COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP | WWW.THEFELLOWSHIP.INFO
Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
Global Missions + Global Church Engagement
= Our Greater Mission Enterprise
WHEN I ARRIVED a year ago at the doorstep of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, I thought the very first thing that I would do is seek a Global Missions coordinator. Thankfully, I was spared the impulse. We are witnessing genuinely relevant and powerfully spiritual forces for global engagement in every corner of the Fellowship. Be assured that God is at work in this sacred space. We have needed some important moments of discerning reflection to calibrate our response. The question was laid out for the 2012 Task Force: How can we refocus and streamline
A PUBLICATION OF COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP
VOLUME 24, NUMBER 2
EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR Suzii Paynter ASSOCIATE COORDINATOR, FELLOWSHIP ADVANCEMENT Jeff Huett EDITOR Aaron Weaver GRAPHIC DESIGNER Travis Peterson ASSOCIATE EDITOR Emily Holladay ASSISTANT EDITOR Candice Young COVER DESIGNER Jeff Langford PHONE (770) 220-1600 E-MAIL email@example.com WEBSITE www.thefellowship.info fellowship! is published 6 times a year in Feb./March, April/May, June/July, Aug./Sept., Oct./Nov., Dec./Jan. by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Inc., 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500, Decatur, GA 30030. Periodicals postage paid at Decatur, GA, and additional offices. USPS #015-625. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to fellowship! Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500, Decatur, GA 30030.
organizational structures in order to provide leadership and resources for churches and other ministries to respond more effectively to global challenges? Our own congregational stories and global experiences have brought us to a time to attend to the great common enterprise of missions. We are all at the table of discernment and reflection. What a wonderful table it is! Can you point to a CBF church that doesn’t have a global story to tell? Is there a CBF state/regional organization that doesn’t engage in global commitment? A CBF partner or theological school that doesn’t touch a global edge? Global connection is pervasive among us, but we are just learners as well. Like any algebraic equation, there is much happening on both sides of the equals sign. Structures for sending personnel and supporting global centers through CBF Global Missions now allow for a wide variety of expressions in leadership and mission models. Simultaneously, CBF congregations have been developing a greater and more complex variety of mission expression — locally and globally. The greater mission enterprise is no longer solely about the work of the “agency.” It is also about the work of the church. The future is dependent on intentional and harmonizing progress for both the organization and the congregation. The twenty-first century is showing itself to be the century of local congregations in global mission, and CBF must enable the involvement of local congregations in global mission and remove obstacles to such engagement. Likewise, congregations must learn to overcome the fear of otherness and deeply embrace cultural differences so there is no hubris or detriment to effective mission and ministry around the world. The current context of partnership in global engagement is influenced by both the missional focus of the local church
and by postmodern culture to produce recalibration on several fronts: Away from attitudes of imposed certainty about missions to an expectation of crosscultural exploration and adventure; from a position of propositionalism to emphasis on developing relationships among mission partners; from an attitude of triumphalism to a confession of humility and weakness in engaging others. Missions and evangelism have moved from faith expression as pronouncement to faith expression as sharing witness and testimony; from monologue to dialogue especially in biblical understanding and theology. Attitudes of professional and congregational mission personnel have also shifted from seeing the field personnel as the central figure/proclaimer to the field personnel as an equipper and enabler of others; from a posture of consolation which perceives the mission partner as an object of sympathy to a paradigm of mutual respect for each mission partner enabling advocacy and empowerment of mission partners.i These changes prepare the way for deeply transforming encounters as we get ready to welcome a new Global Missions coordinator. We are learners. Teaching the math concept of addition to his blind son, a father pressed a magnet in each palm. “Bring them close together,” he said. A few seconds passed. “It JUMPED!” the boy cried, cupping his hands together. And so the father added two magnets each, and then three. “When they get close enough, they just JUMP to be together.” There is movement ahead for both the organization and the congregation. Surely, more is in store as we follow God toward a greater mission equation.
Suzii Paynter, CBF Executive Coordinator i Robert P. Sellers, A baptist View of Missions for Postmodernity, Review and Expositor 100, no. 4 (Fall 2003): 641-684.
Slavery in the City of Angels
Living out Matthew 25:35-36
Interfaith Hospitality Networks
2014 CBF General Assembly
RFRA at 20 years
Microenterprise as mission
CBF Peer Learning Groups
Affect: April 2014
Affect: May 2014
CBF field personnel couple serves victims, raises awareness about human trafficking Fort Worth church offers hospitality, help and hope
Fellowship churches serve the homeless, keep families together June 23-27, Atlanta, Ga.
Baptist Joint Committee remains faithful to legacy of ensuring freedom for all CBF field personnel Andy and Jutta Cowie seek to empower Haitians Encouraging growth and fellowship among ministers Human Trafficking
Woman in Port-au-Prince, Haiti makes paperbead necklaces and bracelets. Read about the microenterprise efforts of CBF field personnel Andy and Jutta Cowie on pp. 23-25.
Connect with the Fellowship KEEP UP WITH THE WORK and ministry of CBF churches, partners, field personnel and individuals through our online networks. Learn about ways to get involved in CBF life and plug in! facebook.com/cbfinfo — “Like” Cooperative Baptist Fellowship on Facebook for the most up-to-date news on CBF missions and ministries. twitter.com/cbfinfo — Follow us on Twitter and join the conversation about how CBF individuals and churches are being the presence of Christ globally. thefellowship.info/subscribe — Subscribe to fellowship! weekly for regular updates on CBF events as well as breaking news. cbfblog.com — CBF blog is the place where you can always find the latest news and views in the Fellowship. fellowship!
prayerspeople of the
Praying the Scriptures By Bo Prosser
ne of the earliest forms of personal prayer is praying the scriptures. Praying a passage rather than just a cursory reading brings a new and deeper appreciation for God’s Word and its place in our lives. This can be done with any version of the Bible, by reading aloud, silently or using an audio Bible. The challenge is to immerse oneself into the passage. Choose a passage that is somewhat familiar. For the coming month, use a new passage each week. For example, Psalm 23, Matthew 5:1-10, Jeremiah 18:2-6, Philippians 4:8-13. The passage is not as important as the prayer practice. God will bring you what you need.
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 APRIL 1 Frank Dawkins, Greenville, NC (PC); Jennifer Dill, Charlotte, NC (CH); Greg Smith, Fredericksburg, VA (FP) 2 Christie McTier, Dearing, GA (CH); Leonora Newell, San Antonio, TX (FP); Wayde Pope, Crestview, FL (CH) 3 Marjorie Avent, Daniel Island, SC (CH); Jay Hogewood, Baton Rouge, LA (CH); Charles Mason, Mansfield, OH (CH); Wayne Sibley, Pineville, LA (CH); Jamie Strom (S-Atlanta); Thomas Wicker, Salado, TX (CH) 5 Darcie Jones, Columbia, SC (CH); Eddy Ruble, Southeast Asia (FP) 6 Ka’thy Gore Chappell (S-North Carolina); Steven Mills, Hendersonville, SC (CH) 7 LaCount Anderson, Scotland Neck, NC (FP); Tricia Baldwin, Fort Worth, TX (CH); Nathan Dean, Atlanta, GA (PLT); Bonnie Hicks, Woodstock, GA (CH); Mary Timms, Hawkinsville, GA (CH); Mary Wrye, Henderson, KY (CH) 8 Laura Johnson, New Bern, NC (CH) 9 Jessica Hearne, Danville, VA (FP); Jim Pruett, Charlotte, NC (PC); Steve Vance, Charlotte, NC (CH) 10 George Hemingway, High Springs, FL (CH); Ben Hodge, Winston-Salem, NC (CH); Alan Rogers, San Diego, CA (CH) 11 Laura Broadwater, Louisville, KY (CH); Steve James, Haiti (FP) 12 Ryan Clark (S-Atlanta); Andy Hale, Clayton, NC (PLT); Beverly Hatcher, Winston-Salem, NC (PLT) 13 Charles Ray (S-Arkansas); Steve Sullivan, Little Rock, AR (CH); Brian A. Warfield, Oklahoma City, OK (CH) 14 Kerri Kroeker, Lakeland, FL (CH) 15 ___, Turkey (FP); Jeff Flowers, Evans, GA (CH); Jeff Langford (S-Heartland) 16 Kaitlyn Parks, 2006, Slovakia (FPC); Victoria A. White, Richmond, VA (CH); Kay Wright, Virginia Beach, VA (CH)
Take a moment to center yourself — being quiet, settling your mind and heart. Then, read (or hear) the text slowly and intentionally. Listen for a word Bo Prosser or phrase that CBF Ministries Coordinator jumps out at you. Focus on that word or phrase for a moment. Write it down if you like. Don’t expect lightning flashes or magic, just listen and let God speak. Next, read the passage again. Slowly repeat the word or phrase you identified, allowing it to interact with your spiritual self, your concerns, memories, hopes and dreams. Don’t worry about being distracted. Simply allow your spiritual self to ask God
for strength and direction. Allow this inner pondering to invite you into dialogue with God. If you feel distracted, simply return to the word or phrase you’ve written down and continue pondering. Now, speak to God. Pray for yourself, pray for one of the names in the prayer calendar below and pray for your world. Use words, ideas, images or all three. Interact with God for yourself and intercede for the person whose name you have chosen. Know that God hears you, accepts you and loves you. Imagine God using the word or phrase that came to you as a blessing for you and the person you have chosen. Accept from God what you have found within your heart. Finally, read the passage again and rest in God’s love. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you in both words and silence, in both thoughts and actions. Live in Christ-confidence as a blessed child of God.
17 David Jones, Newberg, OR (CH) 18 Cyrus Bush, Pfafftown, NC (CH); Ray Cooley, Wallingford, CT (CH); Amy Derrick (S-Atlanta); Mason Jackson III, Shelby, NC (CH); Nathan Solomon, Swansboro, NC (CH) 19 Michael Lee, Hendersonville, NC (CH); Jack Wehmiller, Murrayville, GA (FP) 20 ___, North Africa (FP); David Chan, Houston, TX (CH); Susan Stephenson, Edmond, OK (CH) 21 Richard Dorsey, Albuquerque, NM (CH) 22 Tere Canzoneri (S-Atlanta); Judith Grace, Temple, TX (CH); Lucas Newell, 1997, San Antonio, TX (FPC); Barry Pennington, Blue Springs, MO (CH) 23 David Kolb, Lexington, NC (CH) 24 Brenda Atkinson, Greenville, SC (CH); Rhonda Gilligan-Gillespie, Wichita, KS (CH); Laura Mannes, San Antonio, TX (CH); Travis Smith, Forest City, NC (CH); Leslie Stith, Liberty, MO (CH) 25 Connie Graham, Fitzgerald, GA (CH); Victoria Whatley (S-Atlanta) 27 Pat Davis, Baton Rouge, LA (CH); Carter Harrell, 1995, Kenya (FPC); Pete Parks, Williamsburg, VA (CH) 28 Gary McFarland, Charlotte, NC (PC) 29 Ted Dougherty, Winston-Salem, NC (PC) 30 Joseph Caldwell, Alameda, CA (CH); Charles Wallace, Fort Worth, TX (CH)
Leigh Jackson, Austin, TX (CH); Deidra Sullivan (S-Atlanta) 10 T.J. Cofield, Princeton, NJ (CH) 11 Larry Ballew, China (FP); Robbi Francovich, Emeritus (FP); Jonna Humphrey, Manassas, VA (CH); Cy Miller, Marion, NC (CH) 12 Lori Irons-Crenshaw (S-Atlanta) 13 Tracy Dunn-Noland, Hereford, TX (CH); Samson Naidoo, Garland, TX (CH) 14 Scott McBroom, Charleston, SC (PC); JoAnne Morris, Louisville, KY (CH); Rob Norman, North Brunswick, NC (PLT) 15 Paula Settle, Eastern Kentucky (FP) 16 ____, daughter, North Africa (FPC); Daniel Bland, Chelsea, AL (CH); Steven Harris, Salem, VA (PC); John Reeser, Sautee Nacochee, GA (CH); Alex Ruble, 2001, Southeast Asia (FPC) 17 Jennifer Call, Salem, VA (CH); Robert Duvall, Lawrenceville, GA (CH); Nell Green, Houston, TX (FP); Filip Zivanov, 1998, St. Louis, MO (FPC) 18 Wayne Hill, Greenville, SC (PC); Ciera Maas, 2003, Belize (FPC); Christa Sfameni (S-Atlanta); Greg Slate, Littleton, CO (CH) 19 Gwyen Driskill-Dunn, Fort Worth, TX (CH) 20 Micah James, 1994, Haiti (FPC); Julie Perry, Charlottesville, VA (CH); Marcy Thomas, Brentwood, TN (CH) 21 Carson Foushee, Japan (FP); Pat, New Jersey (FP); Ron Winstead, Emeritus (FP) 22 Rich Havard, Student.GO intern, Georgia (FP); Jon Ivy, Tuscaloosa, AL (CH); Gabe Lyon, 2005, Atlanta, GA (FPC); Steven Unger, Twentynine Palms, CA (CH) 23 Cheryl Adamson, Conway, SC (PLT); Polly Barnes, Brandon, MS (CH); Jared Neal, Atlanta, GA (CH); John Schumacher, Smyrna, GA (CH) 24 Harold Phillips (S-Heartland); Paulette Porter-Hallmon, Spartanburg, SC (CH) 26 Hunter, Thailand (FP); Valerie Hardy, Loganville, GA (CH); Gerry Hutchinson (S-Atlanta) 27 Grace Powell Freeman (S-Atlanta); James Gilbert, Deville, LA (CH); Nelson Taylor, Richmond, VA (PLT) 28 Hardy Clemons, San Antonio, TX (PC); Laurel Morrow, 1992, Aledo, TX (FPC) 30 Randy Ridenour, Norman, OK (CH); Winston Shearin, Jacksonville, NC (CH) 31 Stacey Buford, Murfreesboro, TN (CH); Kelley Woggon, Louisville, KY (CH)
MAY 1 Michael Coggins, Navarre, FL (CH); Katherine Higgins, Mint Hill, NC (CH); Bob Whitten, Springfield, VA (PC) 2 Cathy Cole, Aiken, SC (CH); Stephen Murphy, Honolulu, HI (CH); Deborah Reeves, Austin, TX (CH); Matthew Sherin, 2004, Columbia, MO (FPC); Lynn Walker, Chickasha, OK (PLT); Terry Wilson, Mt. Pleasant, SC (CH) 3 Leah Harding, 1992, Orlando, FL (FPC); Raeburn Horne, Louisville, KY (CH) 4 Johann Choi, Durham, NC (CH); Gary Metcalf, Kingsport, TN (CH); George Sipek, Lillington, NC (CH); Skip Wisenbaker, Atlanta, GA (CH) 5 Austin, 2004, Thailand (FPC); Emily Holladay (S-Atlanta); Karen Long, Birmingham, AL (CH) 6 Carol Dalton, Swannanoa, NC (CH); Terry Maples (S-Tennessee); Steve Smith, Liberty, MO (CH) 7 Jennifer Lyon, Atlanta, GA (FP); Dora Saul, Fort Worth, TX (CH) 8 Stanton Cheatham, Madison, MS (CH); Rusty Elkins, Edmond, OK (CH) 9 Rich Behers, Lakeland, FL (CH); David Harding, Orlando, FL (FP);
fellowship voices Why I identify with CBF By Katie McKown
adies and gentlemen: Before we leave this pool, every one of you will baptize me.” I craned my neck to look at the man I would somehow immerse in a swimming pool at Baylor University. He was Marine, pastor and professor Levi Price. He is a kind, generous man. Because of his Life and Work of the Past class, I learned that being a pastor would be challenging and joyful, nerve-wracking and beautiful. And it is. It is all of that. I’m not sure who said “I’m Baptist born and Baptist bred and when I die I’ll be Baptist dead,” but that’s me. I like being Baptist. I was Baptist as a girl and I’m Baptist still today. I first identified with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship because of people like Dr. Price, who welcomed a short 24-year-old Kentucky lady to baptize him. I first identified with CBF because of another Truett professor, Dennis Tucker, who encouraged and listened during my seminary days. Dr. Tucker still makes time to guide me along my way. I first identified with CBF because of
David Garland, whose love of the Lord and the Bible was infectious. Dr. Garland’s character made me want to be the kind of Baptist who focused my energy forward on kingdom tasks. There are many others who “grew me up” as a pastor. I am grateful. While I have always been Baptist, I first identified with CBF because its people loved the Lord, loved the Bible and believed in evangelism and missions. I’m a part of the Fellowship because CBF believed in me. CBF believed in my call. Thank you, CBF. I identify with CBF because we believe in evangelism. We believe in speaking the good news with our mouths. We believe in serving the good news with our hands. The speaking and serving are integral. I hope we will work on this balance together. I identify with CBF because we are passionate about missions. God’s mission is what unites our Fellowship. I hope we will continue to support field personnel all over the world. I identify with CBF because it is my family. General Assembly is the reunion. I cherish seeing professors, colleagues,
“I first identified with CBF because its people loved the Lord, loved the Bible and believed in evangelism and missions.” Passport pals and many more friends. I stay up way too late talking and theologizing and laughing. I return home exhausted and happy. I love our family reunion. CBF is a good family, but like most families we have disagreements. We roll our eyes at the weird uncle, scolding grandma or the young ‘un with far out ideas. We fret because we are not the same; but we forget no families are! The important thing is to be family when we disagree and agree. I’m no less Katie McKown when my cousin makes me mad. My family is not homogenous. Jesus’ family isn’t either. Dr. Price’s class helped me learn that ministry would be beautiful as well as challenging. I am excited about the future of CBF. The future will be challenging and beautiful too. By focusing forward on kingdom tasks, it will be a great day for the CBF family.
Why do you identify with CBF?
KATIE MCKOWN PHOTO
Send your answer to this question to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will feature submissions in an upcoming fellowship voices series on the CBFBlog. (www.cbfblog.com)
Katie McKown is pastor of Scottsville Baptist Church in Scottsville, Va. She is a graduate of George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. McKown serves as a convener of a CBF Peer Learning Group. Connect with McKown at her blog, Hermeneutics in High Heels (hermeneuticsinhighheels.blogspot.com).
engages young people in
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CBF/GA
By Emily Holladay
he Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is a movement of churches and individuals seeking to be the presence of Christ in their communities and around the world. Representing and equipping such a diverse body of people would be impossible without the committed and innovative work of CBFâ€™s 18 autonomous state and regional organizations.
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Led by Coordinator Frank Broome, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia (CBF/GA) is one of the Fellowship’s longest standing state/regional organizations, celebrating its 22nd anniversary this year. CBF/GA partners with CBF in its “desire to network, empower and mobilize Baptist Christians and churches for effective missions and ministry in the name of Christ.” For CBF/GA, this desire to network and empower has led to many partnerships, including work with the Baugh Center for Baptist Leadership at Mercer University to form a network of deacons to support and encourage one another. CBF/GA has also partnered with Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology for resource development and strategic initiatives for young ministers and seminarians, and cultivated a strong relationship with CBF field personnel Jen and Trey Lyon of Atlanta. These partnerships have allowed CBF/GA to expand its reach and increase its investment within the Fellowship, particularly among the youngest generation. Each year, CBF/GA hosts multiple mission experiences for middle, high school and college students, including a mission immersion event with the Lyons in downtown Atlanta this past March. This collaboration allowed youth to come face-to-face with homelessness and poverty and brainstorm with the Lyons about ways that they can address such realities in their own communities. CBF/GA also hosts a youth choir festival each year. Youth choirs from across the state come together to create beautiful music and fellowship with one another. The festival provides an opportunity to connect with the greater Fellowship movement. In June, the choirs will come together once again to sing at this year’s CBF General Assembly in Atlanta! College students benefit from CBF/GA’s support of three Cooperative Student Fellowships at Mercer University, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia. These CBF/GA-sponsored fellowships exist to provide students a Christian community that is Baptist, foster authentic relationships, encourage open-minded conversation,
learning and discipleship, engage the world through missions and create experiences that nurture the development of students as current and future church leaders. In addition to developing a deeper partnership with McAfee School of Theology, CBF/GA expresses its commitment to theological education through awarding up to five scholarships each year for seminary students connected with the organization. These CBF/GA scholars become part of a network of student leaders with access to many helpful resources. But CBF/GA does not stop investing in young Baptists after they’ve finished seminary. The organization has created networks for young ministers to learn from and collaborate with one another, including a young
pastor’s network that meets annually to share resources and cultivate relationships. CBF/GA works every day to sustain and encourage pastors, equip and resource churches and increase involvement in state missions. This dedication to developing and engaging young people within the Fellowship exemplifies these efforts.
Learn more about the ministries of CBF/GA at http://www.cbfga.org.
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Slavery in the
City of Angels
CBF field personnel couple serves victims, raises awareness about human trafficking
PHOTO COURTESY OF NATALIE RODRIGUEZ
na is from Nicaragua, though this story will not reveal her true name or identity; she has already encountered enough exploitation in her life. Last year, as Ana was scraping for every last penny to support her three children as well as her husband’s drinking problem, a man approached her with the chance of a lifetime. For a hefty fee, he would smuggle her into the United States, where she would be able to find a well-paying job and send money back to her family in Nicaragua. Ana saw no other choice. Besides, the land of opportunity awaited her in Los Angeles. But when she arrived, Ana found something altogether different.
By Blake Tommey
Immediately, Ana was forced into a job cleaning houses, for which she received no pay. In addition to scrubbing scummy toilets for free, Ana also endured sexual abuse at the hands of her captors, though fortunately they had not forced her into the sex industry. There was no consolation for a woman who had only experienced violation and despair since arriving in California until she met Aaron and Stephanie Glenn, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel who advocate and care for survivors of human trafficking in the greater Los Angeles area. Through partnerships with anti-trafficking organizations as well as local churches, the Glenns are growing a movement to combat the system that holds nearly 21 million people worldwide in forced labor and exploitation. “‘Human trafficking’ is really a new term to describe something that people have done to each other since the beginning of time,” Aaron said. “But we had to uncover it in our context. And once we did, we felt a pull toward the kind of ministry described in 1 John 3, where we are urged to love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action when our brothers and sisters are in need.” As the Glenns transitioned from working with international college students to advocating and caring for survivors of human trafficking, they discovered the staggering reality of trafficking in the Los Angeles area. According to the California Department of Justice, human trafficking constitutes “all acts involved in the recruitment, abduction, transport, harboring, transfer, sale or receipt of persons, within national or across international borders, through force, coercion, fraud or deception, to place persons in situations of slavery or slavery-like conditions, forced labor or services.” Only slightly less profitable than the drug trade, human trafficking is a $32 billion-a-year global industry, and California is one of the nation’s top four destinations for its practice. From 2010 to 2012, California’s nine regional human trafficking task forces identified 1,277 victims, initiated 2,552 investigations and arrested 1,798 individuals. And while sex trafficking receives a host of attention from the public, labor trafficking like the kind into which Ana was forced is 3.5 times as prevalent as sex trafficking worldwide. Once their eyes were opened to this reality, the Glenns said, they knew what God was calling them to do. “As we began working with organizations and came to know survivors, we found a lot of missing pieces,” Stephanie said. “Yes, survivors have access to emergency housing and food after being
rescued, but what happens afterward? How can survivors acclimate, truly be integrated into culture or even come to know people of faith who want to support them? What about the system that put them there in the first place?” These are the questions that drove the Glenns into a twofold ministry of big-picture advocacy and acute care for survivors. As advocates, the Glenns developed a partnership with Oasis USA, an anti-trafficking organization with whom they hold week-long immersion experiences for trafficking awareness, network with politicians, businesses and healthcare providers and tour local churches with “Trafficking 101” presentations to inspire people to work for traffic-free communities. With these connections, the Glenns have mobilized volunteers to create “freedom bags,” filled with clothes, toiletries and other essentials for survivors, and even serve as phone operators with a human trafficking hotline. At the same time, the Glenns are using their Master of Social Work degrees and partnering with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), which provides acute intake and care for rescued survivors. Through this partnership, the Glenns and other specialists work directly with survivors to assess their needs and assist their social uplift. As they discovered the tension and distance between expert acute care and the local church’s desire to combat trafficking, the Glenns discovered their own vital role as connectors of the two groups. “We like to see ourselves as facilitators, catalysts or even brokers between every day churches and local organizations offering direct services,” Aaron explained. “Too often, neither one thinks of the other as a resource, but our job is to make that connection. With that kind of community, we have an opportunity to partner with God in redeeming the world, not merely in a spiritual sense, but in a way that brings people out of bondage and makes God’s kingdom a present reality rather than only a future hope.” The Glenns have formed that connection and community in a ministry model called Open Table, in which volunteers from both churches and nonprofits surround a human trafficking survivor with resources and assistance for one year as he or she emerges from forced labor. Through the United Methodist Church in Arizona, the Open Table model was originally designed to assist veterans, prisoners and grown foster children as they assimilate, but when the Glenns learned about its effectiveness with these groups, they immediately began adapting it for survivors of human trafficking. The Glenns used their partnership with CAST and Open Table Inc., in February 2014 to implement the pilot program and are
PHOTO COURTESY OF INHERITANCE MAGAZINE
AARON AND STEPHANIE GLENN PHOTO
preparing to grow as they seek other churches, small groups and volunteers to partner in God’s mission among trafficking survivors. “The Open Table model cuts right to the core of community for us,” Stephanie said. “This model allows people to gather around trafficking survivors to learn about their needs, their hopes and their goals, meeting with individuals once a week for a year. After they have truly listened, they can then open up their circles of influence to help that person get a job, learn a language, find a place to live or, perhaps most importantly, be invited into community.” On the day that Los Angeles law enforcement discovered the trafficking operation in which Ana was stuck and freed her from forced labor, the Glenns surrounded her as she sought resources for building a new life. Through many laborious phone conversations with Ana’s husband in Nicaragua, the Glenns eventually devised a plan to bring Ana’s three children to the United States as part of her work visa and empower them toward a new life. Ana describes her experience in coming to the U.S. as complete hell, and said that she would never have chosen it for herself or her children. But on the other side of her exploitation, she finds hope and grace in the life that her family now shares in Los Angeles, the Glenns noted. “We’re reminded of Henri Nouwen’s reflection on hospitality,” Stephanie added. “‘In our world full of strangers, estranged from their own past, culture and country, from their neighbors, friends and family, from their deepest self and their God,’ he said ‘we witness a painful search for a hospitable place where life can be lived without fear and where community can be found. Hospitality, therefore, means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them a space where change can take place.’”
Matthew 25:35-36 Fort Worth church offers hospitality, help and hope
By Alexandria Lopez
HE EXTERIOR BEAUTY OF BROADWAY Baptist Church’s Gothic-style architecture is difficult to overlook. But, what truly makes the church beautiful is its commitment to ministering to its neighbors and the resulting relationships that have formed.
Established in the 1880s in Fort Worth, Texas, the congregation faced the decision in the mid-20th century whether to move to the suburbs or remain in the city. The church chose to stay in its present location. Today, situated about a mile from Fort Worth’s homeless shelters and services, Broadway is known in the community for its offerings of hospitality, help and hope. Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:35-36 sum up Broadway’s community ministries: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me.” By providing adult and children’s clothing, running a mobile food pantry and the May 10
Street Market, supplying day workers with sack lunches and offering men without homes a place to sleep in inclement weather, Broadway is helping to meet the physical needs of its community. But, physical needs are not the only needs being met. Broadway also provides an environment where individuals can experience God’s love. “There’s a lot in Jesus’ teaching and in his example about caring for those at the bottom of the social ladder — the least of these,” said Brent Beasley, who serves as Broadway’s senior pastor. “It seems to me that Jesus met people’s physical needs but did so in a way that broke down the social and cultural barriers between people. That’s the way we try to do our
ministry. We try to put people in a position to build relationships as opposed to just handing out food and clothes.” The Agape Meal, Broadway’s most well-known ministry, exemplifies this relational orientation. Since April 1995, this weekly banquet dinner held in the church’s Fellowship Hall has allowed guests to break bread together at eight-person tables alongside volunteer hosts who share the meal with them. The tables are covered with white linens and centerpieces. Additional volunteers serve food and drinks to 170-180 guests every Thursday. The crowd grows in the summertime and in the latter-half of each month when food budgets are tight. Toward the end of
PHOTO COURTESY OF BROADWAY BAPTIST CHURCH
the hour-long meal, David Grebel, worship leader for the Agape Meal, holds a 20-minute service that includes a Scripture reading and brief homily. Yet, as Beasley stressed, the Agape Meal is not intended to be a tool to get folks to attend a worship service. “Sharing a meal together is central,” Beasley said. For Grebel, the highlight of the Agape Meal is hearing what’s going on in the lives of the guests. He cited one attendee who recently confessed to him, “I have been living in the midst of chaos, and I’m glad I found this beautiful place.” “I think that sums it up for all of us at the Agape Meal,” Grebel reflected. “It’s easy to fall into a helping mindset, but we are
receiving as much as we are giving. We bring valuable resources to people who are economically disadvantaged, but they bring something of great and inestimable value to us as well. Together, we are trying to create a community in which the Spirit of God is present.” In 2013, Broadway served 7,064 guests at the Agape Meal and did so with the help of several partners, including the Tarrant Area Food Bank, which also provides food for other Broadway ministries. White’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Southlake and Marine Creek Community Church in west Fort Worth regularly supply some of the 75 volunteers required weekly to host the meal. “It would be very difficult to maintain
the necessary volunteer pool without these great partners from other denominations,” said Dan Freemyer, director of community ministires for Broadway. Through partnerships with churches and other nonprofit organizations, Broadway is able to increase the number and variety of services it provides to the community. For instance, Broadway and First United Methodist Church take turns distributing sack lunches five days a week. The two congregations also coordinate their annual coat drives to ensure that each of the new and used coats they distribute go to a different individual. This collaboration allows more than 600 people to receive a coat in the winter. fellowship!
“We try to put people in a position to build relationships as opposed to just handing out food and clothes.” Several years ago, Broadway began participating in Room in the Inn, working with local congregations and the Day Resource Center for the Homeless to provide 15 emergency beds at the church on Monday nights during five of the coldest and hottest months of the year. The church also opens its doors to host the monthly meeting of the Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, while serving as a regular meeting place for local service providers, such as Catholic Charities Street Outreach Services, and their clients. “Everyone in the homeless community knows how to get to Broadway and knows it as a safe place where they will be treated with dignity and respect,” Freemyer said. Both Freemyer and his assistant, Judi Glover, are employees of Buckner
Children and Family Services and receive partial financial support from Broadway. This is another example of the constant collaboration that goes on between Broadway and other area service providers. Freemyer and Glover coordinate these community ministries on behalf of both Broadway and Buckner. “Each of our ministries has a strong core of supporters who are passionate about that ministry,” Freemyer said. “Because they are the ones intimately involved in meeting the needs through their volunteer service, they are generous and passionate about supporting the work financially.” Volunteers contributed 13,563 hours of service to Broadway’s community ministries last year. Although it cannot be measured
numerically, the most meaningful aspect of Broadway’s ministries is the relationships and sense of community that they create. Freemyer recalled the relationship between Tom and Don, who met through the Agape Meal and have been friends for years. Tom recently advocated for Don to secure an apartment through an innovative housing program and then celebrated with him as he moved into his new home on the coldest day of the winter. Many of the guests at the Agape Meal come on a regular basis and sit with the same friends and family every Thursday. “Our staff and regular volunteers know the people we work with,” Beasley said. “And that makes all the difference.”
BROADWAY’S MONTHLY MINISTRIES AT A GLANCE
Feeds 590 guests at the Agape Meal
[top] In addition to providing meals for homeless individuals, Broadway Baptist partners with First United Methodist Church to donate more than 600 coats to homeless men and women. [bottom] Even Broadway’s children find a place to serve in the congregation’s community ministries.
Distributes 300 hygiene kits Provides groceries for 2,200 people
PHOTOS COURTESY OF BROADWAY BAPTIST CHURCH
Clothes 180 adults through clothing ministry
Serves 930 sack lunches
[top] The Agape Meal is Broadway’s most popular community ministry for homeless men and women to gather weekly with members of Broadway Baptist for fellowship and sustenance. [bottom] The church also places an emphasis on providing healthy, locally-grown foods to help with meals throughout the week for homeless families.
A primer on the CBF Offering for Global Missions:
Multiplying our large portfolio of missions
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. CBF engages in a large portfolio of missions, including 130 field personnel like Butch and Nell Green in Houston, Texas, Steve Clark and Annette Ellard in Louisville, Ky., and Rick and Lita Sample in Fremont, Calif., who offer the hope of Christ to refugees and individuals trying to make a home in the United States. To these people who come to the U.S. with little to nothing but the clothes on their back, unsure of their new surroundings, CBF field personnel are the embodiment of Christ’s love and comfort in their lives. But CBF field personnel do not stop with the individual – they continue to expand their ministry to CBF churches and partners, helping them to extend welcome to the people they serve. From Crescent Hill Baptist in Louisville, Ky., to Tallowood Baptist in Houston, Texas, churches across the U.S. are expanding the mission of our CBF field personnel, and multiplying their reach through collaborative and cooperating ministries. When you give to the CBF Offering for Global Missions, you make this ministry possible. The Offering is the primary means of support for CBF field personnel, and allows them access to a wide body of tools and resources to continue to serve people and equip churches, so that your gift continues to multiply its impact. When you support the Offering for Global Missions, you support all CBF field personnel. For many CBF field personnel, the Offering pays their salary and benefits, relocation costs and ministry operating expenses. All field personnel receive
To give to the CBF Offering for Global Missions and 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 email@example.com or (770) 220-1683. www.thefellowship.info/givenow
Offering support for costs associated with health insurance, technology and travel. The Offering also provides for member care and wellness services by licensed professionals for the important physical, emotional and social support for cross-cultural work. The Offering pays for exploratory conferences and the discernment process of candidates seeking missions as a life call, a retreat for the children of field personnel and stipends for participation in Student.Go, which provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to serve among and advocate for the most overlooked people in our world. 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.
INTERFAITH HOSPITALITY NETWORKS Fellowship churches serve the homeless, keep families together By Aaron Weaver
ne night in January 2012, a point-in-time count identified 633,782 people experiencing homelessness. Put another way, 20 out of 10,000 individuals in the United States were living in an emergency shelter, transitional housing program, safe haven or place not meant for human habitation on that cold night.
Relying on data from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Homelessness Research Institute found that from 2011 to 2012 there was a slight decrease in all homeless subpopulations — with the exception of persons in families. The number of people in homeless families actually increased 1.4 percent and 26 states saw an increase in family homelessness during this period. In 2012, families with children accounted for 38 percent of the homeless population. That’s 239,403 people — 162,246 were homeless children (a two percent increase from the previous year). Mississippi experienced a 56.7 percent increase in its number of homeless families. Several other southern states saw sizable increases too.
Interfaith Hospitality Networks
Every Sunday afternoon, the network’s paid staff deliver beds and other supplies to the host congregation. Church volunteers then turn Sunday school classrooms and other space into sleeping rooms for the guest families. In the evening, the families arrive and church volunteers prepare and serve a family-style dinner. The families and volunteers share the meal together. Following dinner, volunteers spend time with the families, helping the children with homework, playing games, watching a movie and just chatting. When the adults call it a night around 10 p.m, two volunteers stay and spend the night. A continental breakfast is served around 6:30 a.m., and the families are soon picked up by network staff. The children head to school and the parents go to their jobs or visit the network’s Day Center to receive assistance seeking employment, housing and other needed resources. This routine is repeated each night for a week. IHNs allow children to stay at their school. This is a huge benefit as homelessness has a harmful impact on school-age children and their ability to learn, especially those forced to regularly switch schools. Thanks to the network, homeless children dropped off at their school, week after week, are afforded much-needed consistency during a time of tremendous upheaval in their lives.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF TRINITY BAPTIST CHURCH
Family Promise is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that partners with faith communities across the nation — more than 6,500 congregations including many churches in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship — to help homeless families achieve sustainable independence. With more than 180 Affiliates in 41 states, Family Promise serves 50,000 family members each year — 60 percent of whom are children, most under the age of six. Keeping families together Since its founding in 1988, this New More than 375 homeless families Jersey-headquartered organization has reside in Wake County, N.C., where family helped more than 500,000 men, women and homelessness has grown at a steady rate in Jayne Simpkins (pictured above), a member of children through its Interfaith Hospitality recent years as housing costs have soared Trinity Baptist’s WIHN Lead Team, sets up the sleeping space for the guest families with linens Networks (IHN), the core program of Family and incomes have not. The Wake Interfaith and blankets. While WIHN provides cots and Promise affiliates. These networks, located Hospitality Network (WIHN) serves this pillows, each church must provide all linens and in large cities, suburbs and rural counties, area and receives the support of 35 area other items for the temporary bedrooms. provide shelter, meals and support services to congregations. Trinity Baptist Church in homeless families. Raleigh is one such supporter and has partnered with WIHN since A typical network is comprised of 10 to 13 host congregations, the summer of 2005. In those eight years, according to Trinity’s IHN support congregations and 800 to 1,000 volunteers. Host coordinator Jenny Wilson, the church has served 124 families as a congregations offer shelter, meals and support to three to five families host congregation — 147 adults and 244 children. for one week every three months, and support congregations offer Wilson leads a team of 10 that coordinates Trinity’s efforts. Her financial assistance and provide volunteers. A network can serve crew sets up the space for guest families on the first Sunday afternoon 175 homeless family members in a calendar year, and on average, and returns the following Sunday morning to make the space “look according to Family Promise, 75 percent of all guest families secure like Sunday school again.” Throughout the week, Wilson’s Lead Team permanent or transitional housing within two months of entering the coordinates the 75 volunteers that are needed to cook meals and network. fellowship with the guests. fellowship!
“We have people who love WIHN so much that they are permanent on the volunteer list. We know every time we serve as host, we will have a certain couple that will be staying on Tuesday night,” Wilson said. Eight years after Trinity became involved in the network, Wilson’s Lead Team is still intact — only one original member has stepped down and that was due to a family illness. “Sometimes in life you go out saying, ‘I’m going to bless people.’ And it’s the other way around. We are so blessed by this ministry,” Wilson emphasized. “We have volunteers from the church who sign up at every opportunity because they feel the same way.” Interfaith Hospitality Networks like WIHN do what many emergency shelter programs do not — they keep families together. This aspect is one reason why Trinity Baptist is committed to the network. “In Wake County, we have shelters, but many of these shelters will not take a mom with a son that is over a certain age,” Wilson explained. “The Interfaith Hospitality Network allows these families to stay together.” For Wilson, this ministry is personal. Years ago, she was laid off when her company downsized and was unemployed for quite some time. Fortunately, Wilson and her daughters did not have to experience being homeless. But, she realizes how easily her circumstances could have been different. “I made the statement one time that when I left the church each evening, because I go every night to spend time with the families, After setting up the church’s space for the guest families, the Trinity WIHN “crew” gathers for prayer and asks God’s blessings for the week ahead.
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that when I got ready to leave, I put my keys in my car ignition, and I drove my car to my house,” Wilson said. “And I put my keys in the door and then I opened the door. My stuff is there. It just made it feel very real to me what it must be like to lose all of that.” “We keep a guestbook where guests write notes before they leave. More than once, they have thanked us as a congregation for not making them feel different because they are homeless. And that’s what it’s all about. It is about welcoming these families, and for me, it was knowing this could have been me. This could have been me. It’s brought on a new awareness.”
Meeting community needs Down in Georgia, First Baptist Church of Athens is another congregation committed to offering hospitality to homeless families. In 2004, FBC Athens became the first host church in the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Athens. Later this year, the church will celebrate its 10th anniversary as a vital member of the network it helped bring to Athens. FBC Athens is a downtown church in a college town known as a hub for the homeless because of the quality services offered. Located just a few short blocks away from the University of Georgia campus, this Athens church has made addressing homelessness a central part of its mission. “We went through a visioning process over the last couple of years and what came out of that process was the goal to better use our facilities for the needs of the community,” explained Sherri Divers, who is beginning her fourth year as the church’s IHN coordinator.
INTERFAITH HOSPITALITY NETWORK CONGREGATIONS Athens Drive Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C.
Heritage Baptist Church, Cartersville, Ga.
Ball Camp Baptist Church, Knoxville, Tenn.
Highland Park Baptist Church, Austin, Texas
Baptist Church of Beaufort, Beaufort, S.C.
Hope Valley Baptist Church, Durham, N.C.
Baptist Church of the Covenant,
Lafayette Baptist Church, Fayetteville, N.C.
“And, fortunately we have the facilities where we can do the host weeks. We put showers in so the guests can shower in our church. Things like that we take for granted. If you’re homeless and you have somewhere to shower, that’s a big deal. We’ve opened our facility up to the needs of the community.” “Our members have just embraced this ministry,” Divers added. “We believe we’re doing what God wants us to do. It’s not anything we’ve entered into lightly. There’s been much prayer and discernment. When you’re a downtown church, you have to address the needs of the area. Shame on us if we don’t address it.”
Latonia Baptist Church, Latonia, Ky.
Boulevard Baptist Church, Anderson, S.C.
Leawood Baptist Church, Leawood, Kan.
Central Baptist Church Fountain City,
Masonboro Baptist Church, Wilmington, N.C.
Millbrook Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C.
Central Baptist Church of Bearden,
Milledge Avenue Baptist Church, Athens, Ga.
Monte Vista Baptist Church, Maryville, Tenn.
Erlanger Baptist Church, Erlanger, Ky.
Mountain Brook Baptist Church,
First Baptist Church, Anderson, S.C.
First Baptist Church, Athens, Ga.
Oakland Baptist Church, Rock Hill, S.C.
First Baptist Church, Austin, Texas
Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, Little Rock, Ark.
Beginning a new journey
First Baptist Church, Bristol, Va.
Riverside Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla.
In Harker Heights, Texas, Trinity Baptist Church is eager to address the problem of family homelessness in their community — a community located just a dozen miles from Fort Hood with a reported 1,000 homeless students enrolled in the public school district. Trinity recently received training from a nearby Family Promise affiliate and will soon begin its new role as a host congregation. And the church is excited to begin this journey together. “We are hoping that Sunday school classes will be the primary meal providers. Four Sunday school classes have already signed up,” said Trinity pastor David Morgan. “Six of the seven evening meals are already covered.” To churches like Trinity Baptist in Harker Heights and others thinking about getting involved in an Interfaith Hospitality Network, Wilson and Divers offer words of advice. “You can’t outgive God. When God puts this in front of you, you need to take it and go with it,” Wilson said. “God is going to bless everything you do, and you’re going to meet some wonderful people in the process. You’ll stand in the parking lot and cry with these families when they leave at the end of the week, because they’ve had a good week.” “The biggest blessing to me is to see God’s presence in this ministry,” Divers said. “Take this ministry one day at a time and be flexible. If you can help one family stay together, that’s a big deal.”
First Baptist Church, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Second Baptist Church, Little Rock, Ark.
First Baptist Church, College Station, Texas
Second Baptist Church, Lubbock, Texas
First Baptist Church, Columbus, Ga.
Second Baptist Church, Memphis Tenn.
First Baptist Church, Conroe, Texas
Shades Crest Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala.
First Baptist Church, Dalton, Ga.
Signal Mountain Baptist Church,
First Baptist Church, Easley, S.C.
Signal Mountain, Tenn.
First Baptist Church, Gainesville, Fla.
Snyder Memorial Baptist Church,
First Baptist Church, Gainesville, Ga.
First Baptist Church, Greenville, S.C.
Southside Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala.
First Baptist Church, Kannapolis, N.C.
Temple Baptist Church, Durham, N.C.
First Baptist Church, Knoxville, Tenn.
Trinity Baptist Church, Conyers, Ga.
First Baptist Church, Longview, Texas
Trinity Baptist Church, Harker Heights, Texas
First Baptist Church, Lubbock, Texas
Trinity Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C.
First Baptist Church, Maryville, Tenn.
Vinton Baptist Church, Vinton, Va.
First Baptist Church, Memphis, Tenn.
Virginia Heights Baptist Church, Roanoke, Va.
First Baptist Church, Midland, Texas
Watts Street Baptist Church, Durham, N.C.
First Baptist Church, Mobile, Ala.
Westwood Baptist Church, Cary, N.C.
First Baptist Church, Pendleton, S.C.
Wildewood Baptist Church, Spring, Texas
First Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C.
Winter Park Baptist Church, Wilmington, N.C.
First Baptist Church, Savannah, Ga.
Yates Baptist Church, Durham, N.C.
FBC Athens members finish loading the hospitality network’s truck at the end of a host week. From FBC Athens, the network goes on to deliver cots and supplies to the next scheduled host church.
First Baptist Church, Shawnee, Okla. First Baptist Church, Southern Pines, N.C. First Baptist Church, Wimington, N.C.
To learn more about Family Promise and connect with an Interfaith Hospitality Network, visit www.familypromise.org.
Forest Hills Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C. Greenwood Forest Baptist Church, Cary, N.C.
*Note: This is only a partial list of network congregations. To add your church to this list for the online version, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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2014 General Assembly June 23-27 Atlanta, GA
Join us this year in Atlanta, Georgia to celebrate how our stories as Cooperative Baptists are
Woven Together with each other and with God’s mission.
2014 CBF General Assembly Atlanta, Georgia
Make Plans Now to Attend
Woven Together Threads of faith and fellowship
A cord of three strands is not easily broken
Scan the bar codes below with a smartphone or tablet to visit the websites listed.
Faith and Fellowship The onsite Prayer Retreat begins Monday, June 23 and will focus on Dawnings. Learn about this exciting process for intentional congregational ministry. On Wednesday, June 25, the Leadership Institute will be led by Dave Odom from the Leadership Education Initiative at Duke Divinity School and the CBF Ministries Council to implement practical tools for assessing our communities.
- ECClesiastes 4:9-12
Issues facing the church New trends in ministry Models for mission involvement
Teaching resources Personal growth Worship/music
Fellowship with friends old and new at meal events with CBF networks, partners and seminaries including:
THURSDAY Lunch sponsored by the New Baptist Covenant with keynote speaker Allan Boesak, the Desmond Tutu Chair of Peace, Global Justice and Reconciliation Studies at Butler University and Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Ind. 18
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FRIDAY The Baptist Joint Committee’s annual Religious Liberty Council luncheon featuring Melissa Rogers, Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Attend workshops on Thursday and Friday with topics such as:
Save time on-site and preregister. It’s free and fast. As we near Assembly, preregistrants will receive e-mails with the latest event information and details. thefellowship.info/assembly/preregistration
Worship, workshops and business sessions take place Thursday and Friday, but there are events all week! Check out the abbreviated schedule to the right, or review the detailed version here: thefellowship.info/assembly/schedule.
The 2014 Assembly is being hosted and held under one roof. Book your travel and hotel accommodations at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta and get the special event rate. thefellowship.info/assembly/hotels
To learn more about the activities for preschool, children, youth and college students, visit thefellowship.info/ assembly/family
Daily Schedule MONDAY 6/23 1 p.m.
On-site Dawnings Prayer Retreat begins (runs through 11:00 am Wednesday)
Atlanta Sessions for college students begins
TUESDAY 6/24 All Day
Dawnings Prayer Retreat continues
Atlanta Sessions continues
Featured Speakers ANDREW YOUNG Andrew Young is a former Ambassador to the United Nations and was the first African-American appointee to that position. Young was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981.
BILL MCCONNELL & KASEY JONES Moderator Bill McConnell is a member of Central Baptist Church of Bearden in Knoxville, Tenn., and served as chair of the Finance Committee of the former Coordinating Council. At the Assembly, Kasey Jones, the current moderator-elect, will assume the role of moderator. Jones is senior pastor of the National Baptist Memorial Church in Washington, D.C., and is the first woman and African-American to hold this pastorate.
GUY SAYLES WEDNESDAY 6/25 12 p.m.
On-site registration opens
1:30-4:00 p.m. Leadership Institute 7 p.m.
Banquet and celebration of co-missioning
THURSDAY & FRIDAY 6/26-27 7 a.m.
Ministry network and partner breakfasts
Preschool Assembly, Children’s Day Camp and Youth Assembly begin
The Gathering Place opens
Partner meals and events
1:30-2:30 p.m. Workshops 2:45-3:45 p.m. Workshops 4:15-5:15 p.m. State and Regional meetings (Thursday), Networking with CBF partner schools (Friday) 5:30-7:00 p.m. Partner meals and events 7:30-9:00 p.m. Worship 9:00-10:30 p.m. Fellowship reception in The Gathering Place
Guy Sayles is pastor of the First Baptist Church in Asheville, N.C. Sayles grew up in Atlanta where he received a Doctor of Ministry from Candler School of Theology at Emory University.
SUZII PAYNTER Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter will preside over her second General Assembly. During the past year, Paynter has traveled extensively, connecting with CBF congregations, partners and individuals, and carrying a message about our identity and the importance of “Being a Fellowship.”
Worship and Business Sessions Enjoy worship focused on giving thanks for what God is doing in our churches, and imagine what more God will do...
Celebrate CBF and co-missioning during an evening banquet and commissioning service for new field personnel, church starters and newly-endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors. Join us for a family-friendly meal and hear stories from the mission field. Make reservations at thefellowship.info/assembly/commissioning.
THURSDAY Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter will address the morning business session with music from the Broadway Baptist Church chapel choir of Fort Worth, Texas. The evening worship will feature a keynote address from former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young about the church’s mission in the world as well as music from world-renowned operatic and concert soprano Indra Thomas and songs from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia youth choir.
Moderator Bill McConnell will address the morning business session, where he will officially transition this role to Moderator-elect Kasey Jones. Jones will bring a proclamation and vision for CBF with music from the CBF of Georgia—Atlanta Choir. The Friday evening worship will include communion led by Suzii Paynter and a keynote address from Guy Sayles.
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RFRA at 20 years Baptist Joint Committee remains faithful to legacy of ensuring freedom for all
By Aaron Weaver
HIRTY YEARS AGO, two counselors working at an addiction treatment center in
Douglas County, Oregon, were fired. The story of these two counselors would eventually lead to the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and spark debates about the limits and meaning of religious freedom that are as relevant now as ever.
The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, a 78-year-old education and advocacy organization supported by numerous Baptist bodies, including the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, as well as thousands of congregations and individuals, has been and remains at the forefront of these debates, providing a faithful witness on how to ensure religious freedom for all. 20
[Left] During a panel about the history and passage of RFRA, former BJC General Counsel Oliver “Buzz Thomas” (right) talked about the bipartisanship required to make the law a reality. [Center] Charles C. Haynes (right), director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum, served as host of the symposium celebrating the 20th anniversary of RFRA on Nov. 7, 2013. [Right] During the symposium, BJC General Counsel Holly Hollman and Mark Chopko, former general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, listen to Rabbi David Saperstein from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE BAPTIST JOINT COMMITTEE
Alfred Smith, a Native American and member of the Klamath tribe of southern Oregon, gained a reputation over time as an effective alcohol counselor. Smith himself had battled alcoholism for many years. His work counseling fellow Native Americans struggling with addiction took him to Colorado and then later back to his home in Oregon. Back in Oregon in the late 1970s, Smith embarked on a spiritual search and connected with the Native American Church, which uses peyote, a plant with hallucinogenic properties, in its rituals. From time to time, Smith used peyote during the rituals. Then in 1983, Smith’s curious co-worker Galen Black began to ask him questions about the substance and later took part in the sacramental ceremony. When the treatment center learned of their peyote use, both men were fired. At the time, the federal government and more than 20 states permitted the use of this illegal substance in certain religious contexts. The state of Oregon did not though. Smith and Black proceeded to apply for unemployment compensation with the state. But, their claim was rejected on the grounds that the men were ineligible due to “job-
related misconduct.” A lawsuit followed with Smith and Black arguing that this denial violated their religious freedom per the First Amendment. Their case eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled against the men on April 17, 1990. Writing for the court’s majority, Justice Antonin Scalia held that government would no longer be required to demonstrate a “compelling state interest” to justify burdening the free-exercise rights of its citizens. “If prohibiting the exercise of religion… is…merely the incidental effect of a generally applicable and otherwise valid provision, the First Amendment has not been offended,” Scalia wrote. During the previous three decades, the Supreme Court had used the “compelling interest test” to decide religious liberty cases such as this one. With this ruling, the burden was no longer on the government to demonstrate an important reason or “compelling interest” to infringe on a person’s religious freedom. The Supreme Court’s decision sparked outrage across the nation. James M. Dunn, executive director of the then-named Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs (BJC), described the ruling as an “outburst of judicial activism” and claimed that the court had “gutted the Free Exercise Clause from the First Amendment.” The BJC did not protest alone. Opposition and alarm about the Smith decision were deep and wide. Led by General Counsel Oliver “Buzz” Thomas, the BJC helped bring together a large and extremely diverse coalition of religious and civil liberties organizations, and Thomas chaired the
Former BJC Executive Director James M. Dunn (center) and former BJC General Counsel Oliver “Buzz” Thomas (right) share a laugh with President Bill Clinton following the signing of RFRA on Nov. 16, 1993.
newly-formed Coalition for the Free Exercise of Religion. The coalition drafted legislation to prevent the government, both federal and state, from substantially burdening a person’s free-exercise rights unless the burden furthered a compelling interest and was the least restrictive means of advancing that interest. This attempt to restore the “compelling interest test” faced several hurdles but was eventually passed by Congress. On Nov. 16, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into law during a ceremony in the White House’s Rose Garden, where coalition members gathered, including Thomas, Dunn and then-BJC Associate General Counsel Brent Walker. Remembering the origins of RFRA, Walker, now the BJC’s executive director — a position he has held since 1999, recently hailed the 1993 law as “the most significant piece of religious liberty legislation of our generation.” In the 20 years since the adoption of RFRA, the religious liberty road has been President Bill Clinton is joined by Vice President Al Gore and members of Congress on Nov. 16, 1993, as he signs the landmark Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Supporters shown are (from left): Rep. Don Edwards, D-Calif.; Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Gore; Rep. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio; and Sen. Mark Hatfield, R-Ore.
sometimes rough. RFRA faced an onslaught of legal challenges, and in 1997 the Supreme Court held in City of Boerne v. Flores that RFRA was unconstitutional as it applied to state laws. RFRA continued to apply to the federal government, however. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of RFRA last year, the BJC organized a symposium at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The November 7 event brought together the nation’s leading church-state experts, including key former coalition members, for a discussion on the history and future of RFRA. While some former RFRA supporters now worry about its interaction with civil rights and health care laws (e.g. the high-profile case of Sebleius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., that the Supreme Court is soon to decide), the BJC continues to champion RFRA as a much-needed protection from governmental interference with the free exercise of religion. “There will always be laws that serve a particular public interest that may be applied in ways that conflict with religion,” explained Holly Hollman, who has served as general counsel for the BJC since 2000. “Our country’s premium on religious liberty requires that we protect religious expression and have a just way to resolve those conflicts.”
BJC Executive Director J. Brent Walker introduces guests at the 2013 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly in Greensboro, N.C., on June 28, 2013. At the luncheon, CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter received the BJC’s highest honor: the J.M. Dawson Religious Liberty Award. Credit: J.V. McKinney Photo.
All living former Baptist Joint Committee general counsels gathered at the opening event for the Center for Religious Liberty on October 1, 2012. From left to right: Oliver “Buzz” Thomas (General Counsel 1985-1993), Brent Walker (1993-1999, Executive Director 1999-present), Melissa Rogers (1999-2000), and Holly Hollman (2000-present). The BJC’s first general counsel, John Baker, was named to the position in 1979 and served in that role until he passed away in 1985.
“Without RFRA, there would be no remedy for laws that conflict with religious belief unless government targeted religion,” Walker added. “RFRA is particularly wellsuited to negotiate conflict between the rights of conscience and the interest of those detrimentally affected by the accommodation of religion. RFRA does not pre-judge outcomes. It allows courts to balance the equities in a specific context — to lift burdens on the exercise of religion while sometimes setting boundaries in the interest of fairness to others.” Hollman and Walker lament the damage that political divisions have done to the ability of diverse groups, like the BJCled coalition that birthed RFRA, to work together for the sake of the common good as cooperation between such diverse groups has dwindled. “The culture wars over the past 20 years made this result almost inevitable,” Walker said. “A deepening partisanship on Capitol Hill and throughout the country makes it difficult to reach a consensus, even on issues like religious freedom. Skepticism and suspicion toward opponents seem more common than empathy and compromise,” Hollman noted. “We believe a threat to anyone’s religious freedom is a threat to everyone’s religious
freedom, and groups who may not agree on specific religious tenets can work together with the common goal of protecting liberty for all.” In 2016, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty — the only religious agency in the United States devoted solely to religious liberty and church-state separation — will celebrate its 80th anniversary. From its early opposition to tax support for private and religious schools to repeated stands against government-prescribed prayer to its ongoing effort to preserve the free exercise of religion, the BJC remains committed to Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “The Baptist Joint Committee is proud to have led the coalition that urged the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993,” Walker said. “We continue to stand up for the constitutionality of RFRA and laud its value in protecting religious liberty in an increasingly contentious ‘culture war’ environment.”
mission CBF field personnel Andy and Jutta Cowie seek to empower Haitians
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ANDY AND JUTTA COWIE
Andy and Jutta Cowie, CBF field personnel in Haiti helped to start an animal-husbandry project last summer through which they distributed 47 goats as investments to Port-au-Prince families.
By Greg Warner
Snails, rabbits, bees, goats, beets, jewelry, hats, sandals.
Those are not items for sale at a flea market or exotic bazaar. They are the tools of the trade for Andy and Jutta Cowie, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel serving in Haiti. The Cowies are in the business of building selfesteem and changing lives by helping Haitian women and men start micro-businesses to escape the country’s crushing poverty. As a car mechanic and mechanics teacher, Andy Cowie is used to working with a totally different set of tools, as is his wife, Jutta (pronounced YOO-ta), a nurse and nursing teacher. But together they are devoting their skills to economic development in the Western hemisphere’s poorest and least developed nation. Four years after a 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010, leaving 300,000 people dead and 1.6 million homeless, the Caribbean nation’s 10 million residents are still reeling. Recovery and rebuilding has been slowed by the legacy of poverty and its crippling effect on self-esteem and personal independence. Into that gap, the Cowies are trying to infuse the confidence that comes from a self-sufficient small business. And that’s where the menagerie of critters, crafts and crops comes in. All of those items and more have been attempted as micro-businesses by the women and men in the 57 Self-Help Groups (SHG) overseen by the Cowies and sponsored by CBF. fellowship!
The Cowies use the Self-Help Group model to empower people living in Haitian villages. Since they assumed leadership of the program in 2013, 20 new SHGs have been developed.
Pioneered in India and Africa, the SHG concept is to empower people in the world’s poorest communities to save money and loan it to each other in order to begin small businesses that elevate their families out of poverty. With more than 100,000 Self-Help Groups on three continents, the program has proven most successful when it starts with women and in the poorest communities. Empowering women helps the whole family, especially the children, SHG advocates say. After centuries of poverty, the people of Haiti tend to feel dependent, disempowered and distrustful, especially when money is involved, said Jutta. “People just live for today.” Among the world’s poor, saving is almost unheard of. But SHG participants are required to set aside money each week, however small the amount. Financial development leads to social development, the Cowies said. “It’s all about self-esteem,” explained Jutta, a veteran mission worker from Germany. Participants learn to trust and work with each other, discover their personal strengths and find a self-confidence most never knew they could attain, she said. Each Self-Help Group is autonomous, Jutta noted. Participants “make up their own rules, set their meetings. We want to give them a voice, help them see their own resources.” In the SHG model, a group is formed when there are about 20 interested women in a village or community. Each group is led by a facilitator, who relates to about eight other facilitators in a “cluster.” Each facilitator in a cluster has been cultivated by a trainer. It’s Jutta’s job to recruit and train the trainers, whom she describes as “stakeholders in the communities.” The Cowies work with about eight trainers now, yet they still visit the individual groups regularly. 24
The program in Haiti was launched in July 2011. When the Cowies assumed leadership in April 2013, there were 37 Self-Help Groups. All 57 groups there now follow the SHG model of microenterprise, adapted from the experience of others in Ethiopia, except in Haiti there are also men’s groups. Although the Self-Help Group program is “Christian-based,” begun by Christian charities and each group meeting in Haiti begins with prayer and a song, the program itself is not “overtly Christian,” Andy pointed out. “They take on everyone,” he said. “The first priority is to get people out of poverty. We’re not evangelists. We’re showing Christ through our actions. If people come to Christ because they see how a Christian behaves, that’s great.” Jutta said she is encouraged by the growth of the small groups in Haiti but, like many things in the country, the pace of progress seems to be “two steps ahead and one step back.” Volunteers who visit the Caribbean nation are also overwhelmed by the magnitude of the needs. “The problems are complex and have repeated in varying ways for generations,” said Matt Tennant, pastor of Kilmarnock (Va.) Baptist Church, who went to Haiti in February with two others from his church to work with the Cowies. The team built cubbyhole cabinets for the 28 children of the Source of Light Center orphanage. “Addressing the problems in a country like Haiti can feel very much like spitting in the ocean,” Tennant lamented. “It just doesn’t change anything. … One could easily have a sense of hopelessness and get overwhelmed trying to address all the problems. “As we drove around [Port-au-Prince], I found myself constantly dwelling on the devastation and poor conditions. It takes a strong people to endure what they have. Very few people could experience
tragedy on the scale of Haiti and yet persevere.” Tennant said the Cowies’ Self-Help Groups are the most significant thing the couple is doing in Haiti. “It gives the participants the potential to transcend poverty and create a better life. It is real Kingdom work.” Ric Wyatt and Tim Owen, both members of First Baptist Church of Woodbridge, Va., spent a week in 2012 replacing the cinder-block home that a Haitian woman lost in the earthquake. While the elderly woman was “overwhelmingly grateful” for the new home — to the point of helping carry building materials to the site — the Cowies’ life-changing strategies will make an even bigger difference, Wyatt said. “I think it is fabulous and it will prove to be what it takes to have an enduring impact.” “Groups can continuously send food or clothes or build houses,” Wyatt said, “but it is not until the people of Haiti are able to help themselves that they will really recover. … They need the training, ideas and business resources to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit. Andy and Jutta are helping them with that.” Such a mindset change is crucial to the Cowies’ success, Owen agreed. “As I see it, their work is really hard. It doesn’t give immediate opportunity for the gospel. And it’s even difficult to grasp where…they introduce the idea of ‘abundant life.’” A mission team from Kilmarnock Baptist Church in Virginia recently visited the Cowies and constructed cubbyhole cabinets for the 28 children of the Source of Light Center orphanage.
At the same time, Wyatt said he was “moved by the spirit of a people so devastated by disaster. There is, even in such a poor place, still a lot of joy. … They are confronted by such poverty on a daily basis, yet they worship with an enthusiasm I have seldom seen.” For a chance to make a long-term investment in a mission setting, Andy and Jutta Cowie became Baptist workers — first in 2010 for the United Kingdom-based BMS World Mission (formerly Baptist Missionary Society) and then in 2012 with CBF for a long-term development post in Haiti. Previously each of them had more than a decade of experience — Jutta in China, Jamaica and Honduras; Andy in Romania and Hungary; and together in Ghana, Guinea, Liberia and France. “We had asked to go to Haiti in February 2010, right after the earthquake,” Jutta recalled. Instead, BMS World Mission sent them to Guinea, but the project there failed to materialize. Meanwhile, BMS had channeled some of its earthquake relief funds for Haiti through CBF, Andy said. But the missions organization wanted to make the partnership with CBF more personal by jointly sending field personnel. “We had already done French [language] training for Guinea,” Andy recalled. “So BMS asked if we wanted to go to Haiti.” When the Cowies first arrived in Haiti, they lived for four months at the Source of Light Center while they looked for permanent housing. The orphanage is sponsored by the Haiti Baptist Convention, Hungarian Baptist Aid, Baptist World Alliance and the Baptist General Association of Virginia. Although it’s not part of their assigned duties, the couple remains close to the children, hosting small groups at their apartment or taking all of them to the beach. “It’s difficult not to get involved when there are 28 children running around looking for attention,” Andy explained. Using a facility at the orphanage, Andy recently set up a vocational program to train auto mechanics. It’s a logical idea — old, broken-down cars are a constant eyesore on Haitian streets, giving mechanics job security. But when the Cowies recently returned from a training trip to Ethiopia, the 20 student mechanics had all lost interest and vanished.
[Above left] Jutta trains SHG women to make jewelry, which helps build their confidence. [top right] A SHG facilitator shares seeds and his knowledge as a farmer with the group. [Bottom right] One of the SHG women poses with her family in front of her necklaces and other microbusiness products.
Andy hopes to revive the program, but such experiences try one’s patience. “Two steps forward, one step back.” An animal-husbandry project last summer was more successful, and Andy wants to repeat it. Working with the nonprofit Food for the Poor and a Haitian church, they distributed 47 goats as investments to Port-au-Prince families. When the goats produce offspring, they are sold and the money either pays school fees for their children or is donated back into the program. In the first year, 20 female goats produced offspring. Finding just the right product is the key to microenterprise. Making fledgling businesses sustainable is a real challenge. Jutta trains SHG women to make jewelry, but it doesn’t sell well in Haiti. An export market can be found in England and the United States, she said, but “the quality needs to be perfect,” and export logistics can be a drawback. Instead of profit, the jewelry projects empower the self-help entrepreneurs by building their confidence. Now the women want to try making sandals and hats. Both
are ever-present in Haiti, so the prospect for success might improve. The Cowies point to the story of Eniel Monfacil, from the town of Plaisance, who became a successful businessman through a Self-Help Group. He took a loan, bought a small truck and started collecting metal in Port-au-Prince to sell in Plaisance. He was able to repay his loan, send his children to school and find his missing self-confidence. In January, Jutta brought on her replacement — a new trainer coordinator for the Haiti SHG program. It’s an essential step because the Cowies’ field assignment in Haiti is planned to end in the summer of 2015. It’s important that the work of rebuilding lives continues. “Andy and Jutta are incredible people — fun, committed to the Lord, examples of God’s grace in action,” Tennant said. “Their heart is for mission work, for serving people.”
Ministers from across the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship gathered at First Baptist Church, Huntsville, Ala., Feb. 24-26, for the 2014 Churchworks! Conference. This annual gathering aims to create space for renewal in ministry through the practices of creativity, community and worship. With the theme “The Storytellers,” these ministers shared and listened to one another’s stories, creating a deeper bond between those present and invigorating participants with a renewed sense of passion and joy. Featured speakers Bill Stanfield (pictured right, third down in orange), co-founder of the Metanoia Community Development Corporation of North Charleston, S.C., and renowned storyteller Tim Lowry (pictured opposite center), guided conference participants through the act of storytelling and inspired the group through sharing their own stories. Two ministers were presented awards at the conference for their excellence in Christian education ministry and leadership. Terri Byrd (pictured opposite, bottom right), coordinator of Alabama CBF, was honored with the Jack Naish Distinguished Christian Educators Award, and Carol McEntyre (top left), pastor of First Baptist Church, Columbia, Mo., received the Young Baptist Leadership Award.
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CBF Peer Learning Groups Encouraging growth and fellowship among ministers
rowing up as a pastor’s kid, I watched as my dad struggled through the difficult days of ministry and celebrated the triumphs — and there were many of both. Sitting around the dinner table, my family shared the stories of our time apart from one another. Though there was much my dad could not share with us, I noticed certain days when the tone behind the stories was different. These were days when he seemed to be experiencing more calm and living into a deeper sense of hope.
By Emily Holladay
Paying attention, I realized that a common thread held these days together — they were the days my dad gathered with other pastors in the area for fellowship and a journey through spiritual disciplines. Getting together with these friends and colleagues gave my dad much joy. Ask him and he’d tell you that this time spent with peers was the most meaningful part of his self-care as a minister. Twenty years after the group’s first meeting, they continue to gather every Monday. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is committed to facilitating this same kind of life-giving camaraderie among ministers. In 2003, CBF launched the Peer Learning Groups (PLGs) initiative to provide an environment that leads to healthier ministers who embody excellence in their field.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CBF PEER LEARNING GROUPS
“Though all PLGs are different, the common tie that binds each together is that they allow ministers to take time for themselves to grow together and to become better stewards of the ministry shared with the people they serve.”
Peer Learning Groups are small communities of ministers that meet monthly for discussion and fellowship. Pictured above is a PLG that met for a picnic and history program at the historic Polegreen church site in Hanover County, Va.
PLGs are small communities of ministers that meet monthly for discussion of ministry-related issues, fellowship, Bible study and other formational activities. These groups are typically small, which allows for more familiarity and comfort within the community, and are led by a trained convener. Currently, CBF sponsors more than 100 peer groups and the initiative continues to expand. PLGs are each different in make-up and function and include all types of ministers. Some are comprised of pastors, while others include music ministers or education ministers and the list goes on. Janice Haywood, childhood ministry specialist and adjunct professor at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, N.C., convenes a PLG for women ministers in North Carolina and Virginia. “I have a group of ministers that understand ministry, especially the challenges of women in ministry, and I have learned from all of them, although our situations are different,” Haywood noted. “We also are different ages and that has stimulated mutual learning.” Haywood’s group meets six times a year, with a weekend retreat every October led by a guest from outside the group. Because the
This Missouri PLG invites a professor each year to lead the group in a discussion of important topics in church life from nearby Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kan. To celebrate their 10th anniversary as a PLG, Central Seminary President Molly Marshall (pictured center) joined for the group’s celebration.
members are spread across two states, the group alternates between the mountains and the beach, so everyone has the opportunity to “get away.” These meetings create a sense of safety and openness between the women and, says Haywood, a bond for life. In Missouri, Doyle Sager, pastor of First Baptist Church Jefferson City, and his PLG are celebrating their 10th year of learning and growing together as pastors and associate pastors. “Over the past 15 years, Missouri has been a very difficult setting insofar as denominational identity,” Sager said. “Fierce battles have been fought over the soul of our Baptist life and suspicion has been cast on many of us moderate pastors who do not toe the line with those who took over the state convention. Our peer learning group has given pastors a safe place to ‘be,’ and has provided encouragement and assurance that we are not alone.” Sager’s group participates in enrichment events, where they use CBF’s yearly $500 grant to invite a professor from Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kan., to lead the group in a study of important topics in church life. “Recently, we studied with a professor about the unique claims of Christ in a pluralistic culture. The group felt free to ask tough questions and explore ‘what ifs.’ Some of us had not had that kind
This group of PLG ministers from North Carolina occasionally goes on a theme-focused retreat — their 2013 retreat theme was “Coming home to our own personal Bethany.”
of opportunity to ruminate, probe and test boundaries since our seminary days,” Sager explained. Though all PLGs are different, the common tie that binds each together is that they allow ministers to take time for themselves to grow together and to become better stewards of the ministry shared with the people they serve. Brian Hill is pastor of First Baptist Church, Littlefield, Texas. His peer group has enabled him to become more intentional about the ways he engages spiritual practices in his congregation. “I have gained some great, creative ideas about how to make particular practices more meaningful for our people,” Hill shared. “For instance, I have a personal mandate for myself that I never want communion to become routine. I want it to be fresh and moving each time we observe it. I have received some helpful ideas from the other folks in the group.” Hill emphasized that PLGs aid in breaking down barriers that prevent ministers from caring for one another. “The most meaningful aspect of being part of our PLG is the brotherhood that has formed. So often there is competition between pastors — almost a one-upmanship that occurs. I am not saying there is never a healthy sense of competition, but I feel there is a real bond,” Hill said. “I trust them and feel I could share just about anything with the group.” CBF is committed to expanding the PLG initiative because of the overwhelming impact it continues to have on ministers across the Fellowship. If you are not in a PLG, CBF is eager to help you find or start one. If you are a church member, encourage your ministers to connect with a local PLG. My dad’s story is far from unique. He is just one of many ministers whose life has been transformed through a peer learning group!
Want to find out if there is a PLG in your area? Looking to start a PLG? Visit www.thefellowship.info/peerlearninggroups or connect with CBF Missional Congregations Director Harry Rowland at email@example.com.
Two Arkansas PLGs joined together last year for a relaxing weekend of learning and growing at Mount Eagle Retreat Center in Clinton, Ark.
CBF field personnel Aaron and Stephanie Glenn combat human trafficking through advocacy and survivor care.
Visit thefellowship.info/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: • Around the Table discussion guide • Missions moment outline • Book discussion guide on A Place at the Table
Learn more about the work of CBF field personnel Aaron and Stephanie Glenn at thefellowship.info/glenn
Pray for the work of CBF field personnel and staff as well as chaplains and pastoral counselors. Prayers of the People is available in multiple formats at thefellowship.info/pray
Interact with field personnel and other mission and ministry leaders who deal with advocacy at missioncommunities.org/justice
Your generous gifts are vital to the work of CBF field personnel and other Fellowship ministries. Find out more at thefellowship.info/give 30
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Human Trafficking Missions Education Resource for small groups:
The outline below is designed for adult mission groups, Bible study classes and 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. This session centers on Aaron and Stephanie Glenn, CBF field personnel working to combat human trafficking and assist victims with rebuilding their lives in Los Angeles, Calif. Read the article on pp. 8-9 in preparation for leading the discussion. Gather copies of this issue of fellowship! for participants. 2. Begin by asking what the following people have in common: “Lucretia Mott, Henry Ward Beecher, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Angelina and Sarah Grimké” (All 19th century abolitionists). 3. Say that while race-based slavery was abolished long ago, we still have the need for abolitionists today, like the Glenns who work in Los Angeles. Human trafficking, the forced labor of a person through coercion, violence or threat of violence, is a “$32 billion-a-year global industry” affecting more than “21 million people worldwide.” 4. Explain that California is one of the top four U.S. destinations for human trafficking. Spurred by the active love described in 1 John 3, the Glenns participate in both “big-picture advocacy and acute care for survivors,” addressing human trafficking on the systemic and personal level. 5. Invite someone to read paragraphs 10-15, which describe the Glenns’ work with Oasis USA, focusing on education and advocacy, and CAST, focusing on acute care with
survivors. In both cases, the Glenns connect congregations to the organizations’ mission, allowing the two groups to learn from each other. 6. Remind the group that when God freed the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, there was a long, difficult period of wandering in the wilderness (Exod. 12:33ff). Invite the group to brainstorm what a trafficking survivor might need to get through the wilderness of returning to a normal life. 7. Explain the Open Table ministry model where “volunteers from both churches and nonprofit sectors surround a human trafficking survivor with resources and assistance for one year as he or she emerges from forced labor.” Ask how this model might be effective and also show the love and attention of Jesus. 8. End with Henri Nouwen’s words quoted by the Glenns in the final paragraph. Pray for the work of Aaron and Stephanie Glenn and anti-human trafficking work worldwide. Pray for God’s guidance on how your congregation can provide the kind of hospitality where God’s healing can take place.
Many CBF churches work with an Interfaith Hospitality Network to help homeless families in their communities.
Visit thefellowship.info/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: • Small Group resource • At Home with Kids discussion guide • Book discussion guide on The International Bank of Bob
CBF churches and field personnel are actively addressing homelessness. Engage in conversation and share ideas online at missioncommunities.org/poverty
Get involved in helping homeless families through short- or long-term service at thefellowship.info/serve
CBF’s Prayers of the People can help you pray specifically for CBF missions and ministries around the world. Visit thefellowship.info/pray
The Fellowship is supported primarily by gifts from churches. Find out ways your church can make a difference at thefellowship.info/give
Missions Education Resource for use as a missions moment during worship: The outline below is designed for congregational, missions or worship leaders to share during a Sunday or mid-week worship service. Consider providing extra copies of fellowship! for individuals who want to learn more.
1. This missions moment highlights the Interfaith Hospitality Network ministry with homeless families (pp. 14-17). If your church is involved with IHN, consider having an experienced volunteer lead this time and share about the experience of showing hospitality to a family in need. 2. Begin by saying, “In the past several years, Americans have experienced economic struggles that have led to financial hardship for many families. Some families live only one crisis away from homelessness. A job loss, a debilitating illness, a terrible accident can all lead to homelessness.” 3. Explain that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were also temporarily homeless when they fled to Egypt to escape Herod in Matthew 2:13-15. Say, “One crisis changed everything in their lives.” 4. Say, “Homeless families need temporary housing until they can get back on their feet again, which is where ministries like Interfaith Hospitality Networks come in.” Explain how IHN works as churches provide weekly shelter and meals for families.
5. If your church is involved with an IHN, allow a volunteer to share a particular experience of serving homeless families. Otherwise, share about how volunteers with Trinity Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C., have been impacted by their area IHN (paragraphs 10-13). 6. Explain that Fellowship congregations and individuals are helping families to remain intact during the crisis of homelessness through IHN. Share that IHN reports that on average 75 percent of guest families secure temporary or permanent housing within two months of entering the network. 7. If your church is involved in an IHN, end with a call for any volunteer needs and a prayer for the work of this key ministry with homeless families. If your church is not involved, pray for these networks and the families they serve and encourage your congregation to look for ways to meet the needs of homeless families.
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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