fellowship! magazine - August-September

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August/September 2013

Cooperative baptist fellowship | www.thefellowship.info

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

Transforming lives through relationships

CBF photo

Read about the ministry of Annette Ellard and Steve Clark on pages 14-17.

From the Executive Coordinator 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 asks, “Do we need letters of introduction to and from each other? No, you are all the

letter we need, a letter written on our heart. It is plain that you are a letter that has come from Christ, a letter with the spirit of the living God, written not on stone tables but on the pages of the human heart.” Like the Corinthians, we must be more than a letter of introduction to generosity — we must be generous. More than a letter that introduces Christ, we must be the presence of Christ. Our true aspects of identity are warm, not legal, not gimmicks. Our identity is not just about our definition but about how we relate to others. We can be alone, or we can be an even better Fellowship with one another. I want to advance the public identity and profile of the Fellowship nationally. A value we share is to collaborate together, with other faithful groups for things that have a major impact in the world. Advocacy is something that we are learning to embrace to use our voice on behalf of the bereft and dying. We can be alone, or we can be in fellowship with other Christians for a compassionate identity. When you do work with other Christian leaders in your town, you are doing Fellowship work. You are most likely the Baptist in hundreds of communities that shows up for ecumenical, interdenominational and interfaith collaborations. Our willingness to hold our convictions strong and yet be generous in friendship is what makes us stand out. We can be alone, or we can be a Fellowship with those of other faiths. Our charge is to be a faithful, growing community of interconnected churches and ministries — vine, branches, roots, leaves, fruit. Our churches have learned how to grow themselves as missional and unique congregations. There are Fellowship churches built on that very same value of a unique congregation, unique to the call of Christ on the lives in the church, unique in context and community in other places. If we know how to value that quality and not just the habits of the previous place, then we can be in partnerships of support, and we can start and nurture new congregations. We commissioned three church starters this summer. Each healthy church in CBF should take up the prayerful consideration of starting a church within the next five years. We are no longer seedlings, but trees. We can be alone, or we can be a Fellowship of churches. There are treasures and gifts already here. We do not need a makeover. We are beautiful. We have many assets already available to use. We need to take the lid off our gifts. We can be alone, or we can be a Fellowship supporting churches and ministries in changing times. The greater mission enterprise of CBF is global engagement — a reality and a precious beautiful asset for the Fellowship. Our missions are not parachute missions, but biblical, honest, holistic service that provides a platform for Vol. 23, No. 4 meaningful church engagement and sustained national ministries. executive Coordinator • Suzii Paynter Associate Coordinator, Fellowship This is not cheap, nor is it the kind of venture that can be run for the change Advancement • Jeff Huett leftover in your car cup-holder. It is better than Three Cups of Tea or 100 other Editor • Aaron Weaver widely advertised NGOs. Imago dei is not another charity. It is a way of being. Associate Editor • Emily Holladay It is Christ-centered and a more excellent way. We can be alone, or we can be a Phone • (770) 220-1600 Fellowship united in missions. Fax • (770) 220-1685 E-Mail • fellowship@thefellowship.info These are times for aligning our mission and our organization by embracing Web Site • www.thefellowship.info the demands of a new CBF 2.0 as the letter from Christ, written on our hearts. fellowship! is published 6 times a year in We are born into this time and it is asking something of us. We can be alone, or we Feb./March, April/May, June/July, Aug./Sept., can be a Fellowship. Oct./Nov., Dec./Jan. by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Inc., 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500, Atlanta, GA 30030. Periodicals postage paid at Atlanta, GA. USPS #015-625. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to fellowship! Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500, Decatur, GA 30030.




August/September 2013

Suzii Paynter, CBF Executive Coordinator


7 8 9 10-12

Church Spotlight: Highland Baptist Church Partner Spotlight: Truett Seminary Five Tips for becoming a more missional Christian Missional Christians • 10-11 San Antonio’s Linda Cross helps Hispanics live out their callings and strengthen ministries • 12 UBC’s Nash offers profile of missional presence

13 14-20

Affect: August Missional Christians Transformational partnerships • 14-17 CBF field personnel and Crescent Hill Baptist Church minister with Karen refugees • 18-19 CBFNC churches partner with Belizean Baptists to complete construction of primary school • 20 Internationals ministry in Hattiesburg, Miss.

21 22-29

Affect: September Transformational partnerships 2013 General Assembly and News • 22 Paynter’s call to shared vision and values • 23 Meet CBF Moderator Bill McConnell • 24-25 2013 Assembly in pictures • 26-27 Meet new CBF field personnel and church starters • 28 Immigrants bringing renewal to the church • 29 Coalition announced to meet unmet Sandy disaster needs

FROM THE EDITOR — During the Friday evening worship session of the 2013 General Assembly in Greensboro, N.C., CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter began her address: “My dearest friends, we can be alone, or we can be a Fellowship. A Fellowship that is lived every day in Christ-centered identity, a Fellowship supporting churches and ministries in changing times.” I hope this issue gives a glimpse of what our Fellowship looks like and what it means to be a Fellowship. Being missional is vital to our Christ-centered identity. Bo Prosser writes on page 9 that “being ‘missional,’ while elusive, is actually quite distinctive.” The August stories on pp. 10-12 display the distinctiveness of the missional living of a Texas pastor and one of CBF’s field personnel. From connecting “Kingdom communities” to social media-fueled, rapid response ministry, the lives lived every day by these two people reveals a snapshot of what being “missional” looks like in our Fellowship. The September side of this issue provides a picture of several transformational partnerships based on authentic collaboration in our Fellowship, such as the story of a partnership between CBF churches in North Carolina and Baptists in Belize that is truly transforming the village of Santa Elena. Be sure to take a moment and learn more about our newly commissioned field personnel and church starters as well as new CBF Moderator Bill McConnell on pp. 23-27.

CBF Photo

Aaron Weaver, editor, aweaver@thefellowship.info fellowship!

August/September 2013



“When you give to CBF to support our ministry, you are impacting

CBF photo

When you give... not only the lives of Karen and Chin refugees from Burma, both overseas and now living in the United States, you are also impacting the vision and missional direction of local CBF churches.”

Marcia Binkley, One of CBF’s field personnel serving in the United States and Thailand By Bob Perkins


he dynamic in the quote above is well illustrated in the work of El Si, a young church leader in Fort Wayne, Ind. Thanks to a church leadership training partnership with Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Kan., El Si witnessed to two Karen friends who were recently baptized in May. That partnership, called Foundations Judson Communities classes, was established with the help of CBF field personnel Duane and Marcia Binkley, who work with refugees from Burma, both in the United States and in Thailand refugee camps “The goal of the program is to better equip them to lead refugee church congregations in the United States,” Marcia said. The first 25 students completed the program in Fort Wayne in May, and 60 more are enrolled in Utica, N.Y., with more locations being organized. The Binkleys were jointly commissioned by CBF and American Baptist Churches USA in 2007 and work mostly with the

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Karen, Karenni, Chin and Kachin people groups. However, more than 135 language groups are represented in Burma. These groups have endured intense persecution by the central government and are among the most neglected ethnic groups in the world. The conflict in Burma traces back to World War II, where many ethnic Burmese backed the Japanese, and minorities like the Karen sided with the British. After becoming an independent nation, the Burmese military exerted tight control over ethnic areas in the country, attacked unarmed villages and forced people to flee their homes. Many displaced people eventually wound up in one of nine refugee camps in Thailand. CBF, through the Binkleys, helps support a Bible school in the largest refugee camp where as many as 50,000 people live. “The refugee camp school has taught a lot of young people over the years,” Marcia said. “Many of these same young people eventually are resettled in the United States and become key leaders in churches here. Being resettled in the United States is not their first choice. Most would prefer to be able to go back to Burma and live peaceably.

Thailand doesn’t want them as permanent residents, so their last resort to give themselves any kind of future is resettlement.” Currently, more than 200 churches and congregations composed of former refugees are meeting throughout the nation. The seminary program from which El Si recently graduated from helps refugees to form their own organizations to stay in touch and support one another moving forward. “The classes are meeting a need. They are forming newly established churches and working with existing Baptist churches. They teach us how to be missionaries in the United States by reaching out to internationals living in our own communities,” Marcia said. The mission to Burma has come full circle. “Two hundred years ago, the peoples of Burma taught us how to do missions by accepting or rejecting the Gospel,” Duane said. “They showed us how missions could be successful. Now, they are coming to the United States and opening our eyes, especially in our inner city churches, about how internationals in these communities can help us revitalize our congregations.”

Please give. Your gifts to CBF enable life-changing missions and ministries around the world. To give, go online to www.thefellowship.info/givenow or use the envelope provided in this issue.

August/September 2013

Serve Opportunities to

Bosnian immigrants ministry

American and Karen children make baskets at an Easter parade hosted by Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.

St. Louis, Mo.

In partnership with Kirkwood Baptist Church, CBF field personnel Mira and Sasha Zivanov work to provide food pantries, computer classes and English language courses to St. Louis-area immigrants from Bosnia, Slovenia and Croatia. Contact Chris Boltin, CBF Short Term Assignments/ Partnerships Manager, at cboltin@thefellowship.info if you or your church is interested in serving with Kirkwood Baptist and the Zivanovs.

Refugee outreach CBF field personnel David and Julie Brown minister in the beautiful coastal town of Marseille, France. The beauty of this location is overshadowed by the plight of thousands of refugees who come to Europe in search of a better life. These refugees have faced immense poverty, civil wars and ethnic strife. Through tangible ministries like ESL classes, counseling, leadership development, music, construction and Vacation Bible School, teams are able to join the Browns in this work. Contact the Browns at gbrown52779@yahoo.com.

Business as mission San Antonio, Texas

CBF field personnel Ben and Leonora Newell work among budding entrepreneurs in San Antonio, Texas. The Newells assist these promising entrepreneurs in the basics of business, including providing crash courses in bookkeeping, business plan preparation, quality control, production control and mentoring through webinars, conference calls, meetings and personal visits. Reach the Newells at bnewell22@gmail.com.

Joseph Williams photo

Marseille, France

ties, those who participate in this urban ministry are led to a true “metanoia,” a transformation of the heart and mind. Both individuals and churches may serve through landscaping, painting, construction/renovation and mentoring opportunities. Contact Chris Boltin at cboltin@thefellowship.info for additional information.

Karen refugee ministry Louisville, Ky.

The ministry of CBF field personnel Steve Clark and Annette Ellard is featured on pages 14-17 of this issue of fellowship! magazine. If you or your church are interested in serving alongside Clark and Ellard, connect with them at steve.annette@yahoo.com.

Urban ministry

Romany outreach

North Charleston, S.C.


Metanoia is an urban ministry that is centered on addressing the issue of poverty in the Chicora/ Cherokee community of North Charleston, S.C. By building up leaders, establishing quality housing and focusing on economic development opportuni-

CBF field personnel Keith Holmes and Mary Van Rheenen, though based in the Netherlands, focus on the needs of the Romany people. This couple has spent countless hours dubbing Christian films, children’s videos and audio versions of Scripture into


the Romany language. In addition to these beneficial and unique ministries, Holmes and Van Rheenan are also involved in Romany outreach in Moldova. Once known as the “bread basket of Europe,” Moldova today is regarded as the poorest country in the region. Teams are needed to assist local believers in holding a Vacation Bible School/Day Camp in a Romany village. To learn more, contact Holmes and Van Rheenan at holmesvr@online.nl.

Open House Ministries Homestead, Fla.

Open House Ministries was birthed in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which almost completely destroyed Homestead, Fla. Nearly 20 years later, the Homestead community continues to face immense challenges, with 43 percent of children living in poverty and a high school graduation rate that hovers around 50 percent. Open House offers great mission opportunities for groups to work with these children and youth. For more information, visit www.openhouseministries.info.

Learn about additional opportunities to serve at www.thefellowship.info/serve or contact CBF staff member Chris Boltin at engage@thefellowship.info. fellowship!

August/September 2013



prayerspeople of the

To be and to do!

which to engage. As we engage in more things, we find our faith being formed even deeper. “Being and Doing” are By Bo Prosser, CBF Coordinator interrelated experiences, not of Missional Congregations isolated activities. ord, what would You’ll be hearing a lot about you have me to our “Dawnings” initiative in BE and to DO?” the coming days. At the core of Bo Prosser Don’t be “Dawnings” is this same prayer. deceived by the brevity or Even as you pray this prayer individually, simplicity of this prayer of petition. The also pray this prayer for your congregation prayer asks much and presents a posture and for other congregations. Pray for our of listening and obeying. As we are formed world and leadership at all levels. Pray deeper by God, we discover more things in specifically for one or two names listed


CBF Ministries Prayer Calendar CH = Chaplain FP = Field Personnel FPC = Child of Field Personnel GMP = Global Missions Partner

13 Clyde Angel, Indianapolis, IN (CH); Rodney Bolejack, Denton, TX (CH); Thomas Dougherty, Mechanicsville, VA (PC); Cathy Hollon, Union Springs, AL (CH); Wayne Maberry, Alturas, FL (CH); Johnny Taylor, Plano, TX (CH)

29 Pam Foster, Haslet, TX (CH) 30 ___, son, North Africa (FPC); Christina Liem, Houston, TX (CH); Karen Sherin, Columbia, MO (FP) 31 Karr La Dickens, Dallas, TX (FP); Michael Pimpo, Grayslake, IL (PLT); Cecelia Walker, Montgomery, AL (CH)

PC = Pastoral Counselor

14 Maurice Graham, Richmond, VA (PC); Roy Moritz, Elizabeth City, NC (CH)

PLT = Church Planter

15 Daniel Shadix, Prattville, AL (CH)

S = CBF Staff

16 Don McNeely, Emeritus (FP)

1 Terry Eddinger, Winston-Salem, NC (CH); Milton Snyder, Milledgeville, GA (CH); Dan Stallard, Woodbridge, VA (CH); Ralph Stocks, Romania (FP)


17 Joe Moffitt, Wetmore, CO (CH); Susan Rogers, Jacksonville, FL (PLT); Anna Sample, 2001, San Francisco, CA (FPC)

2 Bob Coons, Owensboro, KY (PLT); Ruth Cuellar, Newnan, GA (PLT); Dennis McDuffie, Atoka, TN (CH); Sara Moran, Greer, SC (CH)

1 Steven Safreed, Fayetteville, GA (CH); Stephen Saunders, Live Oak, TX (CH) 2 Mike Beach, Knoxville, TN (CH) 3 Mina Podgaiskaya, Ukraine (FP); Scott Uzzel, Marietta, GA (CH); Mary Ellen Yates, Louisville, KY (PC) 4 Hannah, 1999, Thailand (FPC); Mark Pruitt, Martinsburg, WV (CH); Diane Stamey, Clyde, NC (PC); Matthew Mysocki, Fort Gordon, GA (CH) 5 Mary, Thailand (FP); Susan Allen, Midway, KY (CH); John Henson, Shreveport, LA (PLT); Ronald Howard, Tuscaloosa, AL (CH); Donald Lederer, Indian Trail, NC (CH); John Oliver, Durham, NC (CH) 6 Larry Hamm, Greenwood, IN (CH); Deborah Jenkins, Novato, CA (CH) 7 Merrie Harding, Orlando, FL (FP); Vernon Westenbroek, Columbia, MO (CH) 8 Janée Angel, Belgium (FP); Ellen Holmes, 1992, Europe (FPC); Robin Robinson, Spring, TX (CH); Jon Wyatt, 1995, Canada (FPC) 9 Elizabeth Sample, 1998, San Francisco, CA (FPC) 10 Dawn Hood-Patterson, Fort Worth, TX (CH); Elliott Sample, 2004, San Francisco, CA (FPC); Nicholas Wright, Waco, TX (CH) 11 Robbie Byrd, Fayetteville, NC (PC); Justin Murphy, Leesburg, FL (CH); John Norman, Four Oaks,


NC (FP); Karen Rector, Mayport, FL (CH); Robert Townsend, Nathalie, VA (CH)

in the prayer calendar, asking for God’s clarification in their hearts and minds even as God is clarifying your heart and mind. At first, just practice “being still.” Later, go and DO! As you consistently pray this prayer, develop a list of what you feel God’s Spirit may be saying to you. Pay attention to what God is doing in your prayers through mystery and activity. Pray with confidence that God is preparing you, guiding you and strengthening you for action. “Lord, what would you have ME to Be and to Do? Lord, what would you have me to BE and to DO?”



18 Ben Craver, Albuquerque, NM (CH); Fran Stevenson, Fremont, CA (FP); Brickson Sam, Charlotte, NC (PLT) 19 Kaela Ruble, 1998, Southeast Asia (FPC) 20 Joyce Cleary, Emeritus (FP); Reid Doster, Madisonville, LA (PLT); Jim Ivey, New Albany, IN (CH); Barbara Marshall, Petersburg, VA (CH) 21 Inetta Taylor-Shuetz, Lubbock, TX (CH); Alice Tremaine, Corbin, KY (CH) 22 Doug Brown, Franklin, IN (CH); Daniel Hix, Maryville, TN (CH); Ana Podgaiskaya, 2001, Ukraine (FPC) 23 Mike Bumgarner, Norman, OK (CH); Keith Little, New Bern, NC (CH); Allen Williams, Cross Cut, TX (FP); Richard Woodall, Memphis, TN (CH); Marc Wyatt, Canada (FP) 24 Timothy Boschen, Waynesboro, VA (CH); Craig Klempnauer, Hewitt, TX (CH) 25 Arville Earl, Macedonia (FP); Robert McMilan, Oklahoma City, OK (CH) 26 Cindy Ruble, Southeast Asia (FP) 27 Carson Cole, 2001, Spain (FPC); Jim Kirkendall, Biloxi, MS (CH); Randall Walton, Lynchburg, VA (CH); Verr Dean Williams, Cross Cut, TX (FP) 28 Hattie Jackson-Harris, Montevallo, AL (PLT)

August/September 2013


3 Jenny Jenkins, Haiti (FP); Ann Owen, Viera, FL (CH) 4 Monique Criddell, Waco, TX (CH); Vicki Lumpkin, Greensboro, NC (CH); Shirley Massey, Chapel Hill, NC (CH)

15 Rebecca Holmes, 1994, Europe (FPC); Brandy Mullins, Manvel, TX (CH) 16 Dick Allison, Hattiesburg, MS (CH); Christopher Harrell, 1993, Kenya (FPC); Karen Heistand, Charlottesville, VA (CH); Byron Johnson, Twenty-nine Palms, CA (CH); Charles Leggett, Lawton, OK (CH) 17 Angela Clark, Matthews, NC (CH); Jean Craddock, Lexington, KY (PC); George Rossi, Columbia, SC (CH) 18 Susan Barnett, Green Valley, AZ (CH) 19 ___, daughter, North Africa (FPC); Wanda Ashworth Valencia, Homestead, FL (FP); Larry Baker, Commerce City, CO (CH); Josiah Maas, 2007, Belize (FPC) 20 David Bluford, Lenoir City, TN (CH); Renée Owen, Marietta, GA (CH); Tanya Parks, Slovakia (FP); Robert Randolph, Swannanoa, NC (CH); Kenneth Walker, Frankfort, KY (PC)

5 Eddie Aldape, India (FP); Kelly Belcher, Spartanburg, SC (CH); Roger Benimoff, Grand Prairie, TX (CH); Becky Brannon, Gainesville, GA (CH); David Brown, France (FP); David D’Amico, Emeritus (FP); Alexandria Geovanni, Waco, TX (CH); David Julian, Dublin, GA (CH)

21 Mark Flores, Lynchburg, VA (CH)

6 Carla Cherry, Worthington, OH (CH)

24 William Stewart, Yukosuka Naval Base, Japan (CH)

7 Martha Harper, Madison, MS (CH); Lee Hendricks, Greenville, NC (CH); Lita Sample, San Francisco, CA (FP) 8 Daniel Hall, Pineville, KY (CH); Trey Lyon, Atlanta, GA (FP) 9 Jutta Cowie, Haiti (FP) 10 Timothy Brown, Dublin, GA (CH); Nancy Campbell, Hickory, NC (CH); Keegan, 2009, Los Angeles, CA (FPC) 12 Bryan Lake, Cumming, GA (CH); Ryan Berlin (S) 13 Alyssa Aldape (S); Andrew Gee, Marietta, GA (PC); Alan Redditt, Georgetown, KY (CH); Richard Morris, Lebanon, PA (CH); Scot McCosh, Hope Mills, NC (CH) 14 Bart Grooms, Birmingham, AL (PC); Priscilla Howick, Jacksonville, FL (CH); Stephanie Moore, Maryville, TN (CH)

22 Kim Chafee, Virginia Beach, VA (CH); Josh Reglin, Tahoka, TX (CH); John Robbins, Maiden, NC (CH); Becky Shoaf, Atlanta, GA (CH) 23 Geoffrey Fuller, Chester, VA (CH); Bo Prosser (S); Donna Seay, Bryson City, NC (CH)

25 Gabe Orea, China (FP); Angel Pittman, Miami, FL (FP) 26 Randy Brookshire, Greenville, SC (CH); Sunny Mitchell, Milwaukee, WI (CH); Keith Parker, Brevard, NC (PC); Beth Sexton, Lincolnton, KY (CH); Lynwood Walters, Gainesville, FL (CH); Gloria White, Pearland, TX (PC) 27 Cathy Anderson, Kennesaw, GA (CH); Peggy Johnson, Hurst, TX (PC); Gilbert Sanders (S) 28 Renate Kruklis, Braselton, GA (CH) 29 John Harris, Pelham, AL (PC) 30 Rebecca Wyatt, 1992, Canada (FPC)

photo Courtesy of Highland Baptist

church spotlight Highland Baptist Church

Location: Louisville, Ky. Founded: 1893 Pastor: Joe Phelps Congregation Size: 1,400 members Mission Statement: The mission of Highland Baptist Church is to be so changed by God’s transforming love revealed in Jesus Christ that we are an intriguing, inviting and inclusive community of faith, filled with generous hearts and passion for God’s justice. Ministry Focus: A thinking, feeling, healing community of faith.

Young adults pave the way for an irresistible revolution Highland Baptist Church is located in one of the most eclectic urban communities in Louisville, Ky. The church has long sought to be an integral part of the Highlands community, and a dynamic and active group of young adults are integral to expanding and deepening the ministry efforts of the congregation. Three years ago, the young adult group embarked on a study of Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution, a book about how to incarnate Christ’s radical love within one’s neighborhood, and members of the group subsequently attended a conference in Chicago on community development. The conversations around this book, as well as a designated gift of money for young adult leadership development through urban ministry,

inspired the group to connect long-term with a nearby community. Following months of intentional discussion and prayer, the group began their ministry in the Shelby Park neighborhood, a community located less than two miles from the church. Highland is beginning its third year of ministry in Shelby Park, meeting each Monday night at the Shelby Park Community Center, where volunteers engage in tutoring, art activities, games and meals with more than 40 neighborhood children who are directly affected by living in a community which experiences high rates of poverty, crime and unemployment. “For the young adults, this ministry is a way to embody God’s love in tangible ways and see the effect of loving someone unconditionally over a period of time. When you know their name, you can’t just categorize them as bad or hopeless — they become part of your life,” said Joe Phelps, pastor of Highland Baptist Church. In an intentional effort to connect the rest of the church with this vibrant ministry, the young adults have invited various groups and Bible Study classes within the church to volunteer on Monday nights as well. They have developed a Shelby Park Leadership Team whose members attend the Shelby Park Neighborhood Association meetings, work with the Network Center for Community Change and meet with local community leaders to develop and implement asset-based community development strategies within the neighborhood. For Highland Baptist Church, what began as a young adult book study has blossomed into

a ministry of partnership and relationship with a community in their own backyard.

Additional ministries: Highland Baptist Church hosts other ministries within the church that help build relationships with the community around their building. Some of the unique and transformative ministries occurring at Highland include: • Friday Church: Each Friday night at 7 p.m., a group of 150 people come to Highland Baptist for community and worship. Started in conjunction with a Narcotics Anonymous meeting held in the building, Friday Church is now in its seventh year and provides a space of warmth and welcome for all people, especially those who struggle with addiction. • True Colors: In 2011, a member of HBC started True Colors, a ministry to share love with people in the LGBT community in Louisville. This group meets twice a month for fellowship, meals, retreats and Bible study. Individuals find space to share their stories and find support and guidance. • Building Love Initiative: After years of discussion about reimagining the church’s use of its traditional education building, 2013 brought a campaign to Highland called “Building Love.” Leading with the “why” of child and adolescent faith formation in the church, Highland is launching a $2.6 million campaign to renovate their 100-year-old building, which will invite young people into transformational faith exploration. fellowship!

August/September 2013



Partner spotlight

Truett Seminary The George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University opened its doors in fall 1994 with four full-time faculty and 51 students. For its first seven years, the seminary was housed at First Baptist Church of Waco, Texas. Once its new facility was completed on the Baylor University campus, Truett moved across Interstate 35 and has now graduated more than 1,000 men and women. Since its first graduating class in 1997, alumni have responded to God’s call to ministry and are now serving in 43 states and 21 countries. Beginning in fall 2013, Truett will launch its third dual degree program, combining the Master of Divinity and the Master of Business Administration. In January 2014, Truett will begin offering courses at Baylor’s extension campus in Austin, Texas.

“Each fall,

David Garland, Dean, Truett Seminary

“Truett continues

to be a trusted place for preparing young ministers for congregational ministry and missions. The quality of education, both academically and practically, sets a high standard for forming ministers to live out their gospel callings.”

Bo Prosser, CBF Coordinator for Missional Congregations


Truett Seminary

Since the school’s inception in 1994, George W. Truett Theological Seminary has

Founded: 1994

actively partnered with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. In 2006, Truett was named one of CBF’s identity partner schools. With the assistance of CBF funding

Website: www.baylor.edu/truett

chaplaincy, as well as long-term and short-term missions. Truett alumni serve CBF

Mission statement: As a professional school of Baylor Univer-

congregations and ministries from North Carolina to California, and around the

sity, George W. Truett Theological Seminary subscribes to the

world from South Africa to China.

university’s mission statement “to educate men and women for

Truett students benefit from CBF’s Leadership Scholar program. Because of the

worldwide leadership and service by integrating academic ex-

CBF Leadership Scholarship, many Truett students receive financial assistance for

cellence and Christian commitment within a caring community.”

tuition and fees. The seminary hosts an annual CBF Day on campus. During this fo-

Truett Seminary’s purpose is to provide theological education

cus, students learn more about CBF, its ministries and possible avenues of service.

that is centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ and consistent

“Truett Seminary and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship share a common goal:

with historic Baptist commitments to prepare persons to

be the presence of Christ in the world. Although our respective tasks may differ,


Location: Waco, Texas

and support, Truett trains seminarians for service in CBF-related churches and

to serve congregations committed to historic Baptist principles in their efforts to


Photo courtesy of Truett Seminary

as new students find their way to Truett Seminary, I am reminded that God is at work in the life of the church, calling out amazingly gifted individuals. For those who worry the church is in a state of decline, or worry about the leaders of the future, they only need to sit with these students for a while and listen to their stories. These students and their storied lives are what drive each of us at Truett Seminary to receive our work as a sacred task.”

carry this gospel to the world. Degrees offered include Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Christian Ministry,

that common thread unites our work. Even as we prepare women and men for

Master of Theological Studies and Doctor of Ministry.

ministry, CBF and its churches provide congregational and missional contexts for

Truett Seminary is committed to holistic student development

ministers to live into their calling by God. Together, we seek to prepare, sustain and

by equipping students through theological and biblical reflec-

encourage new generations of Baptist ministers who will lead the church into the

tion, spiritual formation, lifelong learning, ministry service

21st century,” said David Garland, Truett Seminary dean.

and cross-cultural sensitivity.


August/September 2013


for becoming a more missional Christian By Bo Prosser, Coordinator for Missional Congregations

than the term “missional.” This is a word that is thrown around to justify almost any mission action of a congregation or Christian. The truth is that being “missional,” while elusive, is actually quite distinctive.


Missional resists definition. Just as Jesus refused to give limiting definitions to the “Kingdom of God,” many of us resist a limiting definition of “missional.” Jesus would always say, “the Kingdom of God is like ...” and then tell a parable or share an illustration. The same is true for being “missional.” Being missional is packing backpacks of school supplies for the elementary school down the street. Being missional is hosting a meal for the homeless around your church community. Being missional is providing childcare for the young adult couples in your church on a Friday night to allow for “date night!” Being missional is being the presence of Christ because we love those around us.


Missional is contextual. By responding to the unique needs of people, Jesus modeled missional for us. Jesus did not have a program of ministry. Jesus lived in the moment and responded appropriately. There are people in your church community right now wishing you would help them. Look around your community and see where God’s Spirit is moving. Then go and join in those efforts. That’s missional. Look around your community and see a need that your church is uniquely positioned to meet, and then go meet that need. That’s missional. Look around your world and see where you can join other Christians at work in God’s Kingdom, and then join by going across the street, down the road or around the world to help. That’s missional. Being missional is being the presence of Christ where you are and where you can reach.


Missional is a natural response. The missional Christian is not coerced to be on mission. The missional Christian serves

naturally, responding to the needs around her. Ministry happens almost automatically based on the passion and calling of the individual. Missional is more about meeting needs than attending meetings. Missional is rarely voted on but widely accepted and supported. Missional is not a program but a spontaneous, automatic ministry action. Being missional is being the presence of Christ without thinking about getting credit, praise or recognition. photo Courtesy of Highland Baptist


erhaps there has been no word spoken more profusely in church circles over the past few years


Missional is intentional. A missional Christian is called to live out his passion with purpose. For too long, we have pressured those around us into some service or ministry. We’ve been far too concerned about filling slots more than we have been about releasing gifts or encouraging servanthood. We’ve been more focused on fulfilling our church’s ministry report or financial goals than we have about living out God’s mission. A missional Christian is totally focused on fulfilling a priority calling to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Missional is about purpose-filled servanthood. Missional is about growing disciples within God’s mission, not our own. Being missional is about being the presence of Christ because the needs of the world cannot be ignored.


Missional is a dynamic process. One never fully achieves a state of missional living; the journey is the destination. We continue to journey with God, praying the question, “Lord, what would you have me to be and to do?” As we participate in this missional lifestyle, we are informed and transformed into deeper discipleship and led into broader engagement. We never arrive. We are never finished! Missional living is a lifestyle of spiritual formation and ministry/missions engagement. Missional living is continually being open to the leadership of God. Being missional is being the presence of Christ today and being brave enough to follow God again tomorrow into new ministry opportunities. Volumes could be written about missional living. Maybe the best understanding is to be the presence of Christ in the world. Take these five tips, study the models of those around us and go be and do “on Earth as it is in Heaven.”


August/September 2013



Fostering friends and connecting

Kingdom communities

San Antonio’s Linda Cross helps Hispanics live out their callings and strengthen ministries

By Katelyn Foster McWilliams

“As Christians we all have good news to share with our neighbors, who are also beggars in one way or another. But I hasten to say, if our good news is not good news to the poor, the captive, the oppressed and the suffering, it is not the good news of Jesus Christ.”

Commissioned in 2011 and based out of Baptist University of the Americas (BUA) in San Antonio, Texas, Cross ministers among Spanish speakers through facilitation and mentoring. She works to create a network for leadership development, continuing education and support among Baptist seminaries and churches of Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Although her work is primarily with educators, clergy and lay leaders, Cross also seeks to connect CBF churches and organizations with each other. As she put it, “I love working with friends.” Brother Ignacio and his wife, Soledad, in San Antonio, are two such friends that Cross recently connected with South Main Baptist, a CBF partner church in Houston. Ignacio and Soledad are former missionaries who served among Muslims




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L, Criag Bird photo; R, Kevin Sinclair photo


inda Cross, one of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s field personnel, believes we are all beggars.

and still have family members in the Middle East. Evacuated from their mission due to the threat of death, Ignacio and Soledad returned home to San Antonio to find their house in an unlivable condition and in need of repair. BUA provided temporary student housing for Ignacio while he and a fellow Hispanic pastor and neighbor set about working evenings and weekends to restore the house.

Upon learning of their need, Cross connected South Main volunteers to aid in painting, cleanup and various repairs. As a result, Cross noted, “The family was able to move into their permanent home much sooner than they expected.” In addition, South Main missioners went above and beyond the primary need of construction. They planted flower and vegetable gardens in the backyard, and even

Criag Bird photo

Linda Cross, one of CBF’s field personnel, connected a San Antonio couple returning from the mission field with a group from South Main Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. The group helped restore the home of the missionary couple.

left a large pot of flowers on the front porch as a parting gift. Cross enjoys having the ability to foster such partnerships and friendships between people who otherwise might never have met. In the process, Cross feels that she is connecting Kingdom communities. “I think of myself as part talent scout, part recruiter, part travel agent and part fundraiser,” Cross said. “Someone tells me of a passion they have for a specific ministry and another person tells me of a need. I try to make connections, and, where necessary, secure resources to make things happen.” The two-time Baylor University alum shares that her lifelong call to missions started in junior college. And because her ministry activities have looked different at various points in her life, this, in turn, gives Cross insight into what she now feels is another aspect of personal ministry — helping others fulfill their own callings. “I believe I help others live out their callings by helping identify and connect resources that will strengthen their ministries.”

For Cross, this can include finding someone to lead conferences, training sessions or workshops on topics of interest among Latin American or Caribbean Baptist educators and pastors. It can mean recruiting someone to teach for a semester or year at a seminary. It can also entail helping BUA students study for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in preparation for attending graduate school or seminary. Cross is enrolled in Spanish classes at BUA, and says her interest in ministering with Hispanics came about during her work with Texas Baptists. The powerful slogan, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” reminds Cross why her work is vital to the everyday lives of Spanish speakers. “I worked with several Hispanic congregations and began to be convicted of the vast need and limited resources being committed to work among Hispanics either in the United States or elsewhere,” Cross said. Through inviting churches to San Antonio to participate in mission

trips, Cross connects visiting groups of missioners with local churches, missions and ministries all over the San Antonio area. She helps the volunteers live out the call of God on their lives and finds appropriate places for groups to minister and form friendships. Cross’s dream is to form a network that connects all the Baptist seminaries of Latin America and the Caribbean with CBF and BUA. Her hope is that teams of educators and teachers, both clergy and laity, can be identified who are willing to work online or on location to educate and enhance the development of leadership among churches wanting to minister with and among Hispanics. “Ignorance is oppressive and perpetuates poverty. It wastes lives and creates ceaseless suffering — regardless of cultural context. This is my terribly inadequate attempt to lift my candle as high as I can. To light as many candles as I can, for as long as I can to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to all the dark places of our world. Jesus is the way, the truth, the light and the life,” Cross said. fellowship!

August/September 2013



Being missional

UBC’s Nash offers profile of missional presence By Courtney Lyons




August/September 2013

regularly with the man and his family and new relationships were formed. This type of active, collective involvement is what being missional looks like to Nash. Many of the students at nearby Cesar Chavez Middle School have experienced the ongoing missional presence of UBC members. Nash arranges for undergraduates to have lunch regularly with students Craig Nash, community pastor of University Baptist at Cesar Chavez. This “lunch buddies” ministry has led to additional Church in Waco, Texas, is equipping groups and individuals in his congregation to understand and live into their involvement after school with the missional identity. middle schoolers, as UBC members volunteer to help with weekly soccer 250 people nestled deep on the Domincan practice and other school activities. Republic’s sugar cane fields. Since 2011, Staying connected is a central comUBC has been sending groups to provide ponent of Nash’s missional vision as well the Batey 50 with clean water and to build a as the vision of UBC. And social media school. Nash views UBC’s commitment to is an important tool that Nash utilizes in international missions as an important way his role as community pastor. An avid to deepen the congregation’s awareness of Facebook user, Nash’s use of social media the necessity of offering a missional preshelped make possible an incredible rapid ence on a global scale. response to the devastating explosion in Nash’s personal commitment to misneighboring West, Texas. sional engagement is seen in another aspect In the aftermath of the fertilizer exploof his ministry as community pastor — sion that left 14 dead and nearly 200 inhanging out at a neighborhood bar. Several jured, Nash and UBC instantly sought ways years ago, Nash began frequenting a bar to help, organizing a meal for two West within shouting distance of the church each churches — First United Church of Christ week, where he naturally became known as and West Brethen Church — affected “The Preacher.” by the blast. Regulars at the bar were mostly folks The explosion also had terrible consewho had grown up together, worked toquences for the residents of a nursing cengether and retired together in the working ter in West. Residents had to be relocated class neighborhood surrounding UBC. and placed in facilities an hour drive or far- These regulars gathered to maintain a conther away. Many of the residents’ caregivers nection with each other. At first, many were themselves elderly and lacked transthought it was a bit unusual to have a portation to visit their displaced relatives. preacher in their midst. Now, as they have Upon learning of this unfortunate situation, come to know and trust Nash with both Nash notified UBC home groups, sought their names and personal stories, they have donations and organized volunteers to help given him a new, more affectionate name. the residents stay connected with their famNash is no longer called “The Preacher.” ily members during this chaotic time. Instead, he is now known at the bar as Through the Cooperative Baptist Fel“Our Preacher.” lowship, UBC has a two-year partnership And that’s what being missional with the Batey 50, a community of about looks like. Jacob Robinson photo


ne of the ongoing challenges of ministry for Craig Nash, community pastor at University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, is equipping home groups and individuals in his congregation to understand and live into their missional identity. Nash, an alum of Baylor University’s Truett Seminary who serves on the board of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Texas, views his role as a facilitator or active networker, working to help his congregation to respond promptly and practically to pressing needs in their community. University Baptist is certainly a different kind of Baptist church. An innovative congregation where the popular David Crowder Band helped lead worship for many years, UBC serves a city with a significant young adult population thanks to nearby Baylor University and McLennan Community College. With a diffuse sense of mission, Nash and UBC take an organic, rather than programmatic, approach to community ministry. For Nash, being a missional presence involves helping UBC members to meet the needs of their neighbors in the low-income community surrounding the church. Nash works to connect members with certain gifts and talents to help meet the specific needs of neighbors. He did just that with a Baylor student majoring in business and a neighbor with a fledgling auto repair business. The owner, a recovering addict, hoped his repair shop would serve as a place of employment for others seeking to stabilize their lives. With his graduation approaching, the business student desired to see the church continue a relationship with his new friend. The student asked Nash what it would mean, practically speaking, for UBC to be the presence of Christ to this neighbor? UBC’s response to the student’s question was to put together a team with expertise in business management. The team met

Opportunities to

Missions Education Resource How to use this page

August 2013

The suggestions below will be helpful for using the stories on pages 10-14 of this issue in the life of your church. Small Group interaction, Study Group or Reading Group options are given, as well as suggestions for other congregational or family settings. Go online to www.thefellowship.info/affectonline for more suggestions.

Missional Christians

In Small Groups:

The following is an outline for adult mission groups, Bible study classes or other small groups. Share copies of fellowship! with group members prior to the meeting and have extra copies available. These suggestions are for a 45-minute time frame. 1. This session centers on the cross-cultural ministry of Linda Cross, one of CBF’s field personnel in Texas. Collect copies of fellowship! for participants. Read the article on Linda Cross on pp. 10-11 to prepare for the discussion. 2. Begin by saying, “Some missionaries describe their ministry as ‘one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.’” Discuss possible meanings of this quotation. Say, “As one ‘beggar’ following Christ, Linda Cross helps other ‘beggars,’ her Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters, find resources and support for their education, lives and ministries.” 3. Explain that Cross works with Baptist University of the Americas, a CBF-partner university in San Antonio, Texas, where Spanish-speaking Christians receive not only an education but also spiritual encouragement, guidance and assistance with cultural issues. 4. Read from paragraph 2: “She works to create a network for leadership development, continuing education and support among the Baptist seminaries and churches of Central and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Primarily working with educators, clergy and lay leaders, she also seeks to connect CBF churches and organizations.”

5. Ask someone to read aloud paragraphs 3–6 about Cross connecting South Main Baptist in Houston with Ignacio and Soledad, missionaries who needed housing-repair assistance. 6. Invite participants to consider how connecting this church to this couple helped “create friendships and partnerships between people who otherwise might never meet” (paragraph 7). Say, “Cross describes this as connecting ‘the Kingdom communities.’”



Cooperative baptiSt fellowShip | www.thefellowShip.info

August/september 2013

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

Transforming lives through relationships Read about the ministry of Annette Ellard and Steve Clark on pages 14-17

7. Observe that Cross’s work connecting and encouraging “Kingdom communities” echoes the work of the apostle Paul as he connected Timothy to communities in need of encouragement (Phil. 2:19; 1 Thess. 3:1–3) and Phoebe to the church in Rome (Rom. 16:1–2). 8. Wrap up the session with a discussion about people in your area who help create “Kingdom communities.” Close with prayer for Cross, her ministry and all who work to connect believers in doing God’s work in the world (see p. 6 for the Prayer Calendar).

In Reading Groups A Different Sun — by Elaine Neil Orr Set in the mid-1800s, the main character in this book, Emma Davis, is in college when she hears the call to become a missionary. When she responds, she and her husband become the first Baptist missionaries in Nigeria. But Emma is the daughter of a prosperous slave owner and has lived a sheltered life. This change of direction challenges Emma’s faith and revolutionizes her life.


August/September 2013



Transforming lives through


CBF field personnel and Crescent Hill Baptist Church minister with Karen refugees By Emily Holladay


Joseph Williams photos

n 2001, when Crescent Hill Baptist Church, a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship partner church in Louisville, Ky., sent their first mission team to Chiang Mai, Thailand to paint a Karen youth hostel, Annette Ellard and her husband, Steve Clark, began an adventure beyond their wildest dreams. The group of 10, which included Clark




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and Ellard, traveled to Thailand to begin a partnership with CBF field personnel and other ministry groups in the area, including the Karen Baptist Convention. The Karen people, who they ministered with, are an ethnic group from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, who were forced to leave their country due to extreme persecution. “As we all worked together to paint the

two-story dormitory with a band of Karen high school students and their houseparents, our host missionaries pulled us all together one evening and told us to pray for each other. They believed God was calling someone out of the group to full-time mis(Below) At Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., Karen refugees and American people find a home in worship together.

sionary service,” Clark said. “Annette and I thought we knew exactly who we should pray for, a soon-to-be college student studying to be a nurse. We prayed for her every day, all the while continuing our long days of painting and making new friends.” Throughout the trip, Clark and Ellard developed deep friendships with the Karen people, and would return to Thailand with Crescent Hill Baptist in 2002 and 2004, each time staying several weeks longer than the rest of the mission team. After their visit in 2004, the couple realized that God had called them to serve as CBF field personnel. Just two years later, Clark and Ellard were commissioned by the Fellowship. In the years leading up to their commissioning by CBF, the United States began to implement a plan to allow thousands of Karen people to leave Thailand and resettle

in the states. Because of their background in communications, Clark and Ellard were contacted by Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM) to put together a video to help raise awareness of refugees and resettlement. “When the director of KRM mentioned that some Karen refugees were going to be resettled in Louisville, we told her we were sure Crescent Hill Baptist would consider sponsoring a Karen refugee family. The director didn’t know when the Karen would start coming to Louisville, but we were hopeful things would work out for our church to adopt a Karen family,” Clark said. When they discovered that Karen families were arriving in Louisville without an interpreter, Clark and Ellard used their contacts to secure a translator from Myanmar for the resettlement agencies in Louisville. In February, when the interpreter met with the first Karen family, the family asked the inter-

preter where she went to church. The interpreter told them about Crescent Hill Baptist and asked Clark and Ellard to pick up the family for church the following Sunday. This family spread the word about the church that welcomed Karen people and by that Sunday, Clark and Ellard had to borrow the church van to transport 20 Karen refugees to church. Within six months, the church saw more than 100 Karen people regularly attending worship, and today, the Karen and American people continue their practice of worshipping together. “The decision to worship together as one congregation was driven by the Karen. CBF field personnel Annette Ellard (pictured on left alongside a Karen teen) and Steve Clark started HOPE Academy to help young Karen students adjust to American schooling. Two of the biggest annual events for the academy are the prom (left) and graduation (right).


August/September 2013



Joseph Williams photos

They were given the choice to use church facilities to worship independently from the larger body, but they said that church means one body and that we should try to make that work. Through their presence among us, the church has been spiritually enriched and revitalized,” said Jason Crosby, minister of preaching, pastoral care and administration at Crescent Hill. For this Louisville church, welcoming the Karen refugees offered a unique opportunity to cultivate the partnership that began overseas in 2001. However, the journey has not always been smooth. From breaking language barriers to learning to worship in ways that would be meaningful to a diverse body, the church has had to overcome many challenges.




August/September 2013

“I don’t think there is any way that Crescent Hill could have developed the depth of relationship that we have with the Karen without the gift of Steve and Annette. The arrival of the Karen was so sudden that the larger institution could not have kept up with the pace of change if Steve and Annette were not bridging the gap,” Crosby said. “In some ways, it was slow for the Americans in the congregation to see the Karen as other Christians coming to worship rather than other Christians in need. The role of the refugee agency is resettlement; the role of the church is relationship. And, yes, people need to worship in their own language, but these Karen children are going to be American, so we need to make a space where they can express both their Karen

and American traditions,” Ellard explained. Though Clark and Ellard are not on staff at Crescent Hill Baptist, they see their roles as minsters for Karen refugees. In addition to collaborating with the refugee agency and the church to help make the transition to the states a better experience for refugees, Clark and Ellard work among the refugees, helping them learn American culture and have access to the resources they need to address challenges along the way. “Our ministry is really a ministry of availability. We take calls all hours of the day and night, and try to accommodate ev(Below) “The decision to worship together as one congregation was driven by the Karen. They said that church means one body and that we should try to make that work,” Jason Crosby said.

erything we can. Before we started working with the Karen people, we had never dealt with food stamp issues, health insurance rights and various other issues, but we had to learn quickly,” Clark said. On any given day, Clark and Ellard can be found helping Karen students with homework, transporting people across town, leading worship in Karen homes, sitting in court with Karen people facing traffic violations or simply listening to the refugees as friends. “Early on, we considered ourselves the Karen 911. People would call us any time there was a problem. Now, we see our role as advocates. It is a comfort for the Karen people to have someone go with them in things that are frightening, so we walk alongside them as a calming presence,” Clark said.

Because Clark and Ellard cannot be everywhere, they set up opportunities for others to join their ministry. For example, Ellard started a program called “American Grandmas,” where she pairs up American women with Karen women who are pregnant. These grandmas accompany the women on hospital visits to assist with communication. For the Karen women who came to the United States without a mother, these relationships have allowed them to experience the support of a mother. The relationships that have developed over the past seven years between Clark and Ellard, Crescent Hill Baptist Church and the Karen refugees have woven together a beautiful image of Christ’s presence at work in this Louisville community.

“The remarkable work that God is doing with the refugees from Burma here in Louisville is still growing and unfolding. We can only see from where we have come to where we are now. I think the target for God’s plan goes far beyond what is being accomplished in the present, and we are watching with eager hearts and eyes to see all the remarkable things God will unfold from the tiny mustard seed of a moment in Chiang Mai, Thailand, over a decade ago,” Clark said. (Below top left) Through congregations like Crescent Hill, Clark and Ellard are able to provide opportunities for others to join their ministry. (Bottom left) Karen students at the HOPE Academy prom held in Crescent Hill’s Fellowship Hall. (Below) Clark, center, and Ellard, right, celebrate as Karen refugees cross major milestones.


August/September 2013



Resourcing dreams

CBF North Carolina churches partner with Belizean Baptists to complete construction of primary school By Caitlin Rodgers


prouting from an original partnership with the Belize Baptist Association and a Belizean pastor training center, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship partner churches of North Carolina have intertwined their stories with the churches and communities of Belize. After years of individual North Carolina congregations partnering with specific churches in Belize for construction work, Vacation Bible Schools and medical and dental clinics, Hal Melton, an associate pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Raleigh, hatched a grander idea. Together with Linda Jones, missions coordinator for CBF North Carolina, Melton began looking for potential projects that, while too large for a single congregation to complete, would offer opportunities for collaboration among multiple churches. “Bringing individuals and churches together to do Christ-centered ministry that they each couldn’t necessarily accomplish alone is our focus,” Jones said. Melton was aware of such a project. Pastor Manny Cowo, a retired college agricul-

Groups from CBF churches in North Carolina partnered with Santa Elena Baptist Church in Belize to construct a primary school for children who otherwise could not go to school due to the distance.

Hal Melton photos


tural professor, knew the transforming power and possibilities of a good education and dreamed that dream for the children in his community. Under his leadership, the small, 30-member Santa Elena Baptist Church started a preschool that quickly reached 53 students in the community of Santa Elena, Belize. Melton knew that this was a start. “They were doing their best to give the kids a basic preschool education,” Melton noted. “But they needed a primary school to go further.” A school in every community, however, is not always possible in Belize. Before the government will approve a school and provide necessary funds for teachers and books, the village must first have a building. The children of Santa Elena are permitted to attend school in San Ignacio, a significantly larger town in western Belize, located across the Macal River. However, since the trek to San Ignacio involves walking to the highway and catching a public bus to cross the river, the journey is not something with which parents are comfortable. So, led by the community and sponsored by Santa Elena Baptist Church, construction began for a primary school in the village that would double and



August/September 2013

triple as a hurricane shelter and community center. A 90-foot by 30-foot concrete pad was poured and some concrete block work completed, and then, as the economy took a downward turn, the project hit a wall. With no more money to put into the project, the community had no choice but to suspend work. The school sat untouched for nearly six years while the church prayed. “They truly wanted assistance, not someone to come in and do this for them,” Melton said. With this in mind, several CBF North Carolina churches opted to partner with the village to accomplish this great goal. Beginning with a small partnership of a few churches giving both financially and physically to the Santa Elena school project, the relationship spread to include the First

The first teams arrived in Santa Elena to a barebones concrete pad, but with numerous churches working together, they were able to fully construct the two-floor, six-classroom school. The school, a collaboration of the labors and prayers of Belizean Baptists and Cooperative Baptists, is scheduled to open in September 2013.

Baptist churches of Wilmington, Whiteville and Marion, as well as Ardmore, Oakmont, Greystone and Trinity Baptist churches. Although the first team to Santa Elena arrived to a barebones concrete pad, with so many churches helping, the structure is now a two-floor, six-classroom school scheduled to officially open in September 2013. “Pastor Manny and his people are so excited; there are always church members out there helping us. Children from the community come over and they don’t want to just play, they want to help,” Melton said. “It’s been a wonderful project that has shown God’s hand at work in so many

ways. We have been going to Belize now for about six years, and we have established a lot of wonderful relationships with the people — from Baptist leaders to the people at Pastor Manny’s church to the people who cook for us. We get to know their families and their children. It’s just wonderful. It enables us to do a lot more than any of us could do by ourselves.” Echoing those sentiments, Jones added, “We think it’s rewarding to see something big get accomplished for God’s glory, for Belize and for the churches and Baptist association in Belize. In connecting churches with a common passion, we’re accomplishing more.”

Looking ahead, CBF North Carolina and Belizean Baptists plan to remain connected in both partnership and friendship. As the work on Santa Elena’s primary school comes to completion, dreams of new and possibly larger projects have emerged. “It’s just amazing to see folks dream that way, of connecting resources that we have in North Carolina with a country that doesn’t dream on that level and doesn’t have those resources. It’s about how we can partner with them, not to duplicate what we have here in the United States, but to raise the level of their resources to a place where they can meet the needs of their people,” Melton said. fellowship!

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Where the world gathers Internationals ministry in Hattiesburg, Miss.




August/September 2013

photos Courtesy of Virginia Butler


irginia Butler always had an interest in working with internationals. A language arts teacher for 28 years who has also lived abroad in several nations including France and Germany, Butler’s interests came to a serendipitous intersection 12 years ago when she answered an ad in the bulletin of Hattiesburg, Mississippi’s University Baptist Church. That intersection of interests and her willingness to say “yes” to the ad, placed by Linda Donnell, led to a ministry with international students at the University of Southern Mississippi. Over a decade later, Butler continues to work with internationals each week, alongside fellow church members Mary Simmons, Sarah Kennedy, Mary Beth Pearson and Donnell, to improve their English skills and transition into an American way of life. Initially, the class, which meets on USM’s campus, was filled mainly with the wives of international students who wanted to learn American cooking, sewing and household tasks. “Many of the women had been professionals or held jobs back at home,” Butler said. “Then they came here with nothing to do but cook supper and clean house, so the husband would ask another student, ‘What does your wife do here in America?’ The answer would be, ‘There’s this class on Wednesdays that she likes to attend and where she has made friends.’” From those beginnings, the class has shifted to include not only housewives but also students and visiting professors, both men and women. Most of the group’s attendees speak English fairly well, Butler explained, but need help with the nuances of the language like proper pronunciation and idioms. Her team helps the international students navigate everyday realities of American life and culture

By Caitlin Rodgers

Virginia Butler of University Baptist Church, a CBF partner church in Hattiesburg, Miss., leads a class at the University of Southern Mississippi each Wednesday to help a group from other countries improve English skills and acclimate to American culture.

from how to find the right doctors to celebrating Thanksgiving and to explaining Black Friday. Group leaders also open their homes for picnics, dinners and other events. “There is such a small percentage of internationals who come to the United States and actually go to an American home. That’s one of the biggest things for them — it just makes them so excited that they can come to your house and see how you live,” Butler said. “Not only do they form a relationship with us, which is maybe like a favorite aunt who they can go to and ask anything, but they also form relationships with each other.”

The group members, who originally spanned international datelines and borders, including Columbia, Russia, Congo, Nigeria, China, Korea, Turkey, India and Nepal, often get together outside of Wednesday afternoons and form unique bonds since they are all far away from their families and native cultures. “They’ve come to ask each other questions like ‘How do you do this where you come from?’” Butler added. “I think perhaps some of that comes from them seeing us model acceptance to people that are different from us.”

Opportunities to

Missions Education Resource How to use this page

September 2013

The suggestions below will be helpful for using the stories on pages 16-22 of this issue in the life of your church. Small Group interaction, Study Group or Reading Group options are given, as well as suggestions for other congregational or family settings. Go online to www.thefellowship.info/affectonline for more suggestions.

Transformational Partnerships

In Small Groups:

The following is an outline for adult mission groups, Bible study classes or other small groups. Share copies of fellowship! with group members prior to the meeting and have extra copies available. These suggestions are for a 45-minute time frame. 1. In this session you’ll focus on the work of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship North Carolina (CBFNC)-partner churches in Belize. Gather copies of fellowship! for participants. Read the article about Belize on pp. 18-19 to prepare for the discussion. 2. Begin by saying, “Something about Belize sets it apart from other countries in Latin America.” Ask if anyone has a guess about that difference. Answer: The official language is English because Belize was once a British colony (Spanish and Kriol are also spoken there). 3. Note that for several years, individual CBFNC-partner churches worked with individual churches of the Baptist Association of Belize and a local pastor-training center. Observe that individual churches working on small projects can only do so much. 4. Invite someone to read aloud paragraphs 4–6 of the article on p. 18 about the need for a primary school. Ask the group, “How could a primary school impact the village of Santa Elena?” Encourage discussion. 5. Say, “Unfortunately, the global economic downturn stopped construction on the project, which then presented the opportunity for a greater partnership.”

6. Read I Thessalonians 5:11. Ask, “How does the approach of CBFNC-partner churches ‘coming alongside’ the Belizean Baptist churches reflect the kind of ‘building one another up’ encouraged in this verse?”



Cooperative baptiSt fellowShip | www.thefellowShip.info

August/september 2013

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

Transforming lives through relationships Read about the ministry of Annette Ellard and Steve Clark on pages 14-17

7. Ask, “How would the project have looked different if the North Carolina churches had come in to take over the project? What is the message of such an approach?” Invite discussion. 8. Observe that the school-building endeavor has led to dreams of new projects for the partnership. Read: “It’s just amazing to see folks dream that way,” Melton said, “of connecting resources that we have in North Carolina with a country that doesn’t dream on that level and doesn’t have those resources.” End the session with a prayer for those new dreams and the people empowered to dream them. Pray also for those listed on the Prayer Calendar on p. 6.

Around the Table: At Church 1. In preparation, read the article about Virginia Butler, a member of University Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Miss., in this issue of fellowship! on p. 20. This conversation will focus on how she shows the love of Jesus by inviting internationals to her home. 2. Say, “It’s time for a game of Let’s Pretend. Let’s pretend we have traveled a long, long way to visit a new country. We understand the language people speak most of the time, but we’re brand-new to this country. Everything is different here.”

In Reading Groups Strength in What Remains — by Tracy Kidder In this book Tracy Kidder tells the true story of Deo, a refugee from Burundi who moves to the U.S. in search of a new life. When he arrives, Deo has only $100 in his pocket, and he relies on the kindness of strangers to survive. In the end, his life takes a remarkable turn as he attends medical school and devotes his life to helping others.

3. Ask, “How do you think you would feel about being in this new country?” (Possible prompts: Nervous? Afraid? Confused? Excited?) 4. Say, “Now let’s pretend a big holiday is coming up in this new country, one we don’t have in our country. We don’t really know what this holiday is about, but it involves people celebrating with big dinners at their houses. But no one has invited us to their house for dinner.” 5. Then say, “When the big holiday comes, we have no one to teach us what the celebration is about and no one to celebrate or eat with. We’re left out.” 6. Explain, “A woman named Virginia Butler works with people from other countries and invites them to come to her house for dinner or for a holiday

meal so they can feel at home. She shows Jesus’ love by welcoming them into her home and getting to know them.” 7. Ask, “How could we help children from another country feel at home and show them Jesus’ love?” (Possible prompts: have them over to eat, eat with them at lunchtime at school, invite them over for a playdate) 8. Encourage the participants to be kind to people from other countries who are learning about life in the United States. End with a prayer for opportunities to invite people from other countries to our homes and show them Jesus’ love.


August/September 2013



Highlights from 2013 General Assembly

General Assembly concludes with Paynter’s call to

shared vision and values

By CBF Communications

In the final session of the 2013 General Assembly, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter delivered an address focusing on CBF’s shared values and mission. “Hold these things in common, and you can run the race,” Paynter said. As she recognized the work of Fellowship partners, ministers and volunteers in the crowd, Paynter told the audience of Cooperative Baptists that “we can be alone or we can be a Fellowship” of churches and ministries, united in common identity, compassionate ministry and mission work. “This is not parachute missions. This is self-sacrificing, biblical, honest, holistic service that provides a platform for meaningful church engagement and sustained national ministries. This is co-missioning. It is not cheap, nor is it the kind of venture that can be run for the change leftover in your car cupholder. This type of Christian engagement is worth the lives of our partners and field personnel, and it is worth our serious investment,” Paynter said. Paynter pointed to CBF’s rural poverty initiative, Together for Hope, as an example of the impact of the Fellowship united in mission. “During 2012, in only five Together for Hope regions — Appalachia, Mississippi River Delta, Rio Grande Valley, Alabama, South Dakota — 44 churches engaged with Together for Hope poverty and transformation ministries. This resulted in 24,029 hours of volunteer service, which equals $532,723.00 in 22



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volunteer time,” Paynter said. Paynter announced a new emphasis on endowed scholarships for seminary students at CBF’s 15 partner seminaries and encouraged every healthy CBF church to consider starting a new church in the next five years. A. Roy Medley brought greetings from American Baptist Churches USA, noting the organization’s common values with CBF and telling Paynter, “as part of a broad Baptist family, we are praying for CBF’s fellowship and praying for you.” During the service, an offering was received, raising $16,243 to support the work of CBF field personnel around the world. The worship closed with a communion service, led by Paynter and her husband, Roger Paynter, pastor of First

CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter

Baptist Church, Austin, Texas. The registered attendance for the 2013 General Assembly was 2,327.

Meet CBF moderator

Bill McConnell Bill McConnell is a layperson from Knoxville, Tenn., where he is a partner at Rogers & Morgan, a manufacturer’s agency that specializes in industrial environmental equipment. On June 28, McConnell was elected to serve as moderator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship for 2013-2014. His wife of 47 years, Carolyn, is a retired teacher. They have two sons—Scott, who lives in Franklin, Tenn., with his wife and two daughters; and Christian, who lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife. As CBF moves forward with a new constitution and organizational structure, McConnell reflects on his journey and goals as moderator.

Journey as A Baptist I was raised in a missionary Baptist church in Kingsport, Tenn., and have been involved in Baptist life ever since. After graduating from Carson-Newman University and serving for four years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, I moved to Winston-Salem, N.C., to pursue graduate studies in biology at Wake Forest University, and was an active member at Ardmore Baptist Church. The next stop on my journey was Providence Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., before finally settling at Central Baptist Church of Bearden, Tenn. My family and I have always gravitated to a CBF-type church, even before there was a CBF!

Journey to Moderator Several years ago, I was asked to serve on the Tennessee CBF Coordinating Council. My time on that council led to an invite to serve on the national CBF Coordinating Council, where I served on the personnel committee and chaired the finance committee.

Goals At the 2013 CBF General Assembly in Greensboro, N.C., we voted to replace the 60-member Coordinating Council with a new and more flexible organizational structure comprised of four smaller bodies. This new structure gives us the chance to be much more responsive to the needs of the Fellowship. My first goal is to solidify this new organizational structure. The newly formed Governing Board is tasked with setting the direction and policies of CBF, alongside Suzii Paynter and her staff, and the new Missions and Ministries councils. We will dream and pray and set the course for the future of the Fellowship. My second goal is to start dreaming and praying with the extremely talented people in these groups. We are a fellowship of cooperating Baptists. We work well together to serve those who are hungry and homeless. We bring Christ to those on the margins of many different societies. There is always room for increased cooperation, greater collaboration between all of our CBF partners, as well as state and regional organizations. I hope to effectively lead the Governing Board to be part of that conversation.

Journey Forward CBF is on what my predecessor Keith Herron recently called the “path toward the future.” I believe that the Fellowship will journey to be a distinctly Baptist place to live out the teachings of Christ with fellow Christians and will display incredible diversity in gender, race and ethnicity, age and geography. It is my prayer that the Fellowship will be a place of welcome where all can use their talents and passions to be the presence of Christ.


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Kyle Matthews, minister of worship arts at First Baptist Church, Greenville, S.C., led participants in bold worship, including two new songs, “We Go Boldly” and “By Your Grace” that he wrote for this year’s General Assembly.

During the Thursday night worship service, CBF commissioned five new field personnel and three church starters to be the presence of Christ in their communities. Newly endorsed chaplains and retiring field personnel were also honored.

CBF’s new Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter spent time at General Assembly building relationships with Cooperative Baptists.




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Bill McConnell, a layperson from Knoxville, Tenn., was installed as CBF moderator for 2013-2014. McConnell will continue to work to implement the 2012 Task Force Report, solidifying CBF’s new organizational structure.

Cooperative Baptists packed the sanctuary of First Baptist Church, Greensboro, N.C., on June 26 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Baptist Women in Ministry.

Each day, Assembly-goers gathered for meals and fellowship to learn more about the missions and ministries of CBF and CBF partner organizations.

Judge Wendell Griffen, pastor of New Millennium Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark., quoted Elwood from the Blues Brothers and donned dark sunglasses and challenged the Fellowship to be on a “mission from God.�

Pam Durso, executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, updated the Assembly on the progress made by Baptist women serving as pastors throughout the United States.


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Highlights from 2013 General Assembly

Meet new CBF field personnel and church starters The following individuals were commissioned as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel or church starters on June 27 at the 2013 CBF General Assembly in Greensboro, N.C. Learn more about CBF field personnel at www.thefellowship.info/fieldpersonnel. Learn more about CBF church starters at www.thefellowship.info/churchstarts.

Church Starter

Robert Cheatheam


Wesley Craig San Antonio, Texas Hometown: Edgewood, Texas Church/Ministry: Corredor de Esperanza (Corridor of Hope) In a diverse, urban community on the south side of San Antonio, Texas, Craig will work to plant semi-autonomous faith communities that will make up a new, union church that will relate to two separate denominations: the Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. “Pray for God to call leaders, individuals and families that will follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this endeavor, and that each community group engages the community with love, humility and service as they witness to the grace and love of God in Jesus Christ.”

Field Personnel

Carson and Laura Foushee Kanazawa, Japan

Hometown: Amarillo, Texas Church: Pleasant Hills Country Church

Hometown: Statesville, N.C. (Carson); Raleigh, N.C. (Laura) Ministry: Education, Church Starts and Faith Sharing Team: China/Japan Team

Robert (Bob) Cheatheam moved with his wife, Amy, to a mobile home park on the north side of Abilene, Texas, to start a “country church,” which is a new variation of the “Texas Cowboy Church” (but no horses!). Cheatheam seeks to evangelize and minister to people who feel marginalized by the traditional church. Their church’s motto is “The Perfect Church for Those Who Aren’t.” “Pray that God will give us the wisdom and inspiration to lead this new work into growth, and that God will break down the barriers of mistrust and soften hearts to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Through a partnership between Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Japan Baptist Convention, the Foushees will work with Kanazawa Baptist Church, leading English and Japanese worship services, teaching English to the church’s kindergarten students and their families, and building relationships with locals and internationals residing in the city. “Humility will be important as we engage in relationship building and faith sharing. We particularly ask for prayer as we prepare to serve as learners first and teachers second.”

Abilene, Texas


Church Starter


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Field Personnel

Church Starter

Bill and Noy Peeler

Donn Poole


The Villages, Fla.

Hometown: Tucker, Ga. Ministry: Church Starts and Faith Sharing Team: Southeast Asia Team

Hometown: Atlanta, Ga. Church: Christ Church, The Villages, Fla.

As Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel, Bill and Noy Peeler will partner with the Cambodian Baptist Union as church starters and church start trainers, working with new and experienced national pastors and church starters. As a native Cambodian and former Buddhist, Noy understands both the culture and religion of many Cambodians. Bill’s fluency in the Khmer language and experience in refugee relief work, public and adult English as a Second Language education and as pastor of a Cambodian congregation will also be important to their ministry. “We hope others will partner with us through their prayers, finances and practical supportive ministries that will help us be the presence of Christ in Cambodia.”

Donn and his wife, Katherine, are members of Johns Creek Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Ga. Upon moving to Florida, they will be serving in The Villages, Fla. — a retirement community of 90,000 people, ages 55 and over. The Villages is expected to grow to 150,000 people by 2020. Poole will seek to build a coalition of people that are committed to establishing a CBF church in this community, where none exists. “Please pray as we seek to establish a Christ-centered, compassionate, listening and growth-encouraging ministry that will focus on our similarities with one another, in contrast to our differences.”

Field Personnel

Drew Phillips East St. Louis, Ill. Hometown: St. Louis, Mo. Ministry: Poverty and Transformation Team: Urban Team East St. Louis, Ill., has a reputation as a violent city where 60 percent of the children live in poverty. As chaplain at the Christian Activity Center (CAC), Drew Phillips sees hope for this community’s children. Phillips leads the spiritual component of the CAC’s holistic after-school and summer programs, facilitating Bible studies and discipleship and mentoring programs. He also supervises summer mission workers, hosts volunteer groups and conducts in-home visits and surveys with parents and guardians. In addition, Phillips pastors CAC Friendly Baptist Church, a mostly children-led worship service that has grown out of the ministry of the CAC. “Pray for patience, kindness, generosity, listening — all of those things that are who Jesus was, that come so difficultly to us. Pray that we’ll continue to see the miracle of loaves and fishes every week, pray that our staff will be united in mission and love, pray that our kids will be safe from the things they should not know such as gun violence, drugs and poverty.”


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Servant leadership of immigrants has brought

‘renewal to the church,’

Paynter says at Bush Presidential Center event in July By Jeff Huett


uilding on introductory remarks made by former President George W. Bush at a July 10 immigration event in Dallas, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter said that “immigrants have brought renewal to the church” through their servant leadership. As part of a day-long event at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, Paynter participated in a panel discussing ways immigrants serve America, where she described how they contribute through service in their faith communities. The event featured a naturalization ceremony and was titled “What Immigrants Contribute: A Special Event on Immigration, Texas and Economic Growth.” In a brief statement, Bush linked citizenship with responsibility and said the nation’s immigrant heritage continues to enrich its history. “Each generation of Americans — of immigrants — brings a renewal to our national character and adds vitality to our culture,” Bush said. “Newcomers have a special way of appreciating the opportunities of America, and when




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they seize those opportunities, our whole nation benefits.” Paynter said immigrants seek to serve not just their own interests, but as leaders and in the community, “the beautiful gift of a new immigrant is a renewal of culture and faith.” “Immigrants in faith communities have been active in every aspect of congregational life and mission outreach,” Paynter said. “Yesterday’s immigrants are today’s leading pastors, theologians and compassionate missionaries. Immigrants are teaching and learning English and citizenship in classes. They are serving as chaplains in the armed forces, in hospitals and hospice.” In linking citizenship with responsibility, Bush said that those who swear the oath of citizenship are doing more than finishing a legal process. “You are making a lifetime pledge to support the values and the laws of America,” the former president explained. Continuing that theme, Paynter said, for new immigrants “when you stand up and say the oath, you’re standing up for the beliefs such as religious freedom” and many other personal freedoms. Paynter mentioned the work of Texas Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist

Fellowship with immigrant communities, including 1,200 Hispanic congregations in Texas. She mentioned some congregations have adopted a program providing accredited, nonprofit immigration services to allow for lawful status adjustment to eligible families at low-cost fees, avoiding unscrupulous notarios. In the days leading up to the event and before U.S. House action on an expansive immigration bill that passed the U.S. Senate in June, Paynter expressed her desire for comprehensive immigration reform. “Migrants are part of the biblical story — both the Old and New Testaments,” Paynter said. “Even Jesus’ young family fled to Egypt to escape the vicious rule of King Herod.” “Our challenge is to update and align our laws to protect our country, to enable potential and talent, and to unite families,” Paynter said. “It is time to fix the broken immigration system and to restore the rule of law. We can reorder the justice system toward fairness which means penalties for those who have entered illegally and lawful status for expanded guest worker programs.”

With coalition, Metro Baptist and CBF help announce grants of $7 million to meet

unmet needs from Sandy


early nine months after Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern United States, Metro Baptist Church in Manhattan and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship continue to offer assistance to city residents through an organization in place to meet unmet needs. Metro Baptist Church pastor Alan Sherouse represented CBF at a July 2 press event in New York City to help announce about $7 million in grant funding to be administered by the New York Disaster Interfaith Services’ (NYDIS) Unmet Needs Roundtable for those recovering from the storm. Metro Baptist and CBF pledged a combined $125,000 to the effort and were represented at the event alongside social service and disaster relief agencies such as The American Red Cross, United Way, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Home

Depot and Islamic Relief. In the days after Hurricane Sandy hit, Sherouse said Metro Baptist members helped with feeding stations and distributed boxes of supplies. The church also served as a respite center for volunteers serving six-day shifts in the area. He was pleased that both Metro Baptist and CBF were involved in the relief efforts. “We wish we could give more, but we’re giving what we can and doing it in a collaborative, interfaith and sustainable way,” Sherouse said. “It was great to see the CBF logo next to some of the largest agencies doing this work.” The Roundtable is convened and managed by NYDIS in collaboration with the Human Services Council of New York and case management agencies — including both those within the federal Disaster Case Management program and other commu-

By Jeff Huett

Metro Baptist Church pastor Alan Sherouse (third from right) represented CBF at a July 2 event announcing about $7 million in grant funding to meet unmet needs of those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

nity-based case management providers. It helps impacted individuals or households after all other resources have been exhausted with needs such as rent, basic utilities, relocation, transportation and debt management. CBF’s U.S. Disaster Relief Coordinator Tommy Deal said the partnership with the Roundtable was a perfect fit. “The Roundtable’s goals matched up with who we are — meeting unmet needs,” Deal said. “It was looking to raise money to give grants to families who were trying to rebuild but were coming up short.” Sherouse will continue to review updates, along with Deal, as NYDIS and the Roundtable receive applications and award grants. As a NYDIS member, Sherouse will attend the groups’ regular meetings. Left to right, Peter Gudaitis, president of National Disaster Interfaith Network and chief response officer of NYDIS; Josh Lockwood, CEO of American Red Cross Greater New York Region; Alan Sherouse, pastor of Metro Baptist Church; Ron Drews, CEO of Lutheran Social Services New York and NYDIS board president.


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