer joy of life. It was a serendipitous gift, one of Associate Editor • Carla Wynn Davis so many, that CBF has helped make possible. I will be eternally grateful. Phone • (770) 220-1600 Fax • (770) 220-1685 E-Mail • firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site • www.thefellowship.info
fellowship! is published 6 times a year in Feb./March, April/May, June/July, Aug./Sept., Oct./Nov., Dec./Jan. by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Inc., 2930 Flowers Road South Suite 133, Atlanta, GA 30341. Periodicals postage paid at Atlanta, GA. USPS #015-625. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to fellowship! Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, 2930 Flowers Road South, Suite 133, Atlanta, GA 30341.
Daniel Vestal, CBF Executive Coordinator
In Canada, CBF field personnel Kim and Marc Wyatt are ministering among the immigrants and refugees living in the country’s largest cities.
Contents 9 10-16
Five Tips for dealing with conflict in your church
Ministry in North Carolina • CBF field personnel serve among homeless in rural N.C. • CBF of N.C. helps start new, multi-ethnic congregation • Slavic ministry encourages churches to partner with families
Affect: October Missions Education Resource Blessed are the peacemakers • CBF field personnel provide hope for refugees in Uganda • CBF field personnel minister among Karen resettling in United States • Field personnel facilitate conversation ministry in Macedonia
25 26-27 28 31
Affect: November Missions Education Resource Fellowship Baptists respond to spring tornadoes with long-term relief efforts
Shelia Earl photo
Partner Spotlight: Baptists Today 2012 General Assembly
FROM THE EDITOR My two-year-old nephew is in a phase of asking questions — constantly. A friend stops by to say
hello, and he says, “Who is that?” and “Where is she going?” Driving through the parking lot of the grocery store, he asks “Whose car is that? Whose car is that? Whose car is that?” I tell him, “Sam, I don’t know all these people.” Like many toddlers, he is fascinated by new objects. When he discovers a new toy, he asks, “What is this?” and “How does this work?” How does this work? It’s a question I ask frequently at CBF. Every day, powerful stories of mission and ministries cross my desk. I am amazed at how much CBF field personnel are doing to be the presence of Christ in the world. I am amazed at how many wells are built, Bibles distributed, children fed, sick people healed, churches started and so much more. And, it all works because of the CBF Offering for Global Missions. Fellowship Baptists give to the CBF Offering, and field personnel are enabled to enter the mission fields and change lives. In this issue of the fellowship! magazine, you’ll read about Saudi, a former child solider who saw death at an early age. Your contributions to the CBF Offering have helped him see new life. He says, “I learned that God has a purpose for me.” Saudi is one of eight young men who live with CBF field personnel Jade and Shelah Acker in Uganda. The Ackers are called to bring peace and hope to former child soldiers and other young people affected by war and conflict in Africa. The ways in which they minister are many. The people with whom they have shared God’s love are numerous. Here’s how it works: The generous and sacrificial gifts of Fellowship Baptists to the CBF Offering for Global Missions change lives. Here’s my question: What will you give?
Patricia Heys, managing editor email@example.com fellowship!
Why we give... “I think the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship embodies the New Testament church as much as anything I know. And, I want to be a part of it. I think CBF is ecumenical and a reflection of Jesus – open to everyone and to a different Christian perspective. CBF clings to things that have been part of our distinctive Baptist heritage since the beginning.”
Jennifer Mabe Brandon Moore photo
First Baptist Church Knoxville Knoxville, Tenn.
rowing up in a Baptist church, Jennifer Mabe remembers learning to give in “the envelope era,” as she calls it. She remembers her church, along with many other Baptist churches at the time, having envelopes for giving that included boxes to check off with questions such as “Are you bringing your Bible? Are you reading your Bible? Did you visit anyone this week?” When her children, Ann and Jim, were younger, she wanted to teach them about money management, so she gave each child three envelopes. “One envelope was for giving, one was for saving and one was for spending,” she told them.
Now, Ann, 23, and Jim, 20, both attend the University of Tennessee and First Baptist Knoxville, with their parents. “It’s a great place for us to meet on Sundays downtown together,” Mabe said. “The church is wonderful, and we absolutely love the ministry team.” Jennifer’s husband, Jamie, is the director of operations for AT&T U-Verse, and serves on the church’s finance committee. Jennifer recently served on the stewardship committee and has volunteered as a Vacation Bible School teacher. “We are aware of what Christians are doing to further the kingdom of God, and I support it through giving and through prayer,” said Mabe. “Recently, we
From left to right: Jim, Jennifer, Jamie and Ann Mabe
had a group of young people and adults from our church go on a mission trip to South Africa, and I kept a photo on my refrigerator to pray for them and their specific requests on their trip.” Wanting to learn more about historic Baptist principles, Mabe took classes at the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky in Lexington, a CBF partner. She said the courses helped her to better articulate her theology and grow spiritually. “I do not know everything, and I’m very respectful and mindful about what others believe,” she said. “If I disagree, I want to do it lovingly. Faith is not static, but fluid and is in constant need of evaluation for Christlike authenticity.”
Please give. Your gifts to CBF enable life-changing missions and ministries around the world. To give, use the envelope included in this magazine or go to www.thefellowship.info/give.
Family follows call to church start ministry in Japan
n 1977, while Dale Huckabay was stationed with the U.S. Marines in Okinawa, Japan, he fell in love with the culture and the people. Thirty years later, when his family hosted an exchange student from Japan, Dale, along with his wife and son, began to feel called to serve among the Japanese people. Then, when they read a story in CBF’s fellowship! magazine about the need for short-term mission workers in Kanazawa, Japan, the call became even louder. Dale, a bi-vocational pastor at Tulledega Hills Baptist Church in Henryetta, Okla., and his wife, Dana, who works for Weight Watchers, began contemplating the possibility of following this call. “God was definitely working,” Dale said. “Dana and I were both able to take a leave of absence from our work, and every possible obstacle was quickly overcome.” As part of a partnership between CBF and the Japan Baptist Convention, the Huckabays are working for six months with two churches in Kanazawa, a city of half a million people located along the Sea of Japan. Dale serves as pastor of International Baptist Church, a new English language church plant of Kanazawa Baptist Church. The church attracts internationals living in the coast city, as well as locals who are
Dale and Dana Huckabay, front row center, serve at International Baptist Church, a new English language church plant of Kanazawa Baptist Church.
learning English. Dana works primarily with the Kanazawa Baptist Church kindergarten, an important outreach ministry for the church. She teaches English to the children and plans programs for the parents, such as cooking demonstrations and outings. Their son, Nathan, works as a teacher’s assistant in the English department at a local college. When the Huckabays arrived in Kanazawa, the pastor told them to “see Kanazawa, make friends, and invite people to church,” and this is what they’ve been doing. The
Serve in Kanazawa, Japan What you will do: • Teach a weekly conversational English class
Huckabays’ presence in Kanazawa has been an encouragement to the community of believers there. “The people in the church here really want this project to work,” Dale said. “They are so hoping that God will use something to begin to reach their loved ones, and they believe this might be part of God’s plan for that.” As the Huckabays complete their assignment in December, they hope that God will call someone else to continue the work they’ve started.
What is provided: • Bicycle for local transportation • Possibility of additional money based on the local ESL program
• Assist with a kindergarten program on weekday mornings and network and fellowship with parents of the children who attend
• Attend worship services, weekly prayer meetings and neighborhood and associational meetings
• Have a bachelor’s degree (though no teaching experience is needed)
• Participate in the JOY CWF program, which combines teaching English, providing pastoral training and offering a fellowship time
• While there is no age limit, you must be in good health
• Assist local pastor in other mission activities
• Commitment to a two-year term of service
• Responsible for round-trip airfare and secure funding for half of living expenses.
• Typical days are 7.5 hours and weekends are considered holidays Are you interested in serving in Japan through the CBF and Japan Baptist Convention partnership? To learn more, contact Chris Boltin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional opportunities are listed online at www.thefellowship.info/serve. fellowship!
ChurchWorks Conference focuses on creative approaches to ministry
Patricia Heys photo
ellowship Baptists are finding that the annual CBF ChurchWorks Conference can bring inspiration to their ministry. This annual conference provides opportunities for ministers to discover new ideas and meet others who are also in vocational ministry. Sponsored by Current, the Fellowship’s young leader’s network, and CBF’s Missional Congregations initiative, the conference combines worship and small group time in a setting where ministers deepen their understanding of their ministry and how it relates to their church environment. Josh Speight, associate coordinator for missions with the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship and the coordinator for Current, has attended the past three conferences and says that other than being a great resource for new education materials, the conference’s main goal is to provide a place for ministers to gather and get to know each other. “I keep going back to ChurchWorks because it offers me a unique opportunity to
The annual ChurchWorks Conference features opportunities for ministers to network, share ideas and resources, worship together and learn about creative approaches to ministry.
network with other ministers,” said Speight. “It enriches my ministry to share resources with other people who are involved in similar ministries.” The conference capitalizes on creative approaches to help ministers find ways to
grow and find motivation. From inspiring speakers and worship leaders, such as author Brian McLaren, who will be leading this year, to small dinners out with new colleagues, ministers are encouraged to step outside their comfort zones.
February 27-March 1, Norfolk, Va. Registration: $75 ($35 rate for students at CBF partner theological schools)
A former pastor and college English teacher, Brian McLaren is an author, speaker, activist Brian McLaren and networker among innovative Christian leaders. His dozen-plus books include A New Kind of Christianity, A Generous Orthodoxy and most recently, Naked Spirituality.
Singer-songwriter Ken Medema has been performing for more than 32 years. Using his gift of improvisation, Ken Medema Medema hears the stories of people and events and sings the stories back to the audience.
Pray Praying in song
By Bo Prosser, CBF Coordinator for Missional Congregations
the stones will sing out!” (Luke 19:40 paraphrase) Our new Prayers of the People ne of the earliannual prayer calendar is based est forms of around song and praise. The prayer is song. new Celebrating Grace Hymnal is The Psalms a wonderful worship guide. My Bo Prosser are the “hymn favorite hymn is “He Keeps Me book” of the Bible. Singing one’s Singing.” I love that song and prayers traces back to the beginning of am grateful for this gift of praise in my life. creation I suspect. Victor Hugo is credited What’s your favorite? with saying, “Music expresses that which This month as you pray for each person cannot be put into words and cannot rein the prayer calendar, sing your favorite main silent.” Jesus said, “If they are silent, hymn as part of your prayer. Or, perhaps
Prayer Calendar CH = Chaplain FP = Field Personnel FPC = Child of Field Personnel GMP = Global Missions Partner PC = Pastoral Counselor PLT = Church Planter
OCTOBER 1 Tina Bailey, Southeast Asia (FP) 1 Ron Craddock, Evans, GA (CH) 2 Maha Boulos, Lebanon (FP) 2 Keith Holmes, Europe (FP) 2 Rebecca Reynolds, Bulverde, TX (CH) 3 Jonathan Bailey, Southeast Asia (FP) 3 Matt Norman, Greece (FP) 3 Lucy Vick, Cincinnati, OH (CH) 3 Gene Vincent, Fairview, TN (CH) 4 Matthew Eddleman, Spartanburg, SC (CH) 4 Dennis Herman, Raleigh, NC (CH) 5 Gwen Brown, Grayson, GA (PLT) 5 Jo Ann Hopper, Emeritus (FP) 5 Byong Y. Kim, Central Asia (GMP) 5 Gregory Thompson, Oakwood, GA (CH) 5 David White, Johnson City, TN (CH) 6 Hyo S. Ko, Asia (GMP) 6 James Layman, Kirkwood, MO (CH) 6 Jerry Richards, Apex, NC (CH) 8 Melissa Kremer, Rome, GA (CH) 8 Robb Small, Geismar, LA (CH) 9 Sarah Carbajal, Fort Worth, TX (CH) 10 Joseph Boone, Cold Spring, KY (CH) 10 Nomie Derani, Vienna, VA (FP) 10 Beth Duke, Smithville, TN (CH) 10 Amber Hipps, Gadsden, AL (CH) 10 James Martin, Woodland Park, CO (PC) 10 Tina Woody, Spartanburg, SC (CH) 11 Laura Senter, Everett, WA (CH) 11 Sing Yue, Bakersfield, CA (CH) 12 Ben Newell, San Antonio, TX (FP) 12 Greg Sink, Ft. Hood, TX, deployed (CH) 13 Yong J. Kim, Asia (GMP) 13 Bob Newell, Greece (FP) 13 John Painter, Charleston, SC (CH) 13 Fran Turner, South Africa (FP) 13 Gretchen Watson, Louisville, KY (PC)
14 Jeffrey Payne, Tampa, FL (CH) 14 Kathy Reed, Hot Springs, AR (CH) 15 Bruce Guile, Mexico, MO (CH) 15 Denise Ryder, Greenwood, IN (CH) 16 Karen Black, Fort Worth, TX (CH) 16 Betty Drayton, Sumter, SC (CH) 16 Gregg Drew, Wiesbaden, Germany (CH) 16 Greg Greason, Kansas City, MO (CH) 16 Monty Self, Little Rock, AR (CH) 17 David Fambrough, Washington, NC (CH) 18 Will Bridges, 1998, San Antonio, TX (FPC) 18 Hank Demous, Opelika, AL (CH) 18 Danny Garnnett, Irmo, SC (PC) 18 Greg Oman, Spain (FP) 20 Carl Brinkley, Fayetteville, NC (PLT) 20 Annette Ellard, Louisville, KY (FP) 20 Luke Langston, Durham, NC (CH) 20 Chuck Hawkins, Pearland, TX (CH) 22 Keith Cooper, Lubbock, TX (CH) 22 Paul Robertson, Sugar Land, TX (CH) 22 Michael Williamson, Clinton, MS (CH) 23 Adele Henderson, Greenville, NC (CH) 23 Carl Price, Lebanon, TN (CH) 23 Michael Weaver, Knoxville, TN (CH) 24 Ben Collins, Deland, FL (PLT) 24 Wes Monfalcone, Casselberry, FL (CH) 24 Robert Powell, Lubbock, TX (CH) 24 Rick Ruano, N. Miami Beach, FL (CH) 25 Suzie, Thailand (FP) 25 Sun Koo Hwang, Philippines (GMP) 26 Dean Dickens, Garland, TX (FP) 26 Doug Dickens, Indian Trail, NC (PC) 27 Robert Carter, Virginia Beach, VA (CH) 27 Terrell Moye, Riviera Beach, FL (CH) 28 Erin Binkley, 1991, Uniontown, OH (FPC) 28 Marilyn Menges, Coronado, CA (CH) 28 Jim Travis, Durham, NC (CH) 29 Sam Scaggs, Dublin, GA (CH) 29 Troy Todd, Kaneohe Bay, HI (CH) 30 Richard Brown, Troutville, VA (CH) 30 Hazel Thomas, Houston, TX (CH)
NOVEMBER 2 Karen Alford, Southeast Asia (FP) 2 Mark Elder, Spartanburg, SC (CH) 2 Brad Holmes, Gaffney, SC (CH) 2 Jesse W. Hunt, Ft. Drum, NY (CH)
you play an instrument and might pray through your playing. Or, you want to listen to a favorite artist; you can download wonderful music from the Internet to play in the background. You can also find recorded chants of praise on the CBF website at www.thefellowship.info/pray. Whichever way you choose, surround yourself with music as you pray and reflect on God’s blessings. Close your time of prayer and reflection singing the Doxology, thanking God for those you’ve prayed for. There is within all our hearts the melody of Jesus; sing, pray, praise and see what God might do!
2 Mickie Norman, Leland, NC (CH) 2 Ryan Yaun, Wetumpka, AL (CH) 3 Sul Hwa Kang, Senegal (GMP) 3 Michael McCawley, Elizabethtown, KY (CH) 3 David Reid, Boise, ID (CH) 3 Jeffrey Ross, Virginia Beach, VA (CH) 4 Cyndi Abbe, Waco, TX (PLT) 4 Eric Maas, Belize (FP) 4 Mark Westebbe, Waynesboro, VA (CH) 5 North Africa (FP) 5 Michka, 1992, New Jersey (FPC) 5 Cameron Gunnin, San Antonio, TX (CH) 5 Clyde Waters, Columbia, SC (CH) 6 Emerson Byrd, Columbus, GA (CH) 6 Jeff Lee, Macedonia (FP) 6 Meghan McSwain, Winston-Salem, NC (CH) 7 Craig Butler, Sugar Land, TX (CH) 7 Patricia Coley, Camp Lejeune, NC, deployed (CH) 7 Mike Graham, Asheville, NC (FP) 7 Roland G. Kuhl, Round Lake Beach, IL (PLT) 7 Zachary Morrow, 1995, Aledo, TX (FPC) 7 Jeffrey Porter, Statesville, NC (CH) 8 Mark Weiler, Greeley, CO (CH) 9 Debby Bradley, Owensboro, KY (CH) 9 Charles Seligman, Keesler AFB, MS (CH) 9 Audrey Wilson, Durham, NC (CH) 10 Kevin Crowder, Fredericksburg, VA (CH) 10 Angela Lowe, Lawrence, KS (CH) 10 Ralph Mikels, Jr., Seymour, TN (CH) 10 Jim Smith, Atlanta, GA (FP) 11 Phoebe Angel, 2010, Belgium (FPC) 11 Scott Blair, Oceanside, CA (CH) 11 Dana Durham, Sacramento, CA (CH) 11 Mike Langston, Blythewood, SC (CH) 11 Victor Perez, Knoxville, TN (PLT) 11 Troy Petty, Palmyra, VA (PC) 11 Steve Sweatt, Birmingham, AL (PC) 12 Michael Cox, Elizabethtown, KY (CH) 12 David Cromer, Lancaster, VA (CH) 12 John Lepper, Crestwood, KY (PC) 12 Caroline Smith, South Africa (FP) 12 Jessy Togba-Doya, Athens, GA (FP) 13 Shelia Earl, Macedonia (FP) 13 Earl Martin, Emeritus (FP) 13 Gail Smith, Hillsborough, NC (CH) 13 Cindy Wallace, Carpentersville, IL (CH) 14 Katie Anderson, Louisville, KY (CH)
15 Cris Avila, Newnan, GA (PLT) 15 Marcia McQueen, Eden, NC (CH) 16 Edwin Hollis, Odenville, AL (CH) 17 Chuck Strong, Olive Branch, MS (PLT) 17 Elizabeth Thompson, Littleton, CO (PC) 17 Cade Whitley, 2004, Spain (FPC) 17 Dylan Whitley, 2004, Spain (FPC) 18 Elaine Greer, Frankfort, KY (CH) 18 Kristin Long, Richmond, VA (PC) 19 Will Kinnaird, Keller, TX (CH) 19 Nancy Stephens, Georgetown, KY (CH) 20 Charles Christie, Loganville, GA (CH) 20 Kevin Park, Bellingham, WA (CH) 21 Fred Madren, Indianapolis, IN (CH) 21 - Turkey (FP) 22 Becky Smith, Atlanta, GA (FP) 24 Will Barnes, Savannah, GA (CH) 24 Carol Lynn Brinkley, Fayetteville, NC (PLT) 24 Peggy Gold, Durham, NC (CH) 24 Wilford Manley, Johnson City, TN (CH) 25 Gary Batchelor, Rome, GA (CH) 25 Tony Biles, Richfield, NC (CH) 25 Robert Cooke, Selma, NC (PC) 25 Ed Farris, Topeka, KS (CH) 25 Brad Hood, Knoxville, TN (CH) 25 Sue Smith, Fredericksburg, VA (FP) 25 Lee Weems, Pineville, LA (CH) 26 Carol Fletcher, Athens, GA (CH) 26 Blake Hart, Chile (FP) 26 Michael O’Rourke, Lawton, OK (CH) 26 Charles Reynolds, Spring Lake, NC (CH) 27 Macarena Aldape, India (FP) 27 Butch Branscome, Charlotte, NC (CH) 27 Saul Burleson, Atlanta, GA (CH) 27 Anna Lee, 1995, daughter, Vietnam (GMP) 28 Ronald King, Midland, GA (PC) 28 Abigail Parks, 2004, Slovakia (FPC) 28 Mark Tidsworth, Chapin, SC (PC) 28 Joel Whitley, Spain (FP) 29 Shannon Binkley, 1993, Uniontown, OH (FPC) 29 Paul Mullen, Clemmons, NC (CH) 29 Duewayne Tullos, Clinton, MS (CH) 30 John David Hopper, Emeritus (FP) 30 Lucas Pittman, 2003, Miami, FL (FPC) 30 Peter Stephens, Georgetown, KY (CH)
s the director of Lowcountry Economic Alliance in Beaufort, S.C., Kim Statler’s determination helps her advocate for the poor and guide her community to economic sustainability. Statler helps economically disadvantaged individuals develop plans to elevate the community and future generations. Recently, she secured bringing 300 new jobs to the community. “I really think the work that I do is a mission field because in the poor communities that I have spoken with they really don’t see themselves as being worthy of options,” Statler said. As a member of The Baptist Church of Beaufort, a CBF partner congregation, Statler has secured grants to conduct feasibility studies in the
community, to administer block-by-block renovations, and to fund poverty simulations that guide individuals through a day in the life of an economically disadvantaged person. Statler also promotes economic development as facilitator of CBF’s Economic Development Mission Community on Facebook. Through this online community, Statler hopes to raise awareness of the transformational Kim Statler difference churches and Christians can make when they engage in economic development. She also encourages people to share resources, ideas and stories of their ministry so that Fellowship Baptists might learn from each other.
s a public school teacher for 15 years, Julie Perry never imagined she would become chaplain for more than 1,200 inmates at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, a maximum security women’s prison in Troy, Va. In 2004, Perry was introduced to the prison through her church, Broadus Memorial Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Va., a CBF partner congregation. While listening to a hand bell concert at Fluvanna Correctional Center, she felt God challenging her to vocational ministry. Shortly thereafter, she enrolled in Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, a CBF partner seminary, and graduated in 2009. At Fluvanna, Perry teaches classes, facilitates worship and
discussion groups and counsels women. She finds the work energizing and uplifting. In 2010, she was the spiritual advisor for Teresa Lewis, the first woman executed in Virginia in almost a hundred years. “Every day I have the privilege of talking with women who are at their point of greatest need,” said Perry, who is endorsed as a chaplain by CBF. “I get to listen to Julie Perry their hearts and the devastating circumstances of their lives. And then I have the wonderful task of affirming that God still loves them despite their failings and longs to bring about good changes in their lives.”
Josh Arnone & Jason Nazario
wo men — one thrill seeker and one chill seeker, a blistering July weekend, a couple of paddles, 94 miles of the Kansas River, 26 hours of paddling, all to raise funds for clean water sources in Ethiopia. When friends Josh Arnone, a medical technology student, and Jason Nazario, a financial counselor, decided to participate in the Missouri River 340, a canoe and kayak race across the state of Missouri, they did so with a purpose. Following a chance meeting with Harold Phillips, coordinator for CBF of Missouri, at their church, Little Bonne Femme Baptist Church in Columbia, Mo., a CBF partner congregation, Arnone and Nazario turned a fun race into a fundraising campaign. Phillips introduced them to Water is Life International, a CBF partner that works to provide safe water to impoverished communities throughout Ethiopia.
Arnone and Nazario named their fundraising campaign “Big Muddy Clean Water,” with the mission to raise funds to build two wells in Ethiopia — a $10,000 goal. Due to flooding of the Missouri River, the July race was changed to a Josh Arnone Jason Nazario 94-mile paddle from Manhattan, Kan., to Lawrence, Kan. “It was demoralizing and painful at times,” Nazario said. “But realizing how easy it is for us to just go buy a pack of bottled water or bag of ice at our leisure and then comparing that to a family who can’t, it just doesn’t add up. Our race is finished but the need of bringing water to those who thirst goes on.”
for participating in a peer learning group Members of one peer learning group in Texas spent their retreat talking about “how to re-discover our creativity.” The group met at Blue Rock Studios in Wimberley, Texas, which is owned by group members Billy and Dodee Crockett. Pictured from left to right: Elias Garcia, FBC Plainview; Ben Ondrak, Second Baptist, Lubbock; Kevin Mitchell, Driftwood Church, Dripping Springs; Cheryl Kimble, Highland Park Baptist, Austin; Fran Patterson, Broadway Baptist, Fort Worth; Billy Crockett.
By Steve Graham CBF Director of Missional Leadership
are one of the keys for ministerial excellence. At a time when ministers are feeling a growing sense of isolation, those involved in peer learning say they cannot conceive of doing ministry alone. In CBF’s 125 peer learning groups, more than 900 ministers have the opportunity to develop collegial relationships on a monthly basis. Ranging in size from eight to 12 members, these small communities of ministers gather in a particular geographical area to provide opportunities for spiritual growth, study, discussion of ministry-related issues, support and fellowship. Each group is led by a trained convener. The convener and group members determine the focus of each gathering around themes promoting pastoral excellence and ministerial and congregational well-being. Here are a few tips for participating in a peer learning group:
There is strong evidence that groups flourish when they meet in the same location. This allows those participating to overcome their own ambivalence about attending because they’re not sure where to go. A regular meeting place allows creativity to emerge within a familiar and safe environment. In his book, The Island Within, Richard Nelson suggests, “There may be more to learn by climbing the same mountain a hundred times that by climbing a hundred different mountains.” Select a date to meet and stick with it — even if you have to miss. Put a place, date and time for the monthly meetings on the calendar. Remember, if you want the meeting to start (or stop) on time, then start (or stop) on time.
Groups that share a covenant of participation tend to have a higher percentage of attendance. When a minister says she will be there, you can count on her
photo Courtesy of FBC Plainview
Studies show that collegial relations
to be there. On the other hand, if the minister says, “I’ll try to be there,” she has more than likely expressed her regrets. Peer learning groups flourish when the group is present to one another. CBF can provide sample covenants for those groups that wish to adopt one.
Successful peer learning groups have a convener who serves as a magnetic leader and draws the group together by inviting and nurturing participation. However, at the same time, it should be noted, the group does not belong to just one minister. The group depends solidly upon one another. Each member can facilitate the didactic experience. If you’re not sure what to study, begin with short books. If your group already reads short books, then articles. If you already read articles, cartoons. An idea to consider: To the degree that the peer group involves the minister’s family it will positively affect clergy family life. Have a cookout. Share a retreat. One group brings family to their Preacher Camp. Be adaptable — place a plan in front of the group — let them change it as they improve upon it. Groups report to CBF about the focus of their monthly meetings, providing a rich resource of ideas and topics.
Be a listener
As Simone Weil insisted, “True attentiveness leaves itself perpetually open to surprise!” Good groups learn to ask curious questions. They resist the temptation to rush in with solutions and the quick fix. One group has a covenant that if you have to leave early, then you commit to listen on that day more than usual for the short time you are there. Be empathetic without turning the meeting into a pity party.
Learn from each other. Ministry is more like a team relay than a race by oneself. A by-product of peer communities has been the squelching of competition among clergy. One member of a group offered this idea for their group’s covenant: “Let’s stare with utter disdain at anyone who asks, ‘How many were at your church on Sunday?’” The Fellowship, along with a number of states, provides support through grants and resources, as well as convener training, for peer learning groups. Many groups begin meeting in September and end their year in May. If you are interested in participating in a peer learning group, contact Steve Graham at email@example.com or (770) 220-1675.
The hands and feet of Christ
Photo courtesy of the maases
CBF field personnel serve among homeless in rural North Carolina county
Community Gardens, a project started by Union Mission, grows food on donated land to give to those in need.
Fellowship Baptists traveling to Halifax County in North Carolina to work alongside CBF field personnel Anna and LaCount Anderson are not always prepared for what they find. “A lot of middle class Americans have no idea what a poor person looks like,” said LaCount. “You might expect to see someone with a shopping cart, probably a man, with a beard. But frankly, I work with people who look like the people you might run into every day at Wal-Mart.” a ministry center in Roanoke Rapids serving the Roanoke Valley. We hope to create programs to get children and teens involved and engaged here.”
Building relationships and breaking stereotypes The Andersons and members from partner churches conducted a literacy fair last summer at the Mission. Approximately 25 parents or caregivers helped assemble and paint bookshelves for a library in the center. After the work was completed, the parents were given books to take home to their children with the encouragement to read together. “Everything we do has a relational aspect to it,” LaCount said. “Paying an electric bill is just putting a bandage on a wound. We’re trying to delve a little deeper, and you have to build relationships to do that. The activities we organize help us to get to know the people we serve, to become closer friends so that they can hear more from us about God.” Working alongside the Andersons at the fair were 10 members of Westfield Baptist Church in Dunn, N.C. Pastor Chris Dawson said it was the first time many from his congregation had the opportunity to be the “hands and feet of Christ,” and he hoped it was an awakening of sorts for them. Carla Wynn Davis photos
Since 2009, the Andersons have worked among the homeless in this rural area, located along the coast in the northeast portion of the state. The poverty rate is nearly 25 percent, as compared to 13 percent nationwide, and the unemployment rate is 12.4 percent. The needs are basic — food, shelter and knowing God’s love. “I see generational poverty here, it’s just phenomenal,” Anna said. “I see people I know that would benefit from having mentors walk beside them and help them to make better choices.” Working as a minister for 32 years, LaCount said he took groups on mission trips to help the homeless, and God used these experiences to touch his heart and lead him to investigate how he could get involved. When he lost his ministerial job at age 55, he was at a crossroads. He decided that he would go to Union Mission to volunteer, and soon after, they invited him to become executive director. “I think the most challenging thing is the faith dimension, having the courage to step out there,” LaCount said. “Sometimes God actually wants us to do it. Anna and I are self-funded, which is scary. I’m happy to do it, and God has provided because people have given, but it’s still scary. I think a lot of people are afraid to give up that security and that prevents them from knowing what God has in store for them.” Union Mission, a homeless shelter for men in downtown Roanoke Rapids, N.C., was started by First Baptist Church Roanoke Rapids more than 60 years ago. Now non-denominational, the mission offers housing, counseling and education. “We desire to reach the total family,” LaCount said. “We’re not a church. We are
LaCount Anderson, right, leads a men’s recovery program at Union Mission, which includes regular Bible study.
“I think what happened is people had their stereotypes about who is homeless broken,” Dawson said. “They came in contact with people who were once very successful, but through some decisions — some of their own and others out of their control — found themselves in dire circumstances. I think members of our church found themselves associating with people here in a totally different way and found out they are people not unlike them; they want help, but just haven’t been given the opportunity yet.” Dawson said the unemployment rate Continue on page 12 fellowship!
to come and work with us, for a day or for a week.”
Growing food and providing shelter
Anna Anderson, right, was commissioned by CBF in 2010.
Meet the Andersons Hometown: Savannah, Ga. (LaCount); Wilson, N.C. (Anna) Commissioned: 2009 (LaCount), 2010 (Anna) Anna serves as minister of music and missions at Rosemary Baptist Church. LaCount is executive director of Union Mission, a homeless shelter for men. www.thefellowship.info/anderson
love it because most of them never thought about helping others. And that’s what we try to teach them; when you have a relationship with God, you try to help someone else. That’s how I know they are starting to get it — when they think of things to do for others on their own.” Because of its success, the Community Gardens concept has been copied. Edenton Baptist Church in Edenton, N.C., planted a garden last summer, and so has Campbell University, a CBF partner, located in Buies Creek, N.C., more than 100 miles from Roanoke Rapids. The garden has been used as a tangible example of the Andersons’ ministry. “LaCount has spoken in chapel and helped our students understand what poverty looks like,” said Faithe Beam, campus minister at Campbell. “We have created a garden that allows the students, faculty and staff to work together with our hands and produce something that helps. It has taught us dependence upon God for rain and which crops grow well here and the ones
Addressing hunger has also been a focus for the Andersons. Last year, they distributed an estimated 2,500 50-pound boxes of food. This year, LaCount estimates they’ll give out more than 15,000. “The need is so great,” LaCount said. “With the economy being bad, people are using money for other things, like housing and medicine. People need food, too.” Community Gardens is a project started at Union Mission to grow food and give it away to people in need. The first garden was planted in 2009 on land donated by Reginald Cotton, a farm owner in Hobgood, N.C. Last summer, mission residents, along with Fellowship Baptists from partner churches, harvested food and prepared it to give away to those in need. “It’s been a wonderful success because we’re using it to sustain us, and we’re also developing relationships along the way,” LaCount said. “The men at the mission
in Dunn isn’t as high as Halifax County, but people there are feeling the economy’s downturn like everywhere else. And, he hopes what his church members learned this summer will transfer to their town. “I think it instilled the thought that we have to be more than a ‘handout church,’” he said. “We can extend our hand to those who want to get back up on their feet and walk alongside of them.” For residents at Union Mission, Anderson has an intensive men’s recovery program that goes beyond addiction to discover why they are homeless. It includes Bible Study and one immutable law: “You must tell the truth, or you can’t stay at Union Mission.” He hopes to expand programming to children and teens. Anderson says it costs more than $1,200 a day to run Union Mission. While money is not distributed by the center, food and clothing are distributed. The mission operates a food pantry and a thrift store. Donated items that can’t be used by residents are sometimes sold or recycled into rags. “We’d love to accept your unused items,” LaCount said. “And we encourage you
Members of FBC Goldsboro, N.C., served alongside Anna and LaCount Anderson.
that don’t. It has brought a lot of people together with a common goal.” The Andersons also partner with Faith House, a shelter for women and children located in nearby Enfield, N.C. Recently a young woman came to Faith House for help. She had been kicked out of her home and had no place to live. She was also eight months pregnant. The Andersons worked with the shelter’s director to find space for the woman, along with a donated air conditioner to make her comfortable. Now, both mother and child are living comfortably at Faith House. The shelter also provides safe sanctuary for women who have been victims of abuse. Many come from other cities and are hiding from their abusers. One woman arrived at Faith House and quickly became involved helping out in any way that she could. One day when LaCount arrived, she was paint-
ing the front door and greeted him. “We have a counselor who works to mentor these women and help them get back on their feet,” he said. “But we need to raise funds to keep the program going.”
Inspiring others and changing lives The Andersons are self-funded CBF field personnel, responsible for raising their own support in order to minister in northeastern North Carolina. Much of their funding comes from Fellowship churches, as well as partners. The Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) of North Carolina has supported the Andersons’ ministry financially and by raising awareness through poverty simulations that show participants the daily struggles of homeless people and those most affected by poverty.
“The simulation lasts about 30 hours, and we try to provide people with the most realistic view we can of the challenges people face,” said Ruby Fulbright, executive director of WMU of NC. Participants are sent on a scavenger hunt of sorts to find items to recycle or sell in order to buy food. Partnering with WMU, the Andersons are creating the Christian Women’s Job Corps, a non-profit, faith-based agency to help meet the needs of poor and homeless women in their area this fall. They are planning to establish three different sites throughout the county to host the program, which includes job-readiness classes, computer classes, GED training, Bible study and mentoring. The Andersons are looking for churches to partner with them in this new ministry. By contributing writer Bob Perkins Jr.
If you are interested in serving alongside the Andersons, contact CBF staff member Chris Boltin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 352-8741 to learn about specific ways you can be involved. fellowship!
encourages churches to partner with families
fter celebrating her 16th birthday, Alina really wanted to learn how to sew. As the second oldest of seven children in a Moldovan immigrant family living in Asheville, N.C., her parents couldn’t afford to buy her a sewing machine. And, she didn’t know anyone who could teach her. Fran Graham, one of CBF’s field personnel in North Carolina, learned of Alina’s interest and purchased a used sewing machine for her. Debbie Lee, a member of a visiting church mission team from Temple Baptist
Church in Durham, N.C., offered her time to teach Alina how to use the machine. “It was very rewarding,” Lee said. “Alina was very excited and eager to learn. We practiced seams and made a pillow, and she worked very hard. Now she can teach her little sister and other members of her family, and it can be something they will use for the rest of their lives.” Commissioned by the Fellowship in 2005, Fran and Mike Graham began their work among immigrants from the former Soviet Union in 2002 as members of First Baptist Church, Asheville, N.C.
Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 immigrants from 15 former Soviet republics have made the Asheville area their home, many fleeing religious or political persecution. Often arriving with very few personal possessions and little or no money, most Eastern Europeans find assimilation into a new country and new culture difficult. The Grahams, who are self-funded field personnel, and their church partners collect funds, food, furniture and household items for the Slavic immigrants. They have also partnered with the North Carolina Men’s Dental Bus to provide dental care for chil-
Photos courtesy of the Grahams
Debbie Lee, far left, along with other members of Temple Baptist Church in Durham, N.C., led Backyard Bible Clubs for immigrants at an apartment complex in Asheville.
“I hear stories of people who had grandparents sent to prison and eventually die there just because they had a Bible in their home.”
(Left) When families first arrive in Asheville, the Fran and Mike Graham’s ministry provides them with basic necessities for setting up a home. Many of the items are donated by Fellowship Baptists and other partners. (Right) Debbie Lee, left, a member of Temple Baptist Church, taught Alina how to use her new sewing machine.
dren and adults. The Grahams also partner with several Slavic-language churches in the area to support their ministry in the community. “Hearing [immigrants’] stories of persecution in their homeland, and their faith and perseverance is so encouraging to me,” Graham said. “I hear stories of people who had grandparents sent to prison and eventually die there just because they had a Bible in their home. And, they just keep wanting to share stories about God’s love. Many times, I just pray, ‘God if I am ever in that situation, I hope that I am as strong and faithful as they were.’” The mission team from Temple Baptist Church was one of three CBF churches that worked with WNC Slavic Ministries
during the summer, leading backyard Bible club, sharing meals with Slavic families and organizing donations. Traveling more than 200 miles across the state with a trailer and moving truck full of donated furniture and household items, the team off-loaded the items into two warehouses used by the Grahams’ ministry. “We were one of the first groups to come and organize the warehouse,” Lee said. “Our team worked hard every day cleaning donated items, repairing what could be fixed and preparing it for donation. Then they’d go out to deliver some of the items and the families were so excited, it was just like Christmas.” When a family first arrives, the Grahams’ ministry provides them with gift cards for clothing, donated furniture and household
necessities, and either a grocery gift card or “pounding” (donations of food) to help set up their first apartment. One important goal of the Grahams’ ministry is connecting churches with a particular family. “We have several churches that have sponsored families already, but we have many more families we’d like to get paired up with churches, and more families are arriving every month,” Fran said. “God has brought them here for a purpose, and it’s up to us together to discover how we can help them adjust and seek out God’s will for their lives here. They want to be contributing citizens and further the kingdom of God in the United States.” By contributing writer Bob Perkins Jr.
Learn how you can work alongside the Grahams’ ministry or sponsor a Slavic family by contacting CBF staff member Chris Boltin at email@example.com or (800) 352-8741. Learn more about the Grahams at www.thefellowship.info/graham. fellowship!
‘Looks like the kingdom of heaven’ CBF of North Carolina helps start new, multi-ethnic congregation
Photos courtesy of Unity Church
espite being located in the heart of the Bible belt, leaders of CBF of North Carolina are recognizing that there is a fast growing population of people in the state who do not attend church. The state organization has made a coordinated effort to carve out a niche for the gospel by planting churches that reach specific communities. Unity Christian Church International, located in Fayetteville, N.C., is one example of this initiative. The intentionally multiethnic congregation, which recently celebrated its third anniversary, was the dream of Terry Henderson, who serves as pastor. Henderson, a former officer in the Army at nearby Fort Bragg, attended Campbell University Divinity School, a CBF partner. After graduation, he got an offer to become executive pastor of his home church in Kentucky, but said he felt the Holy Spirit leading him to start a church. “I was thinking God wanted me to plant a church in Louisville,” Henderson said. “But, I realized, God had called me back here to Fayetteville.” Henderson is black, but grew up in a largely Anglo context and community. His wife, Deanna, is white. The family understands the need for churches that cut across ethnic and cultural lines in an intentional way. In Fayetteville, the need for a multi-ethnic church is especially great. In the past, diversity in the Southern town was mainly black and white. But with the growth of the military at Fort Bragg, the community is seeing more and more diversity. Minority groups are prominent in the military, with many service members marrying spouses they meet while stationed overseas. As a result, Fayetteville is now home to many Asians, Pacific Islanders, Africans and Hispanics. Unity Church reflects that diversity every Sunday morning.
Unity Christian Church International, which began as a house church, now meets in a shopping center. The church is currently renovating an adjacent space to use as a coffee shop and outreach ministry.
“We like to say it looks like the kingdom of heaven,” Henderson said. “There’s white, there’s black, there’s Hispanic, there’s Guamanian. We pretty much cover the spectrum.” The church’s leadership team and worship style also reflect its intentional multiculturalism. Henderson is black, his worship leader is white, and their former evangelism coordinator, who recently moved away, is Hispanic. “Usually multi-ethnic churches have a flavor of one of the ethnicities — but this is a real combination,” said Linda Jones, missions coordinator for CBF of North Carolina. CBF of North Carolina started providing financial support to the church in 2010. As part of its emphasis on church planting, the organization provides $20,000 grants — distributed out over two to four years, depending on the church’s needs — to
church starts. It asks for cooperation and a covenant agreement in return and recruits established CBF partner congregations to come alongside the church starts and augment the aid that the state group provides. Jones says Unity Church was a natural partner for CBF of North Carolina because of the church start’s clearly defined mission and strong leadership. “What God calls us to do, quite often I think we’re uniquely gifted for,” Jones said of Henderson. “So for him to be able to work across cultures, I think he’s gifted for that. He’s had experience, calling, training, and education.” By contributing writer Rob Marus
Are you interested in supporting or being involved with new church start ministries? Contact CBF staff member David King at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 352-8741 to learn about ways to connect.
Missions Education Resource How to use this page
The suggestions below will be helpful for using the stories on pages 10-16 of this issue in the life of your church. Small Group interaction, Study Group or Reading Group options are given, as well as suggestions for other congregational or family settings. Go online to www.thefellowship.info/affectonline for more suggestions.
Ministry in North Carolina
In Small Groups:
The following is an outline for adult mission groups, Bible study classes or other small groups. Share copies of fellowship! with group members prior to the meeting and have some extra copies available. These suggestions are for a 45-minute time frame. 1. In this session, you will focus on models for ministry. Before the session, find out what CBF ministries are present in your state or local community. A good place to start is by contacting your state/ regional CBF organization or by visiting their website. For a full list, visit www.thefellowship.info/statesandregions. 2. Secure copies of CBF’s fellowship! magazine for each person in your small group. Also, make sure you have a Bible on hand. 3. When you arrive, direct participants to form three small groups. Assign each group an article from pages 10-16 of fellowship! that focuses on ministry in North Carolina. Ask the groups to read their assigned articles and to discuss them using the following discussion questions: (1) What need is being met by this ministry? (2) Are similar needs present in our state/community? (3) What would happen if no one stepped up to meet these needs? 4. After giving 10 to 15 minutes for small group discussion, come back together and ask a spokesperson from each group to summarize the group’s discussion. 5. Then, transition to a discussion about needs and ministries in your state,
In Worship: Guided Prayer Experience Ask someone in your congregation to provide a short missions moment based on one article from pages 10-16 of CBF’s fellowship! magazine that focus on ministry in North Carolina. After the missions moment, lead the congregation through this guided prayer that focuses on specific needs in your state and community. You can modify the prayer by naming your specific state and town. Pray: God, you have placed us here in this state and this community in order to be a witness of your deep and abiding love. We ask you to forgive us where we have fallen short and to inspire us to do more to reach the needs of our neighbors. Together, as a congregation, silently and out loud, we want to name the needs we know in our community. Pause to allow congregants to name needs both silently and out loud. Pray: God, you have heard these needs we’ve lifted to you. But even as we lift these needs, we know that you have entrusted us with need-meeting gifts. As we
sharing the information you’ve gathered from your state CBF organization or other sources. 6. Ask the following questions: (1) How is our church helping to meet needs in our state/community? (2) Do you think we’re doing enough or should we be doing more? (3) What commonalities are present in the various ministries we discussed today? (4) How can we model their approach in order to meet the unique needs in our state/community?
Cooperative baptiSt fellowShip | www.thefellowShip.info
Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ Learn more about the peace and reconciliation ministries of CBF field personnel and partners on pages 18-24.
7. Enlist someone to read the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 or Luke 19:12-28. Discuss the parable by saying that we are called as Christians to use the unique talents we have as individuals and as a church. Continue the discussion by asking what talents are present in your church and whether they are being used to the fullest. 8. End by praying for the ministries in North Carolina and for those mentioned in the Prayer Calendar on page 7.
pause again, speak to our hearts right now, impressing upon us ways we can use the gifts you’ve given to meet the specific needs of our state and community. Pause. Pray: God, we hear your call. We are beginning to feel your gentle urgings. Show us this week how to be the presence of Christ in a world that is hurting. Help us to take the testimony of your love with us into all the places we go. Amen.
In Reading Groups In his memoir All Over But the Shoutin’, Rick Bragg gives his readers an intimate look at poverty and faith in the rural south. Bragg tells the stories of his family in a way that allows the reader to imagine they’d been invited over for dinner. This gifted storyteller won a 1996 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.
Blessed are the peacemakers
CBF field personnel provide hope for refugees
Living in war-torn Southern Sudan in 2001, Jade and Shelah Acker began to feel a new call from God. They were working alongside people who had been displaced by one of Africa’s longest civil wars — people who lost their homes and families. The Ackers began working in the refugee camps with children, children not only fleeing war but who were also former child soldiers. In the camp where the Ackers worked, there were more than 350 children who had fought in Sudan’s civil war.
Home sweet mission field Saudi (pronounced Sudi) was one of the boys that the Ackers met in Sudan. Saudi thinks he was about 10 or 12 years old when he first joined the SPLA. He was in the military for four years and served as an officer. During his time in the army, Saudi saw death all around him. “I have learned that wherever there is war, death is there,” he said. “I have counted many deaths. Many friends, I lost them — best friends ... but there’s nothing I can do — I can just remember.” But today, Saudi remembers from a safe place. He’s finally in school, one of the top schools in Uganda. And in 2010, he received the highest score in all of Uganda on the history portion of a standardized test. Most importantly, Saudi is looking ahead to
the future. He knows God saved his life for a reason. “I also learned that God has a purpose for me. Why didn’t I die? Some guys died, but I was alive,” he said. “That’s what encouraged me to have a very personal relationship with God.” Saudi now lives with the Ackers along with seven other former child soldiers the Ackers support. “We have eight extended family members,” said Shelah. “I would say they’re like our sons. We’ve known them now since 2001 and have seen most of them go from being young adolescents to adults.” The Ackers have raised money to put the boys through school. Now, most of the boys are finishing high school and starting work. Their lives have been transformed because the Center of Hope, a community center for refugees run by the Ackers responded to God’s Ackers, provides English classes, income generating projects, Bible call in a very personal way. study and a youth camp (shown here). One of the boys, Lino, was not a child soldier but was affected by well. Today, he’s their son. The Ackers have the war in other ways. As an orphan, Lino legal guardianship over Lino, and he’s a big lived on the streets. When he was young, brother to the Ackers’ own young girls. he would jump the fence to get into the For the Ackers, their home is not a rerefugee camps, posing as a former child treat from the world, but part of their callsoldier so he could find food to eat. In these ing. It is a space where justice and reconcilencounters, the Ackers got to know Lino Continue on page 20 Melissa Browning photos
In Sudan, child soldiers were not an exception but comprised the majority of some militias. Some children were forcibly recruited by groups such as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), while others joined voluntarily. For children who had never known peace, joining the military was a heroic thing to do. But for these kids, exposure to war had extreme consequences. So the Ackers, who were commissioned as CBF field personnel in 2004, followed God’s call to bring peace and refuge to people affected by war. They relocated to Uganda, where they work among local communities and with partners in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, being the presence of Christ among people desperately in need of hope.
where many students cannot afford to buy the textbooks they need for school.
Providing refuge, living in hope
Meeting refugees where they live
When the boys are not away at boarding school, they are part of the Ackers’ ministry in Uganda. They organize soccer games and tutor children. They also volunteer at Refuge and Hope, the non-profit organization the Ackers started in Kampala. The biggest ministry Refuge and Hope offers is Center of Hope, a community center for refugees that provides English classes, income generating projects, Bible study, sports and computer instruction. “At the Center of Hope, we’re mainly working with refugees,” Jade said. “And they’re urban refugees, so they have a bit different needs than those who are living in refugee camps. Many of them come to Kampala, the capital city, in search of jobs, in search of a better future for their children, in search of a better life.” By helping these refugees with English education or computer skills, the Center for Hope gives them the tools with which they can rebuild their lives. Because the Center for Hope is a new ministry, there is still much to be done. Jade dreams of the day when the center can open a library and a reading room. This is especially important in a place like Uganda,
The Ackers’ work does not stop with their ministry in Uganda. Because they feel called to reach out to those affected by war and conflict, their work often brings them to war zones. The Ackers have partnered with Pastor Bamoleke from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to help people who are being affected by the ongoing conflict there. Like Sudan, the DRC has been greatly affected by prolonged conflict. The fighting, which began in 1998, has claimed more than 5 million lives. The 2008 conflict in Eastern Congo, which borders Uganda, forced refugees across the border. When CBF churches heard about the conflict, they gave money toward an emergency fund, which allowed the Ackers to help refugees living in the camps. “You have militia groups, rebel groups, government troops, and even U.N. troops thrown in, and it’s a mix,” Jade said. “You can’t tell who’s where or when. It’s a very volatile area.” By partnering with Bamoleke, the Ackers are continuing their work in the DRC by sponsoring students. “We have 24 students that we’re sponsoring and helping to get back in school,”
Meet the Ackers Commissioned: 2004 Hometown: Birmingham, Ala. (Jade) and San Antonio, Texas (Shelah) Jade and Shelah Acker live and work in Kampala, the largest city and capital of Uganda, which is located in central Africa. The Ackers’ home is full of people — (pictured L-R) Barakat Yusuf, Kaelah-Joy Acker, Shelah Acker, Lino Kuol, back row, Abraham Hussein, AnnaGrace Acker, Jade Acker and Saudi Hashim. The mission of their ministry, Refuge and Hope, is to “[serve] those affected by war and conflict, offering a refuge and a hope.” www.thefellowship.info/acker
Melissa Browning photos
iation is lived out over large family dinners and soccer games in the front yard.
Jade Acker, right, with former child solider Saudi, organizes soccer games as part of Refuge and Hope’s ministry.
Jade said. “Some of them are former child soldiers. Some of them have just been affected by the war. Some of them are girls who have been traumatized or can’t get back into school. So we’re just assisting them to get back into school.” Bamoleke, who started Shalom Transformation Ministries, was a student of early missionaries in the Congo. He decided to go into the ministry because he felt a burden for his country. He knew that Congolese people needed to minister rather than leaving the work to foreign missionaries. As Bamoleke walks through the village paths, you
Saudi, standing, a former child solider, now lives with the Ackers and conducts tutoring sessions, such as the one shown here, for children at the ministry center. (On the cover) In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Ackers sponsor 24 students, many of them former child soldiers or children traumatized by war, helping them get back into school.
can sense his burden for the people — his people. The school of his childhood is just around the corner from the school where he now facilitates child sponsorship programs. Bamoleke is grateful for the partnership with CBF because it provides for children in his community. “You have girls and boys who lost their parents and who without any assistance will never be able to go to school,” Bamoleke said. “You have some kids who were raped or saw their mothers being killed or raped and so forth, their houses being burned. And as we went around and identified those kids, we even found those ex-soldiers, child soldiers. They lost their chance of go-
ing to school, and we feel like if we have a way of getting them back to school, that’s the best thing that can be done.”
God’s mission, your passion In the years the Ackers have lived in Uganda, refugees crossing the border have been helped, and refugees living in Kampala have found resources to start a new life. The boys the Ackers sponsor have found schools and a home in Uganda. But in many ways, the work in Uganda is just beginning, and the Ackers are eager for CBF churches to join them in their ministry. CBF churches can partner with this
ministry by praying for the Ackers’ work, serving in Uganda and giving to the CBF Offering for Global Missions. “We could not be here doing what we do if it wasn’t for the CBF Offering for Global Missions,” Shelah said. “Our work would not be possible. That’s the way that we’re able to do what we do here.” When you give to the CBF Offering for Global Missions, you are supporting the important work the Ackers do each day. You are joining them in providing refuge and hope to refugees. And you are joining in God’s mission by living out your passion. By contributing writer Melissa Browning
The CBF Offering for Global Missions funds CBF field personnel such as Jade and Shelah Acker. Your gifts to the CBF Offering help both send them to the mission field and keep them there so they can share Christ. This year it will take more than $5 million to fund these life-changing ministries of CBF field personnel, and they need your help. To give, use the envelope included in this issue or go to www.thefellowship.info/give. To learn more about the CBF Offering or about resources for promoting it in your church, go to www.thefellowship.info/ogm or contact CBF staff member Lance Wallace at email@example.com. fellowship!
‘Peace and prosperity’
CBF field personnel minister among Karen refugees resettling in United States
u Kaw grew up in a remote village among the jungles of Burma. He remembers never leaving home after dusk for fear of tigers or other jungle predators. As civil war spread throughout Burma, Mu Kaw was forced from his home along with thousands of other ethnic minorities. His only hope to escape the persecution and violence was a camp for Karen refugees in neighboring Thailand.
Though he had no formal education and very little means, Mu Kaw eventually decided to accept an offer from the U.S. State Department to relocate to America, hoping that his children might have a better future. “When they put the papers in front of me to sign, I couldn’t even write my own name,” he said. “I just made my mark and put my life into the hands of God.” Among the first people that Mu Kaw met when he arrived in Louisville, Ky., were Steve Clark and Annette Ellard, who were
commissioned as field personnel by CBF in 2006 to minister among Karen refugees from Burma. Clark and Ellard, along with members of Crescent Hill Baptist Church where they are members, have been welcoming a growing group of Karen refugees ever since. “Every person who we work with has suffered tremendous injustice, loss and helplessness,” said Ellard. “They have taken a huge risk to resettle on the other side of the world. They can’t speak English, find
photos courtesy of steve clark & annette ellard
Mu Kaw, standing, escaped civil war in his home country of Burma to resettle in the United States.
“They have taken a huge risk to resettle on the other side of the world. They can’t speak English, find food or go anywhere without help. They have no choice but to trust.” food or go anywhere without help. They have no choice but to trust.” Day-to-day ministry for Clark and Ellard, who are self-funded personnel, is focused on what they call “crisis management,” ranging from medical emergencies to providing documents for social services to simple apartment maintenance issues. “Anything that takes away fear brings a certain amount of peace,” Clark said. “Whenever a refugee faces a crisis, there is a great amount of anxiety and fear. Just being available to help alleviate that stress brings peace to the family and the community.” Last summer, Clark and Ellard visited Mu Kaw to celebrate the blessing of his family’s new house in South Dakota. “It was awesome to be a part of the celebration and to know that this family has come such a long way from the violence and fear of Burma,” Ellard said.
Peace begins with prayer In the fall of 2010, worship at Crescent Hill was about to begin when a teenage boy grabbed Ellard’s arm and said to her, “I need your help.” Chee Low explained that he had missed more than 90 days of school the previous year, and was being encouraged to “find another path.” “He was the last person who would ever admit that he needed help,” Ellard said. “But when he realized that his family — including two disabled parents and five siblings — really were depending on him, he knew he had to change.”
“If I don’t have a high school diploma, I will never have anything,” Chee Low said. “I want to learn and I want to change, and now they won’t let me come to school.” Ellard prayed with Chee Low, and then spent eight weeks fighting to ensure that his rights as a student were recognized. It worked — and soon Clark and Ellard reChee Low, center, hosted a worship service at his house to celebrate his birthday. ceived a letter from one of his teachers. “It said that she saw a change in Chee think praying is a bigger part of peacemakLow, that he was a completely different kid,” ing than anything else.” Ellard said. “When she asked him what had Determined not to give up, Clark and changed, his answer was, ‘Jesus.’” Ellard are piloting a small project high Unfortunately, Chee Low still won’t school this fall specifically for students like graduate before he ages out of the school Chee Low. The school, to be named Hope system. Based on his age, Chee Low was Academy, will start with volunteer teachers placed in the ninth grade when he arrived, and no more than 10 students. despite the fact that he could barely speak “It doesn’t take any more to dream big English and had no more than a second than it does to dream small,” Clark said. “So grade level of education. we’re dreaming big and working for those big “Chee Low has changed me — he has things that will make a real impact. We want taught me the importance of prayer,” Ellard to help these young men to see that God said. “He doesn’t get out of my car unless has plans for them, to give them hope and a I pray with him, and I know that it’s not future. They can have peace and prosperity the exact words that I’m saying — because here. They will find what they are looking for many of them he doesn’t understand – it’s in life if they seek God with all their hearts. ” the calling of God into that situation into his life that he knows is changing things. I By contributing writer Lelia King
Are you interested in ministering among refugees in your community? Would you like to become involved with ministry to the Karen people? Contact CBF staff member Chris Boltin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 352-8741 to learn about resources and specific opportunities to serve. Learn more about the ministry of Clark and Ellard at www.thefellowship.info/clarkellard. fellowship!
Cultivating seeds of peace Field personnel facilitate conversation ministry in Macedonia
Shelia Earl photo
he Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe has a centuries-long history of ethnic hostility. After the fall of Yugoslavia and the Croatian War, ethnic tensions in the region boiled. In early 1998, war broke out in the Serbian province of Kosovo and the Yugoslav government began to drive out the ethnic Albanian population. Albanians were forced to flee to refugee camps in Macedonia to escape the extreme violence. Since 1994, Arville and Shelia Earl had served as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel among Albanians and Balkan peoples in France, Burkina Faso, West Africa and Albania. Just before the crisis in Kosovo began, the Earls moved to western Macedonia. Though they had no experience in ethnic-conflict transformation, God had other plans.
When they first arrived in Macedonia, the Earls lived just a few kilometers from two major refugee camps and soon found themselves sitting with an Albanian man who three days before had witnessed the murder of his four sons. “We quickly realized that our ministry had changed,” Arville said. “We knew we had to find a way to help these groups come together and talk as a first step to reconciliation.” Arville focused his ministry on building relationships with both Macedonian and Albanian people, and then slowly encouraging conversation between the two groups. “If you take away ethnicity, there are so many things that people have in common — they enjoy the same foods, they all want to be able to provide for their families — and once you identify those commonalities, people start to talk,” Earl said. Earl started this conversation ministry by inviting one Macedonian friend to coffee and introducing the possibility of meeting with one Albanian friend. When the conversation went well, he invited them to meet again and to each bring another friend. Slowly, he removed himself and allowed the groups to begin forming their own relationships. “As these oneAgim Iseni, left, an Albanian refugee, works with Arville Earl to bring reconciliation among ethnic groups in Macedonia. on-one conversa-
By contributing writer Lelia King
The Earls’ ministry is funded by the CBF Offering for Global Missions, which provides for their salary and ministry expenses. Please give to the CBF Offering and enable the life-changing and peacemaking work of the Earls in Macedonia. To give, go to www.thefellowship.info/give or use the envelope provided in this issue. Learn more about the Earls at www.thefellowship.info/earl.
tions continued among those first participants, there emerged a quiet awareness that persons from different ethnic identities could relate to one another without hostility,” Earl said. “We’re hopeful that these newly formed relationships will become the fertile ground for cultivating seeds of peace.” Soon after the Earls arrived in Macedonia, they met an Albanian refugee named Agim Iseni. His relatives had lost their homes, their property and some even lost their lives during the Kosovo conflict. Iseni was one of the first participants in Earl’s inter-ethnic seminars. Though he was in anguish over what had happened to him and his family, he couldn’t bring himself to seek revenge. “He was particularly fond of the Beatitudes,” Earl remembered. “He found a direct connection between what he read in the Bible and his own life.” Recently, a group of militants asked Iseni to join them in fighting for the rights of the Albanian people. He replied, “How can I do this? Many Macedonians have become my friends, and I will have nothing to do with your plan.” Today, Iseni works alongside the Earls in continuing the ministry of reconciliation in Macedonia. “We will never be able to comfort all of our friends who have lost everything in those horribly dark days of ethnic cleansing and civil war, but we do hope to plant a few seeds of forgiveness and compassion through the ministry of reconciliation that God has placed in our hearts,” Arville said. “Our desire is that this hope for reconciliation will produce fruits of peace in the lives of those we have known.”
Missions Education Resource How to use this page
The suggestions below will be helpful for using the stories on pages 18-24 of this issue in the life of your church. Small Group interaction, Study Group or Reading Group options are given, as well as suggestions for other congregational or family settings. Go online to www.thefellowship.info/affectonline for more suggestions.
Peace and Reconciliation
In Small Groups: The following is an outline for adult mission groups, Bible study classes or other small groups. Share copies of fellowship! with group members prior to the meeting and have some extra copies available. These suggestions are for a 45-minute time frame.
1. Before the session, gather pens and two slips of paper for each person in the group. Also gather poster board or a whiteboard and a Bible to use for group discussion. 2. Begin by asking the group what migrant communities are present in your city/ state (ex: African refugees, migrant workers from Latin America, etc.). As they are named, create a column for each group at the top of the whiteboard. 3. Distribute pens and paper, and ask participants to select one or more groups from the list and write down the stereotypes they’ve heard about that group, both positive and negative. Tell participants they will pass these in anonymously, so they can be honest. 4. Collect the papers and write the stereotypes named under each column on the whiteboard. 5. Discuss by asking: (1) Are these stereotypes fair? (2) Why do people feel compelled to create stereotypes about others who are different from them? (3) How can stereotypes chip away at the idea that we are all made in God’s image?
Around the Table: At Church 1. Before a Wednesday night supper or some other community meal or event, gather enough index cards and pens for each table. 2. Place the following instructions on the table: “Using the index cards provided, we are going to write a ‘recipe for peace.’ At your table discuss what is needed to bring reconciliation to a conflict. You can think of global conflicts or interpersonal conflicts between individuals. As you share, explain your answers and give examples. Write down all your answers and then decide on one or two final ingredients to contribute as a group. Toward the end of the meal, we will collect the ingredients to make our recipe for peace.” 3. Once everyone has time to participate in the discussion, give a five-minute warning and then collect the final answers. 4. Invite someone to share a story of peace and reconciliation from pages 1824 of CBF’s fellowship! magazine. Then read the collected ingredients to the whole group.
6. Give each participant a second sheet of paper and ask each person in the group to write down a stereotype someone has made about them or their racial/ethnic group. (Alternatively: You can ask them to list stereotypes foreigners might make about Americans). 7. Ask volunteers to share their answers. 8. Share at least one story of peace and reconciliation from pages 18-24 of CBF’s fellowship! magazine.
Cooperative baptiSt fellowShip | www.thefellowShip.info
Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ Learn more about the peace and reconciliation ministries of CBF field personnel and partners on pages 18-24.
9. Ask: (1) Do you think conflict is caused by racial/ ethnic stereotypes? (2) How can eliminating stereotypes bring peace and reconciliation? (3) What specific things can we do on a daily basis to eliminate these stereotypes we’ve named? 10. Ask someone to read Galatians 3:28. End by praying for reconciliation and CBF ministries working to bring reconciliation in our world. Be sure to also pray for those mentioned in the Prayer Calendar on page 7.
In Reading Groups What is the What is the fictional autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, a “Lost Boy” from Sudan who survives the war and immigrates to America. The book uses terrific detail to describe Deng’s life in refugee camps and then in Atlanta, Ga., after he migrates to the United States.
5. End by praying for peace and reconciliation in individual lives, in your community and in the world. 6. Optional: You can continue the conversation by publishing the “recipe for peace” and an explanation of the event in a church newsletter or bulletin.
CBF relief efforts in
turn to long-term planning, rebuilding
Months have gone by since unprecedented tornado outbreaks ravaged the South and Midwest. But the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and its partners are continuing to respond in the aftermath of the most destructive tornado season in modern American history. Unlike larger organizations, such as the American Red Cross, that are equipped with resources to mount massive clean-up and feeding responses in the immediate aftermath of disasters, CBF intentionally focuses its disaster-relief ministries on long-term recovery efforts. “I tell folks we’re willing to stay until they turn the lights out, until things are back to In Missouri, Fellowship Baptists cleaned up debris in the aftermath of deadly tornadoes in the state.
normal,” said Charles Ray, CBF’s national disaster-relief coordinator. CBF has focused much of the relief efforts on two of the areas of most significant devastation: Joplin, Mo., where the deadliest tornado to strike the United States in more than 60 years killed 159 people May 22; and Alabama, where several communities were prey to massive, violent tornadoes April 27.
In Joplin, Missouri CBF of Missouri Coordinator Harold Phillips — who lived through a strong tornado during the 1974 tornado “Superoutbreak” that previously held national records — said the aftermath of the Joplin storm left him flabbergasted. “I’ve seen tornadoes,” Phillips said. “I never saw anything that did what that one did – it was so wide and so long. It was just so massive.”
CBF established a command center in the parking lot of Joplin’s First Church of the Nazarene (there are no CBF partner congregations in the Joplin area) and teams helped with clean-up in the immediate aftermath. But Phillips — a member of the town council in Liberty, Mo. — knows Joplin has a long road ahead. For example, the storm decimated a commercial district that included some of Joplin’s largest stores. “During the recession, they’ve lost these economic engines that create sales tax revenue,” Phillips said. “Housing values are obviously going down — what happens to the city of Joplin now?” CBF of Missouri is scaling back its initial response operations during what Ray described as a “lull period” — the Federal Emergency Management Agency has stopped
paying for debris removal, and city leaders have imposed a three-month moratorium on new building permits so they can coordinate an overall plan for redevelopment. During that time, they are in discussions with the Fuller Center for Housing, a CBF partner, to replace some of the thousands of homes destroyed in the storm. “We will be going into Joplin and will be prepared if it’s logical and if it’s possible to raise money and commit to, over the next three years, building at least 30 houses — affordable houses,” Ray said. “We’re a long, long, long way from wrapping anything up in Joplin — and my guess is all you can do in a case like this is guess because it changes nearly by the hour.”
In Alabama In Alabama, the damage from dozens of tornadoes spread across the northern twothirds of the state. Alabama CBF associate coordinator Terri Byrd said the relief efforts are concentrated in four hard-hit, low-income areas: McDonald’s Chapel, a community in the Birmingham area; Lockhart, near Huntsville; Webster’s Chapel, near Williams; and Rosedale, a neighborhood of Tuscaloosa. “The interesting thing about Alabama is the devastation is so widespread,” Byrd said. CBF partner churches near each affected area have been involved in relief and rebuild-
ing efforts. In Webster’s Chapel and Williams communities, First Baptist Church of Williams has served as “the primary center point in that community for all emergency relief efforts,” Byrd said. Churches from Birmingham, Auburn, Ga., and elsewhere have also contributed to the work in Williams. In McDonald’s Chapel, Alabama CBF has entered a partnership with Volunteers of America Southeast to rebuild, assisted by several churches in the Birmingham area. In Tuscaloosa — where a devastating EF-5 tornado ripped through the heart of the city, striking many low-income neighborhoods — the small CBF partner congregation of Woodland Forest Baptist Church, which averages 35 people on Sunday, has been doing outsized work. “They opened up their church to Project Blessing and the church partnered with them — and they fed hundreds of people a day for weeks,” Byrd said. “They are now doing repair and recovery and rebuilding. It’s an absolutely enormous amount of help they provided for a tiny congregation.” And several CBF partner congregations in the Huntsville area have collaborated to shepherd families through the daunting task of assessing their losses and rebuilding in the decimated Harvest community. “They kind of walk through the process
Lottie Green, left, who runs a ministry center in McDonald’s Chapel, Ala., talks with Robin Norsworthy, center, pastor University Baptist Church in Montevallo, and Jay Kieve, pastor of Crosscreek Baptist Church in Pelham.
with a family from the beginning stages of whether they’re deciding to rebuild” to assisting with furniture and appliances for the family’s new home when they move in, Byrd said. She noted a FEMA representative said that churches have been the backbone of the recovery effort across Alabama. “The government can only do so much,” she said. “And there are resources that go beyond financial. So it’s the local church that really digs in their heels and walks alongside families and really helps with whatever those needs are.” By contributing writer Rob Marus
How you can help In Joplin: CBF of Missouri coordinated clean-up teams with an on-site volunteer coordinator, Bob Barker, in conjunction with the First Nazarene Church of Joplin in the immediate aftermath of the storm. Now that those efforts are wrapping up, CBF is now focusing on long-term efforts related to the loss of thousands of housing units. In addition, CBF teams have partnered with Joplin’s Royal Heights United Methodist Church to help the approximately 300 residents of Hampshire Terrace, a low-income apartment complex devastated by the twister. Although skilled volunteers will be needed down the road, the greatest need presently is for funds to continue relief efforts as well as for future reconstruction. In Alabama: Alabama CBF focused relief and recovery efforts on four hard-hit communities across the state, and partner churches from around Alabama and elsewhere have worked together to provide debris removal, food and shelter, emergency assistance in the McDonald’s Chapel section of Birmingham, the Rosedale section of Tuscaloosa, the Webster’s Chapel community near Williams and the Harvest community near Huntsville. Alabama CBF has partnered with the Fuller Center for Housing to construct affordable new housing for those who lost their homes in the storm. Skilled volunteers will be needed in reconstruction efforts soon, but Alabama CBF officials say the greatest present need is for funds.
To donate to long-term disaster relief efforts in both states, go to www.thefellowship.info/give and select “Tornado Relief.” Or use the envelope provided in this issue and write “Tornado Relief, #17005” in the memo line of your check. fellowship!
a monthly news journal, serves churches by
providing a reliable source of news, analysis, resources and feature stories focused on issues of importance to Baptist Christians. Executive editor John Pierce interviews President Jimmy Carter about the New Baptist Covenant II events scheduled for November.
About Baptists Today Founded: 1983 Website: www.baptiststoday.org Executive Editor: John Pierce Location: Macon, Ga. Baptists Today is available in a print version, with subscribers in all 50 states and overseas, and an online version, which features blog posts from editors and
Partnership • The first missions funds collected by CBF 20 years ago were handled by the Baptists Today office, located at that time in Decatur, Ga. • Baptists Today was among the first partners to be included in the annual CBF budget. • CBF and Baptists Today partner in Christian education, providing the new Nurturing Faith Bible Studies for adults and youth that appear in the center of the news journal. • Baptists Today regularly features CBF-
threw their support behind the independent publication already in existence. That action was rooted in the idea that when church leaders have a good understanding of the issues and trends occurring in denominational life and beyond, many will want to engage in the Fellowship where their values are shared. Historically, Baptists have embraced freedom
Fellowship staff and other partners to
including the value of a free press.”
promote specific projects.
— John Pierce, Baptists Today Executive Editor
and CBF of North Carolina has resulted
“Through the years Baptists Today has shaped the consciousness and
in a North Carolina edition of the news
awakened the conscience of Baptist people, for the good. It has especially helped laity
journal. And, this fall, in partnership with
in local churches know what is happening in the larger Baptist family. It has inspired and
Alabama CBF, an Alabama edition of news journal launched.
“The CBF-Baptists Today partnership began as an affirmation of the Fellowship’s belief in a free press. Rather than start a newspaper, Fellowship leaders
related ministries and cooperates with
• Collaboration between Baptists Today
Colleen Burroughs photo
informed Baptists, and I am deeply grateful for its significant influence.”
— Daniel Vestal, CBF Executive Coordinator
Check out the new look of the CBF website www.thefellowship.info The CBF website features: • Information on field personnel • Information on mission communities • YouTube videos • “Find a Church” locator • Calendar of events • General Assembly information • Ways you can serve • Ways you can give And more!
Find us www.facebook.com on Facebook
Search for “Cooperative Baptist Fellowship” Connect with CBF on Facebook to stay up-to-date on news, resources, blog posts and more. You can also join a CBF ministry network, such as youth ministry, college ministry or Current, the young leader’s network. Each of the Fellowship’s mission communities also has a Facebook page.
A [Baptist] Conference on Sexuality and Covenant... offers individuals and congregations factual information, compelling biblical and personal narratives, as well as practical models for respectfully and meaningfully engaging the more comprehensive matters of sexuality. Grounded in the concept of covenant and in consideration of the traditional Christian sexual ethic, this event seeks to equip, encourage and empower churches and individuals to become more faithfully the presence of Christ in their respective communities. The Conference is non-conclusive as to policy or statement and inclusive as to diversity of perspective. Everyone is welcome.
April 19-21, 2012 Atlanta, Ga. First Baptist Church of Decatur Cost: $50 ($25 for students from CBF partner theological schools) Co-sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Center for Theology and Public Life, Mercer University For more information, visit
The Call of the Wilderness A CBF spiritual renewal retreat for ministers and lay leaders April 9-12 Marathon, Texas Come the week after Easter to kneel, to walk and to pray the countryside of Big Bend National Park. You will spend mornings in the wild of God’s good earth, enjoying hiking and kayaking. Late each afternoon, we will gather to relate wilderness discoveries with resurrection. Leading our discovery will be Belden Lane, author of The Solace of Fierce Landscapes. Cost — $125 program fee (covers program expenses and two box lunches) Deadline — Payment/registration due Jan. 24 (or as space permits).
Make plans now for...
CBF General Assembly June 20-23, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship fellowship!
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship 2930 Flowers Road South, Suite 133 Atlanta, GA 30341 www.thefellowship.info • (800) 352-8741
When the storm brings havoc, we bring hope.
God’s mission, your passion Cooperative Baptist Fellowship www.thefellowship.info/bringhope
Published on Sep 13, 2011