COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP | WWW.THEFELLOWSHIP.INFO
Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
2014 CBF Assembly Ambassador Andrew Young says Gospel is as simple as one word,
Read highlights and view photos from the Atlanta Assembly on pp. 14-23.
Woven The following is an edited excerpt from Suzii Paynter’s June 26 address to the 2014 CBF General Assembly in Atlanta. View Paynter’s address and other 2014 Assembly videos at www.thefellowship.info/atlanta2014. I AM A NATIVE of San Antonio, Texas — home of the San Antonio Spurs. I love basketball and my hometown team, as you know, recently won the NBA Championship. Every year, of course, there is a winner, but not every year is the buzz
A PUBLICATION OF COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP
VOLUME 24, NUMBER 4
EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR Suzii Paynter ASSOCIATE COORDINATOR, FELLOWSHIP ADVANCEMENT Jeff Huett EDITOR Aaron Weaver GRAPHIC DESIGNER Travis Peterson ASSOCIATE EDITOR Emily Holladay ASSISTANT EDITOR Candice Young PHONE (770) 220-1600 E-MAIL email@example.com WEBSITE www.thefellowship.info fellowship! is published 6 times a year in Feb./March, April/May, June/July, Aug./Sept., Oct./Nov., Dec./Jan. by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Inc., 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500, Decatur, GA 30030. Periodicals postage paid at Decatur, GA, and additional offices. USPS #015-625. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to fellowship! Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500, Decatur, GA 30030.
and the dominance of the win attributed to humble, relentless, elegant teamwork. In a league where everyone focuses on the “stars,” the Spurs are living proof that “We” is greater than “Me.” Teamwork — that is the prevailing wish expressed in the “what if ” questions that guided our 2012 Task Force. What if we could develop a seamless cooperative community made up of a national organization, state/regional organizations and all our partners? What if we could share resources throughout the system to help one another? What if we could think about the abundance of resources instead of the scarcity? What if this seamless community could find a way to put more funds on the mission field? And what if we were known and loved far and wide for being the presence of Christ? The 2012 Task Force Report is a blueprint for identity, missions and ministry. The beginning section asks these “what if ” questions — those are questions of wishes and dreams. When I read them it sounds like we’re seeking a utopian and unattainable community. Hey, I know you and we are no utopian group! However, the difference between a wish and a dream is the power of forming something together — collaboration, cooperation, co-creating in the Spirit; humble, relentless, elegant teamwork. What we too easily describe in ethereal theologies as mystical union in Christ or the gift of the Holy Spirit, Wendell Berry, our farmer, novelist and creator of the Port William community, renders narratively as a community woven together by the earthly realities of kinship, friendship, history, memory, kindness, work and affection. Fellowship, we belong to God. In his reminder that we are woven into this belonging that precedes and grounds us, Berry is inviting us to embrace and to enact a knowing participation in a “kindness so comprehensive.” The first
lesson from Berry’s Port William is to rejoice in and sing with our given membership with everything in God’s redeeming, enduring love. Fellowship, we are one part “what if ” dream and one part Port William community. My elevator word, not elevator speech, is that CBF is a “denomi-network.” We are not a denomination. We are interconnected. We are woven together. In a world of religious institutional and denominational decline, we are vital, we are alive, and it is not accidental. The Fellowship is faithful and intentional and we are developing. To connect in this Fellowship is to connect with the larger body of Christ. Your membership is not toward CBF, but by forming together with others in CBF, we are becoming the body of Christ. We have lived and developed a different way of being a Christian network — big tent, federated, cooperative, diverse opinions but generous to one another. We are church and missions (not issue) centered and not constituent limited. We have created and connected with existing networks of missions and ministry, and we seek a balanced expression with work in states and regions as well as globally. So, what is the clearest way to articulate the identity of CBF as we look to the future? A keystone quality of the Fellowship is hospitality. There is no living Fellowship without a culture of hospitality. We have created an environment of hospitality and teamwork for us as a Fellowship by moving to new offices in Decatur. Putting hospitality into practice means creating more access, more doors into the Fellowship, more ways to connect and participate. Did you know that the Fellowship hosts more than 500 nights of hotel rooms each year for field personnel, Governing Board and council members, state and regional coordinators, seekers to join missions,
Together students in for interviews, church starters, chaplains, donors, pastors, church staff, lay leaders, grant-makers and grant-seekers, partners and trustees? In our move, we saved money and we eliminated physical divisions and silos. But the reason to relocate was to build a culture of hospitality and to provide fellowship for those who come to work with the Fellowship and with the staff — a culture based on identity. Another part of our identity is the need to refresh and enhance our public witness, our public face and voice. Being the Fellowship is also a call for important voices to shape us. Our identity is to be explored in biblical reflection, in theological conversation and in genuine prayer. This year, as a staff, we have engaged a theologian-in-residence, David Gushee. And he’s been woven together with us in conversation and reflection and has seasoned our practice. One practice of enhancing our identity as CBF has been the practice of speaking the name of the Fellowship in public places. This past year, CBF was represented at both the George W. Bush Library and the Oval Office. In renewed collaboration with the Baptist World Alliance and 121 Baptist Unions around the world, CBF’s public witness was also represented at the United Nations on behalf of women and girls by Phyllis Boozer, coordinator of the Baptist Fellowship of the Northeast, and in Geneva, Switzerland, on behalf of the religiously persecuted by Shane McNary, one of our field personnel serving in Slovakia. CBF was also represented at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by Stephen Reeves, our associate coordinator for partnerships and advocacy. Like the daily work of Wendell Berry’s Port William, there has been some manual labor of Fellowship building we’ve had to attend to this year. Governance — this may be the quotidian work of being a fellowship, but it is a worthy effort.
Our journey and destination are set by the structures we employ. We have been very attentive to this question — how can CBF be restructured to be a more effective governing body for the Fellowship? And what if we can share more resources and invest more in the mission field? How can we be most faithful in following the Great Commission to share the message of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth? CBF has a missions portfolio that includes both missions of presence (long term) and missions that are projects (short term), and so does your church. This is one of the ways in which our missions has changed. We have a talented and experienced leader in Steven Porter as the new Global Missions coordinator, and he will be working with absolutely the best field personnel on the planet — capable, faithful miraculously-talented people. Structures for sending personnel and supporting global centers through CBF Global Missions allow for a wide variety of mission models. This trend will continue to expand. CBF started as a mission-sending enterprise with an agency model of full-time, career field personnel. The common unit was a couple with an international placement. Developing the need for short-term, non-career opportunities prompted the expansion to short-term models of missions such as Student.Go and support for church mission trips as they bloomed and blossomed like crazy. Partnership requests and asset-based mission paradigms created opportunities for partnership with states and regions, especially in our rural poverty initiative, Together for Hope. We have built a global network of relationships and teams. Let me tell you, in CBF life no one sails alone in missions. It requires elegant, persistent, practiced, Spurs-like teamwork.
And next year, July 2015, again our CBF churches, Global Missions staff, field personnel and the South Africa Global Missions Church Network will host missions opportunities for the BWA World Congress in South Africa. Eight CBF churches along with two field personnel will host the world for missions in team play. Consider this opportunity for next summer. Several years ago, we as CBF chose an emphasis on young Baptists as a priority. We have a dynamic young Baptist ecosystem and like most ecosystems there are nurturers, and we’ve got some super nurturers from CBF staff to Passport Camps to Wilshire Pastoral Residency program to our 15 partner seminaries and divinity schools. A benchmark for our future is more intentional teamwork around this ecosystem. Connecting congregations and young leaders will continue to be a focus for the Fellowship. Fellowship congregations are loving. They are joyful. They are enlightened, educated congregations. The most powerful things in our world — the spiritual things — are invisible, and we live in a very material world. Our churches are becoming experts at making the invisible, visible. We need to reclaim that and make visible the things that are important: love, joy, peace, kindness, faithfulness, perseverance, seeing the fruit of the spirit. I know this: I alone cannot be your church. You alone cannot be mine. But we are already membered through time in a timeless love — the comprehensive kindness and enduring, redeeming love of Christ. This is our Fellowship, and we can be woven together.
Suzii Paynter, CBF Executive Coordinator
2014 General Assembly
2014 General Assembly
Cooperative Baptists partner for long-term disaster response in Oklahoma
CBF commissions field personnel, church starters, chaplains and pastoral counselors
Ambassador Andrew Young says the Gospel is as simple as one word, ‘ask’
2014 General Assembly
CBF Assembly in Pictures
Affect: August 2014
Affect: September 2014
CBF Assembly concludes with communion, celebration of churches
Highlights from the Atlanta Assembly
Baptists at the United Nations
CBF field personnel Shane McNary reflects on attending the Sixth Forum on Religious Minority Rights in Geneva
Empowering the next generation: Passport instills passion in young Baptists for Global Missions engagement
what CBF churches and individuals are doing
NETWORK with other Fellowship people
Atlanta’s Friendship Baptist Church choir sings at a worship workshop during the 2014 CBF Assembly.
prayerspeople of the
Praying the Scriptures Personally By Bo Prosser
oo often we have made the words of the Bible so “high and holy” that we can’t interact with their deeper meanings on a personal level. Praying a passage as if it is your prayer brings a new and deeper appreciation for God’s Word. Inserting your name makes the passage more accessible. The challenge is to personalize the passage by placing your name in the reading. Try this with the Beatitudes, “Blessed are you, Prosser, when…” Or, try the Great Commandment, “Prosser, you shall love me (God) with all your heart…” When God calls my name in Scripture, I pay attention in a whole new way! How about you?
CBF Ministries Prayer Calendar CH = Chaplain FP = Field Personnel FPC = Child of Field Personnel GMP = Global Missions Partner PC = Pastoral Counselor PLT = Church Planter S = CBF Staff AUGUST 1 Steven Safreed, Waynesville, NC (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); Martha Hayes, Oklahoma City, OK (CH); Mark Pruitt, Martinsburg, WV (CH); Diane Stamey, Clyde, NC (PC); Matthew Wysocki, 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); Donald 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); Karen Rector, Mayport, FL (CH); Robert Townsend, Nathalie, VA (CH) 12 Charline Berry, Baltimore, MD (CH); Chris Boltin (S-Atlanta); Rudolfo Rodriguez, Kernersville, NC (PLT) 13 Clyde Angel, Indianapolis, IN (CH); Rodney Bolejack, Denton, TX (CH); Thomas Dougherty, Mechanicsville, VA (PC); Wayne Maberry, Alturas, FL (CH); Fortino Ocampo, Siler City, NC (PLT); Johnny Taylor, Plano, TX (CH) 14 Maurice Graham, Richmond, VA (PC) 15 Daniel Shadix, Prattville, AL (CH) 16 Don McNeely, Emeritus (FP) 17 Joe Moffitt, Wetmore, CO (CH); Susan Rogers, Jacksonville, FL (PLT); Anna Sample, 2001, San Francisco, CA (FPC)
Choose a passage that is somewhat familiar. For the coming month, use a new passage each week. For example: Psalm 23, Matthew Bo Prosser 5:1-10, Jeremiah 29:11-14, Luke 11:9-13. The passage is not as important as the practice. Whatever passage you choose, make sure it can be personalized. Center yourself, being quiet, settling yourself for prayer. Then read the text intentionally, inserting your name as appropriate. Listen for God’s blessing. Know that God hears your prayers, knows your name and responds to all that you share.
If helpful, keep a running list of the praises and requests you lay before God. See how God responds! Next, pray for one of the names on the prayer list below. Speak their name aloud, insert their name in your prayer even as you have spoken your own name. Interact with God personally and intercede for the person whose name you have chosen. Accept the blessings and lessons God delivers. Finally, read the passage again and rest in God’s Spirit. Live with confidence that God is hearing and responding. Know that through the reading of Holy Scripture and the love of God, you are known by name as a beloved child of God.
18 Ben Craver, Albuquerque, NM (CH); Ron Fairley (S-Atlanta); Fran Stevenson, Fremont, CA (FP); Brickson Sam, Charlotte, NC (PLT) 19 Jennifer Graham (S-Atlanta); Kaela Ruble, 1998, Southeast Asia (FPC); Adam Stovall (S-Atlanta) 20 Joyce Cleary, Emeritus (FP); Reid Doster, Madisonville, LA (PLT); Jim Ivey, New Albany, IN (CH); Barbara Marshall, Petersburg, VA (CH) 21 Jim Pope, Jacksonville, FL (CH); Inetta Taylor-Shuetz, Lubbock, TX (CH); Alice Tremaine, Corbin, KY (CH) 22 Doug Brown, Franklin, IN (CH); Daniel Hix, Maryville, TN (CH); Ana Podgaisky, 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); Brian Wilson, Louisville, KY (CH) 25 Arville Earl, Emeritus (FP); Robert McMilan, Oklahoma City, OK (CH) 26 Cindy Ruble, Southeast Asia (FP); Alan Tyson, Rogers, AR (CH) 27 Bernie Calaway, Franklin, NC (PLT); Jenny Clore (S-Virginia); Jim Kirkendall, Biloxi, MS (CH); Verr Dean Williams, Cross Cut, TX (FP) 28 Randal Walton, Lynchburg, VA (CH) 29 Christina Cataldo, Student.GO intern, New York City NY (FP); Pam Foster, Haslet, TX (CH) 30 ____, son, North Africa (FPC); Christiana 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) SEPTEMBER 1 Terry Eddinger, Winston-Salem, NC (CH); Lucy Hearne, 2013, Danville, VA (FPC); Milton Snyder, Milledgeville, GA (CH); Ralph Stocks, Romania (FP) 2 Bob Coons, Owensboro, KY (PLT); Ruth Cuellar, Newnan, GA (PLT); Dennis McDuffie, Atoka, TN (CH); Sara Moran, Greer, SC (CH) 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) 5 Eddie Aldape, India (FP); Kelly Belcher, Asheville, NC (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) 6 Carla Cherry, Worthington, OH (CH); Daniel Edward Tatum, Marietta, GA (CH) 7 Martha Harper, Madison, MS (CH); Lee Hendricks, Greenville, NC (CH); Lita Sample, San Francisco, CA (FP)
8 Daniel Hall, Pineville, KY (CH); Jody Harrison, Roanoke, VA (CH); Trey Lyon, Atlanta, GA (FP); Chad Mustian, Dallas, TX (CH) 9 Jutta Cowie, Haiti (FP) 10 Timothy Brown, Dublin, GA (CH); Nancy Campbell, Kansas City, MO (CH); Keegan Glenn, 2009, Los Angeles, CA (FPC); Rick Jordan (S-North Carolina) 11 Larry Hovis (S-North Carolina) 12 Ryan Berlin (S-Decatur); Bryan Lake, Cumming, GA (CH); Laura Sejud-McConnell (S-Decatur) 13 Alyssa Aldape (S-Decatur); Andrew Gee, Marietta, GA (PC); Richard Morris, Lebanon, PA (CH); Scot McCosh, Hope Mills, NC (CH); Alan Redditt, Georgetown, KY (CH) 14 Bart Grooms, Birmingham, AL (PC); Priscilla Howick, Jacksonville, FL (CH) 15 Rebecca Holmes, 1994, Netherlands (FPC); Brandy Mullins, Manvel, TX (CH) 16 Dick Allison, Hattiesburg, MS (CH); Christopher Harrell, 1993, Kenya (FPC); Karen Heistand, Jacksonville, FL (CH); Luzzola Hunt (S-Decatur); Byron Johnson, San Diego, 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); Larry Baker, Commerce City, CO (CH); Josiah Maas, 2007, Belize (FPC); Wanda Ashworth Valencia, Homestead, FL (FP) 20 David Bluford, Lenoir City, TN (CH); Renée Owen, Marietta, GA (CH); Tanya Parks, Slovakia (FP) 21 Christian Byrd (S-Mississippi); Mark Flores, Lynchburg, VA (CH); Timothy Wagoner, McGuire Air Force Base, NJ (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-Decatur); Donna Seay, Baltimore, MD (CH) 24 William Stewart, Yukosuka Naval Base, Japan (CH) 25 David Christensen, Brownville, NY (CH); 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, NC (CH); Lynwood Walters, Gainesville, FL (CH); Gloria White, Pearland, TX (PC) 27 Cathy Anderson, Kennesaw, GA (CH); Peggy Johnson, Hurst, TX (CH); Gilbert Sanders (S-North Central) 28 Renate Kruklis, Braselton, GA (CH) 29 John Harris, Pelham, AL (PC)
Bo Prosser is CBF Coordinator of Organizational Relationships.
Give and Serve “Only Human, I Bleed When I Fall Down” By Cindy Ruble CBF field personnel serves trafficking victims in Malaysia
ave you ever noticed that your experiences and life circumstances draw you to certain songs on the radio? Heartbroken? Every song seems to be about lost love and excruciating pain, although when your relationship was going well, you didn’t notice the waterfall of sad love songs. Recently, I was driving home from a rather frustrating day of trying to help a trafficking victim get justice in a system in which justice is extremely rare. I work in anti-trafficking. The song playing on the radio was “Human” by Christina Perri. I imagined it was another sad love song, but that is not what I heard that day. Perri sang, “I can stay awake for days, if that’s what you want … I can fake a smile, I can force a laugh, I can dance and play the part, if that’s what you ask. Give you all I am. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.” I thought about how true those words were for most of the trafficking victims we rescue. Almost all the women we help have been forced to work 16-18 hour days, seven days a week. They never have a day off. They are exhausted all the time, but they continue to play the part, hoping to make enough money to put food on the table and put their children through school back in their home countries. They tell themselves, “I can do it,” despite the long hours, despite the emotional, physical and sometimes sexual abuse, despite food deprivation and intolerable working conditions. They forge on until the day they recognize that they will never be paid. They are working 112-126 hours a week and have never received a single paycheck. If they ask for their pay, they are told they will get it at the end of their two-year contract. These women live with broken promises. They were promised a monthly salary of $400 when they signed their contracts in their home country, only to find that promise broken when they arrived in Malaysia and were coerced into signing a secondary, illegal contract for a lesser sum. The employer of one of our trafficking victims told her that her contract was “rubbish.” Her employer treated it as such, ignoring the promises made in the contract. When these workers lose hope in the promises, they leave their abusive employers as their employers have become their traffickers. Although the workers have entered the country legally to work, they become trafficking victims. Most of the victims we helped in the past year had been slaves in Malaysian homes. To be fair, there are good employers here in Malaysia. However, we are ranked on the Tier 2 Watch List of the U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report. Labor trafficking is rampant, and we
are nowhere near addressing it at a level to stop it. That would take massive awareness campaigns followed by arrests, prosecutions and convictions. The statistics highlight a dismal performance. Sex trafficking gets the most publicity and attention, but labor trafficking affects far more people. The issues are systemic, the abuse is normalized, and the victims are numerous and hidden. As I continued driving down the road that day, the song played on. “I can turn it on, be a good machine.” I thought about how these women were not machines despite being forced to work as though they were. The women we help have faces. They are human beings with families who love them and depend on them. They are women who are daughters, sisters and mothers. They do indeed “bleed when they fall down.” I wish I could introduce you to the many beautiful faces and spirits I have encountered in my anti-trafficking work. Women who are kind and hard-working, mothers who love their children and miss them deeply, daughters who came to support aging parents back home. Irene Fernandez of the NGO, Tenaganita (Women’s Force), used to say they are “women of love.” They came to work in another country at great risk to themselves because they loved their families deeply. Grace* was one of those women. She worked in a house where her employers physically, sexually and emotionally abused her. She worked seven days a week, 16 hours a day. Her employer hit her with a rattan stick and slammed her hand in the door in anger. After she came to us for help, Grace’s hand still hurt as she did her washing. In her employer’s house, Grace was not given enough food to eat. She was always hungry and every time her employer couldn’t find something, she called Grace a thief. Grace said, “No Ma’am. I have nine children. I am not a thief.” No apologies came when the employer found her belongings right where she left them. Grace never had a day off. Can you imagine working 16-hour days, seven days a week with no day off? All human beings need rest. As Grace was about to be repatriated, she told me she would be going back out to work in another country. I cringed because I knew she could end up in an even worse circumstance the next time. I asked if there wasn’t some kind of work she could do in her country so she could be near her children and not put herself at such risk. She said, “Ma’am, I have to. I don’t want my kids to be like me. I want them to get an education.” Grace’s nine children were the
focus of her life. She loved them, and I knew she would put herself out there again and again until every last one of them finished school. Grace was a woman of great love. When you contribute to the CBF Offering for Global Missions, you link hands with us to rescue victims like Grace from human trafficking, to advocate for justice, to help recoup their hard-earned wages and facilitate their repatriation. Your dollars empower us to stand alongside them as they move from being victims to survivors. You help us to shelter them and to provide victim care and counseling. You undergird all the anti-trafficking work we do. Thank you for partnering with us. Thank you for your commitment to advocacy and ministry among vulnerable and marginalized people. Please continue to give generously to the Offering for Global Missions as we have much work left to do. We need your help as we work toward the day that justice rolls down like water. Make a gift to the Offering at www.thefellowship.info/givenow.
*Name changed to protect the identity of the victim.
Cindy Ruble and her husband, Eddy, serve as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel in Malaysia. Learn more about their ministry at www.thefellowship.info/ruble.
When you support the CBF Offering for Global Missions, you impact the work of all CBF field personnel. To give to the CBF Offering for Global Missions and for more information on how to promote it in your congregation, visit the Fellowshipâ€™s website at www.thefellowship.info/ogm.
Cindy Ruble (pictured right) works alongside anti-trafficking groups in Southeast Asia to advocate for the many women trapped in labor trafficking, who work 120 hours a week and never receive a paycheck. Gifts to the CBF Offering for Global Missions empower Ruble to stand alongside these women as they move from being victims to survivors.
1 in 8 suffer from hunger
million people globally
on mission with Christ to
through the Offering for Global Missions
the U.S. population
Fredericksburg, Virginia: A Holistic Christian Response
A Christian response to #EndHunger requires more than providing food. It’s about protecting the dignity of those in need and meeting physical, social, spiritual, mental and emotional needs. For Greg and Sue Smith, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel serving the Latino community of Fredericksburg, Va., it’s meeting people wherever they are. With support from CBF’s Offering for Global Missions, since 2006, the Smiths have worked in partnership with the Fellowship, the Virginia Baptist Mission Board and Fredericksburg Baptist Church to meet the challenges of immigrants. The Smiths founded LUCHA ministries, which in English means “struggle.” To combat hunger, LUCHA ministries maintains a food pantry and partners with the local food bank, churches and individuals to provide culturally appropriate food to the Latino community.
Lebanon: Spreading the Peace of Christ
Since civil war broke out in Syria three years ago, more than 2.5 million refugees have fled the country. More than a million of those have settled in Lebanon, creating a burden on the nation’s public services and doubling unemployment among Lebanese citizens. Hunger is widespread, and there are no official refugee camps. Families are struggling to resettle in a foreign land. Chaouki and Maha Boulos, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel serving in Lebanon since 2002, are working to #EndHunger for Syrian refugees through food distribution to more than 300 participants of a women’s Bible study, more than 350 students ages 4 to 13 years old at a school in the Bekaa Valley and to internally displaced Syrians in Damascus. 8
www.thefellowship.info/OGM If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. – Isaiah 58:10
Food distribution and feeding programs
Urban farming and rural economic development
Partnerships with schools and food pantries
Emergency food assistance
CBF Hunger Ministries
exist in 20 countries on 4 continents.
CBF engages in God’s mission with and among the most neglected and least evangelized people on Earth. Through the work of field personnel and through CBF’s rural poverty initiative, Together for Hope, the Fellowship is helping to #EndHunger with partners across the United States and around the world. CBF works to #EndHunger with partners such as the Baptist General Association of Virginia and the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering as well as with CBF state and regional organizations such as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Heartland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Your gifts to CBF’s Offering for Global Missions help #EndHunger and impact CBF’s Global Missions work meeting other needs worldwide.
2014-15 Offering for Global Missions emphasis:
Sustainable recovery Cooperative Baptists partner for long-term disaster response in Oklahoma
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CBF OF OKLAHOMA AND CBF DISASTER RESPONSE
By Blake Tommey
T WAS SUNDAY, May 19, 2013, and Jill Hatcher had
spent most of her birthday inside watching baseball-sized hail total both of her family’s cars. In the nearby town
of Shawnee, Okla., a series of tornadoes had caused the deaths of two men living in a mobile home community, but Hatcher and her family remained safe at their home south of Moore.
CBF Disaster Response is dedicated to long-term recovery in areas devastated by natural disasters, including Moore, Okla., which suffered an EF5 tornado in May 2013.
Monday morning followed with an ominous feeling in her stomach, and after pulling their children out of school for a birthday lunch, Hatcher and her husband, Kirk, returned home to a chilling weather forecast. An EF5 tornado, the highest damage classification a tornado can receive, had touched down in Newcastle and was barreling east toward their house. Knowing that finding cover was futile, the Hatchers gathered their kids in the bedroom and waited on further reports. In a flood of relief and horror, the Hatchers watched the tornado take a northerly path just four miles away through a heavily populated section of Moore. As she would quickly learn, the EF5 had spent nearly an hour on the ground over a 17-mile path of destruction. At its widest, the tornado measured 1.3 miles across and produced winds estimated at 210 miles per hour, leaving the entire area south of Oklahoma City devastated in rubble and loss. After cautiously returning her kids to school the next day, Hatcher simply sat in silence, grieving and at a loss for what to do next. Then, the phone rang. Local churches had already begun early relief efforts, including her home church, First Baptist Church of Norman, and a friend was calling on Hatcher to help. Though police had closed off the disaster area to vehicles, FBC Norman had begun running church vans in and out of the area as a shuttle for residents and volunteers. Hatcher said she was happy to drive. “People were having to walk for miles because you couldn’t drive into the disaster area,” Hatcher said. “But they were allowing church vehicles to act as mass transit, so we would basically drive in a loop and pick people up all day. Sometimes they were local residents trying to find their home or their things. Sometimes they were volunteers trying to clean up. That day was crazy.” After returning to the church one evening, Hatcher’s pastor informed her that Tommy Deal, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s disaster response director, and Steve Graham, coordinator of CBF of Oklahoma, were looking for a local resident to contract with as the volunteer coordinator for CBF Disaster Response. Hatcher, a professional project manager, had no hesitation in agreeing to serve, and by the next morning, Hatcher and Deal were fellowship!
driving around Moore forming relationships with local authorities and listening for the needs of the community. “It’s easy to get what I call ‘compassion adrenaline’ in the early days of disaster relief,” Deal said. “Yet, we’ve learned how important it is to work within the systems that local authorities and communities have established. We can’t go in brandishing our flag, telling people that we’re here to solve all their problems. First of all, we can’t. But more importantly, we must determine what their situations are and what parts we can address alongside them.” Hatcher and Deal quickly discovered that the more populated Moore area was heavily supported by the American Red Cross, yet
many rural areas affected by the Sunday storm had little to no volunteer support or relief. After driving 40 minutes outside of Norman, they discovered the private mobile home community where the two deaths had occurred during Sunday’s storm. Not only had the tornado ravaged homes, but it also decimated the community’s water and electricity supply, both of which the city did not provide or service for private property. In partnership with First Baptist Church of Shawnee and University Baptist Church of Shawnee, Hatcher and Deal began funneling volunteers and resources into the small community that had been without power and water for more than two weeks. Local residents had no resources or labor with
which to replace their well house, until a group of farmers from Iowa suddenly contacted Hatcher looking for a place to serve. As experts in building their own houses and structures, the group of farmers had a new well house built within a week and began repairing water and electrical lines until the community had running water and power once again. Hatcher said she felt called to the communities that relief organizations had overlooked or neglected. “The people in the margins of these disaster zones don’t want to be defined as people in the margins,” Hatcher said. “Many have no insurance and no way to replace what they’ve lost, but they’re not going to stand up with a louder voice and ask for
Tommy Deal, CBF’s U.S. Disaster Response director (directly above, far left) partnered with CBF of Oklahoma to provide healing to families whose lives were forever changed by the May 2013 tornadoes. In partnership with local churches, CBF Disaster Response and CBF of Oklahoma began funneling volunteers and resources into less-populated and overlooked neighborhoods.
more help than anybody else. So we come alongside them with the resources and labor that they need to begin rebuilding their lives.” Following the rebuilding of the well house, the CBF team partnered with a local nonprofit organization to build houses in place of the mobile homes that were destroyed, assisting with three builds and fully funding one. As Hatcher received more volunteers, she began funneling them through local organizations and churches. CBF volunteers offered relief through Serve Moore, helped local residents burn piles of rubble that could not be hauled off and even assisted a furniture warehouse set up by First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City after it
received a mass influx of furniture items. “People would tell me I was doing a good job, and I could only tell them that I wasn’t doing any of it,” Hatcher explained. “There was never a moment when I was not assured that God was already present and at work. Every evening I would inevitably tell my husband a new story about resources somehow coming together at the right time. Sometimes it seemed like the answer came before the request. If I was doing it, it would be an even bigger disaster.” Since May 2013, CBF Disaster Response has contributed more than $84,000 in direct aid to local churches and organizations in and around Moore. In addition, CBF continues to receive volunteers wishing to
partner in rebuilding communities in the Moore area. Deal says that CBF Disaster Response will continue to come alongside communities affected by disaster to listen and partner together in rebuilding. “We feel it is important that the community recognizes the local church as the one who has reached out to them, not some distant organization out of Decatur, Ga.,” Deal emphasized. “We want to go in and stand beside that local church. Sometimes we may have to help them see what they can do, but this situation was one in which God and the community were already at work. We only had to ask how we could help.”
CBF churches from Arkansas (left), Texas (directly above) and other states also pitched in to volunteer their time and resources in the disaster relief efforts. “There was never a moment when I was not assured that God was already present and at work,” said Jill Hatcher, who served as volunteer coordinator for CBF Disaster Response in the relief efforts.
Since the deadly tornadoes struck in May 2013, CBF Disaster Response has contributed more than $84,000 in direct aid to local churches and nonprofit organizations and CBF continues to receive volunteers wishing to partner in rebuilding communities in the Moore area.
CBF COMMISSIONS field personnel, church starters, chaplains and pastoral counselors
AT 2014 ASSEMBLY
By Aaron Weaver and Emily Holladay ATLANTA — More than 800 people gathered June 25 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta for a banquet and commissioning service for Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel, church starters, chaplains and pastoral counselors. Bo Prosser, CBF coordinator of organizational relationships, and Gerry Hutchinson, CBF endorser for chaplains and pastoral counselors, led the commissioning of church starters and newly-endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors. “These individuals who stand before you tonight are representatives of a larger group of chaplains, pastoral counselors and church starters within the life of CBF who have been endorsed and who have planted new work,” Prosser said. “We formally recognize the call of God upon each of these uniquely gifted individuals, and we celebrate your courage to be endorsed and to venture into new congregational settings.” The Fellowship commissioned five chaplains and two church starters, Kyle Tubbs of Grace Baptist Church in Round Rock, Texas, and George Linney of Tobacco Trail Church in Durham, N.C. Additionally, in the past year, CBF added 30 individuals to its family of more than 700 chaplains and pastoral counselors. Partnering with CBF as a church start, Tubbs and a core group began meeting in the summer of 2012 and launched Grace Baptist 14
More than 800 Cooperative Baptists attended the June 25 banquet and celebration of co-missioning during the opening night of the 2014 CBF General Assembly. Attendees celebrated the call to gospel service of new field personnel, church starters, chaplains and pastoral counselors.
Church in early 2013. Grace Baptist’s vision is to impact Williamson County, Texas, and beyond by encouraging reconciliation and redemption of all creation. The new church’s mission is to be a Christ-centered community that is engaged in intentional worship, spiritual formation and holistic ministry. Linney and his family started Tobacco Trail Church in May 2010. The church has witnessed an outdoor worshiping community that has grown organically over the past four years as they continue to welcome members in their outdoor, athletic and recreational context. Known in their community as the “running church,” TLC gathers for worship along a 24-mile recreational trail in south Durham each Sunday afternoon.
Celebrating the call to mission service The Fellowship also commissioned three field personnel units during the banquet celebration, Scarlette Jasper, who serves in Somerset, Ky.; Janel and Phil Miller-Evans, who serve in St. Petersburg, Fla.; and Brooke and Mike, who will serve in Southeast Asia. CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter and Jim Smith, who has served as interim Global Missions coordinator over the past two years, led the commissioning of these new field personnel. Jasper joins CBF’s Together for Hope initiative as a rural poverty advocate in Somerset, Ky., one of the nation’s poorest counties located in the Appalachian foothills of Southern Kentucky. She works with individuals and families suffering from
financial and medical crises, victims of domestic violence as well as homeless men and women. Janel and Phil Miller-Evans direct the Micah Center of Pinellas County in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Micah Center is an outgrowth of the ministry of the Church of the Beatitudes, a CBF partner congregation where Phil has served as pastor for the past 11 years. With his ministry experience and Janel’s background in social work, the team will advocate for, educate and assist families who are underemployed and in need of affordable housing. Brooke and Mike, along with their children Paisley (age 1) and Truett (age 3), will move to Southeast Asia in September to serve on CBF’s Arts, Advocacy, Development and Education Team. They have served in Southeast Asia before individually, and return as a couple to be the presence of Christ in a community where Christians make up less than 10 percent of the society. Brooke and Mike go in CBF’s partnership model of service working alongside local leaders to wage peace.
“Reimagine mission” New CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter called on Cooperative Baptists to “reimagine mission” during his keynote address at the Assembly banquet. “Yesterday’s trusted models of witness no longer produce the results they once confidently promised, which raises
important questions about the models themselves,” Porter said. “We are entering an era of the global church in which faithfulness to God’s mission requires us to narrow our focus, deepen our capacity and stretch our faith in new ways we haven’t imagined yet to do a few things well in Jesus’ name and trust the other work to other capable hands.” Porter emphasized the centrality of cooperation to Baptist approaches to mission and stressed the continued importance of this aspect of the Fellowship’s identity. “Our field personnel are best understood as partners of the churches God has sent into the world,” he said. “We encourage. We innovate. We learn. We connect. We coordinate. We resource. We walk alongside. But we do not supplant.” Porter called on Cooperative Baptists to pursue God’s mission and take the opportunity to “reimagine mission,” a project he said “sends us back to our original sources of inspiration — the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures.” “We need a revival, yes; but it is a revival of our imaginations, a renewing of our minds…rather than a mere recovery of zeal,” he said. Porter suggested that the oft-repeated appeal for renewed zeal represents a greater faith in the familiar than a willingness to follow God into unfamiliar territory. “We, Cooperative Baptists, do not need vaunted rhetoric so much as a resolve to rethink mission in local congregations and in mission contexts here and abroad,” Porter said. “We need to begin a new conversation on mission together.” He said the old methods, models and structures of past years can no longer be counted on in our current era of a global church. “We now need to recognize a new day for CBF Global Missions and to align our New CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter called on Cooperative Baptists to “reimagine mission” and rethink old methods, models and structures while beginning “a new conversation on mission together.”
Three new field personnel units were commissioned to serve in Kentucky, Florida and Southeast Asia during the service.
strategies and structures with the vision of the 2012 Task Force and change accordingly,” Porter said. “We need not only to reimagine mission, but we also need to re-narrate the story of CBF’s participation in God’s mission that involves both long-term cross cultural missions and short-term mission trips; both traditional big steeple churches and small intentional radical communities; global church ministry networks and state and regional organizations; the Baptist World Alliance and ecumenical bodies; publishers and press agencies; educational institutions and mission communities; fully-funded field personnel and partner-funded field personnel,” Porter said. Preaching on the 10th chapter of the Book of Acts, Porter explained that while the chapter depicts the conversion of Cornelius, there is another important conversion that takes place — Peter’s conversion to realize the fullness of God’s mission, which included Gentiles like Cornelius. “Acts 10 presents us with a continuing conversion of mission,” Porter said. “It’s not that Peter’s comprehension of it has changed. He is converted. His mind is renewed. His faith is stretched, and he is transformed. Are we, Cooperative Baptists, open to such a continuing conversion in our lives?” Porter concluded, saying “as we begin a new conversation on mission, may the triune God grant us a scriptural imagination to see the world differently and join with the Holy Spirit in the renewing of all things for the salvation of the nations and to the glory of God.”
Ambassador Andrew Young says the Gospel is as simple as one word,
By Aaron Weaver and Emily Holladay ATLANTA — “The power of the gospel and the love of Jesus of Nazareth is as simple as one word — ask,” said former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young in his plenary message during the evening worship service, June 26, at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly. Young shared that he learned much about the world from Jimmy Carter, a “country Baptist farmer who was also a nuclear engineer.” He recalled being sworn in as ambassador to the U.N. and receiving a tiny piece of paper from President Carter telling him to go to Africa and ask the leaders how the United States could help them and what they expected of his administration. “‘What is it that they expect of us?’ I would say that this is the most Christian sentence ever spoken by an American president,” Young said. “And as a result of that, we changed the world and didn’t kill anybody and didn’t get anybody killed. “Ask and it shall be given. Seek and you shall find. How much better off would we be if we simply asked others how we can help?” 16
Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, an ordained minister and leader in the Civil Rights Movement, shared with the General Assembly about his ministry as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1977-1979).
Young explained that he viewed his work as an ambassador as a ministry — “to teach the world to learn to live together.” He also reflected on his time as a leader in the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1960s, where he helped to defeat public segregation in Birmingham, Ala., a year prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act. He reminded the crowd of the importance of dialogue and its critical role in the struggle for civil rights. “While you read only about marching and dogs and fire hoses, every day there was a dialogue going on between those of us in the movement and the business community,” Young said.
transforming lives with the gospel through Cooperative Baptist ministries,” Porter said. “And the Spirit invites us to join this beautiful dance. “The CBF Offering for Global Missions provides support for the life-changing ministries of the 125 field personnel — friends whom Christ has called, the congregations represented in this room have nurtured and together with the Holy Spirit we have sent into the world to join the dance.” Give online to support the CBF Offering for Global Missions at www.thefellowship.info/givenow. Watch videos and view photos from the 2014 CBF General Assembly at www.thefellowship.info/atlanta2014. Assembly attendees were invited to gather for worship with music from the Broadway Baptist Church Chapel Choir of Fort Worth, Texas.
The former ambassador also challenged Cooperative Baptists to remember and take action on behalf of the plight of the more than two billion women worldwide living in slavery. “The mission is for us to see that in those skinny bodies of hungry people is the heart of the child of God. It’s complicated and it’s amazingly simple,” Young said. “I’ve always felt that the earth has no horror that heaven cannot heal. “So, the mission of the church is to heal the horrors of the world through the simple humble giving of oneself in the service of one’s brothers and sisters. …We may not know what the future holds but we know who holds the future. And we know that we are also held in the power and palm of God’s hand. And wherever he leads, we will follow.”
A Celebration of Churches Assembly attendees enjoyed the music of the Chapel Choir of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, and acclaimed opera singer Indra Thomas and received greetings from CBF of Georgia Coordinator Frank Broome. “What we offer you is not something we can boast about,” Broome said. “It is simply a warm welcome. It is given with outstretched arms and a hearty embrace. We are glad you are here.” The celebration of churches that began during the Thursday morning session continued in the Thursday evening worship service with reflections from a North Carolina pastor on why she loves her church. “At crucial moments in this church’s history, people who loved God and people who loved each other dared to have tough conversations,” said Andrea Dellinger Jones, pastor of Millbrook Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C. “Many of them also dared to stay at church and keep loving each other, even when things didn’t go their way.” An offering was also collected to benefit the CBF Offering for Global Missions. Steven Porter, CBF’s new Global Missions coordinator, encouraged the Assembly to join in partnership with the ministries of CBF field personnel around the world by supporting the missions offering. “The Spirit is moving from Virginia to Lebanon and beyond,
Indra Thomas, an acclaimed opera singer and internationally-recognized soprano, also performed during the Thursday evening worship of the 2014 CBF Assembly.
2014 CBF General Assembly concludes
with communion, celebration of churches
By Emily Holladay and Aaron Weaver ATLANTA — The 2014 Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly wrapped up June 27 with an evening worship service and time around the table in observance of the Lord’s Supper. Preparing the Assembly for communion, Chuck Poole, pastor of Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss., preached that diversity at the communion table is a gift. “Every now and then I hear some of the voices of popular culture caring about and longing for diversity with what they call political correctness,” Poole said. “But, if that is true, then this is one of those many occasions when what popular culture calls glibly and dismisses as political correctness, the church of Jesus calls gladly and recognizes as ‘gospel embrace.’” “Look around this big room at this great gathering of the children of God,” Poole said. “The wide-reaching diversity of faces and voices in this room tonight will make these tables of communion a rehearsal dinner for that far off someday when every knee will bow and every tongue will sing; one small taste of that great feast God is planning and preparing for all peoples.”
Worship featured music from Cynthia Clawson, a Grammy Award-winning gospel singer, and the CBF Georgia/Atlanta choir — a choir representing Fellowship churches from across the Atlanta-metro area. Julie Whidden Long, minister of children and families at First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon, Ga., continued the General Assembly worship emphasis on celebrating churches and shared why she loves her church. “I love my church because we are a church that makes room,” Whidden Long said. “We make room for the perspectives and passions of people who lean to the left or the right; who have been educated in the ivory-est of towers and who have learned their lessons the hard way. Differing voices are not just tolerated; they are valued.” Stephen Cook, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., led the call to give, emphasizing that the Fellowship could show its love for the church through its financial gifts to CBF’s rural poverty initiative, Together for Hope, as part of the three-day Assembly challenge to raise $50,000 in support of the CBF Global Missions enterprise. “I am here to invite you to dare and put your dollars into the service of hope; to underwrite the efforts of those who dare to dream of a better world; a world where change
is happening and cycles of economic injustice are being broken,” Cook said. “The gifts we give tonight are a direct line of hope; hope in places where, were it not for those who serve through CBF’s Together for Hope initiative, hope might otherwise be hard to recognize.” Offerings were also collected at the June 25 commissioning service for the Fellowship’s partner-funded field personnel and during the June 26 worship service for the CBF Offering for Global Missions. Over the course of three nights, Assembly attendees contributed nearly $34,000 to CBF’s Global Missions work. The Assembly concluded with more than 1,700 Cooperative Baptists observing communion. CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter reminded the Assembly that God calls them to be united together as one church. “We share this cup with all of those who have taken their place at the table,” Paynter said. “God calls us to be the church, together with all God’s children who drink Christ’s grace.” The registered attendance for the 2014 CBF General Assembly was 1,852.
To conclude the 2014 Assembly, CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter (right) and Chuck Poole (center) led more than 1,700 Cooperative Baptists in a time around the table in observance of the Lord’s Supper.
2014 CBF General Assembly Atlanta, Georgia
Woven Together Threads of faith and fellowship
A cord of three strands is not easily broken - ECClesiastes 4:9-12
◄ Assembly participants enjoy Krispy Kreme donuts in The Gathering Place following the Thursday evening worship service.
▲ Chaplains and their families met and heard from Gerry Hutchinson (left), CBF’s new endorser for chaplains and pastoral counselors, at the annual CBF Chaplaincy luncheon.
► At the New Baptist Covenant luncheon, NBC Coordinator Hannah McMahan named Jimmy Allen as NBC Coordinator Emeritus. Together, in 2006, President Jimmy Carter and Allen co-founded the informal alliance of more than 30 Baptist organizations from across North America.
▼ In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the CBF Foundation presented three awards. CBF of Georgia was awarded the firstever “Award of Excellence for Generous Partnership Giving,” and Keith and Jeanie McGowan were named the first recipients of the “Award of Excellence in Generous Giving for Community Development.” The Foundation also honored Patricia Ayres (not pictured), a founding trustee of the Foundation and the Fellowship’s second moderator, with an annual award named after her.
◄ CBF church starter Andy Hale reflected during the Wednesday celebration of co-missioning on his congregational community, Mosaic of Clayton (N.C.).
▲Café Mezclao, a Cuban musical group, provided the dinner music during the Wednesday night banquet and celebration of co-missioning.
▼ Young alumni of CBF partner schools found space to reconnect, chat and laugh throughout the week.
◄ CBF Moderator-Elect Matt Cook, pastor of First Baptist Church, Wilmington, N.C., reported on the work of the CBF Governing Board during the Thursday business session.
► Shaun King, pastor of Johns Creek Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Ga., led a worship workshop that featured a full choir and orchestra and employed multimedia technologies.
▲ At the ABPnews/Herald dinner, Editor-in-Chief Robert Dilday (far left) moderated a discussion titled “Shattering the Glass Ceiling” with Pam Durso of Baptist Women in Ministry (left), Mary Beth Foust of CBF Virginia (center), and Dorisanne Cooper of Watts Street Baptist Church, Durham, N.C. (right).
▼ Youth Assembly participants packed 700 lunches for 7 Bridges, a ministry that serves Atlanta’s homeless population and provides housing for more than 100 women and children.
► CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter shared “The Hope and Promise of the Fellowship in Christ” on Thursday. Read her address on pp. 2-3.
◄ Michael Cheuk, pastor of University Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Va., reported on the work of the CBF Ministries Council during the Friday morning session.
▲ CBF hosted receptions following the evening worship services for a time of friendship and fellowship over ice cream and donuts.
▼ More than 45 children attended Children’s Assembly, which included Bible study activities and a field trip to the Georgia Aquarium and Centennial Olympic Park.
► Renowned theologian and humanitarian Allan Boesak spoke at the New Baptist Covenant luncheon about his search for reconciliation during and in the aftermath of the South African apartheid.
► Melissa Rogers, executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, was honored for her work on behalf of religious freedom at the Baptist Joint Committee’s Religious Liberty Council luncheon.
▲ The Three Inspirational Tenors, a trio group from Atlanta, performed a variety of hymns as the Assembly gathered for business and worship on Thursday morning.
◄ The Academy of Preachers hosted a festival during Assembly to give students from high school through seminary the opportunity to preach.
▼ CBF state leaders Linda Jones (left) and Rachel Gunter Shapard (right) chat following the Wednesday night commissioning service.
► Young Baptists found time to catch up with old friends and make new ones at the 2014 CBF Assembly.
▲ Bob Cheatheam (left), a CBF church starter in Abilene, Texas, catches up with Mike Hutchinson (right) at The Gathering Place. Hutchinson serves as one of CBF’s field personnel in West Africa.
▼ The 2014 Assembly was marked by a celebration of churches and emphasis on how we as Cooperative Baptists are being woven together.
► Grammy Award-winning singer Cynthia Clawson led music during Friday night’s service of worship and communion.
2014 CBF General Assembly Atlanta, Georgia
Woven Together Threads of faith and fellowship
A cord of three strands is not easily broken - ECClesiastes 4:9-12
UNITED NATI NS
CBF field personnel Shane McNary reflects on attending the Sixth Forum on Religious Minority Rights in Geneva By Shane McNary
HAD PREVIOUSLY HEARD United Nations meetings described as “talkfests.” That description
notwithstanding, in November I attended the Sixth Forum on Religious Minority Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. The more than 160 speeches during the two-day Forum were proof that there are many voices competing to be heard on the international stage. Less obvious were examples of participants who
were listening with as much anticipation. I discovered by the end of my second trip to Geneva that there are also people who attend these “talkfests” to listen as much as to be heard!
As I watched the interaction around the U.N. facilities, I was struck by the camaraderie of many of the permanent delegations around the room. It was also interesting to watch how coalitions of different delegations were revealed when dealing with topics such as blasphemy laws and how governments treat religious minorities when the minorities are equated with political factions. At the Forum, the first surprise was learning that Rita Izsak, the U.N.’s Independent Expert on Minority Issues, is a Roma woman from Hungary and Hedina Sijercic, who chaired the meeting, is a Roma woman from Bosnia and Herzegovina. My mind immediately raced to consider what connections I could make between these two influential Roma women and the Roma we minister among in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. When Ms. Sijercic introduced herself as a Roma woman of minority faith in her country, she noted that this made her a “Third” minority. “The other within the other,” she said. The goal of the Forum was to share best practices for ensuring minority religious rights. Religious minorities are the most 24
common victims of genocide and the situation is exacerbated when leaders remain silent about instances of religious discrimination. Ensuring religious rights for all and cherishing diversity are viewed as the best prevention against atrocities. Interfaith dialogue is a strategic tool for preventing violence between majority and minority faiths. Creating and nurturing networks of interfaith dialogue at the local, national and international levels should be understood as actively waging peace in a divided world. I was impressed by the importance placed on faith leaders and clergy in propagating the religious rights of all persons. The church should never abdicate its prophetic role of speaking up for these rights! During the Forum, the multi-level dynamics of local, national and international actors in the religious liberty arena were pointed out again and again. In truth, little is accomplished if attention to these issues is given only at the international level. The context of situations demands that a coordinated effort at each level by governmental and non-governmental actors is the only way to bring clarity and resolve these issues.
It is simply not enough that delegates meet at international gatherings. Every level of government must be involved and interested groups should have a voice at the table. This is the core of advocacy ministry — seeking to ensure the rights of the disadvantaged through diligently monitoring and participating at every level in every conversation from policy to implementation. The core of advocacy ministry is giving a voice to those who need yet are denied one. While at the Forum, I had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion titled “Gender, Justice and Religion.” There, Heiner Bielefeldt, the U.N.’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, noted that it is dangerous to treat freedom of religion and other rights concerns as separate issues. The intersection of religious freedom and secular freedom is where human rights emerge. For those of us who are interested in advocating for religious freedom, the challenge is to look for opportunities to overcome false dichotomies between religious rights and human rights. It is also especially important to unequivocally state that practices such as child marriage, genital mutilation and rape are extremely harmful and can never
be justified nor tolerated under any guise of religious freedom. The second meeting I attended on behalf of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Baptist World Alliance focused on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for Eritrea — a nation located on the northeastern horn of Africa. The religious persecution and atrocities committed by the dictatorial regime in this country are an embarrassment to the global community. These abuses should be a point of concern for all. At the meeting, neighboring countries in Eastern Africa were the most critical of Eritrea’s human rights record as they repeatedly demanded that the government stop persecuting its own people and act in ways to protect all persons so that the flood of refugees would stop overwhelming other countries in the area. The BWA’s Division on Freedom and Justice worked diligently, preparing status reports on the situation in Eritrea. As part of an ecumenical effort, the Division of Freedom and Justice shed light on the horrific condition of ordinary citizens in Eritrea and gave voice to those who are suffering. The UPR process includes a time for each government to present their plan for addressing human rights
issues in their country. It is also a time for other governments to make specific recommendations about how to improve the situation. Reports like the one crafted by the Division on Freedom and Justice helped to shape these recommendations. To prepare for Eritrea’s UPR, in addition to reading the reports, I contacted CBF field personnel involved in ministry to immigrant communities in Africa and solicited their input. Reading their first-hand accounts of persecution, including torture, human trafficking, kidnapping and punishment of relatives (the relatives of Eritrean expatriates who do not pay an obligatory 2 percent war tax on their earnings abroad face punishment), I was overwhelmed at the hopelessness of the situation. Despite the suffering, there is hope and an abundance of love. As my CBF colleagues shared, Eritrean Christians are filled with love and hope because of their relationship with Jesus. And the loving care that other believers have shown and are showing to them is a source of hope too. The opportunity to represent CBF in support of our global partnership with BWA resonated with my own conviction that we as a Fellowship have a missional calling of being more involved in ecumenical and interfaith
conversations around the world. Responsibly engaging with our sisters and brothers in the BWA is the most natural expression of our familial connection to global Baptists. When I introduced myself as affiliated with the Baptist World Alliance, one representative whose country is making life difficult on Baptist believers quickly admitted, “I know who you are.” Already known because of the company we as CBF keep — what a great honor and responsibility! Editor’s Note: Shane McNary and his wife, Dianne, have served as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel since 2004. Native Arkansans, they now live in Kosïce, Slovakia and serve among the Romany people in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Shane represented the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Baptist World Alliance at the Sixth Forum on Religious Minority Rights at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland on November 26-27, 2013, and returned February 3-6, 2014, to attend the public meetings of the 18th session of the Universal Periodic Review. The United Nations Office at Geneva (below) is the headquarters for U.N. programs and agencies related to human rights, refugees, HIV/AIDS and trade.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF PASSPORT, INC. AND MINA PODGAISKY
Passport instills passion in young Baptists for Global Missions engagement
PASSPORTkids! camp staff dress in traditional Ukrainian style for the weekly Night Market, during which the campers were immersed in Ukranian culture.
OR MORE THAN 20 YEARS, you’ve heard stories
of the many ways Passport, Inc. has shaped young lives through youth and children’s summer camps.
Middle and high school students spend a week each summer at Passport, working in neighborhoods across the United States to bring hope and healing to some of the most marginalized and neglected people. College and seminary students gain new tools for leadership
and ministry serving on Passport camp staffs and children from third through sixth grade learn how to live out their faith in a “world without borders.” 26
By Emily Holladay
But what you may not have heard is the monumental impact that these children, youth, college and seminary students have on the work of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel around the world. Since the first summer of camp in 1993, Passport has sought to educate students on the vital work of missionaries across the globe and empower them to join their transformative ministries through financial partnership. “Passport has taken up an offering every summer and every session of camp since our beginning summer in 1993,” said David Burroughs, president and co-founder of Passport. “To date, Passport youth and children’s campers have given more than $875,000 to global mission causes — the vast majority to CBF projects and to CBF partner organizations. “We have discovered that, when challenged with a specific need somewhere in the world, teenagers will respond and are generous givers.” Each summer, Passport campers learn about a different country where field personnel are on the ground serving
communities to meet basic needs and transform lives. Through videos shown each night of worship, students learn about people around the globe who are living daily with little hope or knowledge of God’s love. Campers are then invited to respond with compassion by giving to the offering taken up on the last night of camp. Many church groups will even find a way to connect with the field personnel or country after camp, forming deep partnerships, because of the exposure they received at Passport. In 2013, Passport highlighted and raised money for the work of Gennady and Mina Podgaisky, CBF field personnel in Ukraine. Campers learned about the 24,000 children who are subjugated to the streets of Ukraine without family, food or shelter. They came to know the Podgaiskys as people who bring love and comfort to the children, offering them a warm bed, food and an education through the Village of Hope foster care center that the Podgaiskys helped to start. At PASSPORTkids!, the children were able to explore Ukraine through simulated missions activities and a weekly party known as the Night Market. These experiences were designed to help expose the campers to life as a child in Ukraine and develop a deeper sense of understanding for the way other children grow up. “This past summer, the children experienced an activity called ‘Life on the Streets’ that simulated (in a safe and monitored environment) what a child living on the streets in Kiev might encounter on an average day, from scrounging for money to buy food to finding access to heating pipes to stay warm in the cold winter months,” Burroughs explained. “This gives them a head and heart understanding of the work of our CBF field personnel like the Podgaiskys, and results in sustained support and interest from our churches.” Some of the children also had the unique experience of learning about Ukraine from Ana Maria (age 13), Bogdan (age 16) and Mark (age 15) Podgaisky, Gennady and Mina’s children who are growing up in Ukraine. During the second session of PASSPORTkids!, the Podgaisky family joined the Passport staff as guest missionaries. The Podgaisky children worked directly with the campers, leading camper’s choice activities and participating in the nightly parties, while Mina and Gennady interacted more directly with the adults and shared a little bit of their story each night during worship. “It was amazing seeing the staff learn about the culture that surrounds me and then teach it to the kids,” said Ana Maria Podgaiskaya. “They took everything they knew about Ukraine and just started teaching it to the campers. But I think what affected me most was seeing how much hard work the staff put into really capturing the culture of Ukraine.” By the end of the summer, the 5,500 children and youth who attended camp felt so deeply connected with the Podgaiskys and their ministry that they raised a total of $52,481.82 for Village of Hope. The Podgaiskys were able to use these funds immediately to make improvements to the foster care center’s facilities. “Thanks to the funds that Passport camps raised, we were able to build steps in the Lighthouse and divide the building,
Passport campers learned about Village of Hope and the ministry of CBF field personnel Gennady and Mina Podgaisky in Ukraine during worship each night at camp.
constructing and furnishing a new kitchen as well,” the Podgaiskys shared. “This allowed us to prepare a new place for the newest foster family in the Village of Hope.” But, the campers’ relationship with the Podgaiskys did not stop at camp. The students continued to keep in touch with Ana Maria, Bogdan and Mark through Instagram and Facebook, so when political unrest broke out in Ukraine, Passport campers were able to pray with and for the Podgaiskys in concrete ways. “As a member of Passport’s administrative team, I am awed by the providence of God displayed as hundreds of CBF/Passport churches are able to pray right now for the children and Ukraine in specific and in tangible ways after learning this past summer about the life-saving work of Mina and Gennady,” Burroughs said. “As tensions rise in the region, we know this impacts the most vulnerable first, and so our campers are joining a chorus of prayer support for those in Kiev and around Ukraine. We are proud to know the Podgaiskys and to support their work through CBF Global Missions.” Passport’s partnership with the Fellowship and CBF field personnel has instilled a deep passion in generations of children and youth for supporting mission efforts on a global scale. The tangible connections that they provide between campers and field personnel create bonds that are not easily broken, and ensure that global missions continue to be a priority for generations to come. “Passport has been and continues to be a wonderful partner with CBF Global Missions,” noted Grace Powell Freeman, CBF director of Global Missions operations. “They not only partner in strong financial ways, they also teach campers about field personnel and pray for field personnel regularly. That is real partnership.”
Longest-serving CBF staff member retires, recognized at 2014 Assembly By Emily Holladay and Aaron Weaver ATLANTA — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s longest-serving staff member retired June 30, following the 2014 CBF General Assembly, after 23 years of service. Clarissa Strickland, CBF’s networking specialist, was hired in 1991, beginning her work with the Fellowship as the organization was officially forming. Strickland worked alongside Sandra Davey, a banker from Cartersville, Ga., in administration and database maintenance for what was then the Baptist Cooperative Missions Program, Inc. In addition to her work in the organization’s original Decatur, Ga., headquarters, Strickland was a member of the first CBF Coordinating Council. She continued in her administrative role until 1993, when David Wilkinson joined the staff to direct communications for the Fellowship. Strickland worked on the communications team with Wilkinson (who is now executive director of ABPnews/Herald) and noted that he had a tremendous impact on her. “I give David credit for mentoring and educating me in many respects, because he was my earliest coach,” Strickland said. “Everyone I’ve worked with has had a huge impact on me, but I had never worked in an office before, and he taught me much. David was the first in a list of great coaches, mentors and managers, including Terry Hamrick, Harry Rowland and Bo Prosser, that I have been blessed to work with and learn from at CBF.” In 1994, Strickland was asked to take on the additional role of coordinating logistics for CBF’s annual General Assembly, which she did for eight years. For the past 12 years, Strickland has served as CBF’s networking specialist, leading the Fellowship’s reference and referral program. Through this work, she has helped to connect ministers with churches and churches with ministers, providing hands-on support to candidates, churches and search committees alike. During her 23 years at CBF, Strickland has worked in five different office buildings and under all three of CBF’s Executive Coordinators — Cecil Sherman, Daniel Vestal and Suzii Paynter. She feels that 28
CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter (left) and CBF Coordinator of Organizational Relationships Bo Prosser (right) paid tribute to Clarissa Strickland (middle) in a light-hearted moment during the 2014 CBF General Assembly in Atlanta.
through every change, CBF has continued to be the perfect place for her. “Cecil Sherman once said, ‘You know — this is the perfect job for you?’ And that’s how I’ve felt these whole 23 years,” Strickland said. “That’s been a gift.” Upon retirement from CBF, Strickland will continue to be an active seamstress and spend more time with her family, including her daughter, Courtenay, and grandson, Marcello (age 3). She will remain active in the Fellowship and will maintain CBF’s reference and referral network on a contract basis until her position is filled. Strickland emphasized that what she has loved most about her work at CBF was that it always felt like so much more than just a job. “CBF has provided me with a Baptist home, a place to exercise my calling and the ability to work with wonderful people in and outside the office,” Strickland said. “It’s always been more than a job — it has been a calling. And I’ve been able to see that the work I’ve done is truly ministry.” CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter praised Strickland for her many contributions to Baptist life and her important role in the Fellowship connecting ministers and churches. “Clarissa is unique. And she has been uniquely gifted by God for the life of CBF,” Paynter said. “She is generous and has given her creativity, competency and compassion at every stage of our CBF growth. Her reputation, leadership and friendship have been like yeast, permeating the entire Fellowship family from Decatur to Shanghai.” Pam Durso, executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, lauded Strickland for her role in opening doors for women called to be pastors. “Clarissa has been one of the best supporters of and always a good friend to Baptist women ministers,” Durso said. “Quietly and behind the scenes, she has educated churches, encouraging them to be more open to and affirming of the gifts of women.”
CBF Church Starts
CBF is committed to advancing a church starting culture. Within this culture, we encourage persons to follow Christ and to join in God’s mission of reconciliation. Missional congregations are the best hope for reaching our world with the Good News. As we share Christ with our communities, we will see more and more opportunities for new congregations to emerge.
New church starters can employ any number of strategies successfully. Each new church is contextual and organic, responding faithfully to its particular setting. At the same time, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship seeks to be intentional in its church starting efforts — selecting, training, commissioning and resourcing church starters for their particular calling. New churches and church starters can engage with CBF in a number of ways. Some may be in a house church, without a church home or without a nearby CBF church. Other young churches or church starters may seek to identify with CBF after they are already established. Still, others may want to partner in ministries or take advantage of resources without formally identifying with CBF.
Those seeking church starting with the Fellowship are invited to join an online discernment cohort. During this two-way discernment process, church start candidates learn more about CBF to ensure they identify with CBF’s missiology, vision and values. At the same time, the candidates learn
• July 7-September 6 (register by July 1) • October 12-December 6 (register by October 6) • January 11-March 7 (register by January 5)
Exploratory Conference • October 5-8
more about themselves. CBF also learns more about the candidates to discern whether they will be a good fit and representative of the Fellowship. CBF invites select church start candidates to an exploratory conference after they have completed the eight-week discernment, interview and reference check process. This conference includes various psychological, spiritual and personality assessments as well as basic skills training. It also allows CBF staff to spend time getting to know candidates in person.
Following the exploratory
conference, selected church starters will then enter into a covenant with the Fellowship. The most successful church starters will partner with CBF at both the national and state/regional levels as well as with one or more encourager churches and invested individuals.
When CBF agrees to commission a church starter, we commit to providing: 1) $12,000 in funding over 3 years 2) 1 year of paid coaching 3) Public commissioning at the CBF General Assembly, covering travel and lodging 4) Additional connections with CBF church starters, continued training and connections with CBF churches and programs like Dawnings and ChurchWorks!
Learn more at www.thefellowship.info/churchstarts
CBF Disaster Response comes alongside disaster victims with the resources and labor that they need to begin rebuilding their lives.
Visit thefellowship.info/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: In Worship: Communal prayer resource In Small Groups discussion guide
Pray for the work of CBF field personnel and staff as well as chaplains and pastoral counselors. Prayers of the People is available in multiple formats at thefellowship.info/pray
Interact with field personnel and other missions and ministry leaders active in Disaster Response Ministries at missioncommunities. org/disaster-response
Disaster Response Around the Table: At Home Missions Education Resource The outline below is designed for families to use as a guide for discussion and futher action.
1. In this activity, you will be talking about disaster response and about your family’s own preparation plan for a storm or emergency. 2. Before dinner or another family gathering, ask each person in your family to read the story from this month’s fellowship! magazine about Disaster Response. Also, print out the Family Communication Plan for Parents and Kids at www.ready.gov/emergency-planningchecklists. Provide a copy for each person in your family. 3. During dinner, begin a conversation by asking the following question, “What did you think of the story we read before dinner?” Allow time to discuss and talk about the key elements of the story. 4. Then ask, “Do you know what the disaster plan is for our house?” or “What would you do if a tornado was near our house?”
5. Continue by using the Family Communication Plan handout to create your own emergency preparedness plan. Assign tasks to each person in the family and set a deadline for when the tasks should be accomplished. 6. End by praying for those who are affected by disasters and those who share the love of Christ by CBF responding to the world’s needs. 2014
fellowship! COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP | WWW.THEFELLOWSHIP.INFO
Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
CBF Assembly Ambassador Andrew Young says Gospel is as simple as one word,
Read highlights and view photos from the Atlanta Assembly on pp. 14-23
The Fellowship is supported by gifts from churches and individuals. Find out ways you and your church can make a difference at thefellowship.info/give
Book Discussion Guide www.thefellowship.info/resources/missions-education/book-clubs/
Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
A powerful historical novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace, Never Fall Down is the unforgettable story of Cambodian advocate Arn Chorn-Pond, told from his point of view as a young boy. The story follows his journey to survive the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979 and the labor camps of the Khmer Rouge.
Passport’s partnership with CBF and CBF field personnel has instilled a deep passion in generations of children and youth for supporting mission efforts on a global scale.
Visit thefellowship.info/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: In Worship: Communal Prayer resource Around the Table: At Home discussion guide Book Discussion Guide
CBF churches and field personnel work together to join God’s mission in the world. Engage in conversation and share experiences online at missioncommunities.org
Learn about other medical and construction service opportunities at thefellowship.info/serve
Passport/Ukraine Partnership In Small Groups
Missions Education Resource The outline below is designed for adult mission groups, Bible study classes and other small groups. Share copies of fellowship! with group members prior to the meeting and have extra copies available. These suggestions are for a 45-minute time frame.
1. In this session you will be talking about the partnership between Passport Inc., and CBF field personnel in Ukraine. Before the session, secure copies of fellowship! magazine for each person in your small group. Also, download a copy of “A Place of Hope,” the video about CBF ministries in Ukraine using this link: http://vimeo.com/69961155 2. Once everyone is gathered, introduce the session by giving a one-sentence summary of the fellowship! article, and then watch the video together. 3. Once the video is over, transition to the article about the Passport/Ukraine missions partnership. Say/ask: “In the article we learn about how Passport camps are partnering with the Podgaisky family to help orphans
and vulnerable CBF children in Ukraine. Were 2014 CBF Assembly you surprised by how much the ‘ask’ students were able to give?” 4. Continue the conversations by having a discussion about the importance of churches and organizations partnering with CBF field personnel. 5. End by praying for the Podgaisky family, Passport camps and the children at Village of Hope. Also pray for those mentioned in the Prayer Calendar on page 5.
fellowship! COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP | WWW.THEFELLOWSHIP.INFO
Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
Ambassador Andrew Young says Gospel is as simple as one word,
Read highlights and view photos from the Atlanta Assembly on pp. 14-23
Learn more about Passport, Inc., one of CBF’s partner ministries, at passportcamps.org
Your generous gifts are vital to the work of CBF field personnel and other Fellowship ministries. Find out more at thefellowship.info/give
Prayers of the People Download at thefellowship.info/pray CBF’s 2014-15 prayer guide invites you to seasons of prayer following the rhythm of the church calendar. Join other Cooperative Baptists in prayer, seeking God’s guidance while learning about CBF field personnel, chaplains and church starters.
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500 Decatur, GA 30030 www.thefellowship.info • (800) 352-8741
Connect with the Fellowship Keep up with the work and ministry of CBF churches, partners, field personnel and individuals through our online networks. Learn about ways to get involved in CBF life and plug in!
facebook.com/cbfinfo — “Like” Cooperative Baptist Fellowship on Facebook for the most up-to-date news on CBF missions and ministries. twitter.com/cbfinfo — Follow us on Twitter and join the conversation about how CBF individuals and churches are being the presence of Christ globally. thefellowship.info/subscribe — Subscribe to fellowship! weekly for regular updates on CBF events as well as breaking news. cbfblog.com — CBFblog is the place where you can always find the latest news and views in the Fellowship.