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Cooperative baptist fellowship |

November/December 2007

Fellowship Baptists welcome refugees


s Christmas approaches, the stories of Jesus’ birth and childhood will be read in homes and congregations. The book of Matthew

features one of these stories, telling of how Mary, Joseph and a young Jesus fled King Herod’s reign and sought safety in Egypt. This is just one of the many accounts of people in the Bible seeking refuge — Moses and the Israelites escaped from slavery, Noah survived destructive

These biblical figures, like refugees today, feared for their lives, and as they left their homes behind, they faced feelings of loss, isolation and uncertainty. The U.S. Committee for Refugees estimates that currently 21 million people around the world have been forced to leave their homes. For those who have been uprooted, their physical needs are basic — shelter, food, clothing, but often they must navigate unfamiliar systems in a foreign language


and new land. “We have seen hundreds of people arrive with what they have from their life in one suitcase — everything else was left,” said Marc Wyatt, one of CBF’s field personnel who facilitates refugee ministries with churches and partners. “When refugees receive simple donated items — a table, chair or picture frame — and those items become theirs, there is a sense of restoration. To be part of that process is a gift from God, and you become their family.”

CBF photo

floods, Daniel searched for a safe place.

In Central Asia, millions of people have been forced to leave their homelands because of violence and seek safety in other countries.

CBF field personnel, churches and partners are involved in ministries to refugees around the world. They are helping to meet not only the physical needs, but also the emotional and spiritual needs, as refugees search for a sense of safety and place of belonging. From Africa to Canada to Asia and in the

hen they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew 2:13-15

United States, Fellowship Baptists are welcoming those who have fled the violence, persecution or devastation of their homelands. This issue of fellowship! highlights some of these ministries and tells the stories of refugees who have been welcomed by Fellowship Baptists. This issue also includes ideas for reaching out to refugees in local communities and connecting with the Fellowship network. “Refugees are some of the most neglected people,” said Shelah Acker, one of CBF’s field personnel who has ministered to refugees in

Africa. “During their time of need, Christians can reach out and demonstrate the love of Christ by assisting them. In their new country, new situation, and with new found friends, refugees can hear a clear presentation of God’s love through believers’ actions and words. Imagine how amazing it would be if the first people to reach out to refugees when they arrived in a new land were Christians demonstrating the love of Christ.” By Patricia Heys, CBF Communications

Church Benefits Board to enhance retirement, health benefits


he Church Benefits Board of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will dramatically increase services available to churches and individuals through new strategic partnerships. Through a new agreement signed in October, the Church Benefits Board (CBB) will begin offering retirement benefits and health insurance options through nationally-recognized providers. After seven years of working with the Ministers and Missionaries Benefits Board of the American Baptist Churches USA, CBB is now able to offer expanded


this issue...

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benefits to customers. “The partnership with MMBB allowed us to serve church staff members at a time when the Fellowship movement was new and Gary Skeen developing,” said Gary Skeen, CBB president. “We are grateful to American Baptists for that partnership. Now that we are able to stand on our own, we are excited to be

— Jack Snell

leaves legacy of service

able to offer more flexible and competitive benefits to those in the CBF family.” The new agreements take effect Jan. 1, 2008, and will offer the following advantages: • More flexibility in retirement or medical benefits or both without having to participate in CBB retirement in order to purchase health insurance.

• Pages 6-7

— Ideas for

ministering to refugees

• Wider array of health insurance options with multiple choices as well as customized solutions. • Continued relationship with CBB staff and outstanding customer service. • CBB will have its own retirement plan and have input into the design of its own group solutions rather than a third party partner. To take advantage of these new offerings, existing as well as potential customers are encouraged to contact the Church Benefits Board by Dec. 1. For more on the specifics of the new plans, log on to

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— 2008

General Assembly info, call CBB at (800) 352-8741 or e-mail “We are humbled that so many CBF churches have entrusted the management of their benefits to CBB,” Skeen said. “We hope we’ve earned that trust. This step is simply our attempt to be good stewards of that trust on your behalf. We believe we have put together better options for CBF churches that will pay dividends for years to come.” By Lance Wallace, CBF Communications

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— Open House

resources Homestead community



Inside CBF

November/December 2007

Jack Snell passes away from pancreatic cancer leaving legacy of service

Vol. 17, No. 6 Executive Coordinator • Daniel Vestal Coordinator, Fellowship Advancement • Ben McDade Editor • Lance Wallace managing Editor • Patricia Heys Associate Editor • Carla Wynn Davis Phone • (770) 220-1600 Fax • (770) 220-1685 E-Mail • Web Site •

fellowship! is published 6 times a year in Sept./ Oct., Special I (Oct.), Nov./Dec., Feb./Mar., Apr./May, Special II (July) by The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Inc., 3001 Mercer University Dr., Atlanta, GA 303414115. Periodicals postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. USPS #015-625 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to “fellowship!” Newsletter, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, P.O. Box 450329, Atlanta, GA 31145-0329

his passing. We have lost a good friend, a guide, a steadying hand and the hardest worker that I have ever known.” Snell began work with the Fellowship in 2000, serving as associate coordinator for mission teams in Asia. Along with Anita, Snell provided guidance to CBF Global Missions field personnel in Asia. The Snells served as liaisons between field personnel and the CBF national office, and helped connect field personnel with churches and other partners. While living in Singapore, Snell also taught and mentored local pastors. In 2005, Snell was named the interim coordinator of CBF Global Missions. For more than a year, he provided leadership and direction to all of CBF Global Missions staff and field personnel. For 20 years, Snell served as pastor of Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as pastor of Central Baptist Church, Newnan, Ga., and Long Run Baptist Church, Anchorage, Ky. By Patricia Heys, CBF Communications The family requests that in lieu of flowers, one way memorial contributions can be made is to the CBF Offering for Global Missions, which supports the ministries of CBF field personnel around the world. To contribute to the Offering, use the envelope provided in this issue and designate “Offering for Global Missions in Memory of Jack Snell” in the memo line.

CBF Photo


ack Snell dedicated his life to being a pastor. For nearly four decades, he nurtured congregations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Kentucky. And in recent years, his ministry of pastoral care extended to more than 150 Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel around the world. Snell, the Fellowship’s director of global field ministries, died Oct. 2 after a nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Snell, 66, is survived by his wife, Anita; his son, Charles, of Atlanta; his daughter, Stephanie, and son-in-law, Henry Kahler, of Jacksonville, Fla. “Jack Snell has been an instrument of God’s spirit and a vessel of God’s grace in ways that have impacted all of us,” said Daniel Vestal, the Fellowship’s executive coordinator. “We will miss him, yet his influence will continue to live and bear fruit. His love for Christ and commitment to global missions have been a profound inspiration in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. He has shaped and formed CBF as much as any individual I know.” As director of global field ministries, Snell supervised CBF field personnel and support teams. He traveled around the world, addressing not only the practical needs of field personnel — budgets, policies, strategies — but also spiritual and emotional needs. Snell nurtured and encouraged field personnel as they faced the challenges of ministering to some of the world’s most neglected people. “There is no way to exaggerate the shaping influence that Jack Snell had upon global missions, both at CBF and beyond, over the past 16 years,” said Rob Nash, the Fellowship’s Global Missions coordinator. “He has been at the forefront of our global mission engagement since the very beginning, chairing the first global missions ministry group, shaping decisions about where we engaged and why, taking his congregation in Jacksonville on short-term missions alongside our field personnel and finally, serving us so very well as a vital member of the CBF national staff. We are impoverished by

Jack Snell served as director of field ministries, supervising the ministries of more than 150 field personnel.

About the artist –

The art on the cover of this issue was painted by Nyoman Darsane, who was born in 1939 into a Hindu family in Bali. Growing up Darsane was drawn to the traditional Balinese art forms of dance, music, puppetry and painting and was trained in these at the royal Payangan Palace. When Darsane later studied art at Universitas Diponogoro in Java, he met a Christian woman who became his wife. Darsane returned to Bali as a professional artist and Christian. As he sought ways to combine Balinese arts with the message of the gospel, his motto became “Bali is my body. Christ is my life.” Darsane’s paintings use the contemporary Balinese settings, clothing and culture to communicate the stories and themes of the Bible. Twenty-five of his paintings were recently exhibited at the Museum of Biblical Art in New York City.

Upcoming Events Nov. 4-5 CBF of GA Fall Convocation First Baptist Church of Savannah, Ga. Info: (800) 426-8483

Jan. 29-30 Current Young Leaders Retreat First Baptist Church of Decatur, Ga. Info:

Nov. 13 CBF of North Carolina Fall Fellowship Gathering First Baptist Church of Greensboro, N.C. Info:

Jan. 30-Feb. 1 Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant World Congress Center, Atlanta, Ga. Info: Feb. 15-17 Kindle Retreat for Youth Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla. Info:

Jan. 14-16 Spiritual Formation Retreat for Associate Ministers Little Rock, Ark. Info: Jan. 25-27, Feb. 1-3 CBF of North Carolina Youth Ski Retreat Winterplace, West Virginia Info: (800) 285-7273 or

Feb. 25-28 Youth Ministers’ Retreat Beach Cove Resort, Myrtle Beach, S.C. Info:

Feb. 28-29 Women of the Church Conference for clergy Hilton at Kingston Plantation, Myrtle Beach, S.C. Info: Feb. 29-March 2 Women of the Church Conference for lay leaders Hilton at Kingston Plantation, Myrtle Beach, S.C. Info: Feb. 29-March 2, 7-9 March Mission Madness Multiple locations throughout Georgia Info: March 30-April 4 Five Day Academy for Spiritual Formation Ignatius Retreat House, Atlanta, Ga. Info:

C o o p e r at i v e B a p t i s t F e l l o w s h i p

Inside CBF

November/December 2007


Fellowship People

Church S potlight

King’s Cross Baptist Church Tullahoma, Tenn.


• • • • • •

Mike Bergman Mike Bergman left last summer’s CBF HIV/ AIDS Summit awakened to a need. He returned to Hope Community Church in Belton, Texas, where he serves as worship pastor, with a vision to be the presence of Christ among those living with HIV/AIDS. The church, which began in 2004, shared Bergman’s passion, and now

Photo courtesy of King’s Cross

community in Tennessee and a community in Thailand are now partners. Through the Upland Holistic Development Project (UHDP), a Thailand-based ministry started by CBF field personnel Ellen and Rick Burnette, King’s Cross Baptist Church is engaging in a three-year simultaneous partnership with both the Fellowship and the Huai Wai community. Church members traveled to Thailand earlier this year, where the Burnettes minister among the Palaung, a marginalized hilltribe people. After raising money for a new water system, the church members built water tanks, which will help support 18 Palaung villages. The partnership will continue over the next three years, as the church and Huai community will communicate with and support each other. “The ministry of UHDP is a tangible expression of the love of Christ to a people who


more than 26 members are involved in reaching out to the local HIV/AIDS community. “They are anxiously awaiting someone to befriend,” Bergman said. “We are attempting to become friends with individuals affected People from King’s Cross led crafts and sports camps for children in a hilltribe village.

desperately need to experience love, mercy and hope,” said Amy Wilkins, minister of missions at King’s Cross. “Often we grow up with the idea that mission trips are about selling Jesus to people who don’t know they need him. Instead we saw a holistic ministry that primarily cares for people and God’s creation, and evangelism happens organically in that context.” By Patricia Heys, CBF Communications

Mike Bergman

and infected. We hope that our effort will encourage them to see the church as a safe place for them to pursue their spiritual journey and relationship with God.” • • • • • •

Faithe Beam Faithe Beam made history at Campbell University this year, becoming the first female to serve as campus minister. A graduate of Campbell University’s Divinity School, a Fellowship partner, Beam is responsible for the planning and implementation of undergraduate worship services, which are held twice a week. She’ll also provide pastoral counseling, leadership to ministries on campus and facili-

A Look Back n

15 years ago

tate missions opportunities for students. “I want to be a resource for the students, to meet their academic and personal needs,

Faithe Beam

but I also want to be a good mother and a good wife,” Beam said. “While there are still some barriers to women in ministry, the opportunities to serve are

CBF state organizations began in Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia, and the North Central regional organization was formed.

endless. I just hope I’m the first in a long line of women ministers at Campbell.”


Jeremy Colliver

10 years ago

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship began providing Leadership Scholarships to students at partner seminaries.


5 years ago

The Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, a Fellowship partner school, was started in Lexington, Ky.

• • • • • •

Jeremy Colliver, a CBF leadership scholar at the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, works as the minister to youth at Faith Baptist Church in Georgetown, Ky. He is also actively involved in Kentucky Baptist Fellowship, serving as the missions chair, coordinating council member and executive council member. As the youngest member of the coordinating council,

meet Rick Bennett Rick Bennett serves as director of congregational life at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. During his three years at the Fellowship, Bennett’s focus has been facilitating resource development for congregational life. This includes printed materials such as “It’s Time: A Journey Toward Missional Faithfulness,” networks such as the spiritual formation network, and events such as spiritual formation retreats for ministers. Bennett also works closely with churches to provide congregational resources through CBF’s many partners. Hometown: Richmond County, N.C. Education: Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., and Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, Va. Experience: Before joining the CBF staff, Bennett spent 13 years as a local church staff minister. His most recent staff role was as pastoral educator at FBC Orangeburg, S.C. He’s also served at Woodhaven Baptist Church in Apex, N.C., West End Baptist Church in Petersburg, Va., and Athens Drive Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C. Church membership: Smoke Rise Baptist Church, Stone Mountain, Ga. Interesting Fact: Bennett, who has visited more than 70 churches in the past three years, is currently working on a doctorate in ministry with a concentration in spiritual formation. “Churches need resources, and they turn to CBF as a trusted resource provider. If we don’t have what a church needs in the way of community, consultation or printed resource, one of our trusted partners will. There is nothing like the feeling of having faithfully ‘equipped the saints for works of ministry’ as Ephesians 4 says. CBF’s future depends on the availability of quality resources for churches and individuals as they discern and fulfill their God-given mission.” Contact Rick Bennett at or (800) 352-8741.

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Colliver, 26, provides a young voice, as well as missions experience. “My hope for my future with CBF is to offer a Baptist voice that is inclusive so we can

Jeremy Colliver

partner with different people and different organization to do God’s work,” said Colliver. “We may not agree on everything, but we can do what God has called us to do and reach further and reach more with our efforts that way.” • • • • • •

Julie Pennington-Russell Julie Pennington-Russell, who earlier this year became pastor of First Baptist Church of Decatur, Ga., will be one of the featured speakers at the Jan. 30-Feb. 1 gathering of the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant in Atlanta. Pennington-Russell, who has previously served as pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, and Nineteenth Avenue Baptist Church in San Francisco, Calif., anticipates that the Celebration will be filled with diverse worship and people. “Any time Baptists manage to put a lid on

Julie Pennington-Russell

our little pot full of differences and spend some time stirring that big, common kettle of faith, hope and love in Christ — that’s news,” she said. “And in this divided world, I believe it’s the only kind of witness that people out there regard as genuine.”



November/December 2007


Binkleys connect Baptist chur


t 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday, Duane and Marcia Binkley

fill up the back seat and trunk of their rental car with handwoven clothes and bags, booklets, display boards, a laptop computer, and an inflatable globe. They’re beginning a long-distance drive to educate another church about the

Several weekends each month, the Binkleys, who serve as CBF field personnel, travel to churches around the country, telling congregations how they can reach out to Karen refugees in their community. As the first wave of Karen arrives across the United States, in many ways, the task is overwhelming. “Everything is happening all at once all around the country,” said Duane. “How do you prioritize?” The Binkleys’ ministry stretches from seven refugee camps along the ThailandBurma border to halfway around the world, where in approximately 80 U.S. cities an estimated 50,000 Karen refugees are expected to resettle over three years. When they were commissioned in 1982 to work among the Karen people along the Thailand-Burma border, the Binkleys were willing to go anywhere God would send them — even to jungle villages along an ambiguous border on the other side of the world. Twenty-five years later, the Binkleys begin the task of helping welcome the Karen to a world equally foreign to them. Early in their ministry, they became acutely aware of the persecution of the Karen, the largest ethnic minority in Burma (known officially as Myanmar), by the military dictatorship of the Burmese Army. “One day we would go to a town and the next day we would go back and it would be burned to the ground,” said Marcia. This past June, in a joint appointment, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and American Baptist Churches USA commissioned the Binkleys to focus on Karen refugees and churches that might welcome them. With American Baptist Churches primarily in the North and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship churches concentrated in the South, this partnership gives the Binkleys a broad network of churches. “What we’re about is connecting the Karen here with the churches. That’s the

Annette L. Ellard photos

Karen people.

At the Tham Hin refugee camp, Duane and Marcia Binkley talk with a Karen family who is preparing to leave for the United States.

More than 160,00 Karen have lived in refugee camps along the Thailand-Burma border.

Today, approximately 35 percent of Karen are Christians.

resettlement in the United States, the immediate goal,” said Duane. “We need to decision to accept resettlement means get churches educated so they can make leaving behind family and friends in those connections.” the refugee camps and in Burma. It also Many Karen know that their connection represents an acceptance that they may with Baptist churches in America goes back never be able to return to their homeland. nearly 200 years to America’s first Baptist When the missionaries, Binkleys traveled Anne and hey’ve survived with to the Tham Adoniram nothing else but their Judson. It was Hin and Mae La faith for so long. That’s camps this past Judson who first what allowed them not to give up hope.” summer, they shared the gospel found the Karen with the Karen. anxious to learn more about the realities of Today, approximately one-third of the resettlement. The Binkleys shared openly Karen people are Christians, and despite years of persecution many have kept their about the difficulties that the Karen will face in America. Using video messages faith and trust God to deliver them. “They’ve survived with nothing else but from Karen already living in the United their faith for so long,” said Marcia. “That’s States, the Karen received first hand information from friends who have gone what allowed them not to give up hope.” before them. While the Karen are being offered


According to the Binkleys, the response of churches has been most encouraging, including the desire of ABC and CBF churches to work together to welcome the Karen. And as the Karen seek out Baptist churches in their new American neighborhoods, churches are seeking the best ways to integrate them into their congregations. “Once people hear the story of the Karen in Burma and the long road they have traveled to this resettlement in the U.S., they will do anything they can to help,” said Duane. “This is the first time they’ve been accepted anywhere,” said Marcia. “Offering them a church home validates their worth as human beings.” By contributing writer Steve Clark, Louisville, Ky. C o o p e r at i v e B a p t i s t F e l l o w s h i p



November/December 2007

ches with Karen refugees About the Karen people

By contributing writer Annette L. Ellard, Louisville, Ky.

The houses at the Tham Hin refugee camp are built no more than a meter apart and use black tarps as roof coverings.

Annette L. Ellard photo

For centuries, the Karen people of Southeast Asia have occupied a homeland stretching much of the length of the Thailand-Burma border and today are estimated to be a people group of about 10 million. One of many ethnic minorities in that region, the Karen (pronounced kah RIN) are known as a gentle and accepting people. They weave beautiful, colorful fabrics and love music, especially singing. The Karen’s melodic language has been called “the French of the Orient.” With the first Karen convert to Christianity nearly 200 years ago, the Karen also are known for their faith. Today, about 35 percent of all Karen people are Christian. For decades, Burma (known officially as Myanmar) has been ruled by a harsh military dictatorship. The Karen have long fought for democracy and independence. As the largest of the ethnic minorities, the Karen are mercilessly persecuted by the Burmese military in what has become the world’s longest running military conflict. Rape, murder and forced labor are common, causing hundreds of thousands to live on the run in the jungles of eastern Burma. For more than two decades, Karen have poured over the border into Thailand seeking refugee. More than 160,000 have languished for years in the relative security of refugee camps with very limited freedom. Now the Karen have the opportunity for resettlement in the United States and a few other welcoming countries around the world. The offer for resettlement comes from the U.S. Department of State and is carried out by 10 national volunteer agencies. Their branches in cities across the nation take responsibility for providing housing, cultural orientation, English as a Second Language, finding employment and caring for a wide variety of other needs.

Annette L. Ellard photo

Tha Toa Too shows her sons a picture of their grandparents, who live in the Tham Hin refugee camp, and teaches them the words for grandmother and grandfather.

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Tha Toa Too’s story Tha Toa Too lives a world away from much of her family. A native of Burma, Tha Toa Too has been able to resettle in the United States with her husband, children and in-laws, but her parents and siblings still live in the Tham Hin refugee camp with thousands of other Karen people. When Tha Toa Too heard that CBF field personnel Steve Clark and Annette Ellard would be traveling to the refugee camp, she gave them a package to take to her parents, which included letters, chocolate for her mother, and more than 100 photos of their growing grandchildren. And she made a request — would they find her parents and take a picture of them together. When Clark and Ellard arrived at the guard gate at Tham Hin with CBF field personnel Duane and Marcia Binkley, they were waved in — even though just days before an aid organization had been denied entry. An announcement was made over the camp loud speaker that anyone with family and friends in Kentucky or Ohio should gather at the designated shelter. “We approached those crowded under a black tarp on bamboo poles — a small shade from the noonday sun,” Ellard said. “As we delivered all the mail entrusted to us, I became overwhelmed by being in the middle of a miracle. Suddenly, letters and photos and chocolates seemed like gold and frankincense and myrrh.” And among those who gathered at the tent were Tha Toa Too’s parents, who had their picture taken together.



a person outside his/her native country who is unable or unwilling to rely on the protection of his/

fear of persecution, on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. — As defined by the United

Welcoming the st Manny The scars from bullet wounds on his left cheek, neck and forearm are permanent reminders. “They tried to kill me,” said Manny, speaking of the MS-13 gang in El Salvador he refused to join and openly opposed. “There was no place to run. I was afraid for my life, for the lives of my mom and my siblings.” Manny traveled through Central America and Mexico and into the United States, searching for a safe refuge. When Sue Smith, one of CBF’s field personnel, met Manny, now 29, he was living in a homeless shelter in Virginia and ill from the effects of HIV. “I know I have made many mistakes,” Manny said to Smith. “I’m just thankful that God can see my heart and that God loves and forgives me, and brings good people like you into my life who care about me.”

Samuel For more than a decade, civil war has raged in Liberia. A generation of Liberian children have grown


up more likely to know how to use a machine gun than how to read. Samuel and his family fled the violence of his home country and after a long journey

forced out of the school where she taught and the

ended up in California.

community she called home. She sought safety and

At 18, Samuel attends an American high school,

freedom in Toronto, Canada.

but he doesn’t know how to read. Last summer he

“When Joy arrived, she was so in need of

attended a camp facilitated by CBF field personnel,

community,” said Kim Wyatt, one of CBF’s field

Nineteenth Avenue Baptist Church in San Francisco

personnel who facilitates ministries to refugees. “She

and First Baptist Church of Hereford, Texas. One of

was in need of a friend and to feel like she belonged.”

the church members encouraged Samuel to read and

Joy found a community of Turks from her

introduced him to the series of Amelia Bedilia books.

cultural group in Canada and was introduced to

He loves the books and checks them out at the library

Christians through a refugee ministry. When she

where he attends an after school program.

received the gospel of John in her native language,

“Samuel was most happy in his rural African

she read it that very week. Knowing it is not safe for

village,” said Tiffne Whitley, one of CBF’s field

her to return to Turkey, she is making a home in

personnel. “The transition to America was a tough

Canada, spending five to six hours a day learning

one for him. It was good to see him enjoy the new

English, volunteering in a local school and working in

world of reading. It was good for the church members

a sandwich shop.

to see what the world of an African refugee placed in inner-city America was like.”

Joy In Turkey, Joy was shunned. Her political and religious beliefs made her an outcast, and she was

Shuaib & Bibi Shuaib and Bibi stepped off the plane last

Pastor Tirgoala

But they arrived in the United States to open arms from 15 members of Pantano Baptist Church, a

June in Tucson, Ariz., with two children and one

Fellowship partner church. That night the family had

suitcase. After five years in a refugee camp in Egypt,

a hot meal in an apartment the church had furnished,

it’s all the family from Somalia had.

and over the next months, church members would take

C o o p e r at i v e B a p t i s t F e l l o w s h i p

/her country because of persecution or a well-founded

d Nations High Commission for Refugees


o not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels

without knowing it.” — Hebrews 13:2


Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

the family to the grocery store, job interviews, banks, doctors and help them transition to a new culture.   “We are the presence of Christ to a family who did not speak English, had no belongings, who were put into an unknown culture,” said the church’s pastor Glen Foster. “By building relationship with them,

“As I have experienced God’s forgiveness, I feel I could forgive all those people who have abused me

2 million refugees who have been forced to flee their

during my life,” Basim said.

homes in Iraq. Her family, along with thousands of

Pastor Tirgoala It was difficult for Ilie Tirgoala and others to find

loving them and providing for them, we met physical,

jobs in Moldova — not because they weren’t qualified

emotional and spiritual needs.”

but because they were Christian.

More than a year later church members are still helping their Somalian friends, including hosting a baby shower last spring for the couple’s third child.

Sabeen and her family are among the more than

“If they know you’re Baptist, it’s hard to get a job, or you work hard and don’t get paid as much,” he said. He used to be a pastor in a Moldovan village, but

Iraqis, has sought refuge in Jordan. With donations from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and other partner organizations, Sabeen and 40 other refugee children in Jordan have the opportunity to attend school. “CBF is partnering with other missions organizations to touch a small but significant population of refugees devastated by the crisis in Iraq and uprooted from their livelihoods,” said David

And on short notice, the church recently adopted its

then his family moved to Asheville, N.C., where he now

Harding, one of CBF’s field personnel. “Providing

second refugee family. This time it’s a family of 10

serves as pastor of Moldovan Missionary Baptist Church.

these services gives hope and a demonstration of love

from Burundi in Central Africa.

They connected with CBF field personnel Fran and Mike

to one student and family at a time, but that is how

Graham, who have helped the family and others in the

God grows the kingdom.”


church transition to life in the United States.

When Basim arrived in San Francisco he wandered around lost in the airport for two days. A doctor, he and his family had fled Afghanistan, where he had been imprisoned for six months and twice abducted and held for ransom.

“[Families] need jobs, furniture, a place to live and to learn English,” Tirgoala said.

Phillipe In the past four years more than 4 million people

Basim was granted refugee status in the United

have died in the Congo, as rival militia groups engage

States four years

in ethnic killing. Phillipe managed to survive. His

ago, but didn’t have

family gathered the money they had and sent him

enough money

away from the violence, hoping that one day he would

to pay the fees

find a safe place and send help back.

10 Ways to Welcome Refugees 1. Welcome refugees in your church. 2. Volunteer to teach English classes. 3. Connect with the CBF network of churches, partners and field personnel. 4. Learn about the history and culture of the people to whom you minister.

necessary to bring

Phillipe traveled halfway across the continent of

his whole family.

Africa any way he could — by foot, by car. He escaped

His wife and five

bandits and human traffickers and survived the trek

children live in a

across the Sahara Desert. When he arrived in North

refugee camp in

Africa, Phillipe learned he wasn’t welcomed in this

Pakistan, as he tries

region either, but he finally found work with a local

7. Donate household items.

to earn enough

humanitarian organization.

8. Help refugees navigate systems, including

5. Be an advocate for human rights. 6. Contact a local refugee agency about needs in your community.

money to bring

“Phillipe has chosen to work every day to assist

registering for school, making doctor’s

them to the U.S.

others through his work,” said a friend. “His love and

appointments and understanding bills.

But finding

commitment to others is making an incredible difference

a steady job has

in the lives of many. This young man who has nothing

been difficult, and

gives his all for others – he is a very Christ-like example.”

Basim is virtually homeless. Rick


9. Financially support ministries that reach out to refugees. 10. Invite a refugee family to your home for a meal.

Sample, one of CBF’s

Anah and her husband sat in their kitchen and

To learn about partnership opportunities with any

field personnel, and two local pastors have befriended

prayed, “Lord, we [may not have much to] eat this

of CBF’s ministries to refugees or to learn how your

Basim, eating meals together as they talk about God’s

year, but please make a way for our daughter, Sabeen,

church can minister to refugees in its community, call

love. One night over dinner, Basim told them he

to start school this fall.” A few minutes later, they

(800) 352-8741. To financially support these ministries,

wanted to commit himself to following Jesus and

received a call that there was a scholarship available

please give to the CBF Offering for Global Missions by

prayed for salvation.

for Sabeen to attend the Ashrafiya Nazarene School.

using the envelope included in this publication.

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November/December 2007

CBF gift catalog available for holiday shopping


ast year, Mark Snipes did most of his Christmas

shopping out of one catalog — the

CBF Global Missions Gift Catalog The Fellowship’s gift catalog provides dozens of opportunities to support and participate in the work of CBF Global Missions field personnel serving around the world. The catalog, available for the fourth straight year, is based on the requests of field personnel to help meet the needs of the most neglected people. It contains project descriptions with the specific amount of money needed to fund each project. Gifts range in price from $1.00 to $20,000. All purchases are tax deductible.

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Global Missions gift catalog,

To access the Global Missions Gift Catalog, go to E x a m p l e s

where money spent helps the most

Snipes, a pastoral resident at Haddock Baptist Church in Haddock, Ga., purchased gifts in honor of his fellow church staff, family members and all 41 students in the church youth group. “I wanted to help the youth connect with ... how easy it is to help someone in another country,” said Snipes, who spent $1 on behalf of each student to buy three meals for children with disabilities at Angel House ministry in China. “They loved it, and their families loved it. They asked me to get them gift catalogs this year.” Gifts cost anywhere from $1 to $20,000 and help people across the world by providing food, Bibles, agricultural supplies, wells and other needed resources. Gifts have often been purchased for the holidays, birthdays or other celebrations, and in memory or in honor of someone. Barbara Van Hoose of Sarasota, Fla., has a large family — five children, their spouses and 16 grandchildren. Last Christmas, on behalf of each of them, she bought a blanket for refugees and migrants in the Middle East. “This caught my eye, and I thought that would be one thing I could do ... to involve them personally ... [and] to do something that they probably would not have thought of or been aware of,” she said. If a gift is purchased on behalf of an individual, that person receives a card acknowledging that a gift has been purchased in his or her name.

p u r c h a s e s :

Project 80052 n Thailand – Upland Holistic Development Project (UHDP) UHDP works with the marginalized hilltribe communities, who lack Thai citizenship and access to government services. UHDP helps to develop sustainable agriculture and viable backyard agriculture approaches, which includes small-scale livestock production. • $100 will buy a pig for a farmer’s backyard enterprise • $10 will provide a set of livestock vaccines • $1 will provide three different varieties of vegetable seeds

Project 80548 n Macedonia – Kindergarten Educational Development Project This project provides free kindergarten education for some of the poorest children in Skopje, Macedonia. • $40 will buy food for one day for all the children enrolled in school • $7 will buy food for one child for one week Project 85217 n Middle East – Community Water Tanks Tent communities in the Middle East face the daily task of hauling water from any source where they can secure it. At times, they resort to impure water at construction sites. • $100 will purchase a tank and set-up for a community

By Carla Wynn Davis, CBF Communications


p r o j e c t

The Upland Holistic Development Project serves 18 hilltribe communities.

neglected people in the world.

Network S potlight

o f

In Macedonia, many Romany children cannot afford to attend school.

Peer Learning Groups

ach month, in Kansas City, Mo., a group of 10 ministers meets as part of a CBF Peer Learning Group. The group includes pastors, associate ministers, chaplains and professors. Some have strong ties to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and others are ministers with American Baptist Churches USA or from other faith traditions. Despite their diversity, this group of ministers shares one common denominator — they are all women in ministry. “The group has provided for us a place

of freedom,” said Cynthia Jarrold, who facilitates the group. “We have found freedom to express who we are, where we are theologically and share our struggles uniquely related to being women in ministry.” A component of the Fellowship’s Initiative for Ministerial Excellence, Peer Learning Groups are small groups of ministers who meet monthly to provide opportunities for worship, spiritual growth, study, discussion of ministry-related issues and fellowship. The Fellowship provides the groups with suggested resources related

to promoting pastoral excellence and congregational health as well as annual funding of up to $1,000. First started in 2003, the Peer Learning Group network now consists of more than 75 groups and 500 ministers in 15 states. For more information about Peer Learning Groups or to become involved, contact Steve Graham, director of ministerial excellence, at (800) 352-8741 or

Read more about Cynthia Jarrold’s group on the Fellowship’s Web site By contributing writer Michelle Norman, Lawrenceville, Ga.

C o o p e r at i v e B a p t i s t F e l l o w s h i p



November/December 2007


2008 General Assembly Under the theme “Embrace the World: Building Bridges,” the General Assembly will gather June 19-20 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tenn., for worship, ministry workshops, fellowship, annual business sessions and other activities. Highlights include a special time of Assembly-wide guided prayer and discernment about the future, a Thursday evening keynote address by human rights activist and Baptist minister Lauran Bethell, and a Friday evening celebration of missional churches engaged in ministry around the world. * Please note that the annual commissioning of CBF field personnel will be held the evening of Wednesday, June 18, prior to the Assembly. For more information or to pre-register, go to

Wednesday, June 18 Noon Registration opens 1-4:00 p.m. Leadership Institute 7:30 p.m.

Global Missions Field Personnel Commissioning Service

Thursday, June 19 9-10:10 a.m. Workshops 10:30 a.m. Business Session 11:30 a.m. Lunch & Auxiliary Meetings 1:30 p.m. Worship 2:30-3:30 p.m. Discernment & Prayer Groups 4 p.m. State & Regional CBF Meetings 5:30 p.m.

Dinner & Auxiliary Events

7:30 p.m. Worship: Keynote Speaker Lauran Bethell 9-10 p.m. Resource Fair Fellowship

Friday, June 20 9-10:10 a.m.

Discernment & Prayer Group Feedback

10:30 a.m. Business Session 11:30 a.m. Lunch & Auxiliary Events 1:30-2:40 p.m. Workshops 3:15-4:25 p.m. Workshops 5:30 p.m.

Dinner & Auxiliary Events

7:30 p.m. Worship: A Celebration of Missional Churches 9-10 p.m. Resource Fair Party

Church Start S potlight


owboys have long been a prominent part of the landscape in the West. And in present-day Oklahoma, cowboys continue to live in a distinct culture, with the need for a distinct way of worshiping. “When you think of Oklahoma, you think of the Western Cowboy Museum in Norman. You think of Will Rogers. Oklahoma is an ideal place for a cowboy church start,” said Phil Hester, the Fellowship’s church starts specialist. In Chickasha, Okla., the

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2008 General Assembly


Make plans to attend | June 19-20

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

“What is it about bridges that captures our imaginations? Perhaps it is that bridges open up new territories, unite that which once was divided, and give us the means of discovering new places and taking us where we’ve never been



Marriott Memphis Downtown 250 North Main Street • Memphis, TN CBF rate is $109 per night for single/double (Host hotel and connected to the Convention Center)

before. Bridges enable us to embrace

Wyndham Garden Hotel

new worlds we have yet to discover.

300 N 2nd Street • Memphis, TN

This will be the theme of our 2008

CBF rate is $99 per night for single/double

General Assembly ... Embrace the World:

(1 block from Convention Center)

Building Bridges.”

Doubletree Hotel Memphis Downtown

— Randy Hyde, chair of the General

185 Union Ave • Memphis, TN

Assembly steering committee and

CBF rate is $109 per night for single/double

pastor of Pulaski Heights Baptist Church

(6 blocks from Convention Center)

in Little Rock, Ark.

To receive the CBF rate you must first pre-register for the General Assembly.

Cowboy Country Church Cowboy Country Church is reaching the unique needs of those who might otherwise be without a church home. The church is co-sponsored by the Cooperating Baptist Fellowship of Oklahoma, CBF and First Baptist Oklahoma City, and led by bi-vocational pastor Lynn Walker. Despite the recent flooding of their new building after Tropical Storm Erin in August, which included more than $10,000 in damages, the church is thriving. After one year in existence,

the Cowboy Country Church averages an attendance of more than 50 people each Sunday. “This is a piece of what we are trying to do in Oklahoma,” said T Thomas, coordinator of CBF of Oklahoma “We’ve built on the CBF national motto, being the presence of Christ in Oklahoma and the world.”

To learn about partnership opportunities with CBF church starts, call (800) 3528741. To financially support the starting of new Fellowship partner churches across

By contributing writer Alison Wingfield, Dallas, Texas

the country, give to the Fellowship at




November/December 2007

Fellowship marks nearly three years of tsunami relief in Southeast Asia


nwar had never seen anything like it. The

earth rumbled. A half-mile of the ocean receded. Men and children rushed onto the exposed sea floor, gathering handfuls of fish flopping around in the sand.

Stretch Ledford Photo

Stretch Ledford Photo

Word spread quickly, and people came from town to get a glimpse of the beach as it never had been before. “Then we saw a massive white wave on the horizon heading toward shore,” Anwar said. Anwar jumped on his motorcycle, and raced home — desperately trying to reach his wife and baby before the wave did. At home, his family and the neighbors were standing outside assessing earthquake damage. They had no The tsunami destroyed much of the idea what was coming until they saw fishing industry, damaging boats and leaving many on land. it. Then, it was nearly too late. The mighty wave penned “Now there is nothing,” Anwar and his wife against a house, said one survivor. “We eventually trapping them inside, where have come back to they would float on an armoire as the water look…to see our children’s poured in and filled the house. Another clothes, to see their toys… six inches of water and Anwar and his wife to remember our children would have been among the more than who were washed away ... 200,000 that lost their lives on Dec. 26, 2004. we don’t even have their “Indeed, he was a lucky man bodies to bury or know — particularly to not have lost any of where their gravesite is. his immediate family in this disaster The sea took them all.” as so many did,” said one of CBF’s field Field personnel personnel who responded to the Southeast eventually switched Asian tsunami. their focus to long-term Stories like Anwar’s have made this recovery efforts. They tragedy come alive. Stories like this put a dug water wells, improved human face on one of the biggest natural sanitation and rebuilt a disasters ever recorded and prompted canal that enabled farming Thousands of people lost their homes following the tsunami and sought shelter in makeshift tents. Fellowship Baptists to respond in to start again. They unprecedented ways. With nearly $2.63 repaired several schools And while life for survivors in Southeast personnel. “There is still much work to be million given to provide immediate and and provided school uniforms, shoes and Asia will never be the same, three years of done, but much has been accomplished.” long-term recovery, CBF field personnel supplies to more relief in four countries and nearly $2.63 began work never knew how much love could than 2,000 students. million in donations has made a difference. Editor’s note: Due to security concerns, immediately to help names and specific locations of some of “I never knew how much love could be recover and restore be given by people to people that Job training centers CBF’s Global Missions field personnel will were built and given by people to people that they have homes and lives. they have never met.” not be published. fishermen were never met,” said another one of CBF’s field Three years


ago, the survivors that were hired to remove debris were among the few able to earn money in the tsunami’s immediate aftermath. Medical clinics helped injuries heal, and tents gave refugees a drier place to stay. Boxes of food and clothing helped replace what more than 2,000 families lost. Water purifiers supplied 3,000 refugees with clean water. For months, field personnel worked in the rubble — among what was lost and those who lost.

given fishing nets so that they could restart their businesses. They repaired a road to a fish packing plant and cleaned fish and shrimp ponds that helped boost the local economy. Houses were built, Bibles were given and orphans were supported. “I think we do well to remember that there are still people without homes, people who lost their entire families,” said another one of CBF’s field personnel. “For these people there is no ‘getting back to normal.’ Their lives were forever altered on that day.”

personnel. Relief work continues, and field personnel have been preparing for another major earthquake, which many geologists have predicted. They hope predisaster education, training locals to build earthquake resistant construction, and other preparations will help if predictions are correct. “There is still struggle, but everywhere you look you see evidence of hope and improvement,” said one of CBF’s field

By Carla Wynn Davis, CBF Communications GIVE & SERVE – CBF is continually responding to disasters around the world. Currently, individuals and churches are needed to continue relief efforts in Pearlington, Miss., a town that was 80 percent destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. To learn how you and your congregation can be involved in CBF’s disaster response efforts, go to C o o p e r at i v e B a p t i s t F e l l o w s h i p

Offering for Global Missions


November/December 2007


Open House Ministries resources impoverished community in Florida


tanding outside the bright yellow

building of Open House Ministries in Homestead, Fla., Wanda Ashworth has an unobstructed view of the community she serves. The barren cinder block buildings and small homes of a labor camp — all government

— surround Open House Ministries on every side. Located at the southern tip

Patricia Heys photo

subsidized housing

of the state and adjacent to the

Wanda Ashworth, far left, serves as director of Open House Ministries, which is funded by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and CBF of Florida.

Everglades, Homestead is known as the “Gateway to the Keys” as

In addition to “La Tienda,”

vacationing tourists must travel

the thrift store, where each

through to reach the islands.

item sells for 25 cents, and

But for immigrants, Homestead,

a food bank, Open House

despite being one of the poorest

offers after school programs

communities in the state, is often a

and Bible studies for youth

gateway to opportunity.

and children two days a week. Every summer, the

“Many of the immigrant families in our community struggle finan-

center partners with missions

cially, but their homes are filled with

teams from CBF partner

love and devotion for their children,”

churches to host eight weeks

said Wanda Ashworth, Open House

of summer camp.

director and one of the Cooperative

Ashworth, a former music

Baptist Fellowship’s field personnel. are represented in Homestead, but no matter where they have come from, many parents struggle to pro-

social work from Gardner-

Patricia Heys photo

More than a dozen nationalities

minister, earned a degree in

vide for their children. Ashworth has seen and heard the stories — like the

Webb University in 2004 and then became director of Open House. She is one of only two full-time employees

Open House ministries offers after school programs for children in the Homestead community.

at the center.

mother who dug tortillas out of a trash

this community to have life and have it

nearby Florida City. But recognizing the

can to feed her children. Many fathers

more abundantly. Not necessarily a life

ongoing needs of the community, Open

wise people told me ‘just listen,’ and

find work in the fields, picking vegetables

of prosperity, but a rich, fulfilling life. So

House has continued as a long-term

we were intentional about listening

such as squash for 75 cents a bushel.

we do a lot of community asset mapping,

partnership with the community to help

to the community,” Ashworth said.

helping the neighborhood discover

alleviate poverty.

“The community is interested in their

In a community where 43 percent of the children live below the national

their passions and skills. We try to be a

poverty line, Open House offers services,

resource, a place where they can come to

sometimes I think that’s what being the

their neighborhood. They don’t want to

such as an emergency food pantry and

work together.”

presence of Christ is about,” Ashworth

have to go inside [early in the evening].

thrift store, to address the physical needs

children and youth and taking back

said. “It’s not about going in with a

The attitude is very much ‘this is our

and CBF of Florida, Open House

solution or a program. The neighborhood

neighborhood and we will take care

began as a disaster relief effort in 1992

has its own gifts and talents, and we just

of it.’”

House tries to be a kingdom place,”

following Hurricane Andrew, which

make a space for those to happen — that’s

said Ashworth. “We want everybody in

almost destroyed Homestead and

how you can be the presence of Christ.”

of these families. “Beyond physical assistance, Open

As a joint ministry of the Fellowship

“We’ve made a space for God, and

“When I first came here a lot of

Online — Go to For questions regarding online giving, contact

Mail — Use the contribution envelope included in this issue and make your check payable to CBF.

Phone — Call CBF toll-free at (800) 352-8741.

w w w. t h e f e l l o w s h i p. i n f o

By Patricia Heys, CBF Communications


C o o p e r at i v e B a p t i s t F e l l o w s h i p or call (800) 801-4223.

By Patricia Heys, CBF Communications

them, so they ask why.” Derani facilitates a number of services provided through the Friendship Center — English classes, resume and employment assistance, immigration and citizenship classes, driver education, medical and legal assistance, parenting skills, tutoring and educational assistance. For the Arab community in Brooklyn, the center offers a place of hope and affirmation in an unfamiliar culture. “They come to learn English, and whatever it takes, we do with them in order to build the bridges of trust and confidence,” Derani said. “We don’t argue with them — that’s the way of building walls. So we build friendship with them. We love them in any way we can to meet the need, and we share with them as we go. I tell my co-workers ‘please do not try to color Jesus for them! Let them see Jesus in you.’

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To order CBF missions education resources go to www.

those who are different and how to be friendly to others.

play and bible thoughts, preschoolers learn how to accept

to a new place, and making new friends. Through active

explores some of the challenges of being different, moving

missions education resource for preschoolers, Form

challenges of American life. In November, the Fellowship’s

Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., helps immigrants as they adjust to

Nomie Derani’s ministry at the Arab American Friendship

Learning to be friends

omie Derani, one of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s field personnel, ministers to internationals in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her ministry is highlighted in this year’s CBF Offering for Global Missions resources, which are available at www. Background: A native of Lebanon, Derani attended Colorado Baptist University in Denver, Colo., and Nomie Derani received a bachelor of arts in psychology and counseling. At Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, Derani earned a master’s degree in religious education. In 1995 she was appointed by the Fellowship to work with Arab Americans in Dearborn, Mich. She built an effective and selfsustaining ministry in Dearborn before moving to Brooklyn in 2003. Ministry: Derani is the founder of the Arab American Friendship Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., where the motto is “To love

CBF Global Missions photo

Nomie Derani

Field Personnel S potlight

Art by Nyoman Darsane

(800) 352-8741

P.O. Box 450329 • Atlanta, Georgia 31145-0329

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship


Ministry to Karen refugees Pages 4-5

The story of Joseph, Mary and Jesus fleeing to Egypt is depicted in this painting. Today, more that 21 million people around the world have been forced to leave their homes.


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

Cooperative baptist fellowship |

November/december 2007


Nov/December 2007 fellowship!  
Nov/December 2007 fellowship!