Cooperative baptist fellowship | www.thefellowship.info
Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
Starting over CBF field personnel Kim and Marc Wyatt minister among refugees and immigrants in Canada, helping individuals and families start over in a new place.
Read more about ministries among refugees and immigrants on pages 18-24.
The future is in good hands By Patrick Anderson, CBF Interim Executive Coordinator
Cooperative Baptists are moving swiftly on a path of rejuvenation. The Task Force plan is well along the way toward implementation with many persons engaged in creative work. Beginning in January with the presentation of the candidate for the Executive Coordinator, we will embark on the final stages of significant transition. This marks the most exciting time in CBF’s life since our beginnings. I have been working in the CBF office in Atlanta since last June. During this time, I have discovered some things about CBF — and rediscovered others. First, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is attracting a young generation of people who find in the fellowship a hopeful place of service and ministry. The energy and courage found in CBF, our openness to the cultural shifts inside and outside the church, is appealing. This new generation of CBF is found in churches, families, seminaries and divinity schools, in places of ministry, on campuses and in the workplace. Many have come of age through the Student.Go program, others have been influenced by pastors and other ministers and still others discovered CBF in seminary or divinity school. In whatever way they find us, the future of CBF is in good hands. Second, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is resilient. We have taken some hits, yet we are strong. While we have re-examined our priorities, churches and individuals have strongly maintained connection and support with us. Fearful people predicted that our embrace of women in ministry and our Vol. 23, No. 1 sponsorship of “A Baptist Interim executive Coordinator • Patrick Anderson Conference on Sexuality Editor • Patricia Heys and Covenant” would Associate Editor • Emily Holladay doom us. They were Phone • (770) 220-1600 wrong. We are strengthFax • (770) 220-1685 ened by our willingness E-Mail • firstname.lastname@example.org to address contemporary Web Site • www.thefellowship.info life, and we have found fellowship! is published 6 times a fellowship as we have year in Feb./March, April/May, June/July, done this together. Aug./Sept., Oct./Nov., Dec./Jan. by the Third, churches and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Inc., 2930 individuals look to CBF Flowers Road South Suite 133, Atlanta, GA 30341. Periodicals postage paid at Atlanta, for leadership and guid-
GA. USPS #015-625. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to fellowship! Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, 2930 Flowers Road South, Suite 133, Atlanta, GA 30341.
ance in global missions. We have a global reputation for effective, efficient, holistic, sustainable missions. We are loved by persons we collaborate with in faraway places and nearby, and we are respected by other missions agencies and organizations. CBF is well positioned to help anyone fulfill their own understanding of a global missions mandate from Jesus. Fourth, we have great strength in states and regions where CBF is active. Much of CBF’s energy and talent and creativity can be found at the local level, and CBF will learn how to better incorporate the grass-roots spirit of the movement. Fifth, CBF has great partners, really great partners. Passport, Baptists Today, Baptist World Alliance, Christian Churches Together, North American Baptist Federation, Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Freedom, Associated Baptist Press, Baptist Center for Ethics, Baptist Women in Ministry … we have wonderful partners. Seminaries and divinity schools which identify with CBF have some terrific faculty, amazing students and a growing influence in churches. American Baptist Churches, Progressive National Baptists, National Baptists and many other Baptist groups share our friendship. CBF has strong ties that bind us together. Sixth, the 2012 Task Force has given us a plan of action which will enable us to move forward for a few years. To look beyond a few years in this age of dynamic changes is a bit foolhardy, but as far as we can see into the future our current plan is workable, enervating, challenging and exciting. I believe we are headed in the right direction. Finally, we are blessed with good leadership. Our new Executive Coordinator will bring us all along in an adventure worthy of our name, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The state and regional CBF leaders will put their collective shoulders to the wheel. The staff in Atlanta and the staffs in states and regions are committed, hardworking and effective. Our missions personnel are the best. I believe a major strength of CBF is its leadership. So, take heart. Be excited. Look to the future. Be part of what God is doing in and through the CBF.
5 6 7 8 9
Serve: Summer Opportunities around the world
Church Spotlight: First Baptist Church, Asheville, N.C.
Partner Spotlight: Bread for the World
Five Tips for planning Vacation Bible School
Caring for our neighbors • Beck seeks to be the presence of Christ in North Carolina community • CBF field personnel live and minister among diverse urban community in Virginia • Tyson leads faith community where all members engage in ministry
Affect: February Caring for our neighbors Starting over • Wyatts minister among refugees in Canada, helping to meet physical and spiritual needs • CBF field personnel help refugees create a new life in California • Greg and Sue Smith assist immigrants in finding needed medical care
25 26-27 28-31
Affect: March Starting over Implementation team maps course for changes
2013 General Assembly in Greensboro, N.C.
When you give...
Through a variety of ministries, CBF field personnel Gennady and Mina Podgaisky minister among children in Kiev, Ukraine.
“Through the giving of God’s word and our story as God’s people, the children of Kiev are experiencing joy and transformation. But only in heaven will we know the harvest from the seed of giving one children’s Bible. Only in heaven will we know how many lives we touched with God’s love and care through our
Mina Podgaisky, one of CBF’s field personnel
oon after Gennady and Mina Podgaisky returned to Ukraine from their one-year furlough in the United States, a young boy stopped Mina outside her home. “I finished the book!,” he said. Mina did not recognize the boy, nor did she have a clue what book the child had read. Her expression was one of complete confusion. “Remember, the book you gave me? I’ve read it all,” he said. “The Bible! I have read it all. You came to our Sunday school class in church and you gave us children’s Bibles. So I read it.” Finally, Mina remembered. Serving as CBF field personnel in Kiev, Ukraine, Gennady and Mina Podgaisky held a special program at their church, where they minister among orphans, runaways and chil-
Jay Paul photo
lives and ministry.”
dren at risk on the streets of Kiev. Through donations from Fellowship Baptists, the couple purchased children’s Bibles for more than 100 children in the church. Although the Podgaiskys cannot remember each child who received a Bible, the children remember them and their gift. “Through the CBF Offering for Global Missions, we are able to be the presence of Christ for the children of Kiev,” Mina said. “The offering allows us to proclaim the good news through giving God’s word to children and adults. It allows us to live into God’s call on our lives to minister to the ‘least of these’ in Ukraine. And when we feed those children, literally or spiritually, we embody Christ.” With support from the CBF Offering, the Podgaiskys form relationships with street children, assist in providing them
with basic necessities and help those who want to leave the streets. Through the Village of Hope, a foster care facility operated by the Ukrainian Center for Christian Cooperation, the couple seeks to foster families and up to 100 children, while also providing retreats and camps. Mina said that the child she encountered is only a small glimpse of God’s work in Kiev. “This child was able to read and get the word of God, and he will never be the same,” Mina said. “He can’t stop sharing the good news he has discovered, and he will impact his family and the lives of so many around him. This is just one example of how, through the faithful giving of Christians, God can work all over the world. We are grateful to Fellowship Baptists for allowing us to participate in that work.”
Your support of all the Fellowship’s mission and ministries makes possible countless stories of lives changed. To give, go online to www.thefellowship.info/givenow or use the envelope provided in this issue.
Serve Opportunities to
Engage in short-term missions around the world
Whitney Goslick helps lead Vacation Bible School in Belize with CBF field personnel Eric and Julie Maas.
www.thefellowship.info/wyatt CBF field personnel Kim and Marc Wyatt welcome newcomers to Canada. As refugees come through the doors of Matthew House Ottawa, the Wyatts greet them with love and hope. Individuals and teams are needed to engage in tangible ministries such as providing meals, places to worship and a furniture bank â€” all which help to provide stepping stones for refugees.
www.thefellowship.info/harrell CBF field personnel Melody and Sam Harrell created Change for Children, constructing eight integrated child development centers around Kenya which impact more than 650 children and families each year. Teams are utilized to provide medical services, assist with construction projects and teach children.
www.thefellowship.info/maas CBF field personnel Eric and Julie Maas work with teams each year to provide a variety of ministries. Teams join in Vacation Bible School, medical ministry, construction projects and Bible studies in April, June and in the fall. Individuals are also needed to lead discipleship and leadership classes.
www.thefellowship.info/stocks The Ruth School offers first through eighth grade studies for Romany children. CBF field per-
sonnel Ralph and Tammy Stocks work with teams to lead Vacation Bible School camps, meet construction needs, facilitate teacher appreciation and lead sewing and craft work.
coordinate Celebrate Jesus rallies in Beirut and neighboring countries. Teams are invited to join these celebrations in Beirut, Lebanon and Egypt. Sports camps and evangelism rallies are held in Egypt as well.
CBF field personnel Gennady and Mina Podgaisky work with the Village of Hope. The once deserted Russian youth camp was purchased by CBF of North Carolina and now serves to minster to children and their families. Although major progress has been made on this property, renovation work is always needed. Medical and dental professionals are needed as well.
CBF field personnel Joel and Tiffne Whitley work among the immigrant community in Roquetas, Spain. Individuals are needed to work with the Mi Casa ministry center and engage local residents through a variety of social and spiritual outreach ministries. Individuals may teach sewing, Bible and discipleship classes. Opportunities are also available to work with cultural exchange cooking programs, a coffee/tea house and develop media materials. Language skills in French and Spanish would be helpful but are not required.
www.thefellowship.info/haiti CBF field personnel and ministry partners continue to work in Haiti, rebuilding continues after the devastating earthquake in 2010. Teams are needed throughout the year to assist with rubble house construction, church rebuilding projects and mobile medical clinics.
www.thefellowship.info/boulos CBF field personnel Chaouoki and Maha Boulos
www.thefellowship.info/aldape CBF field personnel Eddie and Macarena Aldape work among the poorest of the poor in India. Teams are needed for a variety of ministry opportunities, including medical outreach, music and worship ministry, food preparation and distribution, mentoring and counseling English classes, child care and discipleship and spiritual formation.
To learn more about specific opportunities, contact CBF staff member Chris Boltin at email@example.com or visit www.thefellowship.info/serve. fellowship!
prayerspeople of the
Praying beyond negativity
They only weigh us down. In his book Let Your Life Speak, Palmer challenges us to withdraw our negative projections, embrace our limitations and keep praying. This month, pray beyond the By Bo Prosser, CBF Coordinator negativity in your life and silence of Missional Congregations the voice of judgment. Choose he apostle Paul one of the positive words from Bo Prosser sets the stage for Phil. 4:8 and “think on these praying within the goodness things” for a moment. Write down a word of life in Philippians 4:8, or phrase that represents God’s excellence “If there is anything excelor praise to God. Next, allow your heart and lent or anything worthy of praise, think on your soul to be silent for a moment. Then these things.” Modern day philosophers offer a simple prayer, “God, let your praise from Parker Palmer and Richard Foster to be in me today.” Or, “Lord, let me live in Bing Crosby and Garth Brooks challenge us your grace today.” Negativity will arise and to move beyond the negatives in our lives. doubts will surface. Keep praying silently
CBF Ministries Prayer Calendar
TX (CH); Will Runyon, Maryville, TN (CH); Rick
Laurice Rogers, Hodgenville, KY (PC); Glenn
Stevenson, Shelbyville, TN (CH)
Williams, Louisville, KY (PC)
Fredericksburg, VA (CH); David Robinson,
12 Mera Corlett, Louisville, KY (CH); Sasha
3 David Bosley, Vienna, VA (CH); Carolyn Hicks,
Newport News, VA (PC)
CH = Chaplain
Qualls, Mooresboro, NC (CH); Beth Riddick,
Zivanov, St. Louis, MO (FP)
Belmont, NC (CH)
19 Jennifer Bordenet, Orlando, FL (CH); Kim
FP = Field Personnel
13 Dianne Swaim, North Little Rock, AR (CH)
4 Ed Lemmond, Athens, TN (CH); Jane Martin,
Schmitt, Fayetteville, GA (CH)
FPC = Child of Field Personnel
14 Roger Bolton, Conyers, GA (PC); Charla Littell,
Emeritus (FP); Kevin Traughber, Paducah, KY (CH)
20 Anna Allred, Asheboro, NC (CH); Cynthia
GMP = Global Missions Partner
Burlington, NC (CH)
5 Buddy Corbin, Asheville, NC (CH); Donnie
Corey, Brunswick, GA (CH); William Hemphill,
PC = Pastoral Counselor
15 Tolly Williamson, Decatur, GA (CH)
Marlar, Rochester, NY (CH)
Stone Mountain, GA (CH); Tom Sanders, The
PLT = Church Planter
17 Nancy James, Haiti (FP); Ryan Wagers,
6 Ronnie Adams, New York City, NY (FP); Bekah
Villages, FL (PLT)
Salisbury, NC (CH)
Hart, Chile (FP); Chad Hawkins Pearland, TX (CH)
21 Walter Jackson, Louisville, KY (PC); Alan
18 Edward Fleming, Winston-Salem, NC (CH);
7 Duane Binkley, De Soto, KS (FP); Wade Rowatt,
Melton, Waynesboro, VA (PC)
1 Susan Collins, Stone Mountain, GA (CH); Carrie
Jean Pruett, Charlotte, NC (CH)
Louisville, KY (PC)
23 Andy Overmon, Mustang, OK (CH)
Dean, Atlanta, GA (PLT); Brad Jackson, Springfield,
20 Timothy Doremus, Mt. Washington, KY (PLT);
8 Marian Boyer, Nottingham, MD (CH); Isaac
24 Edgar Berryman, Chicago, IL (CH); Michael
OH (CH); James Touchton, Ithaca, NY (CH)
Amanda Ducksworth, Columbus, MS (CH/PLT);
Pittman, 1999, Miami, FL (FPC)
Gross, Roswell, GA (CH); Kevin Quiles, Canton,
2 Joe Alverson, Nicholasville, KY (CH); John R.
Younsoo Park, Aiea, HI (CH)
9 Stuart Collier, Vestavia, AL (CH); Michelle
GA (CH); Mark Spain, Canyon Lake, TX (CH); Todd
Fogarty, Freeport, FL (PLT); Jaisis Orea, 2002,
21 Rebecca Church, Louisville, KY (CH); Linda
Norman, Spain (FP)
Walter, Inman, SC (CH); Sara Williams, South
China (FPC); Dianne Otwell, Dunwoody, GA (CH);
McComb, Clinton, MS (CH); Jeffrey Thompson,
10 Dean Akers, Fort Benning, GA (CH); Joshua
Terry Tatro, Louisville, KY (CH)
Gainesville, GA (CH)
Ballew, 1992, China (FPC); Cindy Bishop,
25 Jade Acker, Uganda (FP); Bryan Cottrell,
3 Richard Dayringer, Grove, OK (PC); William
23 Michelle Wildes, West Columbia, SC (CH)
Piedmont, SC (CH)
Sahuarita, AZ (CH); Gary Nistler, Columbia, SC (CH)
Elliott, Lexington, KY (CH)
24 Edwin Badillo, Levittown, Puerto Rico (CH);
11 Julia Flores, Lynchburg, VA (CH); Rebekah
27 Ken Chapman, Jefferson City, MO (CH); David
4 Thelma Chambers-Young, Oklahoma City, OK (CH)
Danny Tomlinson, Belton, TX (CH)
Newton, Concord, NC (CH); Genene Nisbet,
Gladson, Pendleton, SC (CH); Amy Karriker, Great
5 Arley Hughes, Saint Mary’s, GA (CH); Joanna
25 Lindell Anderson, Fort Worth, TX (CH); Rick
Louisville, KY (PC); Beth Ogburn, Oklahoma City,
Falls, MT (CH); Joshua Witt, Jefferson City, TN (CH)
Tarr, Norfolk, VA (CH)
Foster, Lynchburg, VA (CH); Mira Zivanov, St.
28 Aaron, Los Angeles, CA (FP); Lynda Schupp,
7 Lauren Efird, Cary, NC (CH)
Louis, MO (FP)
12 Kenneth Bentley, Carbon Hill, AL (CH); James
Flower Mound, TX (CH); Megan Whitley, 2002,
8 Biju Chacko, Morrisville, NC (CH)
26 Rodney Craggs, Louisville, KY (CH); Zeke
Williams, Shelby, NC (CH)
9 Andy Cooper, Greenville, SC (CH); Joe Lentz,
DeLozier, Bogart, GA (PC); Sheryl Johnson,
14 Mary Beth Caffey, Lewiston, ME (PLT); Wayne
29 Phil McCarley, Charles Town, WV (CH)
Biloxi, MS (CH); Elizabeth Milazzotto, Louisville, KY
Richmond, VA (CH)
Lanham, Forest, VA (CH)
30 Phyllis Borchert, Oakridge, TN (CH); John
(PC); Willie Smith, Fredericksburg, VA (CH)
27 Lori Myrick, Kenya (FP)
15 Mary van Rheenan, Europe (FP)
Emmart, Stoughton, WI (CH); Layne Rogerson,
17 Mary Gessner, Madison, AL (PC); Joel
Winterville, NC (CH)
10 Karen Estle, Indianapolis, IN (PC); James Rentz,
beyond the negativity and staying focused on your positive word or phrase. Be intentional about praying the prayer list as you stay focused on the positive word. Pray as you prayed for yourself, focusing on each name and asking God to be a positive presence in their lives. Pray the same words you prayed for yourself — just insert the name of the one listed on the prayer calendar. Next, for about one minute, just pray, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.…” Repeat this over and over, slowly, intentionally. Let God know that at the very core of your being is a thankfulness that negativity cannot diminish. Close your prayer time by another minute of sitting quietly, knowing that God is bigger than any negative thoughts or actions present in your life.
Spartanburg, SC (PC); Sam Southard, Naples, FL
Sturtevant, Frankfort, KY (CH); Blake Traynham,
31 Dale Cross, Lawrenceville, GA (CH); Larry
(PC); Cynthia Thomas, Houston, TX (CH)
1 Vicki Hollon, San Antonio, TX (CH); Brent Peery,
Richmond, VA (CH)
Davidson, Goshen, AL (CH); William Davidson,
11 Lauralee Estes, Northport, AL (PC); Katee
Conroe, TX (CH); Chris Scales, Lubbock, TX (CH)
18 Dodie Huff-Fletcher, Louisville, KY (PC);
Wetumpka, AL (CH); Tim Madison, Fort Worth,
Harris, Rose Hill, NC (CH); Ann Miller, Arlington,
2 Michael Patterson, Harker Heights, TX (CH);
Denny Jones, Atlanta, GA (CH); Gregory
church spotlight First Baptist Church, Asheville, N.C. Location: Asheville, N.C.
makes available tutoring,
Founded: Dec. 6, 1829
Congregation Size: 1,300 active members
spiritual formation and a meal for approximately 20 at risk and homeless
Mission Statement: First Baptist Church
children from two
of Asheville is a caring and compassionate
church which, like Jesus, accepts everyone
First Baptist also
and is committed to serving our neighbors,
focuses on worship
community and world.
as a means of actively
Ministry Focus: A community of faith centered on Jesus Christ and committed to his purposes in the world.
Welcoming the stranger Each week, First Baptist Church in Asheville,
encouraging the congregation to live out its calling of representing Christ to the world. Through unique liturgical and creative worship
Photo courtesy of FBC Asheville
Pastor: Guy Sayles
First Baptist’s ministry in its community includes a bi-weekly lunch.
services, the church is
North Carolina, embraces its community
able to welcome numerous participants from
with the compassion of Christ. From its
broad faith traditions every Sunday.
worship to its mission projects, the church
“In worship we catch glimpses of God’s
is wholly engaged in assuring that all are
dreams for the world, dreams revealed most
welcome. For this congregation, those without
clearly in Jesus, upon whom we center our
permanent shelter or living in poverty are of
identity,” said Guy Sayles, pastor of First
Baptist. “Through our mission and ministry
Through its Crossroads ministry, First Baptist
initiatives, we pursue the realization of those
has found a way to care for the homeless and
dreams; and, in the process, we experience
impoverished population in their community
and involve all age groups in the congregation. Crossroads includes a lunch program, men’s day program and afterschool program. The lunch program meets twice a month and provides a meal, entertainment, prayers, greetings, warmth in cold months and a Bible study. The men’s day program occurs every weekday
Additional ministries • Manna Foodbank: The church participates in a food drive once a month, which usually results in the collection of two tons of food. • Medical and dental mission trips: Most
health and dental care. • Habitat for Humanity: Youth and adults have worked with Habitat to build homes both locally and internationally. • Room in the Inn: The church partners with this traveling homeless shelter and provides housing and supplies for two weeks a year. Church members also sponsor homeless individuals, offering a support network in order to ensure a holistic approach to ending homelessness in these individuals’ lives. • Clothes Closet: The church provides clothes to those in need in their community through donations and volunteers. • Slavic Ministries: The church supports ministries with the Slavic community in
and offers spiritual formation, job training and
recently, the church worked with CBF field
Asheville through CBF field personnel Fran
résumé consultation. The afterschool program
personal in Haiti to provide much needed
and Mike Graham. fellowship!
Bread for the World Each year, Bread for the World supporters write thousands of letters and e-mails and meet with members of Congress to address issues that are important to people living in poverty or without sufficient access to food. The organization’s 2013 campaign, “Assuring a Place at the Table,” will call on President Barack Obama to set a goal to end hunger and work with Congress to enact a plan to reach that goal.
“I believe God is calling us to end hunger by asking our government to address its fundamental causes. With the stroke of a pen, decisions are made that affect millions of lives and redirect millions of dollars, so Bread for the World takes an advocacy approach to fighting hunger and poverty. It is a privilege to see how our grassroots members convince their members of Congress to improve the lives of poor and hungry people.”
Bread for the World
Bread for the World and the
Location: Washington, D.C. Website: www.bread.org
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship began their partnership in the early 2000s. Bread for the
Mission statement: “Bread for the
World provides resources and
World is a collective Christian voice
support for CBF pastors and
urging our nation’s decision makers to
congregations to engage in
end hunger at home and abroad. We can
advocacy, and CBF supports
“Bread for the World is a wonderful partner, giving
end hunger in our time, but all people,
Bread for the World with financial contributions and human re-
us access to lawmakers and Congresspersons to respond to hunger and food issues in our nation. They also help us network with valuable resources for our churches to lobby lawmakers and to study hunger issues.”
including those in our government, must do their part. By changing policies,
sources, including participation
programs and conditions that allow
in the Offerings of Letters.
hunger and poverty to persist, we
Since 2008, CBF pastors have
David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World
Bo Prosser, CBF Coordinator for Missional Congregations
provide help and opportunity far beyond the communities where we live.”
come to Washington each year for Advocacy in Action to learn about the ministry of
Each year, Bread for the World hosts a Lobby Day, where Christians from across the country travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with Congressional members and staff around issues affecting people living in poverty.
advocacy. The organizations have engaged students through Student.Go placements at Bread for the World. Most recently, CBF and Bread for the World have partnered in the Women of Faith for 1,000 Days effort. Both organizations have worked passionately to end hunger, and Bread for the World’s bipartisan advocacy reflects the concerns of such CBF ministries as Together for
Photo courtesy of Bread for the World
Hope, the Fellowship’s rural
poverty initiative. Using Bread for the World analysis, resources and Washington presence, Fellowship Baptists are resourced to change the world for poor and hungry people.
for planning Vacation Bible School By Devita Parnell, CBF Missional Resources Specialist
ummer is fast approaching, and with that comes a myriad of children’s activities. Vacation Bible School (VBS) has remained a summer favorite for adults and children alike. Over the years, churches have made adaptations to help make VBS fit the ever-changing times that we live in. Whether your VBS is a two-week
long or a weekend event, whether it is in the mornings or evenings, these tips are sure to get you headed in the right direction.
launching a summer missions module. Designed for both preschoolers and children, this five lesson series can be used as a school theme and more. The 2013 series
Create a planning timeline. First, set your VBS dates. Give consideration to your community’s calendar. Some churches have found that
offering VBS later in the summer provides a nice alternative to all the early summer hoopla. Add other items to your timeline, including dates for publicity campaigns, teacher training sessions, etc. As you move forward with your plans, the leadership team should stay on top of deadlines. Join the CBF Children’s Ministry Network page on Facebook to stay in touch with other church leaders through the planning process.
Selecting curriculum. The VBS director, along with a staff minister, should start the curriculum selection process. As you review curricula, don’t be fooled by all the glitz and glam. Dig deeper to discover the theological and biblical components of the curriculum. Does it fit with your church’s understanding of the gospel? Present several options to your planning team and get their input before making a final selection. Children will be glad to let you know
Vacation Bible School remains a favorite summer event for children.
CBF missions education curriculum is
VBS supplement, day camp focus, Sunday
Form a Vacation Bible School planning team. Be sure to include people from all areas of your church, including older children, youth and senior adults. Think through all the roles needed and extend invitations based on giftedness. VBS is a wonderful opportunity to focus the whole church around a single purpose, so don’t only recruit individuals who always work with children. Who will be your director? Who are your planners with detail skills? Communicators? Networkers? Recruiters? Creators? Pray-ers? Start the planning process early by spending an extended period of time together in a day or overnight planning retreat. Make assignments and meet regularly throughout the planning season.
New for 2013
shares the work of Shelia and Arville Earl and CBF ministries in Macedonia. Look for the module in the CBF Store.
which one they prefer. Don’t forget to check out CBF’s new summer missions module that can supplement any VBS curriculum you choose.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. VBS doesn’t have to be the biggest line item in your children’s ministry budget. Resist the need to build the most elaborate set ever or to buy all the VBS accessories. Dig around in your church closets. How can you reuse items from past events? How can you turn everyday items into extraordinary props? Can you borrow things from other churches? Be creative.
Think missional. How can your VBS serve your community? Are there ways to bless your church’s neighborhood through crafts made or offerings collected during VBS? Have you ever thought about having Vacation Bible School in your community instead of at your church? One church in Texas held its VBS at the zoo and even at the small local airport. Maybe you are curious how your VBS can impact the world? CBF field personnel are sure to suggest ways. Invite (in person or through Skype) CBF field personnel to participate in your VBS. The possibilities are endless. Where is God leading you? It is tempting to get bogged down in the details of planning and preparing for any event or activity in the life of our church. The challenge always is to remember why it is we do what we do. Be open to what God wants to do in and through you as VBS leaders to change the lives of all who will participate.
Caring for our neighbors
Beck seeks to be the presence of Christ in North Carolina community
he Weed and Seed program initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice was designed to reduce drug abuse, violent crime and gang activity in high-risk neighborhoods. In more than 300 communities across the country, the federally funded program seeks to weed out criminal activity and seed in economic revitalization and social programs. In a small Weed
and Seed community in Shelby, N.C., where Cecelia Beck, one of CBF’s field personnel, works, the police department received approximately 8,000 calls each year prior to implementing Weed and Seed. And while the number has been reduced to approximately 6,000, Beck will tell you, transformation is not as easy as weeding and seeding. As part of CBF’s Poverty and Transformational Ministries Community, Beck has embedded herself in the Shelby community in order to provide a long-
In 2011, Cecelia Beck moved to Shelby, N.C., where she partners with local organizations and churches in ministry.
term presence for change in a neighborhood plagued by violence, drug crime and unemployment. Since moving to Shelby in 2011, Beck, who works fulltime as a hospice chaplain, daily attends to the needs of her neighbors from her home, which has been rehabilitated by local churches. Whether she is giving her next door neighbor a ride to church, providing a computer for a local woman to use for community college, taking children home from school or providing meals when the need is apparent, Beck said she is there to be the presence of Christ. “There’s a big difference between charity and transformation development,” Beck said. “I intentionally moved into this neighborhood, and I plan to stay here indefinitely because the needs of my neighbors are not something to be fixed overnight. Charity comes in for a quick fix. For instance, twice a month we feed people at our Bible study, but the real — Continue on page 12
Beck, standing, works full time as a hospice chaplain.
idea is to plant yourself inside a community and stay there long enough to truly make a difference in people’s lives.” Nowhere has Beck so firmly planted herself than in the lives of children. Only hours after moving into her newly rehabilitated house in 2011, Beck hosted six children, and since her first encounter with the children of Shelby, she has played a transformational role in their lives. When Jesus said, “Let the children come unto me,” nobody envisioned pizza, car rides or trips to the beach, but Beck has built an infrastructure of healthy living and fierce mentoring into the lives of Shelby youth. Through a local congregation, Beck leads children’s church each week, Bible study and an open meal twice a month, and homework club on Tuesday evenings, which began with nine in attendance and has since grown to 25. Following homework club, the church serves each child dinner, as many do not have it provided when they return home, Beck said. The program culminates once a month with a fun blast, which includes an hour of games, hour of Bible stories and hour of mealtime. “These are good kids, and I want to help them recognize that they have special gifts,
Cecelia Beck, center, engages her community by providing outlets for children to play safely and for adults to learn more about Christ. Shelby is part of the federal government’s Weed and Feed program.
that they have a purpose, that they can use those gifts with God’s power to live a different life than what they see around them,” Beck said. “Right outside their door, and often inside, are tremendous influences that pull them toward unhealthy lifestyles, but my deepest desire is that they would see through those influences and into that purpose. ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord.” In addition to children’s church, Beck has concentrated her efforts with children in the Give and Go program, in which youth 12 years and older may enter into a covenant of positive behaviors and Christ-like living. As part of the covenant, each individual agrees to give to God, themselves, their family and their community, and to track signs of their faithfulness by journaling. In giving to God, youth agree to attend church regularly, read their Bible often or
participate in local missions. In giving to themselves, they agree to put forth their utmost effort at school and to refrain from harmful behavior such as fighting or disrupting class. In giving to their family, they agree to be a positive presence at home and assist their guardians and siblings with daily chores. Finally, in giving to the community, youth agree to participate in community outreach programs such as preparing the bi-monthly open meal, picking up trash or assisting in the local potato project by distributing food to their neighbors. After keeping their end of the bargain for a year, Beck said, the youth receive a trip to Wilmington, N.C., where they participate in Winter Park Baptist Church’s missions, play at the beach, ride the ferry, visit the aquarium and eat out at
Cecelia Beck ministers not only among children but also leads a monthly Bible study and prayer breakfast for women.
restaurants. Last year, six youth completed the Give and Go program and eight have pledged new covenants for the current year. Beck said the experience is one that Shelby youth have never imagined. “These kids are on the right track,” Beck said. “I can hear the pride in the voices of those who’ve stood in the ocean for the first time because of their hard work. I can see it in the faces of those who know they’ve done something truly special. They’re trying harder and harder in school and to be at church, and they’re having experiences
they’ve never dreamed of before.” While Beck has taken a special interest in the children of Shelby, she also leads a women’s Bible study and prayer breakfast each month in her home. And because many neighbors do not have access to cars or public transportation, she spends much of her time providing rides to individuals and families. In addition, Beck works through the work force development program at the local community college to aid those seeking employment opportunities. Word of her presence spread
quickly, Beck said, and most of the time she does whatever comes to her doorstep. “Jesus’ work was transformational,” Beck said. “He always went to people in need. He always met people where they were and he wasn’t afraid to step into difficult environments in order to spend time with them. People sometimes ask me if I’m afraid, but how can I be afraid? The idea is for me to embody the presence of Christ in this neighborhood.” By contributing writer Blake Tommey
If you are interested in learning more about poverty and transformational ministries or connecting with other Fellowship Baptists involved in this work, go online to www.thefellowship.info/poverty. The Poverty and Transformational Ministries Community offers resources and ways to network with other ministries. fellowship!
‘Change not only their lives but ours’ CBF field personnel live and minister among diverse urban community in Virginia
n Danville, Va., where CBF field personnel Jessica and Joshua Hearne live and work, 24 percent of the population lives at or below the poverty line. The city has a double-digit unemployment rate and its murder rate reaches four times the national average in a given year. Forty percent of the children in Danville fall below the poverty line and drugs, especially crack cocaine, permeate the
In Danville, Va., 40 percent of children live below the national poverty line.
urban landscape. But where the tide of poverty rushes in, the Grace and Main Fellowship, led in part by the Hearnes, stands firm, rooted in a radical vision of Christ’s community in Danville. Working primarily with the homeless and near-homeless in downtown Danville and the Northside, Grace and Main builds relationships in an effort to not only relieve the negative effects of poverty but to grow a beloved community of servanthood among
all socio-economic levels. “Poverty comes in a lot of different disguises,” Joshua said, “and not just in a lack of access to material resources. Just about everybody we encounter is poor in some way, whether that poverty is social, emotional, spiritual or material. The truth is, we have strengths and weaknesses, and we are best able to follow Jesus when we do it as part of a community that covers over our weaknesses and benefits from our strengths.”
“The truth is, we have strengths and weaknesses, and we are best able to follow Jesus when we do it as part of a community that covers over our weaknesses and benefits from our strengths.” As part of their efforts to build a community of servants, Grace and Main holds an open meal every Thursday night, in which any and all in Danville can take part. Just like many in attendance, the congregation is homeless and meets in church fellowship halls, parks or homes. The meal begins with the Eucharist, after which each table serves itself the night’s cuisine. This year, that spirit of service took root in the heart of two previously homeless leaders of Grace and Main, who started holding a weekly breakfast for their friends on Wednesday mornings. Without asking Grace and Main for assistance, the two Danville residents began waking early in the morning, cooking a huge breakfast and sharing it with friends in their backyard. “These men don’t have a lot of resources to share, but they share this wonderful meal with friends every week,” Joshua said. “Grace and Main does not want to just import charity and relief, although we recognize that there is a time and a place for that. We want to develop local, indigenous leaders like these, who will practice their own sustainable ministries in their own neighborhoods.” In addition, Grace and Main is taking action in the larger Danville community, namely the local hospital, which began marking homeless and uninsured patients. By attaching blue bracelets to the wrists of these individuals, the emergency room originally intended to designate them for
a proper discharge from financial services, but in an adverse consequence, they began receiving less-than-standard care. In reaction, Grace and Main began to organize around the issue by making phone calls and scheduling meetings to ask difficult questions and protest the practice of marking the individuals. Sometimes agitation is the best plan of action, As part of its ministry, Grace and Main Fellowship provides Hearne said, and through the meals in its community. congregation’s efforts, the policy is being put to an end. Bible study. Aside from daily embodying At House of Hope, the local homeless the radical presence of Christ in Danville, shelter, Grace and Main is continuing Hearne said the church’s greatest joy is its advocacy on behalf of those without hosting missional groups for retreats resources by providing a lunch for each and experiences of immersion in the resident every day of the year. In periodic Grace and Main way. When people live packing parties, members old and young, and minister in community, they find a home and no home, sit down together to brand new picture of Christ as well as of pack hundreds of boxed lunches that are themselves, he said. then delivered to the shelter each day. “One of the things we find most striking “You don’t have time to get on your about the Gospels is that Jesus gave a clear feet when you’re simply worried about impression that we cannot minister to where your next meal is coming from,” people whom we don’t know,” Joshua said Joshua said. “But with lunch provided, “We cannot change a place where we do not residents can leave during the day to seek live. And we have to believe that by living the assistance they need without having to here, loving here, by shopping and praying worry about what they’re going to eat. This here, by eating lunch on the street corner gives them freedom.” and by giving our lives to our brothers and The Hearnes continue to grow the our sisters, especially the least of these, we church, which they call neo-monastic, change not only their lives but ours.” missional and intentional, through community organizing, open meals and By contributing writer Blake Tommey
Learn more about CBF field personnel on their web pages on the CBF website — www.thefellowship.info/fieldpersonnel. You can download photos, read stories, watch videos and find ways to connect. Learn more about the Hearnes’ ministry at www.thefellowship.info/hearne. fellowship!
hen Maner Tyson travels to the post office, only three blocks from his office, it takes him an hour to make the trip. Clad in blue jeans and a worn t-shirt, Tyson, a pastor, looks like most patrons walking in downtown Waterbury, Conn. He pauses for conversation with the man camped out on the street. He stops in a local store and prays with a single mother of three. He shares stories with the people who recognize him at the YMCA. These are not merely his friends or parishioners, but fellow ministers of Waterbury Baptist Ministries. Located in the heart of Waterbury, Waterbury Baptist is a faith community of approximately 130 urban residents that seeks to not only meet the needs of those living in poverty or homelessness, but to transform all into servants of the community. Tyson, one of CBF’s field personnel and pastor of Waterbury Baptist, oversees weekly ministries, including Sunday morning worship, men’s and women’s Bible study, a clothing drive, a monthly breakfast and a food pantry called Jubilee Harvest. But many individuals who come seeking resources soon find themselves distributing them. “The philosophy of the church is to empower people.” Tyson said. “They may come in as consumers looking to receive something, but our hope is that they become empowered to give back to their community, to be a part of the community. Once they have an experience with Christ, we want to help them give their lives to people around them. So most of our ministry is done with volunteers from this neighborhood.” Located two hours from New York City
and the Boston area, Waterbury is home to a multitude of nationalities, including African American, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Jamaican, Albanian and Brazilian. In a city of 110,000, nearly 60 percent live at or below the poverty line in the downtown area and struggle to maintain resources for living. While Waterbury Baptist fights to provide these resources for the urban population, the church is not in the business of drawing lines between minister and parishioner. “A lot of decisions are already made for the people of this city,” Tyson said. “They’re told where to get food, what food they’re going to receive, what jobs they can do or not do and where they’re going to live. There are so many ways in which choices are taken away from them. But this faith community is based on giving individuals the choice to use the gifts God gave them to be ministers in Christ.” Each month, the congregation has an opportunity to use those gifts at Breakfast with the King, a monthly meal and worship service in which leaders within the church reach out to others seeking help, healing or just a hot meal. At every table, a designated leader facilitates introductions, prayers and the sharing of testimonies, all while serving the morning’s meal among friends. It’s family-style worship, Tyson said, and often the greatest gift that can be given is one’s own story. “No matter who we encounter, home or no home, education or no education, everybody is a person with a story,” Tyson said. “Jesus took the time to walk around and know people. In Matthew 9, Jesus let himself be interrupted three times in speaking to John’s disciples, healing the
Tyson leads faith community where all members engage in ministry
At a monthly breakfast, approximately 100 people gather to share a meal and worship together.
bleeding woman and raising the synagogue leader’s daughter. As followers of this Jesus, we must allow ourselves to be interrupted by what God is doing and what the people around us are doing.” For Waterbury Baptist, the church’s highest calling is to train all people to embody Christ to others, and in addition to engaging the community in ministry, the church hosts mission teams from all over the United States who wish to come and serve among the Waterbury congregation. But in the radical community of Christ, Tyson said, many who come to bring salvation end up finding it and many who come seeking salvation end up bringing it. By contributing writer Blake Tommey
If you are interested in serving alongside Maner Tyson and Waterbury Baptist Ministries, contact CBF staff member Chris Boltin at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about opportunities.
Missions Education Resource How to use this page
The suggestions below will be helpful for using the stories on pages 10-16 of this issue in the life of your church. Small Group interaction, Study Group or Reading Group options are given, as well as suggestions for other congregational or family settings. Go online to www.thefellowship.info/affectonline for more suggestions.
Caring for Our Neighbors
In Small Groups:
The following is an outline for adult mission groups, Bible study classes or other small groups. Share copies of fellowship! with group members prior to the meeting and have some extra copies available. These suggestions are for a 45-minute time frame. 1. In this session, you’ll be focusing on the work of Grace and Main Fellowship, led by Jessica and Joshua Hearne, in Danville, Va. Gather copies of fellowship! for participants. Read the article about the Hearnes to prepare for the discussion. 2. Begin by asking the group to define poverty. Allow participants to create a working definition, noting that the federal poverty line is $23,050 for a family of four. 3. Ask, “Did you know that Danville, Va., a former mill town just north of the Virginia/North Carolina line, has a 24 percent poverty rate — and that more than 40 percent of the city’s children fall below the poverty line?” Allow for discussion of this statistic. Is it surprising? If not, why? 4. Invite the group to turn to the article, saying, “But according to the approach of Grace and Main Fellowship, led by CBF field personnel Jessica and Joshua Hearne, poverty comes in ‘a lot of different disguises … just about everybody we encounter is poor in some way … social, emotional, spiritual or material.’” 5. Allow the group to describe the Hearnes’ ministry approach. Invite discussion about how this approach could empower those in financial
need and allow those in more comfortable financial circumstances to be served, as well as serve.
Cooperative baptiSt fellowShip | www.thefellowShip.info
6. Point out that “the least of these” and other unexpected people are fully capable of serving according to Jesus, as in the widow’s mite (Mark 12:41-44) and the woman who washes Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:36-50).
Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
7. Read aloud paragraphs five and six about the two formerly homeless men who serve breakfast to their neighbors. Joshua describes them as “indigenous leaders … who will practice their own sustainable ministries in their own neighborhoods.” Cbf field personnel Kim and Marc wyatt minister among refugees and immigrants in Canada, helping individuals and families start over in a new place.
Read more about ministries among refugees and immigrants on pages 18-24.
8. Close with a discussion on how Grace and Main’s approach might help produce lasting change in Danville. End by praying for the opportunities we all have to serve our neighbors and to be served by them. Pray also for those on the Prayer Calendar on p. 6.
In Worship: A Mission Moment 1. In preparation, read the article on Cecelia Beck, one of CBF’s field personnel serving in Shelby, N.C., in this edition of fellowship! This children’s sermon will focus on how she shows the love of Jesus through a homework club. 2. After welcoming the children, say, “Today we’re going to talk about ... homework. (Gauge the children’s reactions.) Raise your hand if you like to do your homework first thing and get it out of the way.” Then say, “Raise your hand if you like to play or relax first and wait to do homework later.” 3. Share a memory you have of homework. Then observe, “Sometimes homework can be hard.” Ask, “What could you do if you had trouble with your homework?” Allow children to offer solutions, highlighting those about asking for help. 4. Transition by saying, “Some children don’t have people to help them with their homework. That’s why Cecelia Beck, who lives in North Carolina, started a weekly homework club in her neighborhood. She makes sure the children in her neighborhood have someone to help them.”
their homework from church members and then eat dinner together. 6. Say, “Children in Cecelia’s neighborhood don’t always get dinner because sometimes there’s not enough money for food at their houses. Cecelia and her church show these children the love of Jesus when they help them with their homework and feed them dinner.” 7. Empower the children by reminding them, “we can help, too, by praying for the children in Cecelia’s homework club. Let’s do that now.” Close with a prayer for Cecelia Beck and the homework club.
In Reading Groups Here We Are in Paradise: Stories — by Tony Earley Tony Earley, a writer from North Carolina, chronicles the lives of 20th-century North Carolinians in this volume. In these stories about ordinary people, Earley captures the greatness of the human spirit.
5. Summarize Beck’s work with children in the homework club (p. 10-13). Explain that the children come to Beck’s church after school, get help with fellowship!
Wyatts minister among refugees in Canada, helping to meet physical and spiritual needs
ngelic Jeanty remembers the sounds of a helicopter circling her house and the image of immigration officials arriving at her door. She gathered her three children and fled. Although she and her husband, David, had lived in the United States for 14 years, they were being forced to flee â€” again.
The Wyatts partner with the Furniture Bank of Ottawa to resource refugees.
The couple first arrived in the United States in 1992 as political refugees from their homeland of Haiti. They had made several stops in neighboring countries before arriving in the United States as refugee claimants. David, a youth pastor, and Angelic, a nurse, began making a home for themselves in the United States while their status in the country hung in the balance. Two years after arriving, officials told them they could not be classified as refugees because they had overstayed their visas while waiting for their claim to be heard. Then, when amnesty was offered to several groups, they were allowed to stay. The events of September 11, 2001, affected immigration laws, and once again the couple’s status was in jeopardy. In 2008, the Jeantys received a call from immigration telling them they must leave the country immediately. When David asked what he could do, he was told that his file would be sent to a judge and he should wait for the decision. So he waited. And then, unexpectedly, the officials arrived at his door. Because they knew it was still unsafe for them to return to Haiti, the Jeantys started all over again in Canada, losing everything they had but each other. CBF field personnel Kim and Marc Wyatt have heard numerous stories like the Jeantys. After September 11, the United States began turning away refugees, and Canada began allowing refugees to enter the country. The Wyatts’ ministry is focused on being the presence of Christ among refugees and encouraging churches to do the same. “It’s the right thing for churches and Christians to do, to be on the right side of justice, even if it puts us in a difficult place with our own country,” he said. “We see it in the Bible,” Kim said. “We see where we are told to love the alien. To love those who are indeed strangers. We’re asked to invite them in and to treat them like brothers and sisters.”
Welcoming the stranger When the Jeantys first crossed the border into Canada, they learned about Mat-
(Top) Many refugees arrive in Canada with few possessions and need basic home furnishings, such as beds. (Above) Kim Wyatt teaches international students, sharing information, resources and opportunities.
thew House, an organization that provides refuge to newcomers. Matthew House has become a movement in Canada, bettering the lives of refugees and immigrants by providing a safe space to live, helping them find jobs and assisting with immigration paperwork. The ministry follows the
admonition of Matthew 25 to welcome the stranger as it helps people start over. The first Matthew House started in Toronto to provide refugees an alternative to the government shelters that dealt with chronic homelessness. Now there are five Matthew Houses with additional locations in fellowship!
Fort Eerie, Windsor, Ottawa and Montreal. Matthew House has been crucial for people such as Andrea from West Africa. Like the Jeantys, Andrea came to Canada as a refugee claimant. She left her homeland after experiencing severe abuse by her family and receiving multiple death threats from her in-laws. “It’s like a family house,” Andrea said after her first week, grateful for the meals and clothes provided by volunteers. “People here are very warm.”
Making a house a home Starting over in a new country is a long process. While Matthew House is often the first stop, eventually, newcomers need help getting established in a place of their own. The Wyatts began the Furniture Bank of Ottawa to complement the work of Matthew House by collecting donated furniture and giving it to newcomers who are setting up an apartment in Canada for the first time. The Furniture Bank provides an important way for churches to participate in welcoming newcomers. It’s also a way for the refugee to fulfill the Canadian government’s service requirement for those seeking refuge. Matthew House residents volunteer at the Furniture Bank, getting a glimpse into the future as they imagine setting up their own house one day. Inspired by the needs of refugees, Marc started the Furniture Bank by responding
Meeting spiritual needs of newcomers In their work welcoming newcomers, Kim and Marc have recognized that meeting material needs alone is insufficient. Refugees and immigrants also come with spiritual needs. This fuels Kim’s work as a volunteer chaplain at a local adult high school. With a background in education, Kim felt the opportunity to work at the school was a perfect fit. She said her role as chaplain allows her to minister among students who are dealing with difficult issues. Marc Wyatt, left started the Furniture Bank of Ottawa out of his carport.
to the need of a church in Ottawa that wanted to provide furniture for a Haitian family with no money to buy a bed. Marc went to yard sales and asked if he could have their leftovers. Soon, the ministry grew too large to be housed in the Wyatt’s carport, so it moved into a donated truck trailer. Eventually it outgrew that space and had to relocate to a large corporate warehouse donated by a local company. “Since that time we’ve been able to go from serving a few families a week to serving as many as 10, 15, even sometimes 20 families a week,” Marc said. “There’s now upward of 7,000 to 8,000 people that have been served because one church had a need they knew they couldn’t meet by themselves.”
“Often these conversations turn personal and deal with family, being alone, being homesick or wanting to talk about spiritual things,” Kim said. “I have opportunities to share and often to pray with people who are from different religious backgrounds or have no faith at all.” One day, not long after Kim started as chaplain, a 20-year old refugee from Burundi came to her office. She wanted Kim to help her start a Christian club at the school. Together they started the club which attracted 30 students to its first meeting. The students were surprised so many people came. Each thought he or she was the only Christian in the entire school.
The Wyatts visit the homes of refugees, offering emotional and spiritual support.
Imagining a welcoming world The Wyatts are working to make their dreams of a more welcoming world a reality through their diverse ministries. “Imagine what a different place even our streets or our communities would be if we
would love the alien,” Kim said. “Imagine what it would be like if we would seek to love others as brothers and sisters instead of living in fear of those who are different.” The Wyatts’ dream could not be a reality without the support of Fellowship Baptists. “When you give to the CBF Offering for Global Missions, you’re making it possible
for ministries to open doors to the lives of those with broken hearts and lives,” Marc said. “You’re making it possible for people to find the Lord and to find hope in places that you may never see or go. We think this is a holy thing.” By CBF communications
Your gifts to the CBF Offering for Global Missions enable the life-changing ministry of Kim and Marc Wyatt. For many CBF field personnel, such as the Wyatts, the CBF Offering pays their salary, benefits, ministry and operating expenses. All field personnel receive support from the CBF Offering for health insurance, technology, travel and member care and wellness services. Please give by using the envelope provided in this issue or go online to www.thefellowship.info/givenow. fellowship!
‘We need to be
CBF field personnel help refugees create new lives in California
hen Nadera’s husband was murdered, she knew she had to get her three young daughters out of Afghanistan. So she left behind her family, her way of life and all she knew to start over in California. Her daughters are now safe, but immigrating to the United States created a new set of challenges — finding a job, enrolling her children in school and learning how to live in a new culture. But, for Nadera, the toughest part of starting over was the loneliness. The only other Afghan she knew in the United States was her caseworker. She didn’t know how to use the phone, and even if she did, she didn’t know how to speak English. After a couple days of sitting in her
apartment crying and talking to her children — all under age 4, she ventured out to find a new friend. In Afghanistan, it’s customary to stroll into a neighbor’s house unannounced and say hello. Nadera quickly learned that’s not the case in the United States. Her neighbor reacted to her by yelling and threatening her. So Nadera went back to the apartment to cry. She found herself longing for life in Afghanistan. Her life might be in danger there, but at least she had someone to talk to. The first four months were the hardest. Eventually she met other Afghans at the bus stop and slowly built a circle of friends. She found work as a caretaker for older women. Someone gave her a car. She didn’t know how to drive, but undaunted, she taught herself. It took a little longer to learn how
to park. Sometimes she left the car running in the street. She also met CBF field personnel Rick and Lita Sample, who minister among refugees and immigrants in the communities surrounding San Francisco. The Samples have helped her so much, Nadera said. The Samples found a quiet, safe apartment with better schools for her family. They helped her daughters with homework and brought them together for parties where they could make new friends. With help from the Samples, she has been able to build a better life for her daughters, a life where she can start to dream about their futures. She wants them conversant in not only English but Farsi and Spanish, to be doctors and engineers who help build a better Afghanistan. Her oldest daughter said she’s glad she’s old enough now to help her mother and to help her younger sisters with homework. More than anything, she’s glad she can be a friend to her mother. “Now she has someone to talk to,” her daughter said. The Samples have a calling to minister among refugees and immigrants such as Nadera — helping to meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. It’s heartbreaking to hear the stories, Lita said, knowing “true healing only comes through Jesus Christ. I wish I could just give that to them, but it’s something they have to choose.” Nadera is one of thousands of immigrants in the San Francisco Bay area of California. Persians, Turkish, Karen and the largest concentration of Afghans in the United States live in the communities surrounding San Francisco. Many come to escape perse-
(Right) Lita Sample, left, ministers among refugees in the Bay Area of California. (Opposite) The Samples’ ministry includes visiting with families in their homes and hosting events for refugees to connect.
cution by their governments. Others come to escape the horrors of war. Some have seen family members executed in front of them. All come seeking a better life. They face common challenges — feeding their families, navigating American systems, learning English and the American culture. The Samples connect immigrants with food banks, tax preparation services and English classes. They also host holiday parties where families can meet others and have fun around a cup of tea or a craft project. And, they help with the sometimes daunting task of completing the correct paperwork. For one widow with seven children, Lita learned that the children weren’t receiving lunch at school. It turns out the school district employee responsible for approving free lunch applications had a backlog of hundreds of applications completed incorrectly. The Samples got the paperwork straightened out, and the children had school lunch the next day. Through these tangible services, immigrants realize that Christians in America care and more than that, Christ cares. Rick said their ministry is the presence of Christ in the local community. “Whatever we are doing, it is because of Jesus,” he said. Ministering among immigrants is a long-term process that requires investment in a relationship. So, much of the Samples’ ministry consists of visiting families. They drop by for a 10-minute visit. Then the platters start coming out heaped with chicken and rice. Ten minutes stretches into hours.
Over time, these relationships build trust. The Samples always tell families, “we will pray for you,” which is usually welcomed. “Of course, we want them to know
Christ,” Lita said, “but regardless we need to be Christ’s love.” By contributing writer John Foster
Your gifts to the CBF Offering for Global Missions enable the ministry of Lita and Rick Sample. Please give and support these life-changing ministry. www.thefellowship.info/givenow fellowship!
‘Someone to be there’
Greg and Sue Smith assist immigrants in finding needed medical care
from El Salvador. Katherine’s first day in school in the United States in 2002 was terrifying. Neither she nor her family spoke any English, and no one at the school spoke Spanish. The family couldn’t explain to school officials what they most needed to know — that Katherine is deaf. School administrators mistook Katherine’s deafness for mental retardation — and placed her in a class of students with intellectual disabilities. Greg and Sue Smith helped Maria (above) find the resources she “The school didn’t know needed to treat diabetes. what the need was and the family didn’t know what to ask for,” said Sue, in the lives of the Hispanic immigrants, teaching them the ins and outs of living in a volunteer interpreter for the county school America — from buying groceries and paysystem, who was called in to help. ing the electric bill to navigating the maze She immediately got Katherine into of medical and legal services. the right school situation. Then, with the In 2004, with another dedicated couple, school’s permission, she followed up with the family, explaining the rights and oppor- the Smiths co-founded LUCHA, a Christian ministry to help Hispanic immigrants tunities of special-ed students. in the greater Fredericksburg area. In Span“Soon Katherine was enrolled in classes with other deaf students, where she learned ish, LUCHA stands for Latinos United through Christ in Solidarity and Support. sign language very quickly,” Sue said. “Sign The Spanish word lucha means “struggle.” language opened up her world. Katherine Now LUCHA is involved in translation, spent the rest of her school years with an English classes, tutoring, spiritual counseling, in-class interpreter and focused time each and acquiring social, legal, medical and eduday in special education to clarify what she cational services for immigrants in the Fredhad learned in the classroom.” ericksburg area. It also networks with emThat experience also opened a new ployers, property managers, churches, schools world for the Smiths. and law enforcement to create a better social “We started looking around and there and cultural environment for Latinos. were other agencies and organizations that needed translation help,” Sue said. By contributing writer Greg Warner Inevitably the Smiths became involved CBF photo
ancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes. Few experiences are more frightening than getting a serious medical diagnosis. But imagine hearing that news in a language you don’t understand — and with no relatives or friends there to help you. For recent immigrants to the United States, it happens all too often. When Maria, a 31-year-old single mom, found out she had diabetes, it was a lonely, isolating experience. Unable to speak English and without any family in the States to help her, the Honduran immigrant struggled to understand her illness and the complicated daily treatment regimen it would require. “She just needed someone to be there,” said Sue Smith of Fredericksburg, Va. “In her home country, she would have a lot of relatives to help her.” Smith and her husband, Greg — CBF field personnel — became those stand-in relatives. Serving as Spanish-English interpreters, they helped Maria get to a free clinic to be diagnosed and get medicine. Working through the non-profit organization they co-founded, the Smiths help new immigrants adjust to life in America. And they focus on a particular niche — using a network of Christian doctors to find specialized charity medical care for immigrants with serious disabilities or diseases. “Getting charity care isn’t always easy, and especially for ongoing type [illnesses],” said Sue. “The majority of our health-related work is centered on folks like this, people who really struggle with understanding the system and finding ways to survive in it with their disabilities and chronic health issues.” The inspiration for the Smiths’ immigrant ministry was Katherine, a second grader
Are you interested in serving alongside the Smiths in Virginia? Or, want to connect with other church and individuals who are ministering among refugees and immigrants? Contact CBF staff member Chris Boltin at email@example.com or go to www.thefellowship.info/serve to learn more.
Missions Education Resource How to use this page
The suggestions below will be helpful for using the stories on pages 18-23 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.
In Small Groups:
The following is an outline for adult mission groups, Bible study classes or other small groups. Share copies of fellowship! with group members prior to the meeting and have some extra copies available. These suggestions are for a 45-minute time frame. 1. This session centers on the refugee ministry of Lita and Rick Sample in the Bay Area of California. Collect copies of fellowship! for participants. Read the article on the Samples to prepare for the discussion and gather a flip chart or board and markers. 2. Begin by inviting the group to imagine what it would be like to be forced to flee their own country in the middle of the night because of war or conflict. Say, “You can take with you only what you can carry.” 3. Ask the class what they would take with them. Make a list of this on the flip chart. Suggestions might include extra clothes, food, money, important papers, photos or mementos. 4. Say, “Once you get to your new country with these things in hand, what happens next? What do you need?” Again, jot down responses, like housing, food, a job, language and life skills in this new culture, a church and community. 5. Observe, “Most refugees are in desperate need of help when they arrive in a new country. Think of Joseph and Mary fleeing with Baby Jesus to Egypt to
In a Children’s Sermon 1. Read the articles about the Wyatts, Samples and Smiths in this issue of fellowship! so you can share about those ministries. 2. While eating together, ask everyone to imagine having to leave home suddenly in the middle of the night. Go around the table, allowing people to share what they would grab to take with them. 3. Shift by asking them to imagine being in a new country, having to start over with only what they grabbed when leaving home. Suggest that people in this new country speak a different language, use a different currency and eat different food. 4. Ask everyone to offer suggestions of what the family would need to start again: food, housing, jobs, language classes, life skills for navigating a new culture, friends, schools, a church. 5. Observe, “That’s a lot to need all at once.” Explain that God asks us to help refugees, people who escape danger in one country to come live in a new country. Note that Jesus was a refugee when he was just a tiny child, escaping to Egypt with his family to avoid being killed by King Herod (Matt. 2:13-18).
escape Herod” (Matt. 2:13-18).
Cooperative baptiSt fellowShip | www.thefellowShip.info
6. Invite participants to turn to the article on the Samples. Say, “Imagine your children going hungry because of a simple clerical error made on a form you couldn’t understand. Imagine getting help with that form, finding an advocate to help you through the process.”
Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
7. Summarize the support the Samples offer refugees: prayer and spiritual support, resources like English classes, organizing gatherings that connect refugees with each other and the larger community.
Starting over Cbf field personnel Kim and Marc wyatt minister among refugees and immigrants in Canada, helping individuals and families start over in a new place.
Read more about ministries among refugees and immigrants on pages 18-24.
8. Close with a discussion about what message this kind of support gives the refugees. How is Jesus’ love reflected in the Samples’ ministry? Close with a prayer for the Samples, all the refugees they serve, as well as those listed on the Prayer Calendar on p. 6.
In Reading Groups Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy’s Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard — by Mawi Asgedom This memoir tells the true story of Mawi Asgedom, a refugee from Ethiopia who spent three years with his family in a refugee camp in Sudan. After his family was resettled in Chicago, Asgedom earned a full scholarship to Harvard.
6. Summarize the work of the Wyatts, Samples or Smiths, explaining how they help refugees with practical needs like furniture and food and spiritual needs like loneliness and prayer. 7. Invite everyone to consider looking for ways to help refugees in your area. Remind them that we can help right now praying for these CBF field personnel and everyone they serve. Close with a prayer, allowing everyone to voice a short prayer for a specific need a refugee might have. Also include those listed on this month’s Prayer Calendar (p.6).
T as k F o r c e im p l e m e ntati o n www.thefellowship.info/2012taskforce
Implementation team maps course for changes Following the General Assembly’s approval of the 2012 Task
“The intent of the Coordinating Council officers has been to accept the
Force Report this past June, moderator Keith Herron and interim coordinator
stewardship of the 2012 Task Force Report and develop a strategy that
Pat Anderson established a Task Force Implementation Team to guide
leads the Fellowship to seriously embrace the changes of the report,” said
structural changes over the coming months. The Implementation Team
Keith Herron, pastor of Holmeswood Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo.
presented a transition timeline to the CBF Coordinating Council in October.
“Now, working in dialogue with the Coordinating Council, the Implementation
The plan mapped key milestones and dates and was approved unanimously.
Team’s plan will bring CBF’s new structure into being.”
Learn Find out more about the 2012 Task Force implementation at www.thefellowship.info/2012taskforce “CBF is already a network and it’s already a fellowship. We need to discover how to adjust our systems to be even more of the organization we already are.” — Dave Odom, chair of the Implementation Team
Track the transition Highlights of the timeline include: October 24-25, 2012 Coordinating Council discusses transition timeline Before January 17 Officers recruit new Nominating Committee for election by Coordinating Council
Implementation Team presents draft of transition plan
Before February 18 Legal Committee drafts revisions to Constitution and Bylaws
February 21-22 Coordinating Council discusses and votes on transition plan and revised Constitution and Bylaws
Before April 18
Nominating Committee recruits Governing Board, Moderator-Elect and transition leaders for Missions and Ministry Councils
Nominating Committee finalizes nominations for Governing Board, Moderator-Elect and Council transition leaders
June 27-29 CBF General Assembly in Greensboro, N.C.
General Assembly hears reports from Committees and votes on revised Constitution and Bylaws
Ways to engage CBF is a community of people like you. CBF is a network of churches like yours. The 2012 Task Force Report recommendations are an opportunity for you and your church to help CBF move into the future. Here are three ways you can participate:
Send a partnership letter. The 2012 Task Force Report suggested congregations could embrace their identity by sending a letter outlining the details of their partnership with CBF. Learn more and see sample letters at www.thefellowship.info/identityletters.
Engage in Mission and Ministry. CBFâ€™s new structure includes two Councils for Missions and Ministry. Get in on the ground floor by joining a Missional Community at www.thefellowship.info/missions.
June 26-28, Greensboro, N.C. Sheraton Hotel and Joseph S. Koury Convention Center Register online now â€” www.thefellowship.info/assembly
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
This June 26-28, come to Greensboro and discover how to express God’s gift of hope with great boldness. It’s never too early to make plans to attend General Assembly. Here is a step-by-step guide:
Pre-Register. It’s free and fast. Sign-up for Assembly online at www.thefellowship.info/assembly. Once
you’re registered, you’ll receive updates and information about special events and opportunities.
Make your travel plan. If you’re taking air transportation into Greensboro, you’ll fly in and out of
the Piedmont Triad International Airport. Planning to drive to Assembly? The Sheraton Greensboro at Four Seasons is located at 3121 High Point Road in Greensboro. If you’re travelling by train, book your ticket to Amtrak’s Greensboro (GRO) station.
Book your hotel room. For your convenience and comfort, the 2013 General Assembly will be
hosted and held under one roof. CBF has partnered with the Sheraton Greensboro Hotel at Four Seasons to create a centralized Assembly experience. The CBF room rate is $120 per night. Reserve your room by calling (800) 242-6556 or scan the code with your smart phone to make reservations online. Once on the website, select GROUPS at the top of the page and enter the code CBF2013.
Plan your stay. There are plenty of activities and attractions in Greensboro. If you’re
visiting as part of your family vacation, check out the go-carts and miniature golf at Celebration Station or the largest water park in the Carolinas, Wet’n Wild Emerald Pointe. Interested in history? Visit the newly opened International Civil Rights Museum and the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. For the sports enthusiast, take in a Greensboro Grasshoppers baseball game at NewBridge Bank Park or visit the Richard Petty Museum.
June 26-28, Greensboro, N.C.
Sheraton Hotel and Joseph S. Koury Convention Center
Let the General Assembly be a time to boldly refresh your spirit through opportunities to fellowship with other Cooperative Baptists. Highlights include: The Gathering Place: Connect with ministry opportunities and buy goods that support mission projects all over the world. Relax with friends and fellowship together during evening receptions. Networks and Mission Communities: Learn from Baptists who share your same ministry interests by participating in mission community and network workshops. Fellowship and Auxiliary Events: The Fellowship and its partner organizations will host special gatherings during Assembly, including CBF Foundation Heritage Society breakfast, Church Benefits Board annual member luncheon, Baptist Women in Ministry 30th anniversary celebration, Festival of Young Preachers and more.
study and prayer for ministers and laity and will be held onsite at the Sheraton Greensboro.
Participate in conversations about ministry and the Fellowship movement. Equip yourself to respond boldly to your congregation through innovation and information. Highlights include: Workshops: Explore issues and topics relevant to your ministry like baptism and church membership with Bill Leonard, ministry and motherhood with Alicia Porterfield, setting deacons free with Tom Stocks, parenting and social media with Brian Foreman and more. Business Sessions: Hear updates and offer input on the work of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. State and Regional Meetings: Support the Fellowship movement in your area. Learn about events, programs and resources available to address the needs of your state or region.
Boldly reflect. Expressions of prayer and praise allow us to reflect boldly on how we live out the call to be the presence of Christ. Share in times of blessing and thanksgiving with your CBF family.
Highlights include: Friday evening worship service: Participate in a dynamic and worshipful service with a word from the new CBF Executive Coordinator. Commissioning service for field personnel and new church starters: Come be a part of this special commissioning event as the Fellowship blesses and sends new CBF field personnel and church starters to be the presence of Christ in the world. Prayer Retreat: This pre-Assembly retreat is designed as a time of
Register online now — www.thefellowship.info/assembly Leadership Institute: Is your church searching for its missional identity? The Leadership Institute will focus on the Dawnings initiative which seeks to help congregations find their calling through vision, formation and engagement. Learn more about how CBF can support missional discovery.
A Bold future. As CBF continues to implement the 2012 Task Force Report, a bold future is shaping for the Fellowship movement. Listen and share your thoughts with other Cooperative Baptists by attending sessions focused on implementation and CBF’s future.
Greensboro sessions for college students A Conversation about race Join college and graduate students from across the country to share in meaningful conversations about relevant topics, network with other young people and participants in the CBF movement, attend social outings and experience General Assembly with old and new friends.
Assemblies for preschool, children and youth
General Assembly is an event for the whole family. Children and youth ages newborn through high school can participate in fun and meaningful experiences by joining the Preschool Assembly, Children’s Assembly or Youth Assembly.
The Gathering Place
Are you near the Greensboro area and want to volunteer behind the scenes at Assembly? Send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org and discover new ways to experience General Assembly from the ground up.
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship 2930 Flowers Road South, Suite 133 Atlanta, GA 30341 www.thefellowship.info • (800) 352-8741
Upcoming CBF events Advocacy in Action February 25-27 — Fort Worth, Texas Whether you serve in a traditional church setting or create aspects of church in non-traditional situations, come for a time of networking, renewal, fellowship and learning.
March 10-13 — Washington, D.C.
Join the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship on a three-day journey in Washington, D.C., and get to know CBF advocacy partners, develop a biblical basis for advocacy, learn how to advocate effectively and connect with local churches.
Practicing Resurrection: Interim Ministry The Call of the Mountain for Today’s Church April 1-4 — Shenandoah National Park
Come the week after Easter to kneel, to walk and to pray on the mountainside of Shenandoah National Park. Place your feet solidly and firmly upon God’s wild earth. Take pause. Let the solitude, silence and mountain vistas call you forward into the community of the resurrection.
April 15-17 — San Antonio, Texas
Join CBF and the Center for Congregational Health for a course designed to prepare participants to best serve congregations in the role of interim pastor.
February-March fellowship! magazine