A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship â&#x20AC;˘ www.cbf.net
Cooperative Baptists complete civil rights pilgrimage to raise awareness about rural poverty
Toward Bold Faithfulness
PAUL BAXLEY is Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
By Paul Baxley
winter turns to spring, we are moving into a new stage in our Fellowship’s journey Toward Bold Faithfulness. Across our Cooperative Baptist community, we are seeking first to discover God’s call for us together as we approach the beginning of the fourth decade of our life. Once we discover that calling, we will enter a season where we respond by making sure that we are best organized to respond faithfully to this calling.
The heart of the discovery process was a period of intense listening that took place in January. Between January 7 and February 2, more than 4,600 Cooperative Baptists responded to our online survey. These responses came from members of 762 congregations, and 178 of those congregations provided more than five responses. We believe at least 50 congregations offered responses from 20 percent of their average weekly attendance or had 50 total responses, and in the coming days we will reach out to participating congregations to confirm that number. Congregations who responded come from every part of CBF life. There were small congregations as well as large. We heard from rural congregations, small-town congregations, suburban congregations and inner-city congregations of many different sizes. Fifty-three percent of our responses came from women and 78 percent of those who responded function as lay people in their congregations. Not only is our Discovery Team listening to the results of the online survey as promised, they also designed a face-to-face Discovery Session that was used with all four of CBF’s governance bodies (Governing Board, Ministries Council, Missions Council and Nominating Committee), leaders of CBF state and regional organizations, representatives of partner ministries, field personnel and CBF staff. In total, 13 of these sessions lasting more than two hours were held in January. Furthermore, members of the team have conducted 30 individual interviews with people in our Fellowship who were chosen by leaders of our recognized networks and state and regional organizations.
At this point, it is most critical that all of us be in prayer for the members of the Discovery Team as they work this spring with the results of all of these forms of listening. From the surveys and these other conversations, they are seeking to identify not only the most powerful gifts that God has given our congregations and our Fellowship but also the most urgent needs we face in congregational life, our larger communities and our Fellowship. We believe that God calls us to use the gifts we have been given to address the most urgent needs among us and around us. At General Assembly this summer, the Discovery Team will present their findings during the June 25 plenary session. As you register for General Assembly, you also have a chance to sign up to participate in a small group conversation with a member of the team so that you can hear more about what has been discovered and ask clarifying questions. These sessions will also give team members the chance to hear again from you. At Assembly, we will also discuss our plans to respond to the calling that we are hearing. In the midst of the Discovery process, I am increasingly confident and hopeful that God is calling our Fellowship to ways of participating in the mission of Jesus Christ that are bold, unique and compelling. I believe we have opportunities to serve together to strengthen congregations and extend Jesus’ mission of reconciliation in our communities and around the world. I hope you will join me in that hopeful and confident prayer, and I look forward to seeing you this summer in Atlanta!
Learn more about Toward Bold Faithfulness at www.cbf.net/tbf and register for the 2020 General Assembly at www.cbf.net/assembly
A Publication Of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Volume 30, Number 1 Spring 2020
Fellowship! is published 4 times a year in September (Fall), December (Winter), March (Spring), June (Summer) 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.
Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley Associate Coordinator of Communications & Advancement Jeff Huett Editor Aaron Weaver Graphic Designer Claire Ehlinger Associate Editor Carrie Harris
E-Mail email@example.com Phone (770) 220-1600 Postmaster: Send address changes to: Fellowship! Cooperative Baptist Fellowship 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500 Decatur, GA 30030.
EYES TO SEE AND EARS TO HEAR IN EAST AFRICA By Sam Harrell
10 CYCLING, CIVIL RIGHTS & RURAL POVERTY
Civil Rides completes Montgomery-to-Selma pilgrimage to raise awareness about rural poverty By Ben Brown
14 SHARE ABUNDANT LIFE Karen Morrow extends hope and hospitality to refugees in Fort Worth By Blake Tommey
THE IMPACT OF ABUNDANT LIFE Rosalie’s Story By Blake Tommey
22 SOWING SEEDS OF HOPE, SOWING SEEDS OF HOME
Mission partnership in Marion, Ala., goes beyond building houses to creating home By Ben Brown
2020 GENERAL ASSEMBLY Join us June 22-27 in Atlanta, Ga., as we gather around the theme of Forming Bold Faith
26 A PIONEER SPIRIT & GLOBAL MISSIONS PILLAR Jim Smith reflects on 27-year CBF tenure By Sara Crocker
FROM THE EDITOR Bold faith is lived out through every stream of Cooperative Baptist life—from the simple act of taking a survey to leading a Sunday school class through Affect curriculum, from ministering to refugees to serving in the mission field for nearly four decades. Together, as a Fellowship, we are living and proclaiming boldly as the body of Christ in our own communities, across the country and around the world. In these pages, you will find stories of bold faith lived out, and the opportunity to Form Bold Faith alongside other Cooperative Baptists at the 2020 General Assembly in Atlanta (pp. 4-5). Bold faith is demonstrated daily through the work of our field personnel serving in East Africa, through Refuge and Hope, Amani Sasa and Medical Teams International—and work continues through legacy partner ministries like Africa Exchange, established nearly 20 years ago by CBF field personnel serving in Kenya (pp. 6-9). Bold faith is sharing abundant life with refugees in Fort Worth, Texas, through the Ready for School program and holistic ministries that empower and equip refugee families to live their best lives in the United States (pp. 14-20). Bold faith traveled through the Black Belt of the rural south on bicycles, raising awareness about persistent rural poverty and civil rights through Civil Rides (pp. 10-12). Bold faith is combating this rural poverty in Alabama through Sowing Seeds of Hope and the Student.Go program (pp. 22-24). Bold faith is answering the call to serve (p. 28). Bold faith is serving for your whole life (pp. 26-27). Bold faith is moving us toward the future together— and the future is bright.
28 CAPPS SELECTED BY JOINT COMMITTEE
TO LEAD CBF FOUNDATION, CBF LEGACY GIFTS By Jeff Huett Opportunities to
Opportunities to Opportunities to FEBRUARY 2020
29 AFFECT: MARCH 2020
Extending hope and hospitality to refugees
30 AFFECT: APRIL 2020
The impact of abundant life in Fort Worth
31 AFFECT: MAY 2020
Raising awareness of persistent rural poverty
AARON WEAVER is the Editor of fellowship! Connect with him at firstname.lastname@example.org CARRIE HARRIS is the Associate Editor of fellowship! Connect with her at email@example.com
T WENT Y T WENT Y
Hyatt Regency Atlanta
Join Cooperative Baptists from across the country and around the world at the 2020 CBF General Assembly at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, June 22-27.
This year’s Assembly is all about Forming Bold Faith.
EPHESIANS 4 :11-16
Consider with us all the ways that we form bold faith—a faith that is substantial and sustainable. Through worship, partner meals, workshops, state and regional meetings and many other exciting opportunities we will form bold faith together. Forming Bold Faith is the work of pastors and parents, teachers and lay leaders, and is all part of God’s blueprint to equip and to reach “unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature” (Eph. 4:13). This, so we are confident in what we know and are not prone to the shifting winds of things that would derail us from faith, our bold faith.
PRO GRAM HIGHLIGHT S Proclaimers for the 2020 General Assembly
Rev. Dr. Paul Baxley — Executive Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Rev. Dr. Emmanuel McCall — Pastor Emeritus, First Baptist Church, East Point, Ga. Rev. Mary Alice Birdwhistell — Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Waco, Texas Plenary Speakers
Dr. Molly Marshall — President, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Shawnee, Kan. Jade and Shelah Acker — CBF field personnel serving in Kampala, Uganda
NEW THIS YEAR! Attend an Atlanta Braves baseball game on Tuesday night of General Assembly
The Missions Market will be open for business and conversation every day
Nightly receptions in The Gathering Place (Exhibit Hall)
Practical takeaways from across the week on the theme of Forming Bold Faith Scheduled free time for you to make plans of your own When you register for General Assembly, be sure to sign up to attend a small group conversation to respond to what the Toward Bold Faithfulness Discovery Team has heard from the Fellowship as we prepare for the future of our ministry together.
AVAIL ABLE ONLINE at www.cbf.net/assembly Book your hotel room Sign up your kids for Age-level assemblies Check out the schedule Access an updated list of special events Register to attend and pay for partner meals and events
HOTEL REGISTRATION The CBF General Assembly is all under one roof at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Check-in dates begin on Monday, June 22nd, 2020. Group Code: G-CB20 Book your stay online or if you prefer to call to make your reservation, please dial 404-577-1234 and use the group code G-CB20.
WORKSHOP S & FAITHTALKS All workshops and FaithTalks this year will fit the theme of Forming Bold Faith in one of four ways:
• Forming Bold Faith Beyond Our Building • Forming Bold Faith Inside the Church • Forming Bold Faith In Me • Forming Bold Faith Through Justice and Reconciliation FaithTalks are back this year! These presentations are like popular TEDTalks, a great format for sharing ideas through storytelling.
Bring the whole family! Age-appropriate Assembly programs are available for preschoolers, children, youth and college students. These programs include special speakers, activities and field trips.
Eyes to see and ears to hear in East Africa
The Baxley family with children in Nkasioki, where Africa Exchange has an integrated child development center.
By Sam Harrell
What do Global Poverty, Global Migration and the Global Church have in common? They all converge in very unique ways in the Global South. So, it was natural to suggest to Paul Baxley that his “maiden voyage” as CBF’s Executive Coordinator begin in East Africa, where all humanity began and where CBF field personnel have been actively engaged for the past 20 years.
Above: Paul Baxley preaches at Ridgegways Baptist Church on December 29, 2019, in Nairobi, Kenya. Right: Jennifer Baxley (right) receives the gift of a Masai blanket.
Hope was abundantly evident in this dynamic congregation Accompanied by his wife, Jennifer, and their four children, Paul arrived in Nairobi, a bustling international hub in East Africa and home to some four million people. My wife, Melody, and I were thrilled to have the privilege of introducing them to Kenya and Uganda, the lands of our births. After a whirlwind tour of the city, we detoured into Kibera, the largest informal settlement in sub-Saharan Africa and home to around 500,000 people. Melody pointed out Little Rock, a school that “turns scars into stars,” capably led by Lilly Odera, a visionary educator and member of our advisory group. The end of the day saw us retreating to Brackenhurst, an international conference center in the highlands outside Nairobi that was begun by Baptists in
the early 1960s and continues to serve as a venue for meetings, retreats and environmental education, utilizing its reclaimed indigenous forest. On Sunday, Paul was invited to preach at Ridgeways Baptist Church, a thriving urban congregation of more than 1,200 members with multiple Sunday services. This church is responsible for planting 17 other congregations across Kenya. Invited by founding pastor Rev. Elijah Wanje, past-moderator of the Baptist Convention of Kenya, to preach in the New Year, Paul’s message was one of hope, centered around casting off the encumbrances that would keep us from our living our best lives together, lives God intends for our future as the body of Christ.
Hope was abundantly evident in this dynamic congregation, representing all the energy and vitality of the Global Church, which, in case you hadn’t noticed, is now centered firmly in the Global South. One of the goals for this journey was to introduce Paul and his family to the multifaceted development work of Africa Exchange, an organization we founded during our time as CBF field personnel that continues today, 20 years later, in partnership with local church and community leaders. Africa Exchange seeks to address the root causes of poverty and forced migration. Through the establishment of integrated child development centers (ICDCs) in some of Kenya’s most remote regions, children under the age of six are
provided preschool education, clean water, malaria prevention, enhanced nutrition and mentorship that extends through their primary years. Select students are then afforded high school and a few are even offered university scholarships. Survival through good health in the early years, coupled with ongoing educational opportunities, serves to break the bonds of poverty and build the capacity and resilience needed to face life’s challenges with God’s help. Between 750 and 1,000 children daily attend the 12 different ICDC units scattered around Kenya. What journey to the cradle of humankind would be complete without an intensive immersion into the natural world, God’s creation, where we were formed? For two days, the Baxley family was introduced to one of the most biodiverse places on earth, a conservation area in the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem. Naibosho conservancy was our base for these two days of exposure to innumerable wildlife species and to the Masai people who have coexisted with and nurtured this environment for generations.
Their wisdom, adaptability and light environmental footprint have enabled mutual thriving, a thriving that is sadly giving way to the pressures of population, unsustainable land use and modern commercial enterprise. Through partner
projects supported by Africa Exchange, the local Masai population, particularly women, are incentivized to protect their natural resources through income generation activities that celebrate local culture, and which rely on careful use of local resources.
Paul Baxley (right) and CBF field personnel Karen Alford (center) hear about the ministries at Amani Sasa in Kampala, Uganda.
Masai women generate income through ornamental beading, supported by Maa Trust, a local partner of Africa Exchange.
SPRING 2020 |
Onward to Uganda, the “pearl of Africa,” and a night spent at the source of the mighty Nile River proceeding from Lake Victoria and then on to the capital city of Kampala. Here is where the bulk of CBF’s East Africa contingent reside. What our three field personnel units here have in common is that they are all responding at some level to the complex array of needs of the refugee population. Contrary to common perception, among the largest refugee migrations are those that occur internally in subSaharan Africa due to conflict, poverty and, increasingly, environmental factors
like floods, drought and depleted land. Uganda has a liberal refugee policy that allows temporary residents to live and work in relative freedom. Folks from South Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi find their way to refugee camps, towns and cities in Uganda. This makes the country a natural location for outreach and ministry to this critical population. CBF field personnel Karen Alford has worked for the past three years in tandem with Medical Teams International, providing critical medical services to people fleeing seemingly interminable
Paul Baxley (left) and Jennifer Baxley (right) with a Masai family at Nkasiaoki in Mara. Wilson (second from left) is the head of this family and has partnered with CBF and Africa Exchange for many years.
The Baxley family listened intently and with compassion to the testimonies of several women who have turned the page to a new life made possible by the patient, loving, trustworthy Amani Sasa staff and CBF field personnel Missy Ward-Angalla (left).
conflict in the DRC into southern Uganda near Mbarara, where she has been located. Constant threats of an Ebola outbreak emanating from Eastern DRC have made for tense times. Karen has been instrumental in building the capacity of maternal clinics and health centers through her skilled leadership among the MTI team of Ugandan personnel. Karen traveled to Kampala to meet us as we gathered together at the Refuge and Hope and Amani Sasa ministry centers. Paul was able to listen deeply and intently to the Refuge and Hope staff as they described the ambitious scope of this incredibly impactful ministry. Founded by CBF field personnel Jade and Shelah Acker, Refuge and Hope ministers to some 400 refugees daily through English and self-help classes, vocational training, Bible study and other ever-expanding outreach. Recently named NGO of the year by the American Embassy in Kampala, you won’t hear the local staff bragging about their accomplishments. Instead, you’ll hear them excitedly share plans of how they hope to grow into the future. And without exception, they all began their introductions by thanking Paul for “sending us these wonderful people” to help them discover their calling. Many of the employees are refugees who have found meaning and purpose at Refuge and Hope, wanting to give back in the same manner in which they were ministered to.
In Uganda, the Baxleys had the opportunity to meet CBF field personnel from Refuge and Hope, Amani Sasa and Medical Teams International. Pictured here from left to right: Missy Ward-Angalla, Sam Harrell, Livy Baxley, Jennifer Baxley, Paul Baxley, Caroline Baxley, Shelah Acker, Matthew Baxley, Jade Acker, Karen Alford, Kaelah-Joy Acker, Anna-Grace Acker and Maria Baxley.
There are also the inevitable heart-wrenching stories of violence, grief, alienation and abuse that these children of God have undergone as they fled conflict in their countries of origin and made their way to Kampala. Amani Sasa (Peace Now), founded by CBF field personnel Missy Ward-Angalla and her husband, Francis, provides a place of sanctuary and recovery for these. Together with their staff of local social workers and counselors, Amani Sasa focuses on the internal resiliency that is in evidence beyond victimhood.
Paul and Jennifer listened intently and with compassion to the testimonies of several women who have turned the page to a new life made possible by the patient, loving, trustworthy Amani Sasa staff. Group sessions, music therapy, creative drama and caring community are all part of the Amani experience. After a period of residential respite, women are empowered to rejoin the mainstream, having experienced the love of Jesus through caring hands. A striking feature of all of the work that CBF has been privileged to engage in
East Africa is that it is done with and not only for those in need. And, as Paul and Jennifer and their children will readily testify, there are inevitably holy encounters as the face of Jesus is discovered in the most unexpected places in the midst of pain and suffering. Perhaps we should become more expectant of discovering Christ here. A journey that began with a message of hope delivered to a thriving congregation in Nairobi, came full circle through the eyes and mouths of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;aliens among us.â&#x20AC;? God give us eyes to see and ears to hear!
Sam Harrell serves as associate coordinator of Global Missions for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Photos courtesy of Melody Harrell. Refuge and Hope minsters daily to nearly 400 refugees, providing English and self-help classes, vocational training, Bible study and other outreach.
Staff members at Refuge and Hope had the opportunity to share about their personal journeys and experiences working alongside CBF field personnel Jade and Shelah Acker and other refugees in Kampala, Uganda.
Cycling, Civil Rights and Rural Poverty
By Ben Brown
immie Lee Jackson was shot in the abdomen on February 18, 1965, in Marion, Alabama. Jackson and many others were peacefully marching in support of voting rights from Zion’s Chapel Methodist Church to the city jail in Marion. He walked with his mother, Viola, and his grandfather, Cager Lee. Their assembly was deemed unlawful, and many were badly beaten by the state troopers, and Jackson was shot twice at point blank range.
Cyclists Jason Coker (right), Darren DeMent (center) and Greg Dover (left) cross the historic Edmund Pettis bridge in Selma, Ala., during Civil Rides.
Jackson was rushed to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Selma, where he would die eight days later. Jimmie Lee Jackson’s death inspired the historic march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery in March of 1965. Hundreds flocked to Selma to walk the Edmund Pettis Bridge on that “Bloody Sunday.” The goal was to walk 54 miles from Selma to Montgomery, but they would not make it that day. In October 2019, more than 20 cyclists suited up to cross that same Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma alongside a group of volunteers and a film crew as part of a bike ride across the Black Belt of Alabama from Montgomery to Birmingham.
Civil Rides participants, volunteers and staff of CBF and Alabama CBF gather on the steps of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., after the completion of their pilgrimage from Montgomery to Birmingham.
Civil Rides is a multi-day bicycle ride sponsored by the Terri Byrd, who serves as coordinator of Alabama CBF, said Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and other partners that raises funds she was greatly inspired by having Civil Rides in her state. “Civil and awareness for areas of persistent rural poverty in America in Rides was an opportunity to tell our story, one of awareness of support of Together for Hope, CBF’s rural development coalition. rural poverty. This event connected us. In Alabama, we have In 2018, Civil Rides launched a 200-plus mile ride beginning at the a connection to the past and a connection to the future,” she Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., and ending at the Mississippi emphasized. Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Miss. This inaugural ride was part Marion, the place where Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot, was a of the nationwide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the hotbed of civil rights violations for persons of color. Today, it is assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the location of Perry County’s Sowing Seeds of Hope. Alabama “Last year, we started where Dr. King’s life ended; this year CBF has committed to a 25-year partnership with Sowing Seeds we started in Montgomery, where his ministry began,” said Jason of Hope in an effort to help the people of Perry County with home Coker, national director of Together for Hope. repair, healthcare, spiritual needs and educational opportunities. Coker explained that, as with It is no coincidence that Throughout the ride, cyclists are supported by volunteers who provide the inaugural ride, this year’s places of historic civil rights encouragement, safety and meet other needs. participants retraced the steps violations decades ago—like of history and, as they pedaled, Marion, Ala.—remain trapped in talked with one another, listened persistent rural poverty. and noted events of the past “There’s an incredible history and present, while discussing the in these places,” Coker said. “It’s potential of the future—and had intimately related to violations of fun all along the way. human rights and violations of “We ride divided into A, B and human dignity. These are the places C groups, depending on the riders’ of greatest poverty in our country.” speeds. We chum up. There’s a lot Civil Rides aims to make that of camaraderie and it’s a lot of fun,” connection abundantly clear. The Coker said. rides are a pilgrimage for historic civil rights locations; It is no coincidence that but also a tour of missional places of historic civil rights efforts to empower individuals beyond the systems and cycles violations decades ago—like of rural poverty.
Marion, Ala.—remain trapped in persistent rural poverty.
Civil Rides participants and volunteers gather on the steps of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Marion, Ala.
The world looks different from the seat of a bike, and Civil Rides The Civil Rides in Alabama attracted cyclists from Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, challenges participants to listen to those around them and see the Washington, D.C., as well as Alabama. Charles Watson, who serves as point of view of those living in rural poverty and those that fought and still fight for civil rights. director of education for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious “We, as white people, have an important role to play,” Coker said. Liberty in Washington, D.C., noted that participating in the ride was “If we don’t resist, if we don’t intervene, we are passively benefiting. encouraging to him. As white people, we have to put ourselves on a highway to be in “I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge being the only AfricanAmerican rider,” said Watson, reflecting on his experience. “I thought danger. All you have to do as a black person is be in your skin.” From Montgomery to Selma, across the Edmund Pettis Bridge, about how different that was from the Selma to Montgomery the march was no longer two-by-two on foot, but instead uphill by marchers. I was encouraged by members of other communities still seeking truth from America’s past in order to aspire to and implement bike. Unlike that “Bloody Sunday,” Civil Rides cyclists would make their way across the bridge and then to Birmingham to be met by a better present and future.” The group of predominantly white cyclists riding in Alabama to see U.S. Senator Doug Jones at 16th Street Baptist Church, the historic historic sites of the Civil Rights movement did draw some interest from site of the bombing that killed four little girls in September 1963. On October 20, Civil Rides participants completed their second on-lookers. Privilege was also recognized in debriefings along the route. pilgrimage. The participants Keith Stillwell, who serves as regional vice president for Together for The Rev. Arthur Price, Jr., pastor of 16th Street Baptist Church in dismounted their bikes and stood Birmingham, and U.S. Senator Doug Jones at the finish line. on solid ground. Their muscles Hope in Appalachia, said he biked with ached because their legs had the hope of crossing the Edmund Pettis propelled them across the Black Bridge in Selma, but unfortunately Belt of Alabama. There was a sense suffered an accident just a few miles of accomplishment among the short of the historic landmark. riders. The ride was over, but there “We biked the march from Selma was still work to do. They had seen to Montgomery in reverse, and it was the connection between civil rights uphill most of the way,” Stillwell said. violations and persistent rural “We talked about how we’d rather go poverty—cycles that still the other way and go downhill. In our exist today. debriefing we realized the way that we approached the bridge was from ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF the perspective of Bull Connor and the Alabama State Troopers.” RODERIOUS PHILLIP S Jason Coker, national director of Together for Hope, and Kat Kimmel, co-pastor of University Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Civil Rides will hold a two-day Underground Railroad ride Sept. 11-12 from Berea, Ky., to Marion, Ind., following a historic passageway to freedom that was part of the Underground Railroad.
Participants will visit locations that served as safe houses for individuals fleeing slavery in the 19th century.
Register at www.civilrides.com and learn more
Toward Bold Faithfulness Thousands participate in CBF’s survey along the path ‘Toward Bold Faithfulness’ DECATUR, Ga. — More than 4,600 Cooperative Baptists from every state and region in CBF life
participated in an online survey as part of CBF’s Toward Bold Faithfulness initiative. In all, 4,618 people participated in the survey. Respondents were from 762 congregations, 178 of which had five or more people participate. The Toward Bold Faithfulness initiative is a journey to discover and respond to God’s call for the thriving of our congregations and our Fellowship community. After prayerful discovery, the centerpiece of which was the survey, CBF will respond to what it has heard, seeking a bold future guided by the Holy Spirit. This work is being led by a Discovery Team, a diverse group of leaders from across CBF life. Conducted between Jan. 7 and Feb. 2, the survey asked Cooperative Baptists about their church ministry involvement and personal ministry aspirations. Survey participants were from 37 states as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Canada, and 10 additional countries, including respondents from Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. Participants were 53-percent female and 47-percent male who serve their churches in a variety of ways. Twenty-two percent serve as a senior pastor or staff minister, while 78 percent serve as lay members of their local congregation. CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley said the strong response to the survey has been encouraging. “That so many members of so many of our partner congregations made this investment of time is a wonderfully hopeful sign for our future together,” Baxley said. “I am particularly grateful for the large number of lay people who have responded.
“As Cooperative Baptists who believe deeply in the priesthood of all believers, it is essential that we hear from laity as well as clergy in this season of discovery,” he said. “It is equally important to me that we have heard from congregations of every imaginable size and setting. Hearing the hopes, dreams and needs of members of rural congregations as well as urban, small as well as large, will enable us to discover a future of faithfulness that allows all of us to thrive in Christ’s mission.” In addition to the survey, which is the primary form of listening being used by the Discovery Team, the team also conducted 13 “Discovery Sessions” with members of CBF’s governance bodies, state and regional coordinators and associate coordinators, representatives of partner ministries, field personnel and Decatur staff. The Discovery Team has also just completed conducting 30 individual interviews with Cooperative Baptists selected by leaders of CBF’s ministry networks as well as state and regional coordinators. Like the survey, those sessions and conversations were also designed to explore the most powerful gifts and most urgent needs of CBF congregations and their communities. In the coming weeks, after all the results of these forms of listening are collected and transcribed, the Discovery Team will identify the gifts and needs that arise most clearly, sharing the results at the 2020 CBF General Assembly in Atlanta. Once the work of Discovery is complete, a process for responding will begin. More information about this process will be shared at the General Assembly in late June.
“That so many members of so many of our partner congregations made this investment of time is a wonderfully hopeful sign for our future together.” — Paul Baxley, CBF Executive Coordinator
CBF field personnel Karen Morrow
T H RO U G H E D U C AT I O N F O C U S , CBF’s Karen Morrow extends hope and hospitality to refugees in Fort Worth By Blake Tommey Karen Morrow not only ministers to refugees, but provides friendship and care in a new place to call home.
recent years, immigration has become a central and often divisive issue in American public life. Central American migrants, weary of violence and coercion in their home countries, have brought this pressing issue to our nation’s doorstep. To confront this challenge, people of faith across the United States, including Cooperative Baptists, have traveled hundreds of miles to advocate for and minister alongside asylum seekers at the southern border. For all the campaigns and crises, however, we have missed the tens of thousands of refugees and immigrants who are resettling in communities throughout the country every day, according to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Karen Morrow. In fact, global displacement is at an alltime high and, despite the turmoil at our southern border, 57 percent of the world’s 26 million refugees come from Afghanistan, Syria and South Sudan. Fort Worth, Texas— where Morrow partners with families who have been forced to flee their home countries—regularly resettled 1,500 each year, until the federal government sharply reduced resettlements by 70 percent in 2017. Despite that reduction, Fort Worth now resettles about 400 refugees per year. Immigrants and refugees are all around us, Morrow said. “God is restoring to them an abundant life, as Jesus says in John 10, and we can partner in that work, right in our own communities,” she added.
Farouq and Shiba relocated from Afghanistan to Fort Worth with their three children in 2015, and are investing in their children’s education in the United States first and foremost.
Participants in the Ready for School program, an early childhood development curriculum Morrow developed to prepare newly-immigrated preschoolers and their parents for the American school system.
“Speaking English, finding a job, visiting a doctor or even just buying groceries can be overwhelming. Yet, refugee parents continue to prioritize their children’s education above all.” “When we first started working with refugees in Fort Worth, we found that large numbers were coming into the United States and yet there was little to no engagement from churches, and the churches didn’t even realize they were here, living among us,” said Morrow, who was commissioned as one of CBF’s field personnel in 1996. “Many churches were interested in missions overseas but uninterested in reaching out to immigrants living right among them. So, my greatest desire was that we would develop partnerships with churches in Fort Worth and beyond, that we would be welcoming of the refugees and immigrants living here, that we would show them Christ’s love in very tangible ways and that they would know they aren’t forgotten,” Morrow said. Since arriving in Fort Worth in 2009, Morrow has been partnering with her community to extend hope and hospitality
Volunteer teachers who are part of Morrow’s Ready for School program work one-on-one with students and a parent to facilitate ongoing learning inside and outside the classroom.
Morrow is empowered by support from Cooperative Baptists and other partners in her ministry to refugee families.
to refugees. The CBF Offering for Global Missions empowers her to form relationships with families fleeing violence or persecution, but also with local churches such as Bear Valley Community Church. Through those relationships, Morrow empowers newly-resettled families with early childhood education as well as adult English classes and helps them access housing, health care and cultural literacy. Most families spend 15 years or more in a refugee camp, according to Morrow, only to face new obstacles once they resettle in a city like Fort Worth. Speaking English, finding a job, visiting a doctor or even just buying groceries can be overwhelming. Yet, refugee parents continue to prioritize their children’s education above all, she said. Farouq and Shiba shared that priority when they relocated their three children to Fort Worth from Afghanistan in 2015. Farouq’s contract with the U.S. Army had made them a target for the Taliban, not
to mention the roadside bombs that kept their kids home from school for days. Reluctantly, the couple sought refugee status. Once in Fort Worth, Farouq, a dermatologist, discovered he was not licensed to practice in the U.S. and would have to return to school. But school can wait, Farouq said. For now, he and Shiba are investing in their children’s education instead. They began by enrolling their 3-yearold son, Ali, in Ready for School, an early childhood curriculum Morrow developed to prepare newly-immigrated preschoolers and their parents for the American school system. Located in five apartment communities, Ready for School is a 20-week curriculum designed to expose non-English speaking preschoolers to shapes, numbers, colors and above all, English literature. Teachers work one-on-one with students and an accompanying parent to facilitate ongoing learning outside the classroom. SPRING 2020
From the comfort of their own apartment community, Ali and Shiba attended weekly sessions led by experienced volunteer teachers, such as Caroline Bell. Bell worked as a kindergarten teacher for 36 years and now volunteers with Morrow and Ready for School in her retirement. She says Ready for School engaged her desire for mission and for seeing children like Ali become more confident, socially as well as academically. And Ali did become more confident, Farouq said. After only a few sessions, he was adapting quickly to a new language and learning environment. “He was going with my wife in order to feel comfortable,” Farouq said. “Then after a few days, my wife explained that Ali had a wonderful teacher there, that he’s learning faster with this teacher and that he feels very comfortable. One day, Karen brought some supplementary stuff for my son, some books, and my wife started a friendship with her. We’ve gotten a lot of support from Karen for our jobs, our education programs and the schooling system.” In 2017, Morrow formed together with local partners to expand preschool education, as parents requested more help learning and teaching their children English, Morrow explained. That’s when Kingdom Manifestors Church, located directly across the street from a populous refugee community, volunteered to host a free library. Bear Valley Community
Ready for School volunteer Caroline Bell.
(Left) Julia Bauman, associate pastor of community life at Bear Valley Community Church, alongside Karen Morrow at Hope Library, which her church helped bring to life in partnership with Broadway Baptist Church, Church of the Crossing, and Kingdom Manifestors Church.
Church had already begun serving in that same community and also felt uniquely called to empower refugee families with literature, said pastor Julia Bauman. Together with Fort Worth’s Broadway Baptist Church and Church of the Crossing, they collected, labeled and catalogued more than 5,000 books.
Hope Library, located inside Kingdom Manifestors Church, now opens every Monday evening to children and their families. And while the library inspires their mastery of English, it also provides a space of empowerment for children who are often marginalized or bullied at school, Bauman explained. She and her congregation continue to serve as reading partners each Monday night; yet the children are learning to be their own reading partners, she said. “We met with the African Refugee Empowerment Group, and they helped us learn how to operate the library in a way that’s empowering,” Bauman said. “We’re not here to show children ‘how to do it.’ We’re here to resource them to rise up, be leaders and even read to other children. We’re just partners. One little boy wasn’t recognizing any words and couldn’t really sit still, but just a couple weeks ago he was reading to another child. We see so much growth and excitement about reading.”
Karen Morrow serves as a reading partner at Hope Library, located inside Kingdom Manifestors Church, which opens every Monday evening to refugee children and families.
Julia Bauman prays with a mother and child at Hope Library.
she said. When she finishes school, Rosalie plans to pursue a Master of Social Work degree and help transform refugees’ lives as Morrow and so many others did hers. “It’s amazing to see where I have come from and where I am now, and all the people who helped me get here,” she said. “They showed me ways to navigate all the milestones. That’s why I want to be a social worker, because I know how valuable it is to have support. My focus is health and hospital social work. I want to help people get the resources they need to succeed in life and overcome all the obstacles they’re facing.” The CBF Offering for Global Missions ensures that all CBF field personnel can be fully present and form trusted relationships with refugees like Jafari, Shiba and Ali, Morrow emphasized. Rebuilding and restoring hope is a long-term process. Morrow and parents are constantly devising Karen Morrow with Rebuilding and Rosalie, whom she new ways to make the resettlement met in 2012 as she was restoring hope transition easier for families. And families applying to study social continue to arrive in Fort Worth from is a long-term work at the University Afghanistan, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Texas at Arlington. process. of Congo and other conflict zones across the world. When you give to the CBF Offering Rosalie mastered English nearly 20 years for Global Missions, you become a partner in In addition to early childhood education, restoring an abundant life to those families, Morrow also partners with adult refugees as ago when her family fled the Democratic Morrow explained. Republic of Congo and resettled in the they learn English and seek resources for United States. Yet, 12 years at a refugee higher education, housing and health care. “Giving to the Offering for Global camp in Tanzania postponed her education Many refugees, especially women, become Missions supports my presence here in extremely isolated in the U.S. because they as a teenager. When she met Morrow in 2012, she was applying to study social work Fort Worth, serving among refugees,” can’t communicate in English, she noted. That’s why she began teaching ESL classes at the University of Texas at Arlington. So she said. “Without that, I wouldn’t get to Morrow accompanied her to the admissions share these life moments with them. for women in one of South Fort Worth’s office to explore scholarships and other refugee communities. Ali’s mother, Shiba, Your gift will prepare a newly-immigrated started attending and is beginning to speak financial aid. When Rosalie had her second child for school. Your gift will allow a child, Morrow provided a booster seat and some English. Once she can communicate fluently, Shiba will finally be able to shop for access to baby and kids’ clothes. Her three mother to learn English and adjust to life sons even attend Ready for School at Hope in the United States. God is rebuilding groceries, make new friends and pick her Library, which is transforming their lives, kids up from school, she said. their lives and restoring hope, and we get Ready for School uses hands-on activities to teach shapes, numbers, colors and English literature to refugee preschoolers.
to join God in that process.”
Watch videos about the impact of the Ready for School program and Karen Morrow’s ministry at www.cbf.net/abundantlife Karen Morrow is sharing abundant life through relationship, education and accompanying refugees in the United States as they transition into their new lives.
IMPACT OF ABUNDANT LIFE: THE
By Blake Tommey
CBF field personnel Karen Morrow (left) shares Christ’s love with refugees in Worth, Texas, like Rosalie and her three sons (pictured below).
has sent so many people into my life. That’s how I’ve experienced God’s love.
These are the words of Rosalie, a refugee from Zaire who now lives in Fort Worth, Texas. Nearly 25 years ago, when 9-year-old Rosalie and her family fled violence in Zaire in 1996, God sent United Nations workers to provide a tent shelter at a refugee camp in Tanzania. During her 12-plus years in that same refugee camp, God sent aid workers to provide food, dishes and blankets for her parents and siblings. When the family finally resettled in Fort Worth, God sent Catholic Charities and a Methodist congregation to help them find jobs, learn English and get driver’s licenses. And in 2012, as Rosalie was starting her own family and applying to college, God sent Karen Morrow, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel serving among refugees in Fort Worth. “Karen shows Christ’s love through her humility and her willingness to help those in need,” Rosalie said. “She is a phenomenal person. If I have a question, I ask her and so do most of the people in my apartment community. That’s what we need to do as people in Christ Jesus. We need to be willing to help other people.” Morrow continues to empower refugees with early-childhood and adult education as well as resources for housing, health care and cultural transition with the support of the CBF Offering for Global Missions. When she met Rosalie eight years ago, however, Rosalie had already overcome many of the toughest
Amid her studies, Rosalie also focused obstacles immigrants face in the United States—learning English, finding employment on empowering her three sons, Norbert Emmanuel, Gilbert and John Emmanuel. and acquiring transportation and housing. Morrow had already helped her find But Rosalie wanted more than mere survival affordable booster seats and baby clothes for her family. She desired an abundant life throughout their infancy, she said. As they and that meant investing in education. approached kindergarten, Morrow’s flagship Rosalie began by applying to the ministry—Ready for School—became vital University of Texas at Arlington, where to their academic development. she planned to study social work. Morrow accompanied her to campus, where the two met with admissions officers as well as financial aid advisers to obtain grants and scholarships. For six years, Rosalie poured herself into completing school and, in 2018, graduated with a Bachelor’s in Social Work degree. Today, she’s completing a Master of Social Work degree, which will allow her to transform fellow refugees’ lives as Morrow and so many others have hers. “It’s amazing to see where I came from and where I am now, and all the people who helped me get here,” Rosalie said. “They showed me ways to navigate all the milestones. That’s why I want to be a social worker, because I know how valuable it is to have support. My focus is health and hospital social work. Today, Rosalie is completing a I want to help people Master of Social Work degree, get the resources which will allow her to they need to succeed in life and overcome transform fellow refugees’ all the obstacles lives as Morrow and so they’re facing.”
many others have hers.
“Karen is a phenomenal person. If I have a question, I ask her and so do most of the people in my apartment community.” SPRING 2020 |
Through Morrow’s Ready for School ministry, local church volunteers spend Monday evenings reading books to the children of refugees at Hope Library.
Each Monday night, her three boys attend Hope Library, a free library that Morrow and local church partners developed for children of refugees. There, they read independently or with an adult reading partner from Broadway Baptist Church, Bear Valley Community Church or Kingdom Manifestors Church, Morrow’s partners in the Ready for School program. As school and work increasingly demand her time, Hope Library has become critical in boosting her sons’ reading levels and test scores, Rosalie said. A big positive
“Karen and others are there every Monday, reading with them and helping the kids learn. I can see a very big change.” factor, she added, is that Hope Library is located right across the street from their apartment community. “Hope Library has transformed my life and my family,” Rosalie explained. “It’s helping my boys a lot. I don’t have unlimited time to sit and teach them how to read
every day. But Karen and others are there every Monday, reading with them and helping the kids learn. I can see a very big change in their reading level and especially their test scores at school.” The CBF Offering for Global Missions continues to support Karen Morrow as she forms together with refugees like Rosalie, helping them discover an abundant life. When you give to the Offering, you become a partner in restoring that abundance and empowering the work of Ready for School and Hope Library.
Watch videos about Rosalie and others impacted by Karen Morrow’s ministry in Fort Worth at www.cbf.net/abundantlife
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“I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
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SOWING SEEDS OF HOPE, SOWING SEEDS OF HOME Mission partnership in Marion, Ala., goes beyond building houses to creating home By Ben Brown
Interns serve at Sowing Seeds of Hope through CBF’s Student.Go program coordinate activities with mission teams for children in Perry County, Ala., throughout each summer.
There are many ways to find a house: hire a realtor, search online with Zillow or Trulia, or seek out open houses in your area. Finding a home, that’s something completely different. Students from Judson College in Marion, Ala., are serving with Sowing Seeds of Hope in partnership with Student.Go, the student missions program of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and Alabama CBF. This partnership matches mission-minded students with organizations that transform good work into sustainable change for those in need in Perry County, Ala. Beyond helping others, Sowing Seeds of Hope and Student.Go bring a different type of change. Mission partnership in Marion, Ala., has gone beyond building houses to creating a place called “home.” Sowing Seeds of Hope is an organization that was formed two decades ago and will celebrate its 20th anniversary in July. It exists to help the people of Perry County by providing assistance with home repair, healthcare, education resources, spiritual renewal and much more. This isn’t an organization looking for a quick fix. Instead, Sowing Seeds of Hope and Alabama CBF started a 25-year commitment to partnering with churches, colleges, volunteer groups and anyone willing to help the people of Perry County. Frances Ford is the Together for Hope practitioner at and executive director of Sowing Seeds of Hope. Her leadership has brought together a community seeking transformation.
Student.Go interns with Frances Ford (center), the Together for Hope practitioner at and executive director of Sowing Seeds of Hope.
Interns and mission teams have opportunities to connect with the community in Perry County, becoming invested in their lives through friendship and partnership.
Fifty percent of children below the age of 12 in Perry County live below the poverty line, so Sowing Seeds of Hope seeks to provide opportunities like summer camps.
Student.Go intern Anna Johnson with Sha Sha, a resident of Perry County and participant in Sowing Seeds of Hope programs.
“These students see good work happening at Sowing Seeds of Hope and they desire to help by joining in doing this good work.”
maintained a pipeline from Judson College to Sowing Seeds of Hope. Each summer, one or two interns stay in Marion and serve in missions. Butler herself interned with Student.Go in 2007. The connection between Judson College and Student.Go is a tradition that breeds innovation. “The staff look forward to having student interns each year. They bring new ideas for existing programs,” Butler explained. Lucas Dorion is the associate coordinator for Alabama CBF. He matches students with Student.Go to organizations like Sowing Seeds of Hope. “Sowing Seeds of Hope, like a lot of small nonprofits, runs on a shoestring budget. So, when two young interns arrive, they add a lot to the team. During the summer, they take charge of coordinating mission teams that come into the county. They usually participate on the mission teams, doing everything from home repairs to leading summer camps,” Dorion said.
“A student from Judson has been a Student.Go intern at Sowing Seeds of Hope every year over the past five years,” according to Amy Butler, the director of Faith-Based Service and Learning at Judson College. “These students see good work happening through the leadership of Frances Ford at Sowing Seeds of Hope and they desire to help by joining in doing this good work.” Perry County is a place in need of good work. “It’s a unique place, a small and welcoming community. Marion has a hometown feel, and it’s also a place of poverty,” Butler said. Perry County is one of the poorest counties in the United States, and many of the residents live below the poverty line. According to Butler, “Fifty percent of children 12 and under, in Perry County live in poverty.” “For many, poverty is seen as something that happens abroad; it’s different when it exists right next door.” While Student.Go places interns with CBF field personnel all over the world, Alabama CBF has
Sowing Seeds of Hope worked with lawmakers to get state regulations changed so that a dialysis clinic could be opened in the county. This has transformed the lives of people who are dependent upon these treatments.
Mission teams from Alabama and beyond travel to Perry County to assist with Sowing Seeds of Hope Ministries including summer camps for children, building houses for low-income families, facilitating skill-based learning, and more.
Sowing Seeds of Hope has already built 17 houses for low-income families, and they’re committed to building at least five more. The energy and vision of the mission experiences in Marion, Ala., are changing students for the better. “They see a need and catch the vision. This causes them to think, ‘Why not stay and commit my summer to this place that I now call home?’” Butler said. It’s bigger than a summer though. The magnetism arising from Sowing Seeds of Hope and helping Perry County, Alabama, keeps students engaged throughout the entire year. Theologian Frederick Buechner is credited with saying, “The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Perry County is a place of deep hunger, but Student.Go, Judson College, Alabama CBF and Sowing Seeds of Hope have intersected to bring abundant possibilities where much is needed. “When Sowing Seeds of Hope began, Perry County did not have a dialysis clinic, requiring residents to travel to Selma, Tuscaloosa or Birmingham for treatment. Under Frances’ leadership, Sowing Seeds of Hope worked with lawmakers to get state regulations changed so that a dialysis clinic could be opened in the county. This has transformed the lives of people who are dependent upon these treatments and who now can get them done locally,” Dorion said. The efforts of Student.Go interns and Sowing Seeds of Hope have helped the people of Perry County. Some have become homeowners who never dreamed of that possibility. Some have learned new skills in parenting or on the computer. Other Perry County residents have received healthcare. Children have discovered their
Lucas Dorion (left), associate coordinator of Alabama CBF, Amy Butler (second from left), director of Faith-Based Service and Learning at Judson College, Student.Go interns Aqui Lacy and Audri Thicklin, and Terri Byrd (right), coordinator of CBF Alabama.
skills and talents and learned ways to be economically independent as adults. The vision of Sowing Seeds of Hope shows that poverty is not an illness to quarantine, but instead something that needs the antidote of partnership. The partnership of Alabama CBF and Sowing Seeds of Hope has transformed the lives of Butler and Dorion, who both feel this sense of home, too. “Marion, Alabama, is my home,” Butler said. “And I want to be able to love my neighbors and advocate for them. I know this is the place I need to be and where God is calling me.”
Welcoming a New Day in your Church’s Renewal
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A Pioneer Spirit & JIM SMITH REFLECTS ON By Sara Crocker
Becky and Jim Smith alongside Hans Gunter Sachse (center), Home Secretary of East German Baptists, in front of Bradenburg Gate on the East Berlin side in 1988, during an exploratory visit while the Smiths were still based in Graz, Austria, prompting their move from Austria to Berlin.
Becky Smith spends time with children at a Banjara orphanage in India during a visit with CBF field personnel based in the area.
Global Missions Pillar
27-YEAR CBF TENURE UPON RETIREMENT
There seems to be something poignantly ironic about the fact that at the time of this interview, which calls attention to the ending of a career, Jim Smith’s daughter-in-law is in labor with his first grandchild. An ending is marked by a new beginning. Smith retired at the end of December 2019 following a 44-year global ministry and 27-year tenure with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, most recently serving in the role of director of global networks and development for CBF Global Missions. For many years, Smith along with his wife, Becky, served as a CBF associate coordinator for mission teams and was based in Berlin. In 2008, he returned to the United States to the new role of director of field team ministries for CBF Global Missions and in 2012 was named interim coordinator of CBF Global Missions. His missionary career began in 1976 as a journeyman with the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Smith’s first assignment—a two-year stint in Heidelberg, Germany—was as youth director of the European Baptist Convention. That assignment introduced Smith to the broader Baptist world as he worked with 44 churches in 11 different countries. After returning to the United States in 1978, Smith enrolled at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky., graduating with a Master of Divinity degree with an emphasis in missions in 1981. That same year, the Foreign Mission Board appointed Smith and his wife, Becky, as missionaries to Austria. This was the beginning of a global ministry that spanned five decades. The Smiths were initially based in Europe and eventually were associated with believers, churches and networks united by a singular faith in the love of Jesus Christ for all people. When asked to reflect on his career, Smith expounded on an early fear that he would not be able to master the German language well enough to be effective on the ground. Smith eventually became fluent and not only spoke and preached in German but, more importantly,
he said, worshipped in German. Smith said the journey in becoming fluent in a different language requires being vulnerable. Being a language-learner allows people an opportunity to teach you. When it happens, they have an investment in your life and progress, he noted. A good part of Smith’s early missionary work took place with believers behind the Iron Curtain, where they lived and worked despite numerous disadvantages and the possibility of being imprisoned for even the smallest misstep in this communist context. “There were definitely risks involved; but I quickly learned there were real people with real lives living behind that curtain,” Smith said. “I remember sitting in the kitchens of various pastors in East Germany and watching them interact with their families and realizing that they weren’t that different from the people in West Germany. The Christians living in East Germany at the time illustrated a really deep determination to be committed followers of Christ in very tough circumstances.” Their commitment inspired Smith, who learned to temper his tendency to complain about the small stuff in life. Smith fondly recalled meeting, loving and working with notable and influential Baptist leaders including Keith Parks, Cecil Sherman, Karl-Heinz Walter and Daniel Vestal. Sherman would later become the first CBF Executive Coordinator and select Parks to serve as first leader of CBF Global Missions. Vestal would succeed Sherman in role of CBF Executive Coordinator. “Cecil Sherman, oh what a mind! He’d absolutely wear me out,” Smith remembered. “We would walk around Wittenberg or Berlin and he’d stop at every statue and tell me all he knew about the person and his contemporaries and ask for any additional insights I might have. More often than not, I had none.” An astute understanding of the impact of the work of those who came before him and
Jim Smith visits CBF field personnel in Kiev, Ukraine, alongside a CBF North Carolina delegation.
Becky and Jim Smith, Christmas 2019
Jim and Becky Smith with their two children at ages five and three.
alongside him infused his own mission work with humility. Two particular figures—William Carey and Johann Oncken—greatly shaped Smith’s missiology and theology. A particular quote from Carey, the “father of modern missions,” was impressed upon Smith early in his career: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” He sees echoes of Carey’s sentiment in the formation and continued thriving of CBF. “That we actually dared to do it was courageous,” Smith said, recalling the formation of CBF in 1991. Two years later, in 1993, Jim and wife Becky would join CBF as one of the organization’s early Global Missions field personnel. Another example of expecting great things from and attempting great things for God, Smith said, is CBF’s early commitment to work with the Romani people. Resistant to outside influence because of a long history of intense marginalization and persecution, Smith said that once outreach to the Romani people was initiated, they were the most receptive to the gospel message of any group he has ever seen. “Something happens when you tell someone who has always been despised that Jesus loves them just the way they are,” Smith emphasized. “I’ve watched them hear that message and just weep. We have a hard time understanding that when we are not those who are oppressed or marginalized.” In addition to his mission work, Smith became a well-known and respected advocate and mentor to others working in the field. He laments what he sees as waning support for long-term missionary presence and activity beyond the local community, citing God’s care and concern for all people and the necessity of collaboration to deliver
and sustain missions. Offering advice for today’s missionary in 2019 and beyond, Smith encourages listening first while continuously learning everything they can about the place and people to which they are commissioned. The willingness to get out of one’s comfort zone is essential, according to Smith. “You don’t have to be a Rolls Royce-kind of missionary to be effective,” he said. “You can do a great deal of good by just being a Ford or a Chevy. The problem is most of us want to be a Ferrari in the eyes of others. A secret of success is entering one’s assignment young and determined enough to do a good job. It takes a pioneer spirit to go to a mission setting, to be the minority with no legal standing, no flagship church and, often, very little respect. Where I was, the Europeans were not overly impressed by Americans. Becky and I had to earn trust over time.” As his professional career comes to a close, Smith is looking forward to stepping into his newest title: grandfather. By the time this article goes to press, not one, but two grandchildren will have been born. And as one might expect of a missionary couple, Jim and Becky plan to do a lot of traveling. “It has really been my pleasure to work for CBF,” Smith said. “We stood for our principles. We jumped off the plank with no place to land, and we made it. It’s just really been my pleasure.” CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley emphasized Smith’s significant impact on CBF’s missions efforts around the world. “Jim Smith has had a lasting and transforming impact on our Fellowship’s participation in God’s mission around the world,” Baxley said. “In their service as CBF field personnel, Jim and Becky embodied
excellence and faithfulness in sharing the love of Christ, building lasting relationships, and making it possible for Cooperative Baptists to be part of Christ’s mission in compelling ways. “Jim has been a mentor to field personnel, both as a colleague and then as a leader in our global missions efforts. In transitional moments in our Global Missions leadership, Jim provided vision and invaluable counsel. As a result of a lifetime of ministry beyond the U.S., Jim has built valuable friendships with Baptist leaders and other Christians all over the world, and those relationships have been immensely valuable as Cooperative Baptists seek a closer partnership with the Global Church. With each year I have known Jim, I have come to respect him more and value his partnership in this holy work,” Baxley said. CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter echoed Baxley with effusive praise for Smith. “From his early experiences as a journeyman and service with the Foreign Mission Board in Austria to his field service with CBF in Berlin, to his leadership over our field teams in Europe and eventually all field ministries of CBF, Jim has epitomized a humble servant of the Good News of Jesus Christ,” Porter said. “Jim’s tenure, character and humor have made him undoubtedly the most widely recognized face of the Fellowship among global Baptist leaders. As for me, serving alongside Jim and learning from him has been one of the greatest joys of my tenure at CBF. He and Becky are pillars in the history of CBF Global Missions. Simply stated: We wouldn’t be who we are without them. Thanks be to God!”
CAPPS SELECTED BY JOINT COMMITTEE
TO LEAD CBF FOUNDATION, CBF LEGACY GIFTS By Jeff Huett
DECATUR, Ga. — A search committee made up of representatives of both the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the CBF Foundation has selected a nonprofit executive, fundraiser and leader in CBF life to fill a joint position of Foundation President and Chief Legacy Gifts Officer for CBF. After a nationwide search, Shauw Chin Capps has been unanimously selected to fill the joint position. She will begin her work as President of the CBF Foundation/Chief Legacy Gifts Officer for CBF in March. Prior to starting her most recent position at an Atlanta-based retained executive search firm, CarterBaldwin, recruiting nonprofit executives for global nonprofit organizations, Capps was CEO of Hopeful Horizons, a children’s advocacy, domestic violence and rape crisis center in Beaufort, S.C. Under her leadership, Hopeful Horizons expanded its scale, profile and effectiveness with successful fundraising and financial stewardship. Capps earned her undergraduate degree from Baylor University and her Master’s degree from the Carver School of Social Work at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is Cooperative Baptist to her core. While in Beaufort, S.C., Capps and her family were members of the Baptist Church of Beaufort, where her husband, Paul, was on staff. She has served in multiple roles of CBF leadership including the CBF Governing Board and as CBF Moderator in 2017. Shauw Chin and Paul are now members of Peachtree Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., where Paul is senior pastor. They have two daughters, Lydia and Phoebe. Capps said she is humbled and honored to be able to serve her Fellowship family in this role. “This journey has been unexpected but one that has filled me with much hope and excitement,” Capps said. “There is nothing more exciting than having a future orientation, especially when we know that God will be in that future.
“While we don’t yet know what the future will look like, we want to equip our constituents with the resources to obtain new wine skins for the new wine God has in store for us. In the days ahead, I look forward to dream dreams with Cooperative Baptists, to steward those dreams and to pave the way for them to become reality.” For more than 25 years, CBF and the CBF Foundation have partnered to promote, receive, invest and manage long-term sustaining assets to support CBF mission and ministry causes. The Foundation is a trusted partner alongside churches and institutions as it works to establish and manage endowments and other legacy giving vehicles for the benefit of organizations. CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley said he is grateful Capps accepted this critical leadership role at the CBF Foundation and in the CBF community. “Shauw Chin brings a set of gifts and experiences that uniquely equip her to work with the CBF Foundation Board to make our Foundation the best possible partner for CBF congregations and partner ministries,” Baxley said. “Her love for our Fellowship and her deep commitments to Global Missions, thriving congregations and opportunities for young Baptists to discover God’s call will enable her to help us raise funds to extend our mission and ministry into the future.” Hal Bass, the chair of the CBF Foundation Board of Directors and a member of the search committee, said Capps will provide collaborative and transformative leadership in this new role. “Under Shauw Chin’s direction, the Foundation’s services are readily available to advance the wide-ranging missions
and ministries of our entire Fellowship community,” he said. Carol McEntyre, pastor of First Baptist Church, Columbia, Mo., and CBF’s moderatorelect, served alongside Capps on the CBF Governing Board, said she could not imagine a better choice. “She has a heart for missions and a call to serve Christ; she understands and loves CBF and is a gifted nonprofit leader,” McEntyre said. “The Foundation will thrive under her leadership.” Jay Kieve, coordinator of CBF South Carolina, extolled Capps’ leadership qualities. “Shauw Chin Capps is a leader with vision, authenticity and deep faithfulness that will bless all of CBF through her work at the CBF Foundation,” Kieve said. “She knows how to lead an organization with effectiveness, integrity and in clear pursuit of its mission.” David Burroughs, president and founder of Passport Camps, said Capps is a visionary leader. “Shauw Chin is a visionary thinker who transformed her nonprofit by creating a merger of two organizations, expanding their reach while streamlining costs,” Burroughs said. “As the leader of a partner organization in CBF life, I am excited to watch Shauw Chin’s creative and visionary skills impact the growth of the CBF Foundation in the coming years.” Assets under management in the CBF Foundation have eclipsed the $52-million mark in investments. In consultation with HighGround Advisors, the Foundation’s investment advisor and record-keeper, the Foundation is able to deliver best-in-class institutional investments and endowment service levels equal to or better than other foundations.
CBF field personnel Karen Morrow extends hope and hospitality to refugees through ministry partnerships in Fort Worth, Texas.
In Worship: A Litany MISSIONS EDUCATION RESOURCE: The following prayer resource is for use in a worship setting. Photocopy permission granted.
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One: Lord, we are a people at home in Your love.
One: Lord, we are a people at home in Your grace and mercy.
Many: May we extend Your love to our neighbors and invite them to find a home in Your love, too.
Many: May we extend grace and mercy to everyone we encounter.
One: Lord, so many of Your people around the world must flee their homes because of persecution and violence.
One: Lord, so many of the people You created and love are wounded by the injustices of the world.
Many: May we be a people of welcome to refugees who resettle nearby.
Many: May we be a people who work for justice even as we extend grace and mercy.
One: Lord, we are a people at home in Your peace.
Many: May we extend Your peace to the people we encounter in our daily lives: at the store, in our jobs, at our schools and in our neighborhoods.
Lord, please help us walk closely with You as You form us more deeply into a people who offer love, peace, grace and mercy to all we meet. Pour out Your perfect love, peace, grace and mercy on our neighbors who have fled violence as refugees and are working hard to rebuild their lives. Help us notice the people whom You love, who are all around us. Amen.
One: Lord, so many of the people You created and love around the world endure the lingering trauma of violence. Many: May we be a people who pray and work for healing. May we offer spaces where all feel welcome and where we practice carrying one anotherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s burdens.
CBF field personnel Karen Morrow’s ministry in Fort Worth helped Rosalie achieve her dream of education and abundant living.
In Small Groups MISSIONS EDUCATION RESOURCE: The following outline is designed for small groups or Bible studies to engage Scripture and missional action. Photocopy permission granted. 1.
Prepare by reading the story about Rosalie on pp. 18-20 in this issue of fellowship! 2. Have a volunteer read 1 John 4:7-21. 3. Ask: What do you think it means to love your brothers and sisters? 4. If there is someone in your community who is a refugee, ask them to come and share their experience with the group. 5. If a refugee is not available to share, consider as a group the following questions based on what you know of the refugee experience: • What hopes and dreams might refugees have as they arrive in a new country? • What challenges might a refugee to our country face? • What help might a new arrival to our country need? 6. Say: The writer of 1 John tells us that, in order to truly love God, we must love our brothers and sisters around us. Rosalie
7. 8. 9. 10. 11:
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14. Close in prayer for Rosalie as she continues found Karen Morrow in Fort Worth, Texas, her studies to become a social worker. and Karen helped Rosalie achieve her dream Pray for her three sons as they continue in of education for herself and her family. their education. Pray for all the students Ask a volunteer to read the first four who attend Hope Library, that they would paragraphs of the article aloud. flourish and succeed in their studies. Give Ask: How did Karen help Rosalie achieve her thanks for all who give to help make Hope dream? Library possible. Pray for Karen Morrow as Have a volunteer read the next three she continues to minister to refugees in paragraphs aloud. Fort Worth. Say: Notice what Rosalie says about her having people around to help support her. Ask: What did people do to support Rosalie and her sons? Did you notice how many churches partner with Hope Library to help make it possible? Have a volunteer finish reading the story aloud. Say: Notice how Rosalie says, “Hope Library transformed my life.” Karen’s ministry and that of Hope Library helped Rosalie and her family achieve their dream of education and abundant living.
Civil Rides is a multi-day bicycle ride that raises funds and awareness for areas of persistent rural poverty in America.
At Home: With Children MISSIONS EDUCATION RESOURCE: The following resource is designed for discussion at home between parents and guardians and young children. Photocopy permission granted.
Gather your children to learn, wonder, ask questions and pray together about CBFâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Civil Rides. Read: Read the fellowship! article about Civil Rides on pp. 10-12. Read more about Civil Rides at www.civilrides.com or take a look at the Civil Rights Trail at www.civilrightstrail.com. Do:
Go for a long bike ride or walk together.
Say: About 50 years ago, people in Alabama took a long walk. They were walking because people treated them unfairly because of the color of their skin.
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Wonder: I wonder what it was like to walk so far like they did on the way from Selma to Montgomery. I wonder what they saw. Ask: What do you see? What do you hear? What do you notice? (Allow them the freedom to answer.) Pray: Pray for healing for those who have hurt others because they are different. Pray for healing for those who have been hurt. Invite your children to offer their own prayer. Alternate: If the weather is bad, take a virtual Civil Rights Tour using the interactive map at www.civilrightstrail.com. Ask wondering questions and allow your child to ask questions. End with the same prayer.
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