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Cooperative baptiSt fellowShip | www.thefellowShip.info

December 2013/January 2014

Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission

sam harrell photo

Change for Children Not depleted yet — Sam Harrell reflects on ministry journey in Kenya


Experiencing Fellowship Identity The BapTisT passion for freedom is a major reason why there is so much diversity in Baptist life. … While diversity is threatening to some and downright devastating to others, it flows naturally from the Baptist preoccupation with the right of choice. — Dr. Walter B. Shurden, “The Baptist Identity: Four Fragile Freedoms” One essential quality of our Fellowship identity is diversity in expression and common devotion in love. In this way, each Fellowship congregation is a letter of introduction to an intriguing facet of the body of Christ. Settle into a Fellowship congregation and you will sense that this introductory letter speaks clearly a language of presence and of the love of Christ to all people. And each expression will be unique. Being a unique expression is itself an act of 21st century strength. Franchises, brands, chains, trademarks and copyrights all permeate our culture and give off the not-so-subtle message that “this is what you should look like, act like, be like.” These expected expressions of identity — from brand names to religious worldviews — constantly remind the church to look and act in familiar and repeated ways all over. Is it any wonder that our anxieties, jealousies and insecurities are often born from the captivity to be, to do or at least to look like the expected expression of a church? So consider the power of uniqueness among the congregations in our Fellowship. As our congregations have sought missional clarity, the unique expression of each vol. 23, no. 6 congregation has been shaped executive coordinator • suzii paynter more definitively. This breadth associate coorDinator, Fellowship advancement • Jeff huett and depth is beautiful and editor • aaron weaver often unexpected: associate editor • emily holladay Selah Congregation, assistant editor • candice young Flagstaff, Ariz. — Greg Long assistant editor • carrie harris pastors this CBF congregation Phone • (770) 220-1600 that draws its members e-mail • fellowship@thefellowship.info Web site • www.thefellowship.info from the Navajo Nation in fellowship! is published 6 times a year in Feb./ Arizona. Did you know you march, april/may, June/July, aug./sept., oct./ had a Native American sister nov., Dec./Jan. by the cooperative baptist church there? Fellowship inc., 160 clairemont avenue, suite At a recent meeting of the 500, Decatur, Ga 30030. periodicals postage paid at Decatur, Ga, and additional offices. Together for Hope Council usps #015-625. postmaster: send in Arizona, Long shared the address changes to fellowship! cooperative ways that the stories and baptist Fellowship, 160 clairemont avenue, suite 500, Decatur, Ga 30030.

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traditions of the Navajo heritage enriches his congregation. His dream is for Selah Congregation and CBF friends from Together for Hope to help provide an economic development project on tribal land — to open capped water wells for agriculture and farming. You can read more about Greg Long and Selah Congregation on pp. 14-15. First Baptist Church, Tucker, Ga. — For more than 30 years, FBC Tucker has been home to the Randolph Department, a Sunday school department comprised of more than 60 adults with special needs and limitations. The Randolph Department also gathers every Wednesday evening for Great Banquet — their own Wednesday night supper with an open microphone for prayers and singing. One Sunday every October, the Randolph Department fills the choir loft and leads the entire morning worship with rousing hymns, songs, prayer and joy. The total dedication of their teachers and the demonstrative love of the whole congregation are inspiring and moving. CBF of the Bahamas, St. Cleveland’s Church, Freetown — Yes, there is a Fellowship of CBF churches in the Bahamas! St. Cleveland’s is led by Preston Cooper and recently hosted the second annual CBF Bahamas Convocation. Pastors and leaders of the other CBF churches came by boat and plane from the different islands in the Bahamas to join the minister of culture for the Bahamian government to welcome us as a U.S. delegation, and to praise the leadership and work of CBF churches across the Bahamas. John McIntosh is the revered founder of CBF Bahamas. McIntosh came from his congregation on the Acklins Island to preach and lead the convocation. The energy of convening together from various islands inspired the whole convocation as we planned for disaster recovery and congregational education while Passport Camps led youth activities. Don’t think that God is in a predictable box or that church is a cookie-cutter endeavor — certainly not in the Fellowship! We find beauty in our diversity. It takes practice to appreciate diversity, and it takes an intentional effort to reach out and celebrate that beauty. There is much to learn from exploring the diversity of our Fellowship identity.

Suzii Paynter, CBF executive Coordinator


John parks photo

Contents 6 8 9 10 13 14

Church Spotlight: Hominy Baptist Church Partner Spotlight: Baptist History & Heritage Society Dawnings 101 Not depleted yet — Sam Harrell reflects on ministry journey in Kenya A primer on the CBF Offering for Global Missions Together for Hope — Native American pastor shares development dream for Navajo reservation

16 20 24 26 28 30 31

New to Slovakia, Parkses take long view in addressing centuries-old Roma struggle Historic U.S. Slovak church celebrates 100 years through partnership with CBF field personnel CBF deploys field personnel, sends $10,000 in aid to help in the Philippines Celebrating Pastoral Care Week: A CBFblog series Little Rock church sets example for disaster response ministry Affect: December 2013 Disaster Response Affect: January 2014 Education

roma children in Slovakia

From the editor ECHOING RETIRED MERCER University professor Walter B. Shurden — one of the greatest shapers of Baptist thought of our time — CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter writes on the preceding page, “One essential quality of our Fellowship identity is diversity in expression and common devotion in love.” The following pages of this issue display the diversity that exists throughout the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. From the stories of a solar-powered church in North Carolina (pp. 6-7) and a multicultural/multilingual congregation located on a Native American reservation with a Jewish liturgy-based worship style (pp. 14-15) to a feature on field personnel investing their lives in the future of the marginalized and persecuted Roma people (pp. 16-19), we see just a few examples of the diversity that is so essential to our Fellowship identity. To echo Shurden and Suzii, diversity is not devastating, but instead flows from our passion for freedom. So, let’s celebrate together the beauty in our diversity. Read these pages. Share our stories. Spread the word.

Aaron Weaver, editor, aweaver@thefellowship.info

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prayerspeople of the

Praying the name of Jesus By Bo prosser

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t a recent speaking engagement, Tony Campolo shared that he had begun a new ritual — praying only the name “Jesus” over and over! As you work on your spiritual self in the coming days, try this modification of a “personal lectio devina” prayer experience. PLACE YOURSELF in a comfortable position; be still and silence yourself. Focus on your breathing, and as you inhale and exhale, simply pray the name of Jesus. Gently call upon Jesus, center yourself and allow yourself to live into the sacred space

CBF Ministries Prayer Calendar

ch = chaplain Fp = Field personnel Fpc = child of Field personnel Gmp = Global missions partner pc = pastoral counselor plt = church planter s = cbF staff DeCember

1 Joe Farry, simpsonville, sc (ch) 2 connie madden, kirkwood, mo (ch) 3 rosemary barfield, Jeffersonville, in (ch); ed beddingfield, Fayetteville, nc (pc); James heath, Dry prong, la (ch); shane mcnary, slovakia (Fp); Gennady podgaisky, ukraine (Fp); rachel Gunter shapard (s-Florida); David wilson, chapel hill, nc (ch) 4 Jose albovias, louisville, ky (ch); elizabeth richards, emeritus (Fp) 5 chuck Gass, Gainesville, Fl (ch); kenn lowther, columbus, oh (ch); chris o’rear, nashville, tn (pc); Judith powell, whiteville, nc (ch) 6 mickael eyraud, china (Fp); Joe mills, roswell, Ga (ch); John norwood, houston, tX (plt) 7 phil hester, emeritus (plt); James Jones, sierra Vista, aZ (ch); bert strange, simpsonville, sc (ch); robert wilder, Jacksonville, Fl (ch) 8 tommy Deal, Dalton, Ga (ch); edward erwin, pensacola, Fl (ch); shane Gaster, Deland, Fl (ch); Virginia king, columbia, sc (ch); Donald kriner, canton, Ga (ch); robert pitts, Greenville, ms (plt); stephanie Glenn, los angeles, ca (Fp) 9 Julie brown, France (Fp); wayne hyatt, spartanburg, sc (pc) 10 cecelia beck, shelby, nc (Fp); terri byrd (s-alabama); beth roberts, raleigh, nc (ch); James williams, montgomery, al (ch) 11 Zechariah maas, 2008, belize (Fpc) 13 tom cleary, emeritus (Fp); rick landon, lexington, ky (pc); Jim r. smith (s-atlanta); Frank stillwell, lexington, ky (pc); robin sullens, Dallas, tX (pc) 15 anna anderson, scotland neck, nc (Fp); James close, louisville, ky (ch); sheree Jones, Greensboro, nc (ch) 16 cayden norman, 2000, spain (Fpc); ina winstead, emeritus (Fp) 17 perry carroll, anderson, sc (ch); craig cantrall, louisville, ky (ch); buddy presley, north augusta, sc (ch); Josh smith, south africa (Fp); ronald wilson, northport, al (ch)

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the Holy Spirit has provided for you. THEN, TURN the name of Jesus over and over in your mind. Keep praying “Jesus, Jesus” in rhythm with your bo prosser breathing. At CBF Ministries Coordinator some point offer yourself to Jesus, saying, “I am for you today.” Sit in silence, continuing to speak the name of Jesus prayerfully. Jesus softly, gently invites us deeper and deeper into God’s presence. NEXT, SPEAK a name from the prayer calendar below as you pray to Jesus. As you inhale speak “Jesus,” and as you exhale

speak the name of the one for whom you are praying. Slowly repeat these names, allowing yourself to intercede for the person you have chosen. Do not be afraid of distractions. Your mind may wander. If so, simply repeat the name of Jesus again and again in rhythm with your breathing. Allow your inner thoughts to invite your heart into dialogue with God. Again ask God for intercession for the person you have chosen, for you and for our world. FINALLY, SIMPLY rest in the embrace of Jesus, praying his name in rhythm with your breath. Rejoice that God has been with you in both words, thoughts and silence. Arise to walk with a sense of purpose and peace. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there’s just something about that name…

18 Joel DeFehr, oklahoma city, ok (ch); John ritchy, maud, tX (ch) 19 anna-Grace acker, 2005, uganda (Fpc); bernard morris, chester, Va (ch); James palmer, pensacola, Fl (ch) 20 melissa Dowling, austin, tX (ch); larry Glover-wetherington, Durham, nc (pc); kyle kelley (s-louisiana); Jan thompson, cornelia, Ga (ch); alan willard, blacksburg, Va (pc) 21 lynn hutchinson, togo (Fp); bethany mclemore, roanoke, Va (pc) 22 william thompson, los alamitos, ca (ch); eli williams, 2011, south africa (Fpc); sarah wofford, mooresville, nc (ch); candice young (s-atlanta) 23 Francis brown, surfside beach, sc (pc); robert elkowitz, cumming, Ga (ch); stephen ivy, indianapolis, in (ch); hal lee, clinton, ms (ch); mary lois sanders, the Villages, Fl (plt); linda strange, Denton, tX (ch) 24 michael carter, Dallas, tX (ch); bogdan podgaisky, 1997, ukraine (Fpc) 25 taylor mcnary, 1993, slovakia (Fpc) 26 robert marsh, Fredericksburg, Va (ch); scottie stamper, charlotte, nc (ch) 27 larry austin, Fredericksburg, Va (ch); Juan luís barco, raleigh, nc (plt); steve clark, louisville, ky (Fp) 28 claudia Forrest, cordova, tn (ch); John halbrook, pound ridge, ny (pc); thomas holbrook, berea, ky (pc); maner tyson, waterbury, ct (Fp) 29 art wiggins, triangle, Va (ch) 30 shay crenshaw, raleigh, nc (ch); revonda Deal, emeritus (Fp); James Garrison, arden, nc (ch); kenneth kelly, black mountain, nc (ch); ramona reynolds, orlando, Fl (ch); lex robertson, oklahoma city, ok (ch) 31 nathaniel newell, 1998, san antonio, tX (Fpc); pamela rains, wynne, ar (ch); David “tod” smith, west Des moines, ia (ch)

6 larry hardin, topeka, ks (ch) 7 Denny spear, Dunwoody, Ga (ch) 8 rachel hill, shelby, nc (ch); Gerald howell, lexington, ky (ch); ethan lee, 2009, macedonia (Fpc) 9 bill cayard, china (Fp); paul hamilton, lodge, sc (ch); patrick moses, mansfield, tX (plt); Jonathan myrick, 1994, kenya (Fpc); Jeffrey perkins, knoxville, tn (ch); bella smith, 2010, south africa (Fpc) 10 melody harrell, kenya (Fp); kenny sherin, mitchell, sD (Fp) 11 ed waldrop, augusta, Ga (ch) 12 neil cochran, Greenville, sc (ch); larry connelly, Decatur, Ga (ch); scott smallwood, englewood, Fl (ch) 13 Dianne mcnary, slovakia (Fp); George pickle, marietta, Ga (ch) 14 steve Graham (s-oklahoma); maxine moseley, olive branch, ms (ch) 15 keith ethridge, yorktown, Va (ch) 16 merrie Grace harding, 1995, orlando, Fl (Fpc); Jerry hendrix, abilene, tX (plt); David hormenoo, Durham, nc (ch); mary lynn lewis, san antonio, tX (ch); michelle smith, pemberton, nJ (ch) 17 Donna manning, Fort worth, tX (ch); aaron norman, 2005, spain (Fpc); Glenn norris, sherwood, ar (ch); neal sasser, suffolk, Va (ch) 18 william beaver, Fort benning, Ga (ch); Jeanell cox, smithfield, nc (ch); Justin nelson, mount airy, nc (ch) 19 kaelah-Joy acker, 2008, uganda (Fpc); Jackie ward, Goshen, ky (ch); Jack younts, blythewood, sc (ch) 20 marcia binkley, De soto, ks (Fp); marshall Gupton, smyrna, tn (ch); kevin morgan, pisgah Forest, nc (ch); paul tolbert, clayton, nc (ch) 21 Jim king, Fort belvoir, Va (ch) 23 richard atkinson, bastrop, tX (ch); brent raitz, parma, oh (ch); mark williams, south africa (Fp) 24 Judy strawn (s-atlanta) 25 mich, new Jersey (Fp); chris nagel, houston, tX (ch) 26 sandy hale, lebanon, nh (ch) 27 Darrell bare, boone, nc (ch); ben sandford, portsmouth, Va (ch); eric smith, willow park, tX (ch) 28 chuck ahlemann, Des moines, ia (ch); Griselda escobar, tyler, tX (ch); kristen taylor, north Dartmouth, ma (ch) 29 Glen Foster (s-west); Darryl Jefferson, charlotte, nc (ch); bill mccann, madisonville, ky (ch) 30 hal ritter, waco, tX (pc); nathan rogers, anchorage, ak (ch) 31 rebecca adrian, irving, tX (ch); John manuel, Dupont, wa (ch); paul smith, oakland, tn (ch)

January 1 sam bandela, atlanta, Ga (Fp); andy cowie, haiti (Fp); ronella Daniel, student.Go intern, bucharest, romania (Fp); noy peeler, cambodia (Fp); christina pittman, summerville, sc (ch) 2 misael marriaga, Greenville, nc (plt); Gabrielle newell, 2002, san antonio, tX (Fpc); Jon parks, slovakia (Fp); Daniel sostaita, rural hall, nc (plt); tammy stocks, romania (Fp) 3 christopher bowers, powhatan, Va (pc) 4 Joshua hickman, newnan, Ga (ch) 5 richard Durham, mount pleasant, nc (ch); charles kirby, hendersonville, nc (ch); kevin lynch, spartanburg, sc (pc); calvin mciver, sacramento, ca (ch); linda serino, memphis, tn (ch)


Give and Serve Syrian Refugee ministries By Janet hill

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lima and her husband, Isa, awoke to the sound of gun shells landing in their yard and the screams of their three children. Before Alima could get to the children, the roof collapsed and the

family was separated from one another, trapped in a pile of rubble. Finally, the shelling stopped and neighbors came to the family’s rescue, digging away the rocks and debris. While Alima and her family survived, struggles loomed on the horizon. In search of a new place to live, the family headed from Homs to Damascus, but soon even the big city proved unsafe, forcing the family to flee Syria to find safety. The story of Alima is similar to the stories of countless other Syrians fleeing a nation where more than 100,000 have been killed in a brutal civil war. The World Bank has predicted that the Syrian refugee population will reach 1.3 million in Lebanon by the end of 2013, and will likely exceed 1.6 million by the end of 2014. The influx of refugees into the neighboring nation of only 4.5 million is having a profound effect on the refugees as well as the Lebanese economy. Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Chaouki and Maha Boulos have been serving in Lebanon and the Middle

maha boulos photos

Cbf field personnel Chaouki and maha boulos (pictured bottom, second from left) are providing food packages and other necessities to Syrian refugees in the bekaa valley of lebanon.

Give to Cbf Disaster response to support Syrian refugees at www.thefellowship.info/give. Serve with Cbf. learn about opportunities to serve at www.thefellowship.info/serve.

East since 2002. The dire circumstances in the region have altered the direction of their ministry. In October 2012, Maha began a women’s group to discuss spiritual and social issues. Out of a concern for the plight of refugees in their area, the group began providing food packages to more than 250 families every six weeks. Maha and Chauoki are also working with a church planter in Syria, who is assisting Syrians fleeing from one city to another within the war-torn nation. “He is reaching around 35 families with food packages and the message of the Lord,” Maha said. While continuing to serve the growing number of refugees, the Bouloses are continuing their ministries with orphans and children in need in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley and have been partnering over the past year with an Armenian congregation in Lebanon to distribute food packages to refugees in the valley. This partnership has also made possible a medical clinic, where two doctors provide care to the refugees. The Bouloses stress that their greatest challenge is providing enough food for refugees flooding into the valley. CBF has assisted these refugees for nearly a year, but the current situation in Syria requires more action. In September, CBF approved $10,000 to help meet the immediate needs of Syrian refugees through the work of the Bouloses and Baptist World Aid, the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance. In addition to meeting pressing needs such as food, clothing and shelter, CBF efforts are focused on transitioning to long-term transformational development for the refugees and their communities. Please consider supporting the Syrian refugees with your financial gifts.

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ChurCh sPotlight historic N.C. church begins new ministry journey with solar-powered facilities

by emily holladay

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photos courtesy oF hominy baptist church

n 1812, a dozen individuals gathered in candler, n.c., west of asheville and in sight of mount pisgah, to form hominy baptist church. these 12 men and women hoped to create a community that would love God and minister to its neighbors. today, now over 200 years later, the church celebrates its long history of doing just that. in the semi-rural community, with nearly 25,000 residents and 10 miles from urban and eclectic asheville, the church is full of warm and loving people who hominy baptist Church in Candler, n.C., celebrated its bicentennial anniversary last year (original church building want to do ministry in new and depicted above) with a renewed commitment to community involvement and creative ministry. creative ways, extending from the neighborhood to the environment, according of cbF of north carolina. “that strength comes that was not enough for church members to associate pastor paul raybon. in two ways. First, hominy baptist has a strong Jack and carolyn Ferguson. they wanted to “one of the amazing things about hominy cbF identity as expressed in their embrace of see the bicentennial celebration mark a new baptist church is that our average attendance is cbF values and the engagement of their leaders journey in the church’s life and serve as an between 150-175, but we run a full-time childcare and members in cbF ministries. second, they opportunity to reach further into the community. ministry, a full-time adult daycare, an after-school have a strong ministry in their community the Fergusons approached the ministry staff program and our own meals-on-wheels program and beyond, evidenced by innovation in their with their desire to help make this dream called Daily bread,” raybon explained. “this is missional approach to all they do.” become a reality. something that just stems out of who this church over the past few decades, the church “in 2012, the Fergusons approached us is. it’s not a recent development. these things has dreamed of additional ways to serve its and said, ‘you know, we’d really like to see this have been going on for years.” community, and hoped to build a family life family life center happen,’” recalled raybon. since 1998, the church has solely identified center to do just that. in 2001, the church built a “because of the economy, we said, ‘it’s just with the cooperative baptist Fellowship, being ministries center to house the many community not a really good time,’ and they said, ‘oh no, one of the first churches in north carolina to do ministries already in place, including the childcare you misunderstand us. we want to give you so. in their years of partnership, the church has center and Daily bread. however, they could not this building.’ and so the Fergusons are fully sent mission teams to ukraine and raised funds afford to build a family life center at that time. funding the building.” to build wells in africa, along with maintaining more than 10 years later, as the church after the conversation with the Fergusons, strong ties with the cooperative baptist prepared to celebrate its 200th anniversary, the church staff set out to design the Fellowship of north carolina. they rekindled that dream, but it still seemed 14,000-square-foot family life center, which will “hominy baptist church is one of cbF’s financially out of reach. so, instead of building feature a full-size basketball court, an exercise strongest partner congregations in western a new facility, the church paid off the debt from equipment room, locker rooms, a small kitchen north carolina,” said larry hovis, coordinator the first building for the bicentennial celebration. and several meeting and multi-purpose rooms.

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hominy baptist members Jack and Carolyn ferguson (pictured right) provided funding for a solar-powered family life center to house the church’s childcare and adult daycare programs and other ministries.

the family life center has been a dream of hominy baptist for many years as they seek new and exciting ways to reach and impact the Candler community.

the Ferguson Family life center, as it has been named, will now house the church’s childcare and adult daycare programs, along with other community groups. the building is also being designed to serve as a red cross emergency shelter. as the church continued plans to create this community structure, they created two building teams — one to instruct on structural issues,

and the other to imagine ways the building can be used for new ministry in the community. “we have a team that’s looking at ways we can open it up to the community for sports teams, or a place for people to walk and exercise,” raybon said. “our church is very focused on the community, so that’s one of the things we’ll always be looking at. it’s not for us. it’s for our community.” because of its close proximity to asheville, a progressive area, leadership put emphasis on making their new building environmentally friendly. as such, the building will be built using solar arrays covering approximately 11,000 square feet of the area. the solar arrays will cover the energy needs for the building along with 75 percent of the energy needs for the entire church campus.

For a congregation that seeks to reach its entire community, this is an enormous benefit, as it will free up funds to allow them to reach farther and wider than ever before. “usually when you do a solar project, it’s many years before you see any financial advantage, but since the Fergusons are paying for it completely, we’ll have the financial advantage from the very first day it’s cut on. so that’s a huge benefit,” raybon emphasized. construction on the new building began in august and is set to be complete within a year, opening its doors in Fall 2014. this is an exciting time as the church continues to grow into their 200-year history of loving God and ministering to the community in innovative ways.

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courtesy oF bruce Gourley

PartNer sPotlight Baptist history & heritage society THE BAPTIST HISTORY & HERITAGE SOCIETY (BH&HS) traces its roots to 1938, when W.O. Carver of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Rufus Weaver of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention and Hubert Hester of William Jewell College were elected as the first officers of the Southern Baptist Historical Society. In 1995, the society voted to become an independent Baptist history organization and changed its name in 2001. In 2012, a dozen years after the name change, BH&HS celebrated its 75th anniversary. BH&HS publishes numerous print and digital media resources, and is home to the leading academic journal on Baptist history, the Baptist history & heritage Journal. As an advocacy and resource organization, BH&HS stands at the intersection of Baptist scholarly and congregational life, offering an informed presence and needed voice to Baptists. The society will hold its annual meeting June 4-6, 2014, in Sioux Falls, S.D., with the Association of Librarians and Archivists at Baptist Institutions (ALABI). Historians are invited to submit paper proposals related to the conference theme “Exploring the ‘Other’ Baptists.”

Partnership the baptist history & heritage society is a cbF resource partner that produces print and digital publications intended for use by cbF churches and individuals. these resources focus on a wide variety of baptist topics related to history, theology, worship, polity, preaching and gender. the Baptist Studies Bulletin, the society’s monthly online publication, features relevant and timely columns on topics of importance to baptists, and other resources on the society’s website

founded: 1938 location: bozeman, mont., and macon, Ga. website: www.baptisthistory.org

and much more.

mission: “helping baptists discover,

bh&hs also partners with cbF as well as individuals and churches from across the Fellowship

conserve, assess, and share their history.”

recently-published book — On Mission with God: Free and Faithful Baptists in the Twenty-First Century — looks at cbF life and features chapters by a variety of baptists from the Fellowship.

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Baptist history & heritage society

include bulletin inserts, sermons on baptist distinctives, religious liberty resources, videos

through sponsoring seminars and conferences at the national, state and local church levels. a

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“My commitment

to the mission and work of the baptist history & heritage society evolves from my personal conviction that historic baptist freedom principles are biblical and serve to advance not merely the life and well-being of baptists but that of humanity at large. Freedom of conscience, voluntary faith, believer’s baptism, congregational autonomy, religious liberty for all, church-state separation and human equality collectively represent the best of our baptist identity and are baptists’ contribution to the living out of God’s kingdom on earth. our future as a people of faith is informed by our past. by knowing and striving to understand our past, bh&hs is focused on a bright future for baptists.” — bruce Gourley, Executive Director, Baptist History & Heritage Society

the purpose of the baptist history and heritage society is to inform, educate and inspire baptists, in the academy and in the

in 2013, the society began an intentional focus on baptist identity, partnering with cbF on a

churches, through the scholarly research,

national cbF congregational identity survey, which will gather feedback from congregations on

documentation and presentation of their

the issue of identity to better chart the society’s course in relating to cbF churches and producing

history and through the relevant and engaging

quality congregational resources in the years ahead.

sharing of their story and their identity.

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DaWNiNgs 101 by harry rowland, Cbf missional Congregations Director

Dawn

— that miraculous morning moment when darkness gives way to light. some sleep through it. some work through it. others

choose to wait in the quiet hints and colorful hues of morning to experience it. there is nothing we can do to make dawn happen. at best, we can be present, orient ourselves toward the horizon and wait with our eyes wide open.

t

hese opening words in the Dawnings Retreat Guide encourage me to glance backward at more than 25 years of church leadership and gaze forward to what is dawning within and around the church. For many years as a pastor, I entered the dawn of each year burdened by the awareness that, once again, I was to facilitate a new church vision. I knew the well-oiled drill: predict, plan, invent and sell! This sounds crass, but it is what we pastors were trained to do. After all, the people perish where there is no vision! So, with the dawning of another year, I would gather my team of leaders, begin with prayer and jump into predicting what needed to happen for our church to “grow,” “be vital,” “be relevant” and even “be missional.” After we had gone around the room and heard about the desire for more young families, more youth, more tithers, a tweaked style of worship music and better small groups, we would start planning to meet our predictions. Limited resources would be apportioned and re-apportioned. Events would be plugged into the church

calendar. A catchy slogan would be created and a new logo designed. We would close the season of meetings, beseeching God to bless our church-shaped vision. Then, I would be tasked with selling the vision to the congregation. We could so do church! But, what about being church? CBF’s congregational initiative called Dawnings is an organic, contextual, collaborative process — not a program — which is creating holy space and a spiritual rhythm within churches where vision is being discovered rather than invented. Questions and ideas suddenly dawn on us. What might it be like to live within a mission of God-shaped church rather than charge ahead with a churchshaped mission? This is the paradigm shift that Dawnings encourages. Through a rhythm of prayer, preparation and discovery, rather than the strategy of predicting, planning and inventing, churches are experiencing what it means to be church. If we believe spiritual vision is from God and not from our own efforts, then we must create sacred space where we can sense the Spirit and discover the next step in

our kingdom journey. Dawnings invites a fresh, new day of light and passion for God’s mission. Presently, CBF hosts Dawnings retreats each month across the Fellowship. Participating churches bring a small leadership team to a three-day retreat. There, leadership teams collaboratively learn the visioning, forming and engaging process of Dawnings, while meeting God within the holy rhythm of prayer, preparation and discovery. Following the retreat, if the church decides to continue the Dawnings process, the congregation receives resource materials and a trained Dawnings coach to journey with them through the process. We can study the struggle of church and culture from every angle. We can explore our options until exhausted. And we can do all of this to no avail. Then, with seemingly no effort of our own, in an unexpected moment, darkness can give way to light. Something dawns on us. We did little more than be present, orient ourselves toward the horizon and wait with our eyes wide open. This is when we meet God. Welcome to Dawnings!

learn more Dawnings is currently funded by a grant, which enables an initial 75 churches to attend the retreat free of charge. Find a listing of the upcoming retreats and brochures, videos and other helpful resources about Dawnings at www.cbfdawnings.org

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Change for Children Not depleted yet – Sam Harrell reflects on ministry journey in Kenya By sam harrell

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ne lesson I have learned over the years is that the way up is actually down. When we find ourselves at the end of our own resources and abilities, we are often better placed to be useful instruments and ask for the help we need.

sam harrell photos

After five years of ministry with vulnerable children and those living on the urban streets of Nairobi, Kenya, my wife, Melody, and I felt depleted. Serving as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field

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personnel to the area, we were working with three different groups of children, all either in or from slums and informal settlements that make up two-thirds of the then-three million residents of

Nairobi. One ministry was in a residential orphanage, another in a youth center on the edge of a dump site in a large slum and the other was an informal education program for children from a nearby township.


At the time, there were more than 60,000 street children in Nairobi, and at least twice that number of other children not in school and at risk for ending up on the street. Combining all our projects, Melody and I were only reaching 300 children. I used to lay awake at night wondering what difference we would make as the number of children finding their way to the streets increased daily. We worked with wonderful and dedicated Kenyan volunteers and social Cbf field personnel Sam and melody harrell have spent many years working with abandoned and orphaned children in nairobi, Kenya. the harrells developed a nationwide program called Change for Children that educates and feeds hundreds of children each year.

workers, along with constant support from CBF staff and short-term mission teams. Yet, I would find myself fleeing from the city on occasion to clear my head, get out of the filth of the slum and breathe fresher air. During one of my forays into the Great Rift Valley outside of Nairobi, I made the acquaintance of a Masai couple, John and Esther Kintalel. John was a community motivator, and Esther a primary school teacher. I asked John what his community’s greatest need was, and without hesitation he responded, “a nursery school.” In Eroret, where John lived, children had to walk up to three miles to the local primary school, and it was not feasible for the youngest ones to make that journey on foot twice a day. John envisioned a

nursery school closer to where the children lived that would serve as a pre-primary education venue. He also hoped it would create a space for grandmothers to tell cultural stories so the children would be less likely to lose their identity once they started public school. I shared this vision with a church group from Richmond, Va., that was planning a mission trip, and they raised funding for the construction of two classrooms and an office. Another partner supplied us with a trailer that I could use to transport building materials. We finished the first phase of Eroret Preparatory School with a kitchen garden and a rainwater catchment system. Little did we realize that God would use this model to help us develop a

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We found that even poor communities have something to contribute, and allowing community members to make small contributions increases dignity. small contributions increases dignity. We learned to give responsibility for each project to community leaders and members and that we needed to allow failure to happen as a learning tool rather than succumbing to the temptation of rescuing “our projects.” Two years later, eight ICDC units were operating in Kenya. Initially, we committed to a three-year partnership with the ICDCs, where we funded the construction, facilitated teacher training and qualification, furnished each unit and provided a budget for operating expenses on a decreasing basis each year. Our CBF partners were of paramount importance in making the ICDCs a reality. Individuals, churches and state CBF organizations committed $50,000 to each ICDC over the three-year period. The partner church or group would then travel to Kenya to meet, learn from and celebrate with their partner community. The resulting relationships, built on mutuality and trust, are among the most valuable and enduring results of the entire experience. At the three-year mark, it became evident that we had not done enough to build the capacity of the communities to insure the ongoing sustainability of each

unit. We embarked on another three-year effort toward sustainability. In consultation with the communities, we developed income-generative initiatives, including bee keeping, fish farming, kitchen gardening and commercial water projects. Each of these solutions required both major input and attention from local communities, as well as sacrificial giving from partners with a heart to help. The response and results have been tremendous. Much more could be told in this story of Change for Children. Eight years later, five of the eight units are thriving, two could be doing better and one is struggling. Beyond that, three of the units have spawned fully functional primary schools up to the eighth grade, two units have received national recognition and the eight combined are “graduating” 600 healthy, bright, enthusiastic, well-fed children each year. The children whose lives are touched by Change for Children have experienced the love of Christ and are primed to be the leaders of their generation. What began as an experiment from a position of depletion and desperation has become a life-giving program thriving on its own that will definitely outlast this tired missionary!

sam harrell photos

multiyear, nationwide program called Change for Children. As we began to gather data, consult education officials and visit communities, we were inspired by the number of groups we encountered doing amazing things with very little. Many of the communities we visited agreed that preschool education was an important and viable means of meeting the holistic needs of children. Using an available poverty analysis survey, we determined to place one unit in the poorest, most underserved district in each of Kenya’s eight provinces outside of Nairobi. These units became known as Integrated Child Development Centers (ICDCs). We sought partnership with communities that already had an emphasis on early childhood education and quickly learned that nothing can substitute for community involvement and shared vision. In building each center, the community was responsible for donating the land, clearing the space and gathering sand, gravel and water for mixing concrete. They also supplied labor for the initial phases of construction. We found that even poor communities have something to contribute, and allowing community members to make

with the financial support of a vast array of Cbf partners, including individuals, churches and state organizations, the harrells were able to place an integrated Child Development Center (iCDC) in the poorest, most underserved district of each of Kenya’s eight provinces outside of nairobi. members of each community contributed to the development of these projects. and now, eight years later, these iCDC units are graduating a combined 600 healthy and enthusiastic children every year.

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A primer on the CBF Offering for Global Missions:

Keeping CBF personnel on the mission field

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he Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is transforming the world through Global Missions by engaging in God’s mission with and among the most marginalized and neglected. Currently, 130 CBF field personnel serve globally on five continents. Their expenses and ministry projects are funded, at least in part, by donations to the annual CBF Offering for Global Missions. While nearly 50 cents of every dollar given to the Fellowship (without a specific funding designation) supports Global Missions, the Offering composes much of the Global Missions budget that undergirds the life-changing work of field personnel around the world. The Offering is not over and above the CBF’s Global Missions budget, but instead supports existing field personnel. Financial support to CBF Global Missions can be given in at least three ways: through a gift to the Offering for Global Missions, through a gift to specific CBF field personnel or through support of a particular mission project. All CBF field personnel benefit from the Offering, including those who raise their support through strategic partnerships. This year’s Offering goal of $4.8 million supports: • Training and commissioning of field personnel • Technology and care for field personnel • Travel and emergency evacuation for field personnel • Administrative support to keep personnel on the field • Promotional and fundraising materials The work of CBF field personnel is organized both geographically and by ministry area. Church congregations and individuals are encouraged to engage in the issues and areas about which they are most passionate. These eight areas are: • Church Starts and Faith Sharing Ministries • Disaster Response Ministries • Economic Development Ministries • Education Ministries • Healthcare Ministries • Internationals Ministries • Justice and Peacemaking Ministries • Poverty and Transformation Ministries

To give to the CBF Offering for Global Missions or for more information on how to promote it in your congregation, visit the Fellowship’s website at www.thefellowship.info/ogm or contact Jeff Huett, CBF associate coordinator of communications and advancement, at jhuett@thefellowship.info or (770) 220-1683. www.thefellowship.info/givenow

The CBF Offering for Global Missions helps CBF field personnel like Gennady and Mina Podgaisky, whose work is divided among several of the ministry areas, make a difference in Kiev, Ukraine. Every day, thousands of children spend their time on the streets, eating meals from dumpsters and sniffing glue so they don’t have to think about how cold, lonely and hungry they are. More than a decade after starting their ministry, hope emanates among many abandoned and runaway children through life-changing ministries that include three foster homes, transformational teaching tools and powerful partnerships. And, the Offering supports Butch and Nell Green as they make an impact in the Internationals Ministries area by helping transition refugees to their new home in the United States. The Greens serve as cultural guides and provide emotional support. They are embracing a global neighborhood in Houston, Texas, and being the presence of Christ by welcoming and caring for people in need of hope. CBF field personnel serving among the most neglected depend on the CBF Offering for Global Missions. When you give, and when you encourage others in your congregation to give, it makes a difference.


Together for Hope

Native American pastor shares development dream for Navajo reservation By Katelyn McWilliams

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according to Long. He noted that both cultures have a shared history of oppression and genocide, loss of land, loss of language and loss of culture. Long and Selah Congregation have identified with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship since the church’s founding in 2010. This identification with CBF has been strengthened through Long’s relationship with Glen Foster, coordinator of CBF West, the regional body of CBF that encompasses 13 states. Foster’s congregation, Pantano Baptist Church of Tucson, Ariz., ordained Long to Christian ministry in March 2010. “In 2002, I made acquaintance with Glen Foster, and I haven’t looked back,” Long said. “Glen has become a great friend and brother in the Lord.” Foster recently had an opportunity to worship with Long and Selah Congregation in the home of new church members. “It was exciting to see a vibrant congregation that is growing and reaching young families,” Foster said. “Greg is

lacount anDerson anD GreG lonG photos

hen sharing the Baptist story, historians often neglect Native Americans. But, the Baptist narrative is full of courageous, missionsminded Native Americans who offered a faithful Baptist witness in the United States for several centuries, from Jesse Bushyhead to John Jumper to Almon C. Bacone. Greg Long is another Native American Baptist worth knowing. And he’s living out the Baptist story as the pastor of Selah Congregation in Flagstaff, Ariz., in the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American-governed territory within the United States. Born and raised on the Navajo reservation, Long left his home in north central Arizona for Waco, Texas, to attend seminary. In 2000, Long became the first Navajo student to graduate from

Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Following graduation, Long returned to the Navajo Nation and later started Selah Congregation, a multicultural fellowship proud of its ethnic diversity, including both Navajo and Jewish peoples, with a unique multilingual worship service held every Saturday. “The worship style is based on Jewish liturgical traditions, incorporating both Baptist and Na-Dené distinctives to produce a vibrant, nourishing worship experience,” Long explained. The worship format found at Selah Congregation emphasizes the seasons of worship found in the Torah: Shabbat, the Spring Festival Cycle (Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of First Fruits and the Feast of Weeks) and the Fall Festival Cycle (Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and the Feast of Booths). Selah Congregation’s worship style reflects the multitude of parallels between historic Navajo and Jewish cultures,

(left) Greg long, pastor of Selah Congregation in flagstaff, ariz., shares the story of his church with Cbf executive Coordinator Suzii paynter at the together for hope annual meeting in September. (Center) the worship style of Selah Congregation is based on Jewish liturgical traditions. (right) long dreamed to foster a multicultural and ethnically diverse congregation.

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Greg long took together for hope leaders on a tour of the navajo reservation, sharing his vision of bringing sustainable farming to the community he serves.

a creative thinker, talented artist and wonderful communicator.” Long ministers alongside his wife, Sheila, who leads music during worship and teaches the children. Together, they own and operate an art gallery of original Navajo works in nearby Winslow. When Long left Waco and returned to his childhood home on the Navajo reservation, his return was not a simple relocation. Long returned with a vision for his community, one rich in cultural history but extremely poor in terms of infrastructure and other basic needs, with more than 50 percent of the population unemployed. In September, Together for Hope, CBF’s rural poverty initiative, held its three-day annual meeting in Flagstaff to share stories of what God is doing in some of the poorest rural communities in the United States. “Being in Arizona and learning about Native Americans was deeply moving for me,” said Jim Smith, interim coordinator of CBF Global Missions. “I knew of abuse and genocide from books written to supplement the typical narrative of American advancement into the pioneer

territories of the American West. Hearing descriptions and explanation of past laws as well as current regulations by our government impacting life in the Navajo Nation drew back the curtain and revealed a disturbing pattern of colonialism and systemic oppression of noble people. “Greg Long is a fellow Baptist who cares for suffering people. He has a holistic vision for restoration of the person, the community and the environment, which I wholeheartedly support.” Following a traditional lunch of roasted lamb, fry bread and tortillas, Long shared with the group his vision of self-sufficiency for the reservation’s residents. Long gave the group a tour of the area of the reservation where residents lack electricity and running water while three waterproducing wells sit capped on the land. He hopes to address these needs through economic and community development projects. The first step to implementing Long’s vision is tapping these wells and piping the water to homes as well as making the water available for livestock and crop irrigation.

Long’s agriculturally-based vision includes launching a ranch with cattle, horses, sheep and goats and an auction house, stockyard and feed lot. Organic farming on the land would also facilitate the creation of a farmers’ market. Long dreams of bringing electricity to the area’s residents and building a multiuse community center for education and cultural events. “We met to listen and to dream for a future work,” said Stephanie Vance, Together for Hope interim manager. “Greg spoke to the group, which included national and state/regional CBF leaders, CBF field personnel as well as community facilitators, about his journey through seminary and his deepening understanding of God’s calling for him and for his community. Greg has a plan that will bring sustainable farming, tourism and infrastructure to the area.” As Long embarks on making his dream a reality, Together for Hope is acting as a resource for him and his community. “Greg Long is a dynamic leader and is an example to all who dream of a better future for their hometown,” Vance said. fellowship!

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New to slovakia, Parkses take long view in addressing centuries-old

roma struggle

John parks photos

By Greg Warner

Cbf field personnel Jon and tanya parks minister among the roma in Košice, Slovakia.

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hen staring at a problem that was centuries in the making, it is wise not to look for a quick fix. That’s why Jon and Tanya Parks are investing their lives in the future of the roma people, the ethnic group derisively

called “Gypsies,” who are marginalized virtually everywhere they live. Their investment has meant moving 5,000 miles away from their home in Virginia to Slovakia, learning two new languages and cultures, raising their children in a foreign land and cultivating deep, long-term relationships with people who are quite different from them. Jon and Tanya, from Kenbridge, Va., are Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel, commissioned in 2011 to minister among the Roma in Košice (KO-sheet-say), a large industrial city in eastern Slovakia. Each week, the Parkses travel two hours to the city of Kežmarok to volunteer as assistant English instructors in a recently opened gymnazium (a kind of college-prep school) for the Romany, who are routinely excluded from traditional public schools. Jon and Tanya assist the English teachers and provide other opportunities for the students to improve their English — a vital skill for advancing to a university. “The Roma gymnazium here in Košice is closed for this school year,” Jon

explained. “They had many financial challenges and, with the recent worsening of conditions among the Roma here in Košice, many of the students left Slovakia with their families to seek better working and living conditions.” With the closing of the Košice school, there are only two Roma gymnazia left operating in Slovakia. The schools are crucial for giving Romany teenagers a chance of getting into college to pursue non-menial careers. Only a fraction of the students — perhaps less than a tenth — will ever make it into college. Even if they overcome the anti-Roma prejudice in entrance practices, they usually lack the money for college, Jon said. Education is a significant source of social conflict between the Roma and Slovaks — and a crucial opportunity for ministry, according to the Parkses. The root of the conflict, Jon said, is “mainly a clash of cultures.” “Even though the Roma people have lived here for centuries, they still

in Slovakia, the roma people struggle to gain access to quality education because of deep prejudices and long-standing social conflicts.

hold onto different traditions, different cultural practices and understandings,” Jon said. “So, as in most places where you have minority cultures, the majority will constantly wonder why these people don’t try harder to fit in.” The Parkses intentionally keep a balanced perspective and avoid assigning blame. “There’s mistrust and hatred on both sides, and any solution will require changes from both sides,” Jon said. “It’s easy for us to demonize if we get too far on one side or the other,” Tanya added.

each week, Jon and tanya parks travel two hours to the city of Kezmarok to volunteer as english instructors to roma students.

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Many slovaks see education as “wasted” because romany people are perceived to be inferior. The Parkses learned a lesson about prejudice and acceptance from their colleague, Pavol, a Slovak teacher at the Roma school. “His parents have a dark history with Roma,” Tanya said. “He has all kinds of reasons to hate them.” Pavol has remained at the school even though “he could be working as a writer or in a prestigious gymnazium,” she explained. “He said, ‘I have made a choice not to be prejudiced and to believe they can get an education,’” Tanya recalled. “People like Pavol help us keep that balance,” said Jon. Many Slovaks see education as “wasted” because Romany people are perceived to be inferior. “For many years now, the Slovak system has dealt with Roma children by labeling them as [having] ‘special needs’ and putting them into separate special-needs schools,” Jon said. “This essentially cuts them off from mainstream education, limits their resources and all but destroys their chance at achieving any level of higher education.” The situation is tragically similar to the segregation of African-Americans in the United States. Many states tried to maintain so-called “separate but equal” school systems for black and white students until

of the country’s 5.4 million people. Most are poor and live in slums outside the cities. In Košice and elsewhere, these slums often have no running water — it is delivered sporadically by truck. Slum residents heat and cook by wood, and Slolvakia’s minimal welfare system does little to alleviate the poverty. “People see this group of Roma people walking along the street and they say, ‘They stink so bad!’” explained Tanya. “But they don’t know they don’t have water. Or else they say, ‘Why would we give them water? They don’t know how to be clean.’” This kind of circular reasoning works to perpetuate stereotypes. “Roma people in general are looked at as thieves and dirty by the majority Slovak population,” said Tanya. “Even the clean, well-dressed ones are often followed in stores to make sure that they don’t steal anything. They often congregate in larger groups, which makes Slovaks feel uncomfortable. When they aren’t being ignored, they are often spoken to rudely and blamed for things that may or may not have been their fault.” The stereotypes make it difficult for the Roma to get good jobs, she said. “We know a number of Roma who have degrees and

Jon, tanya and their two children, abigail and Kaitlyn (above), are spending their first year in Slovakia learning about the different cultures and learning Slovak, the local language. Jon and tanya also minister to both the roma and Slovak people, helping to bridge the divide between the two groups.

John parks photos

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the Brown v. Board of education decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954. Similarly, a national-level Slovak court ruled in 2012 that this segregation is unlawful. “But almost two years later, hardly anyone has done anything about it,” Jon reflected, “and the courts don’t have power to enforce anything.” Hardly limited to Slovakia, mistrust of the Roma has been part of European history for centuries. Their ancestors emigrated from India to the Middle East and, in the 14th century, on to Eastern Europe. Their darker skin led Europeans to believe they were descended from Egyptians, which led to the misnomer of “Gypsy.” They developed (perhaps not by their own choice) a somewhat nomadic lifestyle, working as craftsmen who sold their wares from city to city and entertained in their exotic ways. “Eventually, a few took advantage of the trust and superstition of the European people and turned to thievery and deception,” Jon said. “For their part, Europeans began to mistreat these outsiders, denying them basic rights and in some places even enslaving them.” Today the Roma are the second largest minority in Slovakia — roughly 9 percent

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Many roma dream of escaping the slums and the cycle of poverty to make something of themselves, but they face difficult odds. education and still cannot find a job.” Businesses that do hire them for highvisibility jobs can expect to lose customers. “You are not going to see one working as a waiter,” Jon added. Most of the jobs they find are manual labor — construction and cleaning services. Leo, a friend of Jon and Tanya, has one of those jobs. Although he is trained as a veterinary assistant and a musician, Tanya said, Leo has been unable to find a good job. “He shovels coal at the U.S. steel plant in Košice because he has to have a job to support his young family.” “He’s talked about how difficult it is to do this menial task when he has training to work with animals. But he’s been trying to find meaning and find his joy working in this place.” Leo recently began studying at a music conservatory with a dream of starting a music-teaching ministry. He wants to travel and teach in Roma villages to add professional training to the Romany’s popular love of music. Many Roma dream of escaping the slums and the cycle of poverty to make something of themselves, but they face difficult odds. The vast majority of Roma young people are steered into vocational

schools instead of gymnaziums. Patrick, who grew up in the slums, was one of the few who graduated from the Roma gymnazium in Košice and was admitted into college. “He would never have made it in a predominantly Slovak school,” said Tanya, who helped teach the boy. Out of about 50 who started the Roma high school with him, “maybe two of them make it to college,” she said. “The Roma-Slovak relationship is old, deep and will not be solved quickly,” Tanya said. “If we want to have any more than a Band-Aid benefit in Europe, it’s going to take a lot more than clever speeches from Amnesty International or mission groups coming from the U.S.,” Jon added. “Both sides are going to have to move to have any progress.” The Parkses aren’t looking for easy solutions anyway. “Right now we are taking the longterm view in regard to ministry,” Jon said. The priorities during this first year are building relationships and learning two difficult languages — Slovak and the local Roma dialect. “There are very few Roma who speak English that we can make that connection

tanya parks (pictured in red below) spends time with roma and Slovak children.

with,” he said. “… To a certain extent, we can function here in English, and we could even focus solely on teaching English. But we’re quickly realizing that, while we could get by speaking English, we won’t be able to build many deeper relationships.” “This learning is itself a ministry,” he said. “I can’t count the number of times we’ve been able to share our story — and a little of the gospel — with Slovaks and Roma who simply want to know why we’re bothering to learn their language.” In addition to helping teach English to high school students, Jon and Tanya volunteer at their small Košice church, Devleskero Kher, which means “House of God” in Romani. The predominantly Roma congregation has adopted a worship style that reflects Romany culture — lively and celebrative. But Slovaks, Germans and others also attend. “This fall we will begin teaching English classes in the church building as a way for the church members to do some outreach — inviting other people who are interested in learning English,” Jon said. Their 16 months on the field — which included three months in the States to resolve a visa problem — have been a strange in-between time for the Parkses and their two girls, Abigail, 9, and Kaitlyn, 7. “We are between the ‘already’ and ‘not yet,’” Jon said — ministering while learning to minister. Together, the family looks forward to seeing where their ministry will take them.

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historic u.s. slovak church celebrates

100 years

through partnership with CBF field personnel

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By Blake Tommey

oplar springs Baptist Church does not exactly act its age.

As the first Slovak church in Virginia, Poplar Springs celebrated a monumental centennial this year in a 4-year-old sanctuary. Instead of singing “Just a Closer Walk with Thee,� late-service worshippers belt out folk music hits at a summer service for boaters on the James River. Rather than tending to prized antiques from another age, Poplar Springs Baptist tends to the hearts of church members as well as those who do not yet feel at home in the congregation. And as its steeple peaks over the hills just southeast of Richmond, the church gleams as a symbol of new life, not tired customs.

from top, left to right, poplar Springs 1914 sanctuary; 1932 sanctuary; 1951 sanctuary; 1913 congregation at ukrop farm

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photos courtesy oF poplar sprinGs baptist church

poplar Springs baptist Church, the first Slovak church in virginia, celebrated its 100th anniversary with a group photo outside of the church’s new sanctuary.

So what do 100 years mean to Poplar Springs Baptist Church in 2013? They mean heritage, not just history. “At our centennial, we didn’t just celebrate our history; we celebrated our heritage,” said Stephen Crane, pastor of Poplar Springs. “That heritage isn’t just Slovakia, but rather Christians from Slovakia, who founded this church with the hope of the gospel and a heart that beats for the needs of its community. So when we mark 100 years, we not only celebrate the years themselves, but we celebrate a heartbeat for reaching people with the good news of Jesus.” At the church’s beginning, several Slovak families from Czechoslovakia moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia. In their desire to continue Sunday worship, they held services in the homes of the Stefan Ukrop family, the Juraj Ukrop family and the Jan Chudy family. By 1913, the group officially

became the First Slovak Baptist Church, with 26 charter members. With the support of the Virginia Baptist State Mission Board, they began ministry in the local community through outdoor recreation and worship. By the 1940s, the church began holding evangelistic meetings not only for the Slovak community but for people of all ethnicities, and used English for the first time in worship. In the early 1950s, the church changed its name to Poplar Springs Baptist Church as it sought further relevance to non-Slovak peoples in the Richmond area. By the turn of the 21st century, the church had seen the addition of a renovated auditorium, the Preschool Education Building and finally the Christian Life Center, in which the church holds a recreation ministry. But in 2004, the congregation experienced what many call both “the worst day and the best day” in the life of

the church, as the sanctuary was burned and destroyed by arson. The “worst day” entailed immense pain and grieving over the loss of a cherished worship space, Crane says, but the “best day” saw brand new life rise from the ashes. “Poplar Springs is a 100-year-old church but it doesn’t act like one,” Crane said. “There’s no museum to maintain or prop up anymore. The fire may have destroyed a building, but it re-birthed a church with a renewed mission to bring the hope of the gospel to its community. When you burn a forest, you only set the stage for new growth to break out, and that day saw the beginning of a new chapter in the church’s long history of rebirth.” The church celebrated the completion of its new sanctuary in April 2009, with a special morning worship to remember the past joys and sorrows of church members. Diane Korman, granddaughter-in-law to

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to a brief message among friends. Some are unchurched, some are hurting, some are Hindu, some are Boy Scouts, some are music lovers, some are Buddhist and some are just curious, Crane points out. But the desire to create faith conversations among the most unlikely church-goers has been the congregation’s mission from the start. “We want to impact people with the reality of Jesus Christ,” Crane emphasized. “We want the people in our community to know that God is real, that God’s love for them is real and that they can know God in an intimate way through the person of Jesus. The question we must ask is, ‘Where can we take the word of God to people who haven’t heard, haven’t understood or haven’t had the opportunity for conversation?’ What about those who have always wanted to ask somebody about faith, but haven’t found that opportunity? We want to ask those questions with the unchurched as we both listen for the call of Christ to come and follow.” This year, Poplar Springs is coming full circle as they partner with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Virginia (CBFVA) in their 2013-14 focus on missions in Slovakia. In addition to hosting the CBFVA

General Assembly in September, Poplar Springs is also centering its heart and giving on the work of Jon and Tanya Parks, CBF field personnel serving among the Roma people in Košice, Slovakia. Crane says the partnership with CBFVA and field coordinator Rob Fox was a natural move for a church with Slovak roots. “We’re only able to be the presence of Christ in Virginia because immigrants from Slovakia sought freedom and a new life here,” Crane said. “Our desire is to return that ministry to those in Slovakia who are seeking the same new life in their own country. We want to provide any encouragement and support possible to Christians, and especially Baptists, there working among the outcast and ethnic minority.” As Poplar Springs Baptist Church marks 100 years, it remembers when its founders were the outcast and ethnic minority in the United States, a memory that remains at the heart of their mission to those in need. As the congregation looks to the future, Poplar Springs hopes to reach a growing population of commuters into Richmond as it seeks to continue the mission and identity the church has always embraced.

photos courtesy oF poplar sprinGs baptist church

one of the founding members, as well as coordinator for the church’s centennial, believes that, through remembering, the church finds its truest identity. “Our Slovak heritage means a strong work ethic, a knack for friendship, compassion for all people and a mission to be vital to our community,” Korman said. “That mission has been the center of this church for 100 years. It’s what led the first generation to embrace the English language. It’s what led the second to marry outside of the Slovak ethnicity. It’s what led the church to change and grow rather than close its mind. And it’s what my four daughters will connect with in the life of this church for years to come.” The most visible expression of their calling to adapt to the needs of the community, according to Korman, is a recreation ministry called The Dock, in which a small group of ministers and laypeople offer a weekly worship service for boaters and skiers on the James River. On Sundays at 12:30 p.m., from Memorial Day to Labor Day, those passing by on the river are invited to take a break, board a floating dock, sing songs and listen

poplar Springs baptist continues to hold close and express its Slovak heritage. the church is currently partnering with Cooperative baptist fellowship virginia, focusing together on missions in Slovakia with Cbf field personnel.

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Gift Catalog 2013-2

Coope

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rative B aptist F ello

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he 2013-14 CBF Gift Catalog, which highlights more than 100 ways to share Christ’s love, connects you with opportunities to meet the physical and spiritual needs of people all over the world by supporting projects of CBF field personnel. It’s perfect for memorial or honorary gifts for friends and family. Invest in life-sustaining work by giving a gift of:

$75 provides a sewing machine in India for a teenager or widowed woman to make clothing to earn income and support her family because of this ministry started by Sam Bandela.

$10 will purchase a sack of potatoes or rice that will help feed a family for a week through Kilos of Care in Strasbourg, France, where Joel and Tiffne Whitley minister.

$50 provides a care kit for a victim of $95 provides a month’s supply of medicine trafficking in Southeast Asia where Cindy for a child with leukemia in Macedonia, and Eddy Ruble minister. where Alicia and Jeff Lee minister. $20 provides diapers and baby supplies for $100 provides ESL books and materials a refugee family resettling in Texas, where for refugee students at the Center of Hope Karen Morrow ministers. in Uganda, where Jade and Shelah Acker minister among urban refugees. And so much more.

To order online or request copies of the catalog, visit www.thefellowship.info/giftcatalog. fellowship!

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CBF deploys field personnel, sends $10,000 in aid to

help in the Philippines

T

noVe Foto Da FirenZe photo; opposite, Joelle Goire (eu/echo) photo

he Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has deployed Eddy Ruble, CBF field personnel based in Malaysia, to help with assessments, planning and coordination of logistics in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. CBF also sent $10,000 to Asia Pacific Baptist Aid (APBAid) to help meet the immediate needs of families affected by the

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storm. APBAid is the relief arm of the Baptist World Alliance’s Asia Pacific Baptist Federation. The storm that hit the central Philippines is being called one of the eddy ruble strongest typhoons in history, with some predicting death tolls to reach 10,000. Ruble is assisting Feraz Legita, acting director of APBAid, based in Iloilo City.

Ruble is experienced in disaster response and helped direct CBF’s response to the tsunamis in Indonesia from 2004-2010. Prior to sending $10,000 to APBAid, CBF announced a $2,500 grant to Conscience International to support local teams in Cebu City and North Cebu in delivering truckloads of bottled water in the affected areas, potentially reaching an estimated 78,000 people with a 30-day supply of purified drinking water. David Harding, CBF international

tocloban, philippines

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donations to assist in disaster response

and this effort to respond to those affected by Typhoon Haiyan, can be made online (https://www.thefellowship.info/Givenow?fund=17023) or by mailing a check payable to “CBF” with Acct. 17023 in the memo line to: Cooperative Baptist Fellowship P.O. Box 101699 Atlanta, GA 30392-1699

disaster relief manager, said the $10,000 gift to APBAid will help provide food, drinking water, blankets and other immediate relief needs to typhoon victims. “There are more than 10 million people impacted by Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines,” Harding said. “CBF is working alongside APBAid to help it plan, direct and respond to immediate needs with a $10,000 grant to supply water, food and shelter. Beyond the immediate needs, there will be a long-term recovery and

development effort as there has been in past responses in the region. “The destruction is reminiscent of the tsunamis that hit Southeast Asia in 2004. CBF worked for six years with APBAid in response to that disaster, so we have a long track record of trust and commitment to effective and efficient work. This partnership will offer the hope and love we have in Christ for both recovery and development in a way that empowers people through

local church congregations.” CBF collaborates with partners in the region, including Conscience International and the Asia Pacific Baptist Federation of the Baptist World Alliance and it has a long-standing relationship with APBAid. “These are our friends. Our hearts are broken for all those who are affected by this devastating disaster,” said Jim Smith, CBF interim coordinator of Global Missions. “We want to help these loyal, loving friends of our Fellowship any way we can.”

leyte province, philippines

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Charles p. McGathy is a retired U.s. navy chaplain and pastor of First Baptist Church, Madison, n.C., and serves on the CBF Council on endorsement.

a prayer for chaplains in hard places Lord be with me, in me and through me as I go into hard places. It may be in the Intensive Care Unit or hospice, In a jail cell or within the confined steel spaces of a warship, A deathbed or a fox hole. I may be any number of places, but they are hard places. They are the places where people — your children — cry out with questions and wonder. Sometimes with anger, at other times with flickering hope. But they are still seeking, wanting to know the God of whom we speak.

CBFbl g www.cbfblog.com

Lord, I’m uncomfortable. Entering people’s pain is not easy. And they are in pain. More pain than I could ever know. More pain than I want to know. But you know. You care. And you send me to go in your name. So, in spite of my hesitation, I press on into the dark night of another soul. And there, right there in the hardest place, I find you. I find you in that moment of touch and love. I know you are with me, in me and through me. Thank you Lord. Thank you for this special way of loving and serving your children. Amen.

During the week of Oct. 20-26, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship celebrated Pastoral Care Week with a sevenpart series on the CBFblog to honor the more than 725 CBF-endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors. This

series featured the stories of a diverse group that included pastoral counselors and chaplains from hospital, hospice, military and university settings. Through their stories, readers were able to catch a glimpse into the world of those who provide hope in the midst of crisis and stand beside others during the various stages of life’s journey. Two selections from the Celebrating Pastoral Care Week series are featured here. Read the entire series along with other CBFblog series at www.cbfblog.com/series 26

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CBF-endorsed chaplain Mickie norman is chaplain for the Lower Cape Fear hospice and Life Care Center in Wilmington, n.C. Mickie and her husband, Rob, co-pastor the north Brunswick Fellowship Church in Leland, n.C., and are parents to CBF field personnel Matt and Michelle norman, who serve in Barcelona, spain.

Going home

I

am often the last of the team to arrive in the home of my hospice patients. First, the admission nurse and ongoing case manager nurse enter the home to set up medications and establish the ongoing medical needs of the patient. This is generally followed by the delivery of medical equipment and a medical aide coming to help with the personal care of the patient. Next, a medical social worker addresses the emotional and psychosocial needs of the patient and family. The medical social worker also inquires about the needs for spiritual support. That is usually my cue to call and set up a time to visit. On this occasion, however, I was just around the corner from the new patient’s home when I received the message of her admission. I was so close that I decided to at least call to introduce myself and offer a brief introductory visit and spiritual support. The area I cover is so large that I knew it could be days before I would be in the area again. A weak and tearful voice answered the phone and instantly requested that I stop by as soon as possible. The door was opened by a man who looked to be in shock and suffering in his grief. He mumbled his name and began to lead me down a hallway toward a bedroom. “She is in there; I still can’t believe that this is happening. I am sure that she will get better; she has always gotten better.” Then he was gone. I tapped on the door as I entered. The woman lying in the bed raised her arm to beckon me in and patted the bed for me to sit beside her. As I sat and reached for her

By Mickie norman

hand, she shared in her very weak voice that she felt quite alone. In our conversation I learned of her faith background and her certainty in eternal promises. “I know in my heart that God is with me, but I really do not want to die alone. I need someone with me to acknowledge my going to be with my Father,” she said with a smile and added, “I need a sendoff.” I assured her that I would share this information with her family, and I would do all I could to honor that request. Before

that they all had left last night to get some rest and would be coming back today. “I know why she is still here,” I said. “She does not want to die alone. I am heading to her room now.” Another nurse acknowledged my statement and indicated that she would be coming in a moment or two to give the patient her morning medications. I entered the room and pulled a chair up to the bedside. Flowers, cards and family photos filled the room. All of those things attempted to make the room cozier, but it did not take the place of having another person in the room with her. She lay very still, barely breathing and appeared at peace. I lifted her hand and placed it into mine; leaning down I kissed her forehead and spoke softly into her ear. “Hello, my friend, it is Mickie, the chaplain. I am here with you. I remember what you said you wanted. I will not leave you. I am going to stay with you. I am going to pray with you right now.” I offered up a prayer for this lovely lady who loved her Lord and trusted God with her eternity. I thanked God for the opportunity to know her and to learn more of God through her gentle spirit. As I ended my prayer with “Amen,” there was a weak squeeze of her hand in mine. A slight smile formed on her lips. As the nurse entered with the meds her breathing began to slow down drastically. I motioned for the nurse to stop for a moment. “She is going home now,” I said. “God is welcoming her and I am here to acknowledge her journey. I am sending her off.” Her breathing stopped and she was indeed — Home.

“I will not leave you. I am going to stay with you. I am going to pray with you right now.” leaving her bedside, we shared in prayer together, and she used that time to offer thanksgiving to God for the daily grace, love and mercy shown her throughout her life. Before leaving the home, I tried to speak to her brokenhearted husband concerning the request that I had just learned. He stopped me and explained that he could not hear this now, after all, his wife was going to get better. Two days later I entered our Hospice Care Center facility ready to make rounds and check on any patients that had been admitted for end of life, system management or respite. When I saw her name listed, I immediately remembered our brief visit together. Going by the nurses’ station, I asked about her status. The nurse shook his head and stated that the patient had been admitted the evening before and was very near end of life. The nurse added that he had not expected to see her this morning; he had been sure that she would have died during the night. I asked if family was present and learned

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Together we focus on four things: praising God and resting in His presence; trying to be like Jesus; developing deep friendships with others; and joining God’s work in putting the world back together. — Second Baptist Little Rock Vision Statement

little rock church sets example for

disaster response ministry

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hen Roy Peterson and Robert Sproles stepped out of their car in Hattiesburg, Miss., devastation surrounded them. Houses along the road were flattened or covered in debris, fallen trees lined roof-tops — the searing pain of loss was palpable. Peterson and Sproles, members of Second Baptist Church, a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship partner church in Little Rock, Ark., felt compelled to travel to Hattiesburg after the town was overwhelmed by one of the largest disasters in recent history. Nine days after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and Mississippi, the men drove from Little Rock to Hattiesburg with a truck full of tools to help however they could. Finding a house covered in fallen trees and a homeowner unable to clean the damage by herself, Peterson and Sproles took out their chainsaw and began cutting. As they removed the trees, piece by piece, a neighbor walked up to the house. “How much are you charging this lady to take down those trees?” the neighbor asked. When they told the man that they were doing the work for free, the man picked up a few tools lying on the ground and said, “Well, if you’re working for free, then I can too!” The actions of Peterson and Sproles were not only contagious to others in the community who saw their good service. Back home in Little Rock, their fellow church members at Second Baptist were planning ways to further extend response

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efforts to the varied needs of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. “Our efforts were deep, wide and heartfelt, but a bit unorganized at the start,” Peterson explained. “When we got home, we found that the church had developed a disaster response task force to organize our response, and I was named the leader!” Peterson and his newly-created team received substantial gifts from church members and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas for relief efforts, and returned to Hattiesburg four times after his initial trip with Sproles. “When Hurricane Katrina hit, I had been the coordinator of CBF of Arkansas for eight months,” Ray Higgins recalled. “In order for us to respond to our Louisiana neighbors, we needed a disaster response coordinator, and we needed a lead church. Charles Ray became our coordinator, working initially as a volunteer. Second Baptist Little Rock became our lead church. The church is a creative, committed and holistic mission partner in all aspects of CBF life — missions and ministry, including disaster response.” Hurricane Katrina relief was only the beginning for Second Second baptist Church is one of Cbf’s strongest partners in disaster relief. the church’s disaster response team travels to sites across the country to remove debris, trees and other wreckage caused by devastating storms and other natural disasters.

photos courtesy oF seconD baptist church

By emily holladay

Baptist. With Tornado Alley not far away, the church is no stranger to devastation caused by deadly twisters and other natural disasters. Responding to Hurricane Katrina affirmed that they could make a difference and ignited a passion to do more. Since 2005, the church has made 27 domestic trips to aid in disaster response, in addition to three trips to Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake in 2010 that took more than 100,000 lives and destroyed more than twice as many homes. “Second Baptist has forgotten what it was like to not be responding to the needs of others,” remarked former CBF disaster response coordinator Charles Ray. “They have had more than 25 deployments and have been called on by Alabama,


Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Using lessons learned from these constant deployments, CBF national response efforts are quickly becoming some of the country’s leading efforts.” Setting an example within their own community, Second Baptist’s team inspired churches in the area to come together for ecumenical disaster response. Churches United is comprised of First United Methodist, Christ Episcopal, Central Church of Christ and Second Baptist, and responds to all disasters within an hour of Little Rock. The group meets together several times a year to build relationships and continue to organize their response efforts, so they will be prepared when a disaster strikes. “We try to assess who needs help and how our skills best fit in each individual disaster,” explained Chris Ellis, Second Baptist’s minister of mission and outreach, and liaison to Churches United. “If there’s a tornado in Little Rock, we’ll be there!” Most recently, the church sent teams to Moore, Okla., to serve victims of the May 2013 tornadoes that demolished most of the city. While in Oklahoma, just outside of Moore, the team met a man who had heard the tornado sirens and immediately evacuated his house to stay in his storm shelter. When the storm was over, he stepped out of the shelter to assess the damage. The damage was so overwhelming that he estimated that it would take him at least 10 years to restore the property. Second Baptist’s team came to help remove debris, cut trees, repair the roof and anything else they could do. “By the time we were finished, the man said, ‘I thought I had 10 years of work, but you all got it

down to one year!’” exclaimed Herb Moore, a member of Second Baptist’s disaster response team. “Roy [Peterson] decided we should keep working and told the man that we would get it down to half a year’s work.” This unstoppable attitude has driven Second Baptist in their disaster response ministry over the past eight years. The group is determined to make the greatest possible impact in the lives of the people they serve, always going a step further than expected, never asking for anything in return. “We’re just doing it to help,” said Moore. “The most meaningful thing about our work is knowing that we get to help somebody that might not get help otherwise. This truly is the work of the church.” In addition to providing services that help disaster victims get their property back in order, the Second Baptist team is committed to bringing a spiritual element to the work they do. Each day when they arrive at a work site, they participate in morning prayers with one another and the people they came to serve. “Roy really impresses upon us that we’re not just there to do work,” said Sharon Henry, a Second Baptist member. “If the homeowner wants to talk, we are also there to listen. It is an honor to be present for people when they want to talk or vent. It’s really an emotional time for these people, and we want to be available for them in that way as well.” In 2005, Roy Peterson and Robert Sproles had no idea how deep and wide their efforts to help Hurricane Katrina victims would extend. Starting with two men and one trip, Second Baptist has empowered more than 20 people at a time to bring hope to individuals and families

Since 2005, the Second baptist team has made 27 domestic trips to aid in disaster response, in addition to three trips to haiti after the catastrophic earthquake of 2010.

experiencing the immediate and lifealtering devastation of a natural disaster. “Since Hurricane Katrina, Second Baptist Little Rock’s Disaster Response Team has been one of the first in which CBF Disaster Response can count on after an event occurs,” said Tommy Deal, CBF U.S. disaster response coordinator. “They are ready and willing to go and lend whatever help is needed, and have been instrumental in helping CBF share the presence of Christ by offering relief and service to communities in need.” Truly a movement within the church, these efforts have been almost entirely lay led and continue the church’s mission of trying to be like Jesus, developing deep friendships with others and joining God’s work in putting the world back together. “When you’re out there working, you realize the importance of being the presence of Christ,” Henry commented. “You don’t have to be a preacher to do Christ’s work. You really begin to understand how important the little things are to the people you are helping and to Christ.”

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Opportunities to

Missions Education Resource How to use this page

the suggestions below will be helpful for using the story on pages 28-29 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.

Disaster response

December 2013

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 extra copies available. these suggestions are for a 45-minute time frame. 1. the goal of this session is to think about disaster response and how churches can be the hands and feet of christ by responding to those in need. before the session, secure copies of fellowship! magazine for each person in your small group. also gather building blocks and bring them with you for an activity to start the session. 2. when you arrive, use the blocks to build a somewhat complex (or at least not too simple!) structure/building in the middle or front of the room where all can see. take a picture of the structure and set it aside until the end of the game.

it take to rebuild it?” “how did you feel when you were trying to rebuild it?”

fellowship!

CBF

Cooperative baptiSt fellowShip | www.thefellowShip.info

December 2013/January 2014

Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission

5. then ask, “can you imagine what it would be like if we were not talking about blocks that could easily be rebuilt, but your house that was destroyed in a hurricane?”

3. as you start the session, ask everyone to look closely at the structure and tell them to remember what it looks like. (Don’t let anyone take pictures!) Give everyone a few minutes to look at the structure and then say, “ok, did you get a good look?” then knock it down (maybe with a little force, you’re replicating a hurricane!). ask everyone to start rebuilding the structure. as they work, time them to see how long it takes to rebuild. when they’re done, show the picture and see how closely it resembles the original structure.

6. move to the article “little rock church sets example for disaster response ministry” (pp. 28-29). summarize the article or give Change for Children everyone a chance to read it and then discuss by asking: 1) what does being the presence of christ in the midst of a natural disaster look like? 2) what do you think of the church’s mission statement? how might this enable the congregation to respond to God’s movement in the world? 3) how did hurricane katrina allow second baptist to respond better to disasters at home as well?

4. after the activity, discuss what you have done by starting with the following questions: “how long did it take me to knock down the building?” “how long did

7. end by praying for those affected by disasters and those who respond to help. be sure to also pray for those mentioned in the prayer calendar on p. 4.

Not depleted yet — Sam Harrell reflects on ministry journey in Kenya

in Worship: Communal Prayer leader: God who created this world, you know our joys and our sorrows. you are near us when life is hopeless or hopeful. you are ever-present, no matter the storm. people: Creator God, hear our prayer. leader: God who sent Jesus, you looked into our pain and dreamed a dream of hope. you sent your son to redeem us, to be God with us, to be born among us. people: God who sent Jesus, hear our prayers. leader: God who loves us, God who made us, we know that things are not as they should be. even as we celebrate the redeeming possibilities of the word made flesh, the work of redemption is undone. people live at the margins, disasters threaten our happiness, oppression and war and pain can seem unending. people: God who loves us, God who made us, hear our prayers. leader: God who created this world, God who sent Jesus to redeem us, help us be part of your work, co-creating a more compassionate world, working with you to remake this world in your image again. all: God in your mercy, hear our prayers.

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in reading groups Community: The Structure of Belonging by peter block peter block explores why some communities thrive and other communities are fragmented. in doing this, he encourages his readers to build community from the bottom-up rather than from the top-down. this book is a must read for individuals and churches who want to do the hard work of community building and transformation.


Opportunities to

Missions Education Resource How to use this page

January 2014

the suggestions below will be helpful for using the story on pages 16-19 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.

education

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 extra copies available. these suggestions are for a 45-minute time frame. 1. in this session you will be talking about social justice and equality as well as cbF ministries among the roma in slovakia. before the session, secure copies of fellowship! for each person. also, read and familiarize yourself with the “privilege walk” — find online at www.thefellowship.info/affectonline. 2. once everyone is gathered, begin doing the “privilege walk” game together. when done, talk about privilege with the group using the questions provided. 3. say/ask: when we’re talking about “privilege” it’s important for us to distinguish this from the concept of “blessings” or “gifts.” privilege denotes something that is not fairly distributed. with this in mind, what do you believe Jesus thinks of privilege?

4. ask: how might an awareness of privilege be the first step in creating equality?

fellowship!

CBF

Cooperative baptiSt fellowShip | www.thefellowShip.info

December 2013/January 2014

Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission

5. transition to a discussion about the fellowship! feature on the ministry of cbF field personnel Jon and tanya parks (pp. 16-19) among the roma in slovakia. ask how the discussion of privilege and inequality might apply in the slovak/roma context. 6. end by praying for Jon and tanya parks and those they work with as well as for those mentioned in the prayer calendar on p. 4.

Change for Children Not depleted yet — Sam Harrell reflects on ministry journey in Kenya

around the table: at Church 1. During this session you will be talking about new year’s resolutions and the habits and commitments of the christian life.

in reading groups

2. before a wednesday night supper, or some other event or service, gather copies of fellowship! to pass out.

The Virgin Cure by ami mckay

3. During the event, either give individuals time to read the article about Jon and tanya parks, or have someone summarize the article and talk about their work, particularly mentioning the language-learning they are doing and how this is an investment in their future ministry.

this novel is about a young girl named moth who lives in post-civil war new york city. she is abandoned by her father and raised by her mother who is a fortune-teller in the city. when moth is 12, she is sold as a servant and is determined to escape. but when she does, moth cannot find her mother and ends up trying to survive on her own in the city.

4. ask: “has anyone made new year’s resolutions”? allow time for individuals to answer. then ask, “Do you think these resolutions will be hard to keep?” 5. Following this discussion, lead the group in a conversation about the hard work of language-learning and living in a new culture. you can talk about how language-learning (like resolutions, habits or change) requires constant work and attention. challenge those present to think about their own lives and ministries, and ask what is required to be a better follower of christ in their own context. ask what habits, changes or learning is required. 6. end by encouraging each person to pray for Jon and tanya parks as they learn slovak and romani, and for their ministry in slovakia.

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Cooperative Baptist Fellowship 160 Clairemont avenue, Suite 500 Decatur, Ga 30030 www.thefellowship.info • (800) 352-8741

We’ve got Georgia on our mind

And we hope you do too! General Assembly 2014 - Atlanta June 23-27, 2014 www.thefellowship.info/assembly/preregistration Cooperative Baptist Fellowship


2013 December / 2014 January Fellowship