A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship â€˘ www.cbf.net
Burmese refugees spark renewal for Richmond congregation
Net Work FOR MANY YEARS, I have worshipped beneath these beautifully simple fishing nets draped across the chancel of the sanctuary at First Baptist Church of Austin, Texas. Nets are not a common item in our 21st century American culture, but they were oddly present in the Gospel accounts. In Matthew and Mark, disciples are casting nets, washing nets and leaving nets to follow Jesus. The fifth chapter of the Gospel of Luke describes Jesus teaching multitudes from a boat and then directing Simon to push out and let down his net that is soon full of fish after Simon’s obedience to Jesus’ command. In the Gospel of Matthew, the kingdom of God is described as a net full of squirmy fish of many kinds. It is a picture of abundance and God’s generous strength; and although laden, the nets do not break. John returns to nets late in his Gospel. Post-resurrection, when the disciples don’t know it’s Jesus, he directs them to recast their empty net and find it full. Their eyes open to Jesus’ presence upon obeying his direction. These biblical reminders have forever linked the simple net as an image of call and resilient discipleship. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has been called a “big tent” organization — I prefer “big net.” A tangle of twine creates unexpected strength in the form of very breakable parts, which, when knotted and woven together, are strong and fruitful. We have some net-casting to do and some net-mending too. Listening to the news of strife and dissension, seeking solidarity with Christians around the world, dodging the polarization and reductionism of tit-for-tat communication, healing and tending needs in ministry prompt me to ask of us as CBF Christ-followers — where shall we cast a net in obedience toward resilient discipleship? One direction is clear: God has brought us to the starboard deck of global faith and we are beckoned toward stronger relationships with Baptist Christians around the world. Our work in each congregation is to build resilient discipleship in all quarters of the world
— in spite of our cultural and interpretive differences. Faced with the searing image of kneeling Coptic martyrs on the shore of the Mediterranean, the cruel brutality of a violent regime left me with the feeling of sheer helplessness and undeniable connectedness. In a small gesture of Christian solidarity, I spoke their names aloud in prayer. Casting a wide net begins at home. Net work speaks out. The acts and lives of ordinary Christians engaged in acts of love bear repeating. Were it not for her tragic death in Syria, we would never have seen the letters of Kayla Mueller. She was a faithful woman. Hear Kayla’s words: “I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c literally there was no one else…+ by God + by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall.” After reading these words, journalist Krista Tippett of On Being remarked: “[Kayla’s] letter to her parents, sent while in captivity, reminds me of my reading of mystics and saints across the ages, including Julian of Norwich and Mother Theresa…our world is abundant with quiet, hidden lives of beauty and courage and goodness. There are thousands, if not millions, of people at any given moment, young and old, giving themselves over to service, risking hope, and all the while ennobling us all.” Kayla was herself a knotted place in the net of Christ-like love. When Jesus pulled the fishermen away from the shore and said they would be fishers of men, he was making of them a net to catch the world in free fall. We need to be a big net, not for diversity sake, but because the world in free fall is so big and in need of reconciling and healing love. Join in and be formed together with CBF missions and ministries and churches across the United States and around the world in resilient discipleship. Although laden, the net will not break.
SUZII PAYNTER is Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Follow her on Twitter at @SuziiSYP.
A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
Volume 25, Number 2
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. EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR Suzii Paynter ASSOCIATE COORDINATOR, FELLOWSHIP ADVANCEMENT Jeff Huett EDITOR Aaron Weaver GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Jeff Langford, Travis Peterson ASSOCIATE EDITOR Carrie McGuffin ASSISTANT EDITOR Candice Young PHONE (770) 220-1600
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BEING CHURCH TOGETHER Richmond congregation finds renewal among Burmese refugees By Blake Tommey
FROM THE EDITOR MEET KHAN NAW — the man featured on the cover of this April/May 2015 issue of fellowship! magazine. Khan is a recent graduate of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond who is now pursuing a D.Min. at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Mass. Khan is Kachin and, prior to coming to the United States on a student visa, was a youth worker for the Kachin Baptist Convention in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Khan’s story is part and parcel of the story of Tabernacle Baptist Church, an incredibly diverse congregation located in the heart of the Fan District in Richmond, Va., where he served as a pastoral intern. Blake Tommey beautifully tells Tabernacle’s story on pp. 8-10. The story of Richmond’s Tabernacle Baptist is a story of a once-rapidly declining congregation that experienced renewal through welcoming Burmese newcomers — families of Chin, Karen, Kachin and Lisu refugees. These Burmese refugees transformed the 128-year-old church into a multi-ethnic, multi-language community of faith, where adults and children lead worship together — praying, proclaiming, reading scripture in their native language, without translation. “Our partnership with refugees from Burma is not a ministry of the church, it is the church,” said Tabernacle pastor Sterling Severns. “We’re raising our children together. …We’re being church together.” Being church together. This is what partnering to renew God’s world is about.
AMANI SASA Missy Ward-Angalla transforms lives with a ministry of healing and empowerment in Uganda By Emily Holladay
CBF SEMINARIAN RETREAT Participants reflect on an inaugural event for CBF seminary students By Alicia Myers and Alan Miller
JAPAN: A COMPLEX CHALLENGE FOR THE GOSPEL Carson and Laura Foushee serve in a country of contradictions By Greg Warner
5 SHOWING UP By Rachel Gunter Shapard In Florida, amazing things happen when people and churches show up
12 FORMING TOGETHER Voices from across the Fellowship respond to CBF’s new tagline
22 CHURCHWORKS: THEOLOGY MATTERS Church leaders gather to renew ministry
28 CBF, BWA EXPAND PARTNERSHIP AT UN By Aaron Weaver Mark Wiggs to lead CBF’s international advocacy efforts
29 CBF FORMS MISSIONS STRATEGY COMMITTEE By Aaron Weaver New ad hoc committee to aid Global Missions strategic planning
AARON WEAVER is the Editor of fellowship! Connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org
30 AFFECT: APRIL 2015 Being Church Together
31 AFFECT: MAY 2015
Ministry of Healing and Empowerment A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 5
prayerspeople of the
Renewing God’s World By Bo Prosser
n Al Gore’s Academy Award winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” he challenges us all to be stewards of the environment. Gore is not about politics in this movie; he’s about a renewal of creation. Regardless of what you think of environmental issues, Gore certainly gives us things to think about. The environment is definitely in transition. In Georgia we need rain while other parts of the nation face potential floods. Fires rage in some parts of our nation while snow piles up on the streets of others. Nature is groaning and many of us are acting as if we have no responsibility. But we do! What can you do about floods or snow or fire? Maybe nothing, maybe something! Gore charges us to take some responsibility. God challenges us too! Find ways to get involved and help renew the environment, treating God’s world God’s way! Partnering with God in renewing God’s world is certainly about more than just the environment. God’s people need renewal, God’s church needs renewal, our relationships with God and one another need renewal. Find ways to get involved and be an instrument of renewal in your community, your church, your family. One specific way we can be instruments of renewal is by praying. The Psalmist, the Apostle Paul, Francis of Assissi, great theological thinkers throughout history have challenged us to pray for renewal. So, as you pray in the next few weeks, pray for renewal. Pray for your own personal renewal, pray for the renewal of your community and your congregation and pray for those around you. As you pray, also pray for a couple of the names listed to the right. Pray specifically for some aspect of renewal to be evident in their lives, in their ministries and in their areas of service. While for many this should be a very simple activity, there are many “inconvenient truths” to wrestle with around renewal. Pray, engage, be renewed!
BO PROSSER is the CBF Coordinator of Organizational Relationships. Follow him on Twitter at @BoProsser.
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, Pittsburgh, PA (CH) Greg Smith, Fredericksburg, VA (FP) 2 Christie McTier, Dearing, GA (CH) Leonora Newell, San Antonio, TX (FP) Wayde Pope, Crestview, FL (CH) 3 Charles Mason, Mansfield, OH (CH) Mark Reece, Elkin, NC (CH) Wayne Sibley, Pineville, LA (CH) Jamie Strom (S-Decatur) Thomas Wicker, Salado, TX (CH) 4 Truett, 2011, Southeast Asia (FPC) 5 Darcie Jones, Columbia, SC (CH) Eddy Ruble, Southeast Asia (FP) 6 Ka’thy Gore Chappell (S-North Carolina) Steven Mills, Flat Rock, NC (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 Olen Grubbs, Hixson, TN (CH) Jessica Hearne, Danville, VA (FP) Scarlette Jasper, Somerset, KY (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-Decatur) Andy Hale, Clayton, NC (PLT) Beverly Hatcher, Winston-Salem, NC (PLT) 13 Steve Sullivan, Little Rock, AR (CH) Brian A. Warfield, Spencer, OK (CH) 14 Kerri Kroeker, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (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) 17 David Jones, Newberg, OR (CH) 18 Cyrus Bush, Pfafftown, NC (CH) Ray Cooley, Wallingford, CT (CH) Mason Jackson III, Fort Myers, FL (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) 22 Tere Canzoneri (S-Decatur) 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-Decatur) 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)
MAY 1 Michael Coggins, Navarre, FL (CH) Katherine Higgins, Wilmington, NC (CH) Bob Whitten, Springfield, VA (PC) 2 Cathy Cole, Aiken, SC (CH) Stephen Murphy, Hull, MA (CH) Deborah Reeves, Atlanta, GA (CH) Matthew Sherin, 2004, Mitchell, SD (FPC) Lynn Walker, Chickasha, OK (PLT) Terry Wilson, Mt. Pleasant, SC (CH) 3 Raeburn Horne, Louisville, KY (CH) 4 Johann Choi, Decatur, GA (CH) Gary Metcalf, Kingsport, TN (CH) George Sipek, Lillington, NC (CH) Skip Wisenbaker, Atlanta, GA (CH) 5 Austin, 2004, Thailand (FPC) Bruce Gourley, Bozeman, MT (PLT) 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) Bruce Hunter, Midlothian, VA (PLT) Brenda Pace Jones, Hendersonville, NC (PC) 9 Rich Behers, Lakeland, FL (CH) David Harding, Orlando, FL (FP) Leigh Jackson, Austin, TX (CH) Deidra Sullivan (S-Decatur) 10 T.J. Cofield, Columbia, SC (CH) Jane McKown, Hendersonville, NC (CH) 11 Larry Ballew, China (FP) Leah Boling, Waipahu, HI (CH) Robbi Francovich, Emeritus (FP) Jonna Humphrey, Manassas, VA (CH) Cy Miller, Marion, NC (CH) 12 Lori Irons-Crenshaw (S-Decatur) 13 Tracy Dunn-Noland, Hereford, TX (CH) Samson Naidoo, Denison, TX (CH) 14 Scott McBroom, Charleston, SC (PC) JoAnne Morris, Louisville, KY (CH) Rob Norman, North Brunswick, NC (PLT) 15 Philip Johnson, Winston-Salem, NC (CH) Paula Settle, Eastern Kentucky (FP) 16 ________, daughter, North Africa (FPC) Daniel Bland, Chelsea, AL (CH) Steven Harris, Salem, VA (PC) John Reeser, Sautee Nacoochee, GA (CH) Alex Ruble, 2001, Southeast Asia (FPC) Barry Wright, Jacksonville, FL (PLT) 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, NC (PC) Ciera Maas, 2003, Belize (FPC) Christa Sfameni (S-Decatur) 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 Jon Ivy, Tuscaloosa, AL (CH) Gabe Lyon, 2005, Atlanta, GA (FPC) Steven Unger, Falls Church, VA (CH) 23 Cheryl Adamson, Conway, SC (PLT) Polly Barnes, Brandon, MS (CH) Jared Neal, Atlanta, GA (CH) John Schumacher, Smyrna, GA (CH) Stephanie Vance (S-Decatur) 24 Harold Phillips (S-Heartland) Paulette Porter-Hallmon, Spartanburg, SC (CH) 26 Valerie Hardy, Loganville, GA (CH) Hunter, Thailand (FP) Gerry Hutchinson, (S-Decatur) 27 Grace Freeman (S-Decatur) 28 Hardy Clemons, San Antonio, TX (PC) Kenneth LeBon, Fayetteville, NC (CH) Laurel Morrow, 1992, Aledo, TX (FPC) 30 Randy Ridenour, Norman, OK (CH) Winston Shearin, Jacksonville, NC (CH) 31 Stacey Buford, Murfreesboro, TN (CH) LouRae Myhre-Weber, Twin Bridges, MT (CH) Kelley Woggon, Louisville, KY (CH)
fellowship voices Showing Up By Rachel Gunter Shapard
ow are Cooperative Baptists in Florida serving as partners in renewing God’s world? The most basic representation is this: individuals and churches are simply showing up. For two years, CityGate Ministries in Fort Myers has been showing up in the nearby neighborhood of Southward Village, home to a public housing complex of more than 200 units. During monthly Rock the Block events, CityGate members have shown up to paint faces, serve lunch, lead recreational games and establish relationships with the people of this marginalized community. They have created the space for joy in a neighborhood where joyfulness has been severely lacking. When an aspiring female chaplain came to North Stuart Baptist Church after discovering that her own church would not ordain her, the saints of NSBC showed up to offer Bettina Phagan support, encouragement and resources. Cooperative Baptists in Stuart have introduced Bettina to a new network of Baptists — those that will affirm her calling into gospel ministry, recognizing that her gender is inconsequential in light of her giftedness and willingness to serve. Members of Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispaña de Deltona are showing up each week to experience spiritual formation sessions. More than 30 members of this Latino congregation have placed value on expanding their understanding of the discipline of prayer. These Cooperative Baptists have found that in cultivating this spiritual discipline they are able to more fully discern their role in renewing God’s world. When a study was released showing that 24,000-plus children in Leon County suffer from food insecurity and more than 50 percent of public school students require meal assistance, churches in Tallahassee showed up to take action. First Baptist Church of Tallahassee became a partner in A Full Summer, an initiative launched in 2013 by St. John’s Episcopal Church to feed children who might otherwise go hungry during the summer months. This year, more than 250 volunteers from First Baptist, St. John’s as well as other community members will gather to assemble low-cost meals for families in need. These two congregations are raising $20,000 to provide 60,000 nutritious meals!
Over the past year, Cooperative Baptists in Florida and the Caribbean set a goal to raise $55,000 for the Annual Missions Offering, with half of the proceeds pledged to support CBF field personnel serving in Florida as well as field personnel from the Sunshine State. Floridians are showing up to support authentic, life-changing ministries. Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville recently planned an intergenerational mission work day. One of the projects for the day was tending the congregation’s community garden, which provides fresh vegetables to an area food bank. On the work day, a small group of church members showed up to participate. Children and adults pulled up fresh carrots and potatoes and cut off lettuce leaves. An eight-year-old boy learned how to till the soil to prepare for a new planting. As the work in the garden continued, the most amazing thing happened: the people on the ball field next door began coming over to see what all the excitement was about. The younger siblings of those playing ball were the first to arrive. “What are you doing?” they asked. “Can we help?” Then the parents of the children walked over to check on their kids and more questions followed. “What’s going on? Can we pitch in?” What started out as a small group of Hendricks Avenue members soon became a small crowd. A few people who showed up to nourish their community for the sake of love inspired others to do the same. Taking part in the renewing of God’s world turns out to be contagious and compelling! Time and time again, Cooperative Baptists in Florida have found that the most basic act of being present as partners in the renewing of God’s world creates the opportunity for something beautiful to emerge. God is able to go above and beyond all that we might ask or think — it all starts with simply showing up.
RACHEL GUNTER SHAPARD serves as the Associate Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida.
A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 5
2015 CBF General Assembly DALLAS, TEXAS June 15-19
When you register for Assembly, you are automatically entered to win one of three prizes! • A one-night stay at the Hyatt Regency Dallas • An iPad mini • A basket full of goodies with the new CBF logo
Sign up for free: www.cbf.net/assembly
WORSHIP In a city where an impressive bridge has become a symbol of strength and barrier breaking, we will celebrate the “bridges” within the life of the Fellowship. As we are forming together, we will be blessed for the bridges we are building and challenged by the bridges left to build.
SPECIAL EVENTS THURSDAY EVENING, pastors George Mason and Frederick Haynes will share how they have built bridges between their churches and their city. While there are still chasms to span in our world, Mason and Haynes will share with us how their “bridge building” is making a difference in their communities and congregations.
WEDNESDAY EVENING, we will bless and commission field personnel, church starters, chaplains and pastoral counselors as they build bridges across the United States and around the world. These committed men and women are partnering with us as we seek renewal in God’s world.
FRIDAY EVENING, we will close the Assembly celebrating the “bridge” that God has built to us through Jesus the Christ by joining around the Lord’s Table in communion. Additionally, pastors of three CBF congregations, Preston Clegg, Julie Merritt Lee and Jim Somerville, will challenge us to continue spanning the obstacles that loom in our culture.
THE GATHERING PLACE There will be more than 50 interactive booths representing the Fellowship, our partners and our friends. Come meet field personnel and learn about CBF programs and initiatives at dedicated spaces for our missions and ministries, the Young Baptist Ecosystem, Church Benefits and the CBF Foundation.
WORKSHOPS This year, we will be offering four workshop sessions with more than 80 options for learning and sharing. There will also be topical tracks to make finding workshop resources easier, including: • • • • • • • •
Women in Ministry Christian Advocacy Global Missions Local Missions Worship/Music Ministry Current Issues Spiritual Formation Pastors
The CBF Missions Market sells a variety of global goods from artisans directly connected to the work of field personnel. The proceeds of items sold go directly back to their crafters. The Silent Auction is back, so bring your money to pay and trucks to haul it away! We have more than 20 unique (and some big) items from all over the world that will be ready for bids.
AGE ASSEMBLIES • • • •
Preschool Assembly: Registration fee: $75 Children’s Day Camp: Registration fee: $95 Youth Assembly: Registration fee: $110 Dallas Sessions for College and Graduate Students – Topic: A Conversation about Mental Health: Registration fee: $68
Childcare will be available for preschoolaged children during the Wednesday night Commissioning Service. Cost: $15 per child
WE LUNCHES The WE Lunch “welcomes everyone” who wants to share a lunch time and space with others from CBF. Attending General Assembly alone? A first-timer? Would you enjoy meeting others from the Fellowship? Sign up. NETWORK BREAKFASTS Attend a networking breakfast for conversation, learning and fellowship with people who share your ministry practice and can offer a community of support. Choose from a variety of networking breakfast opportunities available both Thursday and Friday of Assembly. NEWCOMER BREAKFAST Never been to Assembly? The Newcomer Breakfast is a great time to ask questions and meet new friends. PEER LEARNING GROUP BREAKFAST Join us for a celebration of Peer Learning Groups! Ken Medema and Meredith Stone will lead our time together as we gather over breakfast to celebrate the stories, relationships, learning, worship and fellowship experienced in Peer Learning Groups. BAPTIST JOINT COMMITTEE FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COUNCIL LUNCHEON Join friends of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty at the annual Religious Liberty Council Luncheon with keynote speaker, Rev. Marvin A. McMickle, Ph.D., President, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. In 2014, Dr. McMickle published Pulpit & Politics: Separation of Church & State in the Black Church. There are even more great events: • CBF Prayer Retreat • Leadership Institute • New Baptist Covenant Luncheon • Church Benefits Board Luncheon • Leadership Banquet (for current Governing Board and former Coordinating Council Members) • Receptions and meal events hosted by CBF-partner seminaries and theological schools • CBF Foundation Heritage Society Breakfast • Annual Gathering of Friends of the Baptist News Global Dinner
A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 5
Being church together RICHMOND CONGREGATION FINDS RENEWAL AMONG BURMESE REFUGEES By Blake Tommey
â€œWhen these kinds of things happen in my life, things that are so clearly filled with more beauty or redemption or reconciliation than my cranky personality and stony heart could ever manufacture on their own, I just have no other explanation than this: God,â€? writes pastor-author Nadia Bolz-Weber in her popular book Pastrix. 8 |
A once-dying congregation, Tabernacle Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., has found renewal through a partnership with Burmese refugees. “Our partnership with refugees from Burma is not a ministry of the church, it is the church,” said Tabernacle pastor Sterling Severns. “We’re raising our children together.”
For Tabernacle Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., and pastor Sterling Severns, God is the only explanation after communities of Chin, Karen, Kachin and Lisu refugees from Burma doubled the size of their congregation and completely transformed the way they do church. Through a mission to help resettle refugees from Burma and discover a new church alongside each other, the people of Tabernacle Baptist are partnering together to renew God’s world. The beauty and redemption, said Severns, comes in how a multi-ethnic, multi-colored, multi-language and multi-opinionated mass can become a community that learns from one another and allows itself to be changed through partnership. “Our partnership with refugees from Burma is not a ministry of the church, it is the church,” Severns explained. “We’re raising our children together. The pews are full of all kinds of ethnic groups. On any given Sunday, the doxology could be in one of seven languages, untranslated. We’re being church together. We had been praying for years that life would come once again, and, low and behold, it came by way of Burma.” This kind of steady patience and hope has characterized Tabernacle for its 128-year history. Originally planted as a mission school to engage children, Tabernacle became the largest Sunday school on the eastern seaboard by the turn of the twentieth century. Over the next few decades, the city grew up around the church until Tabernacle found itself right in the heart of Richmond’s most cohesive urban neighborhoods, the Fan District, so named for the “fan” shape of the district’s streets as they extend west.
By the 1960s and 1970s, most churches had retreated to the suburbs, and, in rapid decline, Tabernacle received an offer to move west beyond the Richmond city limit. Knowing the choice might very well mean its death, the congregation declined the tantalizing offer and remained in the city where they felt God was calling them to be. Over the ensuing years, Tabernacle continued to experience decline, even walking with their own pastor through terminal cancer. Then, in 2004, Severns accepted the call to serve as pastor of the struggling downtown church. “I have no idea what to do and no idea what’s next, but it’s clear God is preparing us for something,” Severns told the congregation in his first sermon. That something began with a phone call from Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Duane and Marcia Binkley, who informed Severns that three families of Karen refugees from Burma (now Myanmar) had been residing in Richmond for six months without a place to worship. The very next month, the families filled an entire pew in the church’s sanctuary on World Communion Sunday for their first worship service. “We had a choice to go one of two ways when folks first showed up on the doorstep,” Severns said. “One was to view them as projects; the other was the view them as partners, as gifts God sent to us to guide us and teach us how to be better Christians. Somehow we stumbled into the second way, and opened our hearts to them as sisters and brothers with names, not as projects.” After more than seven years of the church welcoming the Burmese newcomers, families of Chin, Karen, Kachin and Lisu refugees now comprise a quarter of Tabernacle’s congregation, and the entire community is exploring what it means to partner in renewing the vision of church and the life of the city of Richmond. Megan Strollo, a 28-year-old graduate student and member of Tabernacle, emphasized that a renewed vision of partnership and community begins with worship. Each Sunday during the 11 a.m. service, each adult and child leading worship is instructed to pray, read scripture or offer testimony in their native language, without translation. While both communities initially struggled with the language barrier, she added, they found that God’s healing and transformation did not depend on language. A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 5
PHOTOS COURTESY OF TABERNACLE BAPTIST CHURCH
“I have no idea how it works, but it does,” Strollo said. “It’s hard to explain or describe in any other way than that it is truly God’s work. It’s beautiful to see how American families and families from Burma care for each other so seamlessly, to see how this place truly embraces what it means to be one body, one church, one family. God is moving and we’re going with it.” Through partnering with many young families from Burma, Tabernacle has also learned what new life means in a more literal sense, namely through the children who now laugh, scream and boisterously fill the hallways once again. In fact, Severns said, children are the most crucial partners in renewing God’s world, which is why children of all ethnicities populate pulpits, conversations and other realms of leadership within the congregation. Children are also invited into the center of the congregation’s journey through scripture each week with Godly Play, an immersive Bible-storytelling program. As the entire church journeys through the narrative lectionary at Tabernacle, children are empowered as
“GOD IS MOVING AND WE’RE GOING WITH IT.” partners to find themselves in the story of God’s renewal in the world. Art Wright, affiliate professor of New Testament at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, said he and his wife began making relationships early in Tabernacle’s partnership with Burmese refugees. Through welcoming new arrivals at the airport, hauling furniture into newly-rented apartments and providing rides to medical appointments, the couple and other members sought to embody the kind of hospitality God offers us, Wright said. In one instance, Wright and a translator accompanied a Karen friend to the DMV to help her communicate and get a driver’s license. Yet, for all their expressions of welcome, their friends from Burma seemed to be the experts on hospitality. “They have opened our eyes to what hospitality truly is,” Wright said. “In American culture, we plan and schedule our expressions of hospitality, and provide as much predictability as possible. But in any of
Tabernacle Baptist, the 128-year-old downtown church, has been transformed into a multi-ethnic, multi-colored, multi-language and multi-opinionated seamless community of faith, where children are empowered as partners in the story of God’s renewal in the world.
these Burmese ethnic groups, it is completely common to be welcomed into a house unannounced or receive food even though you weren’t invited to dinner. We can be so artificial in our attempts at hospitality, and they are teaching us how beautiful it can be.” Though the church has welcomed in new life and become completely transformed, one thing the church has not become, Severns added, is clingy or territorial. Through the partnership of Burmese refugees and social workers among the congregation, Tabernacle birthed an independent resettlement ministry in 2010 called ReEstablish Richmond. In addition, the church continues to engage the seminary community and grow young pastors through a residency and internship program. Later this year, Tabernacle plans to commission individuals to Burma to begin new partnerships in which both communities can engage and seek transformation. “We believe in a God that sends people to us but also sends people from us,” Severns said. “The door that we fling open to welcome is the same door that we fling open to send. We are constantly saying goodbye to people and the vast majority are people who feel called to go. It’s the story of this church, to participate in a kingdom way bigger than we are, and that, by default, means partnership.”
BLAKE TOMMEY serves with the Baptist General Association of Virginia as a collegiate minister at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.
CBF launches new branding, website and ‘Forming Together’ tagline By Aaron Weaver DECATUR, Ga. — After a year-long conversation with people across CBF life, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship announced new BROWSE WATCH branding on Feb. 3 that tells the story of Fellowship individuals, CBF’s new website, videos featuring reflections churches and partners “Forming Together” for the work of Christ. where you’ll find more from Cooperative Baptists In unveiling the new branding, CBF launched a new web domain information about the about what it means to and website, CBF.net, as well as a new logo and visual identity system. new CBF Brand, including Partner in Renewing Email addresses for the CBF Global staff have also changed to the downloadable logos God’s World. new @cbf.net extension. www.cbf.net www.cbf.net/core-purpose CBF embarked on the process in January 2014 to help Cooperative Baptists and CBF congregations better articulate the identity of the Fellowship in words and visuals. Scores of interviews “For years we’ve talked about ‘Being the Presence of Christ’ in with Cooperative Baptists, along with leadership from CBF staff our world,” Prosser said. “As people have asked me how they can do and an Atlanta-based branding firm have led to a new visual identity this, my response has been, ‘by partnering with God’s Spirit!’ As we system and a new way to share the CBF story. are being formed together, it dawns on me that we are all partnering together to bring renewal to God’s world.”
Insights gained from the interviews and staff collaboration with the firm highlighted the concept of formation — spiritually and through collaboration — as the essence of the Fellowship. CBF Associate Coordinator for Communications and Advancement Jeff Huett said the tagline “Forming Together” was meant to prime the creative imagination of Cooperative Baptists and CBF congregations about their own stories of formation. “This concept allows us to talk about CBF missions and ministries in fresh ways and in ways that invite others to the innovative collaboration that is a hallmark of our Fellowship,” Huett said. “It’s abstract enough to get us thinking about all the ways we are forming as one and forming together.” CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter said the branding process and the results have been marked by excellence. “What is God doing in the world, and how do we have a God-inspired voice for this century. That is what our branding process has been about,” Paynter said. “How do we speak with integrity and authenticity in this century from our community? That is what excellence in branding means. “I love the process we have followed in our branding journey. Our work has not been all about a new logo or visuals. It is about our narrative, our story, who we are and how we take that forward.”
PRIMARY BRAND MARK The new CBF monogram logo is a visual representation of “Forming Together.” It is a combination of squares, circles and the cross, each having a visual purpose and a deeper meaning within the context of our mission, vision and work. In the logo, squares represent individuality and foundation. Circles and curvature represent community and the formation of unified partnerships that renew God’s world. Circles allow for fluidity in the design. The cross in the “f” signals that, first and foremost, we are here to witness God’s work in the world. Various versions of the new CBF logo are available for download from the CBF website at www.cbf.net/logos.
SIX ATTRIBUTES With the development of six aspirational attributes during the process, CBF is living into the same values, or attributes, that its founders instilled nearly 25 years ago. CBF strives to be Christ-like, innovative, authentic and global. It aspires to raise the bar on excellence with inspiring partnerships, ministries and missions and, like CBF partner congregations, CBF is committed to being diverse — hearing and respecting different perspectives.
‘PARTNER IN RENEWING GOD’S WORLD’ In addition to the idea of “Forming Together,” CBF assessed ways to clearly articulate its core purpose, and developed the concept “Partner in Renewing God’s World.” Bo Prosser, CBF Coordinator of Organizational Relationships, expressed excitement about how Cooperative Baptists are forming together as they renew God’s world.
AARON WEAVER is Communications Manager for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Connect with him at email@example.com.
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Forming Together Voices from across the Fellowship respond to CBF’s new tagline
Throughout CBF, we are forming, transforming and being transformed together. Recently, we asked CBF churches and individuals to reflect on the ways that they are forming together in Christ with their communities of faith. These are just a few of the ways that Cooperative Baptists are “Forming Together”!
“We are forming together through a new communal blog, Ministry and Motherhood, that honors the voices of female ministers who bring mothering gifts to their families, congregations and organizations. Through the gifts of storytelling and technology, we are, post by post, forming a community of women who follow a dual calling of ministry and motherhood — a new combination in our Fellowship life. By supporting and empowering each other across the cyber-miles, we are forming together a people who value the integration of family and ministry life and the many ways God speaks through both.” Alicia Davis Porterfield, CBF Endorsed Chaplain, Wilmington, N.C.
“In Mississippi, we are bringing people together to join hands in mission — and it’s not just the people of our state CBF churches. We’re also forming together with the people of Shaw, Miss., as we build new friendships and grow together in the way of Jesus. That’s one of the things I love about our CBF family; we’re always open to being formed by those who don’t even know what a Cooperative Baptist is.” Rusty Edwards, Pastor, University Baptist Church, Hattiesburg, Miss.
“Thank goodness God does not declare us finished but continually re-shapes us through the encouragement, accountability, wisdom-sharing and awareness-raising that comes from community. As a regional director of CBF Peer Learning Groups, I am fortunate to get a front-row seat to the ways PLGs save ministries (and occasionally lives) when members invest in knowing and being known by each other. It’s also a privilege as a Dawnings coach to journey alongside congregations as they discern how God is moving them to engage with their neighbors, not just share a zip code with them.” Laura Stephens-Reed, CBF Regional Director of Peer Learning Groups, Huntsville, Ala.
“I celebrate the new day in the Fellowship! As I gather with university and seminary students, I listen, pray and encourage as they seek understanding of their calling and discover their spiritual gifts — forming together to serve. We are cooperative, we welcome all, we are forming together to share love unconditionally.” Helen Moore-Montgomery, Lay Leader, Community North Baptist Church, McKinney, Texas
“CBFNC and leaders like me are forming together by getting out in our communities and the world, having conversations with individuals and groups while sharing a meal around a table and, of course, ‘mining the learnings’ by telling contextual stories, swapping applicable resources and praising God for the re-shaping of lives, churches and communities.” Ka’athy Gore Chappell, Leadership Development Coordinator, CBF of North Carolina
Discover. Give. Connect.
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Amani Sasa MISSY WARD-ANGALLA TRANSFORMS LIVES WITH MINISTRY OF HEALING AND EMPOWERMENT IN UGANDA By Emily Holladay
Refugee women celebrate International Womenâ€™s Day on March 8, 2013 at Amani Sasa in Kampala, Uganda, a shelter for refugee families who have experienced violence, abuse and trafficking.
hen Missy Ward-Angalla traveled to Uganda in 2010 to minister as a Student.Go intern alongside Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Jade and Shelah Acker, she never guessed this is where she would build a full-time ministry for refugee women and children from the ground up. Ward-Angalla, then a seminary student at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, joined the Acker’s ministry at the Center of Hope, which provides education, vocational training and Bible studies for refugees in Kampala, Uganda. “When I first came to Uganda, Jade and Shelah shared with me and my teammates that they wanted to use the gifts that God had given us in order to minister to the refugee students,” Ward-Angalla reflected. “At the time, the center had only been open for six months and there were only 25 students, so there was a lot of room to grow.” Since high school, Ward-Angalla felt called to mission work, but she came to Uganda still looking for the unique place God was asking her to serve. Coming to Uganda as an intern to fulfill a degree requirement for her program, Ward-Angalla found what she was looking for. “I went through a lot of trauma when I was young,” Ward-Angalla shared. “Having a community that loved and supported me helped me to heal from the trauma, and also understanding that I am loved by God and created by God. I believe God healed me from so much of that baggage. …So when I felt called to missions and ministry when I was in high school, I really felt called to help those who were on the margins, because that is what I had experienced at a young age. “When I was in college, I just became aware of the state of women’s rights in our world and particularly those of refugee women. I think what opened my eyes at that point was the knowledge that there are so many places where there is nothing for victims of sexual violence.” Not long after Ward-Angalla arrived in Uganda for the first time, she met a young woman who was trying to escape from a violent situation. Ward-Angalla, along with the Ackers, tried to find a way to help the woman, but were left with more questions than answers. She needed more than they could give at the time.
“She needed more than a safe room for a few days or a few months,” Ward-Angalla explained. “She needed counseling and training. There wasn’t a place for her to receive holistic health, so I said, ‘I want to come and I want to start a place for these refugee women and girls.’ And so, that’s really where that great need met my heart’s calling.” Five years later, Ward-Angalla is living in Uganda as one of CBF’s field personnel. In October 2013, she opened Amani Sasa, a shelter for refugee women and children who have experienced violence, abuse, trafficking or other traumatizing situations. Her hope is to provide a place where refugee women can experience healing and empowerment. “A lot of people who have been through violence just survive, but never heal,” she said. “The trauma doesn’t just go away — there has to be intentional healing.” Amani Sasa has developed into a women’s ministry divided into three parts: social work ministry, rehabilitation ministry and vocational training. Women between the ages of 15-25 live at the shelter for three months while they go through the program, becoming immersed in daily discipleship, education, vocational training and both individual and group counseling. The refugee women living at the shelter go through the program together, and therefore find hope and support from one another, which was an unexpected benefit of this unique program. “I don’t know of another shelter in Uganda that provides a place for refugee
women and children to go who have been through profound violence and trauma,” Ward-Angalla emphasized. “What we’ve found is, not only do they find a support group in the staff who are there and love them, but they also find support from each other, which is one of the most beautiful things about the program. Afterward, we’ve found that they’re empowered to help other people.” In Uganda, Ward-Angalla helps to transform lives of women and children who otherwise might not have come to know the love and compassion of the God who created them. But, the ministry reaches farther than Kampala’s city limits. Her passion and contagious energy has caught the hearts of many CBF partner churches, so that they too have become empowered to help abused women and children in their own communities. “It’s been a wonderful partnership because we get to hear the wonderful things that God is doing through Missy,” said Mike Pearce, minister of missions at First Baptist Church of Huntsville, Ala. “I can’t recall any time that we’ve worked with a missionary who’s directly working with women who have experienced trafficking and abusive homes. “We had a focus on trafficking last year, so our Women on Mission group learned a lot. We discovered more about Atlanta and the Missy Ward-Angalla (front row, second from right) celebrates with new graduates of Amani Sasa’s vocational training program. Women in the program discover a support system and leave empowered to help others.
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Women and children live life together at Amanai Sasa, where they find joy and support through a ministry of healing and empowerment.
I-20 corridor and how much it’s impacting us at home. Through our partnership with Missy, we now have much more awareness and know tangible ways to help.” Missy Ward-Angalla’s story is unique in that she felt called to partner with CBF as a field personnel in Uganda during her second year of seminary. She was able to develop relationships with churches in the United States over the course of two years before returning to Uganda. One of these churches, First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Ga., sent a few members to Uganda to partner with Ward-Angalla during the summer of 2012, when she was once again serving through Student.Go. “On our trips to Uganda and through Missy’s visits to our church we were able to follow the story of a young Somali woman whose mother was murdered in front of her,” shared Ruth Walker Demby, minister of missions at First Baptist Gainesville. “She was kidnapped and forced to marry a rebel soldier. When she became pregnant, her husband threw her out and her baby died. Through the efforts of her sister she was finally able to find safety in Uganda. “We got to see this young woman go from silent and withdrawn to being part of the loving fellowship of the Center for Hope in Kampala. Worshipping with this young woman in a group of believers from all over Africa, and knowing their incredibly difficult circumstances, made this one of the most meaningful times of worship we
Ward-Angalla’s ministry in Uganda has had a clear impact on the churches that have followed her story. Adults and children alike have been inspired by her willingness to follow God’s call, even where there is not another model for how to do what she does. Her ministry is truly an example of even the youngest members of the Fellowship forming together to serve the most marginalized people in our world. “This past December, the children of First Baptist Morrow were led to adopt Missy and her ministry as a Christmas project,” said Carol Hawkins, missions chairperson at First Baptist Church of Morrow, Ga. “They don’t understand everything about the women and girls with whom she works, but they do care deeply about the fact that they have been seriously mistreated and often placed in the ever experienced. We will always remember path of danger. The children collected coins Missy’s bright face, the sound of her husband, and brought their offerings for several weeks, Francis, playing the guitar, and the lovely finally giving more than $400. They were so refugees singing God’s praises and praying as proud. I thanked many of the children for if their lives truly depended on God.” that gift, and one night after supper at the First Baptist Gainesville was inspired by church, a little girl said, ‘Missy is my favorite the way Ward-Angalla’s ministry created missionary. She loves with her smile, and I empowerment, rather than dependency, and sure do wish my hair would curl like hers!’” sought to find more ways that they could Ward-Angalla also shared that the partner with her. Most recently, children churches who partner with her are a constant from the church’s after-school program raised reminder that she is not alone. Even on her money for a mother at the shelter to send worst days, she knows that there are people her two children to school, which is very praying for her and encouraging her. She expensive in Uganda. feels deeply that the only way she can explain
much of her work is that it is God’s answer to the prayers of her partners. Through these prayers, Ward-Angalla’s partners are also discovering ways that they can help impact her ministry, even remotely. At The Well at Springfield, a church started in Jacksonville, Fla., by CBF church starter Susan Rogers, members have offered some of their skills to help Ward-Angalla raise the money she needs to continue her vital work. “It has been wonderful to hear people learn more about the needs of women in Uganda and to hear them begin offering their gifts and skills to make a difference,” Rogers noted. “One woman has offered to use her experience in grant writing, another is wanting to explore the possibility of micro-loans. It also has helped us see even more clearly some of the challenges of women in our own community.” At 28-years-old, Ward-Angalla has impacted the lives of thousands across the globe who have benefitted from her ministry. By responding to the profound calling on her life, her ministry has not only transformed lives, but her presence and encouragement have saved lives. In December 2014, at the graduation ceremony for shelter residents, Ward-Angalla learned about one such life. “Before the festivities started, Anna, one of the shelter residents, shared with me that five
(Above) Missy Ward-Angalla (third from right) and the women with whom she ministers alongside show their appreciation for the support they receive through prayer and partnerships on Thanksgiving 2014. (Right) Amani Sasa welcomes new residents to the empowerment and recovery program.
months before, she was about to commit suicide,” Ward-Angalla reflected. “She was walking on the road, on her way to do it when we met. She told me I greeted and hugged her. God used this encounter to stop her plans. “Anna’s story does not end with this tragedy. This event will no longer define her as it had for so long. God has healed and transformed Anna’s life in profound ways. She has found an inner strength and confidence that no one can take away. Her heart is now full of God’s hope and joy.” Ward-Angalla’s journey and ministry is an example of the Fellowship forming together from her first days as a Student.Go intern to her current partnership with CBF churches, individuals and partners. Her life and ministry is celebrated across the Fellowship because of the ways she has trusted God to lead her and the people whom she serves. “Missy is a most passionate advocate for women refugees, and she is a believer — a true believer, that God is indeed at work in
our world, and that the power of God’s love can bring healing and change,” shared Pam Durso, executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry. “Missy is what a minister looks like — every day, all day long, she gives her best to God’s world, and Baptist Women in Ministry celebrates and supports who she is and what she is doing in Uganda.”
EMILY HOLLADAY is Associate Pastor of Children and Families at Broadway Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.
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Seminarian Retreat THE INAUGURAL COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP SEMINARIAN RETREAT brought together 32 students, eight seminary faculty members and nine CBF staff members to build relationships between students and leaders from across the Fellowship. The group gathered in the mountains of North Carolina to discuss topics that the students brought to the table, including issues of justice, self-care, leadership, life after school, worship and spirituality. Together, the group explored these issues that extend beyond the classroom setting into the realm of practical ministry and personal passions. As these young leaders formed friendships, they were presented the opportunity to help shape the Cooperative Baptist “denomi-network” for the future, alongside those who will become their life-long ministry colleagues.
hat an exciting opportunity it was to be a part of the inaugural CBF Seminarian Retreat. I was amazed at the diverse backgrounds and geographical locations that were represented. Never had I been in a room with so many Texans, Georgians and Carolinians. Realizing the distances traveled immediately demonstrated to me that this would be important. The retreat was an experience of fellowship with old and mostly new friends. It was a time for stretching in knowledge and growing in faith, and a place to explore big questions and issues of our day — and how we as Christians might respond to them. Overall, this retreat experience was a fresh venue for students and professors of our CBF-partner seminaries to sharpen each other through reflection, corporate worship and intentional conversation. Nestled in the mountains of Black Mountain, N.C., the Montreat Conference Center made a fitting location to accomplish our goals. The accommodating rooms and meals, the convenient shops, the hiking trails and the beautiful lake gave ample aid to the process of theological reflection. Our time was spent discussing various topics that the seminarians themselves considered important. Ranging from issues of justice to self-care, we found time at this
gathering to collaborate and to field one another’s ideas. Much of the time was spent in focus groups around these topics; each group containing students, CBF staff and at least one professor. How humbling it was to sit at the feet of professors and staff who come with such experience, and how empowering it was to be counted as equals at this table. This was a break from the hierarchy of academia, as we all came with questions and all left with friends who are in a life-long journey of finding answers to these questions together. There was no Dr. so-and-so — we were all on a first name basis. This did no damage to the respect for professors. It rather deepened the understanding of the priesthood of all believers and the capability of each individual to explore things that matter, while appreciating and learning from those who have been doing it for longer. I am grateful for the chance I was given to be involved in this new expression of forming together. It was yet another time and space set aside to find out who we as seminarians are partnering with and to grow in those connections. Alan Miller is a third-year student at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond in Richmond,Va.
was invited to attend the first CBF Seminarian Retreat as the faculty representative from Campbell University Divinity School. As a new faculty member at Campbell â€” and as I make the transition from a United Methodist seminary to a CBF school â€” I was delighted to attend and learn more about the Fellowship. But I was also very glad to have a chance to hear from students from across the country as they voiced their theological thoughts, concerns and questions, as well as what they hoped for and from CBF. That CBF organized and funded this event for seminarians demonstrates its very real commitment to those called to lead in the present time and in years to come. There was a lot to pack in to the few days that we had together in the mountains of North Carolina! We worshipped and prayed together in a covenanted community. Small groups gathered around particular themes and then shared their reflections with the larger group on the final day. I listened as students, CBF staff and faculty members shared their thoughts on themes such as worship and spiritual formation, missions and global justice, social justice, self-care and what to do after seminary, among others. The breadth of
topics demonstrated the variety of concerns and passions amongst the students. While this was good for a first-time event, it left me wanting to have more concentrated attention to one or two of these themes, so participants could unpack the theological ideas around them and construct concrete plans to effect change in local settings, individual lives and the Fellowship as a whole. All in all, the experience showed me there is room for more reflection and thought on what we can do to make a difference â€” it also was a vivid display of the energy within the Fellowship to do just that! I am grateful for the chance to have attended the CBF Seminarian Retreat. I learned much about CBF while there. I witnessed the compassion and energy of CBF staff, the callings and commitment of the students and the concern of other seminary faculty members to guide and listen to students by taking this chance to learn from students as they face the challenges of a life called to minister in various settings.
Alicia Myers is Assistant Professor of New Testament and Greek at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, N.C. A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 5
1 in 8 suffer from hunger
million people globally More than
Twice the U.S. population
Join CBF on mission with Christ to
#ENDHUNGER through the Offering for Global Missions
The numbers are staggering. 842 million people in the world go hungry every day. To put that into perspective, the current population of the United States is roughly 320 million. If we are not careful, the sheer scale of this crisis can overwhelm us to the point of inaction. And in the face of such need, we wonder if we truly can make a difference. What can I do? What can my church do? What even can a network of 1,800 churches do? Fortunately, we serve a God who multiplies modest gifts. A few fish and loaves can feed the multitudes if we break through our complacency and allow God to bless the gifts that have been given to us. The question is not whether we will wipe hunger off the face of the earth, but whether we will be faithful with the resources we have been entrusted. Not only does Jesus devote a significant amount of his public ministry to feeding the hungry, but he also bequeaths the church two gifts to advance God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven — and one of them is a meal. We spend a lot of time, talent and treasure seeking the kingdom that Jesus continually made visible in the breaking of bread. Perhaps God’s mission is not so difficult to discover and fulfill as we sometimes make it out to be. Perhaps it is as simple as setting the table for a feast and inviting those on the highways and byways to come in. The Offering for Global Missions supports the efforts of 125 field personnel in more than 30 countries to set such tables around the world. Won’t you bring your gifts to the banquet?
Steven Porter, CBF Coordinator of Global Missions
www.cbf.net/OGM If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. – Isaiah 58:10
Food distribution and feeding programs
Partnerships with schools and food pantries
Urban farming and rural economic development
Emergency food assistance
CBF Hunger Ministries EXIST IN 20 COUNTRIES ON 4 CONTINENTS.
CBF engages in God’s mission with and among the most neglected and least evangelized people on Earth. Through the work of field personnel and through CBF’s rural poverty initiative, Together for Hope, the Fellowship is helping to #EndHunger with partners across the United States and around the world. CBF works to #EndHunger with partners such as the Baptist General Association of Virginia and the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering as well as with CBF state and regional organizations such as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Heartland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Your gifts to CBF’s Offering for Global Missions help #EndHunger and impact CBF’s Global Missions work meeting other needs worldwide.
2014-15 Offering for Global Missions emphasis:
he annual Churchworks conference was held Feb. 23-25 at First Baptist Church of Decatur, Ga., hosting Christian educators from across the Fellowship. This annual gathering provides space to cultivate renewal in ministry through practices of creativity, community and worship. During the conference, church leaders gathered around the topic “Theology Matters,” with keynote speaker Andrew Root, the Olson Baalson Associate Professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Theological Seminary. Together, participants focused on issues of identity formation, relationship building and spiritual formation in relation to their contexts and communities — reflecting on deeper reasons why theology matters in the day-to-day work of ministering within a congregation. Participants also heard from colleagues in ministry through “10x3” presentations. Through 10-minute presentations, Christian educators
from a variety of contexts shared stories of positive impact from making changes in how they perform ministry in order that it might match their theology. Two ministers were presented awards at the conference to highlight their excellence in Christian education ministry. Jeffrey Pethel, associate pastor of family ministries at The Baptist Church of Beaufort, S.C., was honored with the Jack Naish Distinguished Educators Award, and Julie Long, associate pastor and minister of children and families at First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon, Ga., received the Young Baptist Leadership Award. Next year’s Churchworks conference will be held Feb. 24-26, 2016, at First Baptist Church of Asheville, N.C. Diana Garland, dean of the School of Social Work at Baylor University, will be the keynote speaker.
Keynote speaker Andrew Root addresses the group of Christian educators at the 2015 Churchworks conference on the topic of “Ministry, the Church and the Melting of Identity.”
(Above) CBF Fellows Scott Claybrook of FBC Knoxville, Tenn. (pictured left), and Jordan Dollar of ESIC Baptist Church in Edwardsville, Ill. (pictured right), chat during a break. (Right) Julie Pennington-Russell, pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur, Ga., brings greetings on behalf of the host congregation.
Nina Maples (left) and Renee Purtlebaugh (right) of Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., discuss their “10x3” presentation titled “Dissolving Generational Barriers by Nurturing Shared Power.”
Carol Harston, minister to youth at Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., introduces a “10x3” presentation during the conference.
CBF Coordinator of Organizational Relationships Bo Prosser (middle) with the 2015 Jack Naish Distinguished Christian Educator Award recipient Jeffrey Pethel (left) and the 2015 Young Baptist Leadership Award recipient Julie Long (right). A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 5
CBF’s first field personnel in Japan find
complex challenge for the gospel By Greg Warner
is “a country of contradictions,” say Carson and Laura Foushee, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s first field personnel ever in that country of 128 million.
For instance: While only 1 percent of the population is Christian, a favorite Japanese pastime is singing black gospel music. In fact, there are hundreds of gospel choirs in the country — and most of them are unrelated to any religious organization. That unusual cultural phenomenon, now far more than a fad, arose more than 20 years ago through the popularity of an American movie — “Sister Act” with Whoopi Goldberg. The 1992 movie and its sequel, “Sister Act II,” triggered something inexplicable in Japanese society. The popularity of gospel music grew like wildfire, fueled by the Japanese love of music and fascination with Western pop culture. Even if the singers and listeners have little knowledge of the music’s meaning or social context, it fills a need for hope, belonging and emotional expression, researchers say. Early on, the trend was quickly commercialized. Hundreds of music schools and colleges began offering classes in black gospel music — even a college degree. Community groups and other organizations formed gospel choirs, some of which tour
internationally. In fewer than 10 years, there were more than 7,000 people singing in choirs in Japan and 300 gospel music workshops held in one year. But most Japanese don’t know English and know little of the African-American slave experience that gave birth to black gospel. Does it matter that they don’t know the meaning of the words they are singing? “They are drawn to the music, not the message, but I think the message can and does relate,” said Laura Foushee of Raleigh, N.C. She and her husband, Carson, from Statesville, N.C., were appointed as CBF field personnel in Japan in 2013. Recent graduates of Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, the couple now works with two Japanese churches in Kanazawa and Toyama, two cities with a combined population of close to 1 million, in central Japan located on the Sea of Japan. They serve as co-pastors for English-speaking congregations at Kanazawa Baptist Church and nearby Toyama Koizumi-cho Baptist Church, assist in the Japanese services at both churches, lead Bible studies in English,
Carson and Laura Foushee pose in front of Kinkakuji, the “Temple of the Golden Pavilion” or “Deer Garden Temple,” a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan.
and teach English to university students, kindergartners and their mothers — all while studying to improve their own Japanese skills. Most of CBF’s 125 field personnel are assigned to unreached people groups, the poor or the marginalized. So the Foushees’ assignment to a First World country — third richest in the world — is unusual.
Carson and Laura Foushee pose during the Hokuriku Gakuin University fall festival with the college students in the English Club they lead. The club’s booth for the festival was a chili hot dog booth named after the couple.
Even though there has been a steady missionary presence in Japan for 70 years, it remains one of the countries least responsive to the gospel. Some mission organizations essentially left Japan in recent decades. Sending field personnel to Japan may seem counterintuitive, but the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship made the decision based on an invitation from the historic Japan Baptist Convention and a desire “to be good and reliable partners” with Baptists around the world, said Jim Smith, director of field ministries for CBF. CBF missions has never been limited solely to the least-evangelized countries, said Smith, who was appointed by CBF in 1993 to serve in a partnership with the European Baptist Federation as one of the Fellowship’s first field workers. “This is an example of one man in particular having a strong vision for this sort of collaboration — Rev. [Akinori] Taguchi, pastor of Kanazawa Baptist Church,” Smith continued. “He searched CBF out and kept at it in the hopes that someone would connect with this challenge and come their way.”
The Foushees said they are “excited to start a new chapter of missions in Japan” through the trans-Pacific partnership. “Christians in Japan are strongly encouraged by our presence,” Carson said. “They see us as a new spark and as people who can help to draw Japanese and internationals alike to the church.” Although Christianity is not new to Japan, Carson said, it’s not unusual to encounter people with no knowledge of the gospel, such as in a recent adult Bible study he led. “For some it was the first time they ever heard of Jesus,” Carson said. Despite the lack of knowledge about Christianity, Laura said, “I have been surprised at how easy it has been to have conversations about faith. … We don’t force these conversations, but they happen organically simply because people know we are missionaries and there is a genuine curiosity.” Although conversation is easy, conversion is not, the couple said. “Japanese Christians often will take years and even decades before professing a belief A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 5
in Christ,” Carson explained. “Relationship building is as important here as anywhere else in the world in helping to share the gospel.” For that reason, he said, “field personnel are needed here for the long haul.” By the time the young couple arrived in Japan in 2013, the gospel-music craze was cemented into the culture. Even their own church, Kanazawa Baptist, sponsors a choir directed by Ronnie Rucker, an American musician in Japan who is prominent in the gospel movement. “I have 60-year-old Japanese grandmothers who want to sing the music of the African-American Christian worship experience,” Rucker told the New York Times earlier. “They’re all smitten with the power of it. Sometimes they cry when they hear gospel being sung, even though they can’t understand the English.’’ Like another Japanese craze — rap music and hip-hop dancing — gospel music choirs illustrate the eclectic nature of the culture. It is not uncommon for a Japanese couple to have a Christian wedding with Shinto images and icons, but to be buried in a Buddhist funeral. The sight of the normally reserved Japanese people replicating the black gospel experience, complete with rhythmic choreography but lacking the historical context, is shocking to some. But most audiences, including international ones, see the presentations as an authentic expression, even if the singers don’t know English. Eventually the country’s churches and mission organizations adopted gospel music as an evangelistic tool, forming their own touring choirs that go further to explain the gospel message. While gospel singing has not made a statistical impact for Christianity in Japan, it might soften the ground for the gospel seed. Gospel choir members say they are attracted to the emotional freedom of the music — a rare outlet in the Japanese culture. Others describe the singing as a spiritual
experience, according to recent research. That in itself is a departure from Japanese tradition. The idea of faith or religion as an inward spiritual experience is virtually unknown in traditional Japanese society. Even the concepts of religion and spirituality are foreign to the culture and didn’t exist before the 19th century, according to some scholars. To be “religious” in the mind of the Japanese means to belong to a religious organization. Eighty percent of the Japanese people identify with Shinto, Japan’s indigenous religion of rituals, animism and mythology intended to connect with ancestors. But Shinto is almost devoid of structure and organization, so most Japanese don’t consider themselves religious. About 35 percent of Japanese identify as Buddhists, the second largest religious group. But there are many kinds of Japanese Buddhism, and many of its followers incorporate the rituals or other elements of Shinto into their religious practice. The city of Kanazawa is in the Ishikawa Prefecture, where Buddhism is stronger. But while 43 percent of the region’s people identify as Buddhist, indigenous Shinto is still practiced to some degree by 56 percent. Clearly some practice both. That syncretism is one reason why — historically and today — Christian outreach in Japan is difficult. “Christianity has always been countercultural in Japan,” Carson said. “It’s a very difficult position for the growth of Christianity,” Laura echoed. Christianity has had roots in Japan for hundreds of years, dating back at least as far as Spanish and Portuguese immigrants in the 1600s. Japan’s rulers later outlawed missionaries for 200 years, but that changed after the Allied conquest of World War II, when missions flourished and were encouraged. By 1950 the country was flooded with 5,000 missionaries and millions of Bibles. But the vast majority of the population never embraced the faith. The Foushees cite several reasons why the Japanese resist the gospel: • Prosperity. Japan is a rich First World country full of “prosperous, successful people who have little need for religion,” Laura said. “Everyone has their needs met and religion is not attractive.”
• Permanence. Because of their long history and respect for the past, Japanese people tend to resist change — especially when it comes to religion. Shinto and Buddhism are deeply ingrained in the culture, even if they are not widely practiced. And change comes slowly in Japan. Some people are known to attend a Christian church for a decade before converting, Carson said. “Tradition is stronger than the desire for change or something new.” • Profession. The Japanese, especially men, are expected to be loyal to their company, not only by working long hours but by socializing with colleagues after work. Men are notorious for working six days a week and sleeping all day on Sunday, the Foushees said. So Christian churches are predominantly made up of women. • Pressure. Children are also expected to succeed and put in long days, which not only means excelling at school but participating in after-school activities, developing their talents, and studying long hours. There is time for little else. “I had heard about the Japanese work ethic before we arrived here but was really not prepared for the effects this would have on our ministry,” Carson explained. After World War II, as the conquering Americans imported their free-enterprise system into Japan, the American model of the “company man” took deep hold in Japan.
The image of the mid-level corporate worker loyal to one company for life, known in Japan as a “salaryman,” became the prototype of professional success. Even though that image of the “company man” faded in the United States during the countercultural 1960s, it only intensified in Japan. For the typical Japanese male today, the company is still the primary group and family is secondary. Group mentality is powerful, pushing people to conform and excel. Failure is an embarrassment, not only to the man, but the whole extended family. The pressure to succeed is so strong it has produced an extremely high suicide rate in Japan — seventh highest among all nations. Although Japan has long had a culture of “honorable suicide,” a rapid rise in the suicide rate was apparently triggered by the economic collapse that began in 1990 and never fully recovered before the 2009 worldwide recession. The ideal of “a job for life” tanked as the economy sank. Now suicide is the leading cause of death for both men and women between the ages of 20 and 44, according to government statistics, but men account for three-fourths of those suicides. Job pressure and joblessness are the dominant factors in male suicide. Unemployed people account for about half of all suicides. But having a job can be just as deadly — overwork and work-related depression
are cited as factors in about half of all male suicides, according to government statistics. The Japanese even have a word for it — karoshi — “death from overwork.” Suicide, loneliness, depression, hopelessness — they all point in the same direction, the Foushees suggested. “In the end, people are looking for community and relationships,” Laura said. That’s the couple’s focus, whether they are teaching English to university students, ministering to church members or befriending young mothers. It requires patience and a long-term investment — commitments the couple is willing to make. “I didn’t realize up front how difficult and slow the process would be,” Laura said, adding, progress will be measured in “small steps.” The non-stop Japanese work week “leaves little free time to get together or even consider attending our classes or worship services,” Carson said. “So church is not going to be the natural place for people to show up.” Therefore, “building relationships will be at the core of what we do,” Laura concluded. “And mostly it will be done outside the church building. You still need to meet people where they are.”
GREG WARNER is retired executive editor of Associated Baptist Press (now Baptist News Global) and a freelance writer living in Jacksonville, Fla.
Carson Foushee (far right) with students and mothers from the Megumi Kindergarten at Kanazawa Baptist Church.
CBF, BWA expand partnership at UN with addition of Wiggs to lead efforts By Aaron Weaver DECATUR, Ga. — The Baptist World Alliance and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship have formed an expanded partnership around global advocacy efforts including a focus on international religious freedom, with Georgia-based CBF facilitating and coordinating the BWA’s involvement and initiatives at the United Nations headquarters in New York and its other offices around the world. To maximize these collaborative efforts to defend global religious liberty and human rights, Mark Wiggs has been appointed to serve as BWA UN Liaison Officer. Wiggs, an attorney and active member of Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss., a CBF partner congregation, is a respected advocate and noted champion of religious freedom. He has served as chair of the board of directors of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC) in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Mississippi College and the University of Virginia School of Law, Wiggs is also a past co-chair of the Religious Liberty Council, the individual membership organization of the BJC. CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter emphasized that this expanded partnership is a continuation of hundreds of years of Baptist advocacy on behalf of religious liberty. “Our collaboration with BWA to advocate for international religious liberty is a continuing expression that has been rooted in the work of Baptists and agencies since the 1700s,” Paynter said. “Continuing this long and storied tradition, CBF is proud to partner with BWA on behalf of the greater Baptist family, providing leadership through the appointment of Mark Wiggs to be the liaison among Baptists at the United Nations.” In February 2014, BWA and CBF announced the formation of a partnership to identify and respond to the needs of people and congregations worldwide through joint participation with the United Nations. This collaborative effort has sought to increase the Baptist presence at the UN, maximizing the potential of the BWA’s extensive UN
credentials to increase and strengthen relationships and partnerships in and around the UN. For the past 110 years, BWA has made issues of human rights and justice an Mark Wiggs addresses the Religious Liberty Council at the organizational priority. Since 1974, the 2011 CBF General Assembly in Tampa, Fla. Photo Courtesy of the Baptist Joint Committee. BWA has held special consultative status with the UN through the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The Council member states. At Rio+20, also known as the provides a setting in which nongovernmental UN Conference on Sustainable Development organizations address the world’s economic, which met in Brazil in 2012, BWA social and environmental challenges and co-sponsored events and submitted make policy recommendations. The BWA documents contributing to the conference’s is also accredited as an NGO through the discussions. At the Sixth Forum on Religious Department of Public Information, which Minority Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, acts as the public voice of the UN, enabling in November 2013, CBF field personnel the BWA to participate in briefings and Shane McNary represented the BWA and receive critical announcements. participated in the forum’s proceedings. The BWA is also a member of CoNGO, Wiggs expressed his excitement to serve or the Conference of NGOs in Consultative the BWA and CBF and emphasized his desire Relationship with the United Nations. This to advocate on behalf of religious freedom group facilitates NGO participation in UN and human rights alongside leaders from the decision-making and programs, particularly larger Baptist family. in the fields of economic and social justice “I am pleased, excited and humbled to and allows the BWA access to 41 influential undertake the challenge of serving as the NGO committees in New York, Geneva and BWA UN Liaison Officer,” Wiggs said. “I Vienna, including committees on criminal look forward to working alongside the BWA, justice, children’s rights, education, HIV/ CBF staff and field personnel, the European AIDS, migration, sustainable development Baptist Federation and others, as together we and human rights. work to protect and enhance religious liberty In addition, the BWA is a member around the world.” of the Committee of Religious NGOs, As BWA UN Liaison Officer, Wiggs will has interacted with the Office of the coordinate the contributions of current High Commission on Human Rights BWA-appointed representatives at the UN. (OHCHR) and has participated in the These volunteers who play a vital role in Ecumenical Working Group, a forum where BWA’s networking and advocacy efforts representatives of Christian denominations include: Darrell Armstrong, Joseph Oniyama, from around the world come together to work Raimundo Barreto and Phyllis Boozer in New on issues of common concern. York; Shane McNary and Christer Daelander The BWA has in recent years been in Geneva, Switzerland; and Dietrich Fischerincreasingly involved with the work of the Dörl in Vienna, Austria. Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High AARON WEAVER is Communications Manager Commissioner for Human for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Connect Rights (OCHR), presenting with him at firstname.lastname@example.org. alternative human rights reports on particular UN
CBF forms ad hoc committee to aid future implementation of Global Missions strategy By Aaron Weaver DECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Governing Board announced at its January 22-23 meeting the formation of an ad hoc committee to support the strategic planning process that the CBF Missions Council launched in September 2014 in conjunction with the CBF Global Missions staff. The ad hoc Committee on Global Missions Structures and Staffing (CGMSS) will shepherd through the Governing Board any personnel policy and funding matters that emerge from the strategic planning process to ensure seamless planning and implementation. The CGMSS marks the first collaborative venture between two of CBF’s new governance structures — the Governing Board and Missions Council. CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter emphasized that today’s fast-paced world as well as faithfulness to the gospel necessitates a reimagining of the Fellowship’s mission structures. “What started 25 years ago as a life raft for missionaries became a launching pad for Cooperative Baptist Global Missions with 125 field personnel in 30 countries,” Porter said. “That same passion to serve churches and Christians as they pursue God’s mission now invites us to reimagine the structures of CBF’s mission enterprise for a rapidly changing 21st century world. Indeed, faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ demands it.” CBF Missions Council Chair Mike Oliver, who serves as senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Madison, Ala., expressed his enthusiasm for the strategic planning process and offered his hope that the process will lead to a clear and inspiring missions direction for the future of the Fellowship.
CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter (center), Missions Council Chair Mike Oliver (right) and Chair-Elect Alan Sherouse (left) discuss CBF’s new branding during the Mission Council’s winter meeting.
“I am very pleased with the progress the changing. The global church is growing in Missions Council is making related to the new places and in new ways, and we have a development of a comprehensive strategic responsibility to ask the bold question: As plan for CBF Global Missions,” Oliver Cooperative Baptists are we being called to said. “This process is indeed a spiritually a new, even more excellent and ambitious energizing one for our council, and we hope way of participating in God’s mission? for CBF at large. I believe God is leading Please pray for the Missions Council as they us to develop stronger bonds with Baptist prayerfully lead us in answering that question, Christians around the world, engage in more and then pray that we will have the courage focused and effective missions and support and necessary will to create structures and local churches in a truly cooperative approach make changes that turn vision into a deeper to global short and long-term missions.” commitment to mission.” Paul Baxley, Governing Board member The ad hoc committee includes: and senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Athens, Ga., who will chair the new ad hoc • Paul Baxley (Chair), Senior Pastor, committee, echoed Oliver’s enthusiasm First Baptist Church, Athens, Ga. and optimism for the future of CBF (Governing Board member) Global Missions. • Patricia Wilson, Professor of Law, “The members of the Committee on Baylor University, Waco, Texas Global Mission Structures and Staffing are (Governing Board member) committed to working collaboratively with the members of the Missions Council to • Alan Sherouse, Senior Pastor, insure that the compelling strategic vision First Baptist Church, Greensboro, N.C. discerned in their process becomes reality in (Missions Council chair-elect) the life of our Fellowship,” Baxley said. “Just • Pat Anderson, Former CBF Interim as any congregation must align structures Executive Coordinator and budget with its vision, we have to make sure that we provide staffing structures, • Linda Jones, Missions Coordinator, personnel policies and funding options Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of required to implement the vision and allow North Carolina us to participate more fully in God’s mission • Bob Newell, Former CBF Field around the world. Personnel “The Missions Council’s process has already revealed that we Christians now find • Steven Porter, CBF Global Missions ourselves in an entirely different missionary Coordinator situation than the one that existed when many of our AARON WEAVER is Communications Manager current structures were first for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Connect developed. The world is with him at email@example.com. changing. Our communities and congregations are A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 5
Chin, Karen, Kachin and Lisu refugees from Burma doubled the size of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., and transformed the congregation’s way of being church together.
Visit cbf.net/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: In Worship: Children’s Sermon Around the Table: At Church
Being Church Together IN SMALL GROUPS
Missions Education Resource 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.
LEARN Learn more about Tabernacle Baptist Church at tbcrichmond.org
PRAY Prayer is a critical need for churches and ministries across the Fellowship. Prayers of the People provides specific requests to guide your prayers. Visit cbf.net/pray
Begin the meeting by writing the words “MINISTRY WITH” and “MINISTRY TO” on the white board, creating two columns with a line down the middle.
Ask participants to think about these two categories and to use the sticky notes to give examples of each type of ministry. (If there is some confusion at first, this is fine — ask participants to give their best guess!)
Connect with other CBF churches and refugee and immigrant ministries through CBF’s Mission Communities. Visit missioncommunities.org
Your gifts are vital to the work of CBF field personnel and other Fellowship ministries in the U.S. and around the world. Find out more at cbf.net/give 5.
In this session you’ll be focusing on the work of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Richmond, Va. Before the session, gather large sticky notes (or index cards and tape) and pens/markers. Also create a place on the wall (using a white board or poster paper) for the opening activity. Read through the article “Being Church Together” on pp. 8-10.
After everyone has had a chance to contribute their ideas, distribute copies of fellowship! and give participants time to read the article (either in small groups with discussion or on their own). Then return to the white board, brainstorm and ask, “Would you consider the ministry at Tabernacle ‘ministry to’ or ‘ministry with’ refugees? Ask: Reflecting on this example, do you think there is a big difference
between the two categories? How does the language of ‘projects’ vs. ‘partners’ define these two categories?” 7.
Ask: What do you think of Pastor Sterling Severns’ quote: “Our partnership with refugees from Burma is not a ministry of the church, it is the church”?
Continue the discussion by asking participants to use the example of Tabernacle Baptist to further define “ministry with” and “ministry to” by adding more sticky notes to the board.
Turn the conversation inward by comparing the work at Tabernacle to some of the ministries at your own church, deciding which category your ministries would fit into.
10. Close the discussion by asking, “What do you think it takes to transform a ‘ministry to’ effort to a ‘ministry with’ effort?” 11. End by praying for Tabernacle Baptist, your own congregation’s ministries and for CBF field personnel mentioned in the Prayer Calendar on page 4.
In 2013, CBF field personnel Missy Ward-Angalla established Amani Sasa, a shelter in Uganda for refugee women and children who have experienced violence, abuse, trafficking or other traumatizing situations.
Visit cbf.net/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: In Small Groups At Home: With Children
LEARN Learn more about Missy Ward-Angalla’s ministry in Uganda at cbf.net/ward
PRAY Pray for CBF field personnel worldwide as well as churches, chaplains, pastoral counselors, church starters and partners. Prayers of the People is a meaningful addition to your daily prayer life: cbf.net/pray
NETWORK Connect with other CBF churches and partners working with refugees and marginalized people through CBF’s Mission Communities. Visit missioncommunities.org
GIVE Your generosity ensures that the work of CBF field personnel and other Fellowship ministries continue to thrive. Find out more at cbf.net/give
Ministry of Healing and Empowerment IN WORSHIP: A MISSIONS MOMENT Missions Education Resource
The worship resource below can be incorporated into a worship service or other gathering time focused on missions. 1. Spend time with the article on Missy Ward-Angalla, CBF field personnel in Uganda, and her work with survivors of trauma on pp. 14-17. 2. Say, “You may have heard it said that ‘Nothing is wasted with God.’ No matter what our past, God can use our experiences, good and bad, to help us minister to others.” 3. Explain how as a young child, Missy Ward-Angalla experienced trauma, from which God helped heal her through the love and care of a supportive faith community. Later, God used her awareness of trauma and its effects to help her reach out to women and children refugees in Uganda, where she served first as a Student.Go intern through CBF. 4. Say, “God impacted Missy so strongly during her internship that she returned to Uganda as one of CBF’s field personnel to share God’s healing love with refugees who have suffered trauma.” 5. Expand with, “Missy wants survivors to do more than just survive — she wants them to flourish through God’s healing love. Through a shelter called Amani Sasa, Missy and her colleagues provide
the women with safety, discipleship, counseling and vocational training.” 6. Offer Missy’s words: “What we’ve found is, not only do they (the women) find a support group in the staff who are there and love them, but they also find support from each other, which is one of the most beautiful things about the program. Afterward, we’ve found that they’re empowered to help other people.” 7. Explain that several CBF partner churches have also been empowered by this ministry, learning more about victims of trafficking and trauma, offering prayer and financial support for the women in the healing process, and even by sending church members to serve short term alongside Missy. 8. Remind everyone that through giving to CBF’s Offering for Global Missions and to specific mission projects and field personnel, we participate in God’s transforming work around the world. Close with a prayer for the work of Missy and the Amani Sasa shelter and ask for guidance on how your congregation can partner with this ministry. A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 5
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EXPLORE CBF CHURCH STARTS CBF Church Starts encourages people to follow Christ and to join in Godâ€™s mission of reconciliation. Are you called reach our world with the Good News by leading a missional congregation? Participate in the CBF Church Starts Exploratory process to more deeply discern your call and learn about our philosophy, process and partnership.
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Published on Mar 30, 2015