A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship â&#x20AC;˘ www.cbf.net
A Day of CBF field personnel journeys alongside vulnerable women and children through holistic ministry in Kampala, Uganda
Hope Lived Out
PAUL BAXLEY is Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
By Paul Baxley
are in the midst of the most unusual Advent season I can remember. The surging COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult and, in many cases, impossible for our congregations to celebrate these weeks leading up to Christmas in all the ways we had come to take for granted. Months and months of online worship, constant innovation, and absence of familiar patterns of worshiping, studying and serving have brought ministers and congregations to places of exhaustion.
remarkable innovation of congregational leaders who are finding ways, even now, to invite us to claim the Christmas Gospel in new and faithful ways. Peace is being made through the courageous witness of field personnel, chaplains, church starters and so many others. Joy, far deeper than superficial happiness, is being found as Christ meets us in surprising ways, offering us new avenues to serve Him and resurrecting resilience in the midst of a difficult time. As Christians step across lines of division and join Christ in His mission of reconciliation, a love is being shared in the world that will neither turn us loose nor let us go. As Christ is born in us anew this season, we are not only the recipients of peace, hope, joy and love, we also become instruments of those gifts in our communities and all around the world. Difficult and challenging days are faced each Advent and Christmas by brothers and sisters in Christ; and there have been other pandemic seasons in church history when the Global Church awaited Christ’s coming in dark and seemingly hopeless times. That’s why we have long gravitated toward Isaiah’s promise that “the people who walk in darkness have seen a great light.” That’s why one of our familiar Advent and Christmas hymns teaches us to sing:
The economic consequences of this pandemic have been devastating for so many, particularly those in our communities who were already living in poverty or suffering from racial and economic injustice. The unmistakable devastation of 400 years of racial injustice, combined with paralyzing and bitter partisanship in our public spaces have posed incredible challenges for followers of Jesus and produced urgent needs all around us. What will it mean to celebrate Advent and Christmas in a time like this? While this season is incredibly difficult, the basic truth of Advent and Christmas remains unshakable. God does not leave us to face the struggles and the sufferings of this world alone. Instead, in Jesus Christ, God is with us. God is with us in times of hopelessness and despair. God is moving among us in places of injustice. God is hearing the cries of those who face illness, poverty O come, O come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel, and hunger. God has come not only to forgive sins but to bring That mourns in lowly exile here, until the Son of God appear. good news to the poor, recovery of sight to the blind and release to Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel. the captives. The Christ born in Bethlehem later told His disciples that we O Come, Desire of nations bind all peoples in one heart and were to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. St. Paul mind; was so bold as to tell the Christians at Corinth that even as God Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease; fill the whole world with was in Christ reconciling the world to God, so now God is at work heaven’s peace. in the Church to do the same. Isn’t it true that the hope, peace, joy Rejoice, Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel. and love offered by Jesus are more necessary now than ever? During this Advent and Christmas, I see hope being lived out, May we be met by the coming Christ with such power in these not just in the sounds of familiar carols or the images of lighted days that His love overtakes us and is evident not only in our candles but in the witness of congregations in communities words and our songs but in our actions. and field personnel serving around the world. I find hope in the
A Publication Of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Volume 30, Number 4 Winter 2020-2021
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 for Identity & Communications Jeff Huett Editor Aaron Weaver Associate Editor Carrie Harris Graphic Designer Jeff Langford
E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org Phone (770) 220-1600 Postmaster: Send address changes to: Fellowship! Cooperative Baptist Fellowship 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500 Decatur, GA 30030.
8 A TEACHABLE MOMENT How a North Carolina church’s international ministry carried on during quarantine By Jennifer Colosimo
THE IMPACT OF HOPE & HOSPITALITY: MOUSSA’S STORY By Melissa Browning
18 THE IMPACT OF HOPE &
HOSPITALITY: JOHN’S STORY By Grayson Hester
20 UNUSUAL ORDINATIONS
FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES Tennessee church ordains two women to ministry in the midst of pandemic By Grayson Hester
24 A DAY OF FAVOR CBF field personnel in Uganda offers holistic ministry at Amani Sasa By Melody Harrell
4 BATON ROUGE CHURCH JOINS CBF-NATIONAL BAPTIST HURRICANE RECOVERY EFFORTS IN LAKE CHARLES, LA. By Caleb Mynatt
26 A CHANGE OF HEART By Grayson Hester Opportunities to
29 AFFECT: DECEMBER 2020 Partnership in Louisiana
30 AFFECT: JANUARY 2021
The Impact of Hope & Hospitality in Belgium Opportunities to Opportunities to
31 AFFECT: FEBRUARY 2021 Ministry during a Pandemic
FROM THE EDITORS Even as this unusual year comes to a close, as Christians, we still sit in hopeful anticipation throughout the Advent season. We lift up hope, joy, peace and love, even as we experience uncertainty, grief, divisiveness and isolation. Our congregations, partners and field personnel continue to share the love of the coming Christ in innovative and creative ways. Through new partnerships in disaster response in Lake Charles, La., Cooperative Baptists and National Baptists are providing new hope for a community left reeling from a series of hurricanes, while also building bridges of racial reconciliation and justice, as well as friendship (pp. 4-6). Cooperative Baptists in North Carolina are reaching around the world virtually with English as a Second Language and culture classes for international friends, immigrants and refugees as their international ministry expands in this time of a global pandemic (pp. 8-10). CBF field personnel Janée Angel and her husband, Hary, are extending hope and hospitality to Arabic speakers in Antwerp, Belgium, like John and Moussa, who found community and family at Christus Voor Alle Naties (pp. 14-19). And in Kampala, Uganda, CBF field personnel Missy WardAngalla ministers to the most vulnerable refugee population through her ministry at Amani Sasa (pp. 24-25). In Tennessee, women in ministry were lifted up and celebrated as Central Baptist Bearden held a sociallydistanced, hybrid dual-ordination service for 25-year-old Bekah Rhea and 93-year-old Joyce Wyatt (pp. 20-22). In Georgia, a CBF congregation welcomed Wallace Montgomery as a summer intern through Student.Church, leading to deeper connection to the Fellowship (pp. 26-27). Across the CBF family, we still see the light of this Christmas season break through. You can join us in delivering hope this holiday season. Learn more on page 7 and explore the CBF Gift Catalog at www.cbf.net/giftcatalog.
AARON WEAVER is the Editor of fellowship! Connect with him at email@example.com CARRIE HARRIS is the Associate Editor of fellowship! Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org
H C R U H C E G U O R T BATON S I T P A B L A N O I T JOINS CBF-NA
By Caleb Mynatt
Y R E V O C E R E N A C I R HUR EFFORTS IN A L , S E L R A H C E K LA
previously existing reciprocal relationships. “We have several people in our congregation who have either worked in As the winds stirred and the sky turned to black on Lake Charles or are from Lake Charles,” Ezell said. “We wanted to make an impact, which is August 27, 2020, the citizens of Lake Charles, La., were why we had so many connections we could confronted with a reality that is all too familiar. have worked with. We just had the strongest connection with the NBCA from their help with the flood four years ago. We wanted to Church found partners to plug in with. not only help our neighbors but also return Hurricanes hitting the Louisiana coast “We decided to partner with CBF the favor.” have become an almost annual occurrence Louisiana’s connection, the National Baptist For NBCA, the damage to Lake Charles these days, but not often does a Hurricane Convention of America (NBCA),” explained hit very close to home. The president of Laura, a Category Four storm, barrel towards Broadmoor pastor Leonard Ezell. “There the National Baptist Convention of America the Gulf Coast. The residents of this small was a previous relationship from flooding in International, Dr. Samuel C. Tolbert, Jr., is city in the southeast part of the state our area in 2016, so we decided to go that the pastor at Greater St. Mary Missionary prepared for the worst, and also readied to direction in finding a partner.” Baptist Church in Lake Charles, and Greater start a clean-up process that has become far Under the discretion and guidance of St. Mary is one of the integral churches in the too common. the NBCA, Broadmoor has donated more organization that has more than 3.5 million Then, only six weeks later, Hurricane than $7,500 to the Lake Charles relief effort, members worldwide. And, according to the Delta made landfall in almost the exact providing “cleanup buckets” and other people on the ground, there is also work same place. With the Cooperative Baptist materials that will help rebuild houses, fix outside of Lake Charles to be done. Fellowship and National Baptist Convention powerlines and restore the infrastructure “There are lots of other little cities around of America International, Inc. (NBCA) already of Lake Charles. There is a desire in the at work providing relief and recovery in Lake Broadmoor congregation to assist in the Lake Lake Charles such as Westlake, Sulphur Charles, Baton Rouge’s Broadmoor Baptist Charles rebuilding effort, primarily because of and Iowa, that felt the worst of Hurricane
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and National Baptist Convention of America International Inc., are partnering in Lake Charles, La., to provide relief in the wake of hurricanes Laura and Delta. WINTER 2020 -2021
Laura and, later, Hurricane Delta,” said LaConya Caesar, who serves as the local response coordinator jointly contracted by CBF Disaster Response and NBCA and is a member of Greater St. Mary. “There is a lot to be done, but CBF is known for going around and helping with disaster relief.” The operation on the ground, according to Caesar, is extensive. She is responsible for orchestrating the import and distribution of supplies, coordinating truck drop-offs, assigning teams and other relief-based work. There are a lot of moving parts and it is admittedly a very large project. Even with the many supplies they are receiving from the
P L E H N A C U YO ASTER RESPONSE SUPPORT CBF DIS DR AT WWW.CBF.NET/
communities around them, there is still a long road ahead. “Our area was hit hard, and I don’t think a lot of people realize how hard it was hit,” Caesar said. “We’ve been without power for a long time; there are powerlines lining the street and there’s limited housing. It’s going to take a while to get back to normal.” Caesar is also responsible for assisting registered volunteer teams with the logistics of engaging recovering neighborhoods and to facilitate their lodging needs. For volunteers looking for a low-cost, COVID-19safe location to stay, housing arrangements are available at the United Methodist Church in nearby Merryville, La., where a CBF Arkansas shower trailer is being relocated. Alexandra Geovanni, a CBF-endorsed chaplain, serves as pastor there.
“THE PEOPLE OF LAKE CHARLES ARE OUR NEIGHBORS, AND WE REALLY WANT TO HELP THEM OUT AS MUCH AS WE CAN.”
Although the members of Broadmoor Baptist Church want to continue to help in the relief effort, doing hands-on work in the area has become increasingly difficult. With much of their volunteer base being senior adults, the current COVID-19 pandemic presents legitimate obstacles—not only for the people who want to help the Lake Charles community, but the Lake Charles community itself. Between that, and the younger volunteers having work, school and other obligations, finding the time and the personnel to make the 3.5-hour drive from Baton Rouge to Lake Charles has become difficult. “COVID-19 is keeping people from doing work in our own community, but our young adults are trying to stay involved right now,” Ezell said. “The people of Lake Charles are our neighbors, and we really want to help them out as much as we can. They’ve helped us in the past, and many of our members have family in the area. These supplies will help a lot, and we want to continue to be there if needed.”
Volunteers from Broadmoor Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, La., have partnered with CBF and NBCA to provide “cleanup buckets” and other materials to rebuild homes and restore infrastructure in Lake Charles, as well as providing volunteer teams to help with the cleanup.
Give the Gift of Hope this Christmas Season
By choosing gifts from the CBF Gift Catalog, you can honor someone while sharing the hope of Christ in real ways. Choose from 40+ gift items to support the ministries of our Fellowship, including CBF field personnel ministry, disaster response, chaplaincy, advocacy, racial justice, ministry along the U.S.-Mexico border, Young Baptists, Together for Hope and so much more!
Free Customizable e-Card with Every Purchase Select a customized e-card with each purchase to let your friends and family know of gifts you have purchased in their honor.
Browse the CBF Gift Catalog
GIFTS $50 TO $65
ation worth of art supplies for an art rehabilit A: Prison Art Supplies - Buy one month’s n & Tina Bailey) program in Bali’s prison system. (Jonatha a refugee family for 10 for ce assistan food cy emergen B: Emergency Food Bag - Provide Acker) days in Kampala, Uganda. (Jade & Shelah ar for coats, hats, gloves, socks, and underwe C: Winter Compassion Kit - Provide winter Kentucky. (Scarlette Jasper) those experiencing homelessness in rural poráneo Spanish Contem Bíblico ario Coment a Provide D: Spanish Bible Commentary (Familia) Bible commentary for a Latino/a pastor. basic over-the-counter medicine for the E: Medical Care for Immigrants - Provide hip deliver them to caring doctors. (Fellows refugees or help provide gas money to
Southwest) the health group counseling sessions to improve F: Wellness Check Counseling - Provide ) g the Flint Water Crisis. (Pan African Koinonia of the Flint, Michigan, community followin winter ality high-qu a with African n to Norther G: Winter Migrant Kit - Provide a migrant weeks. (Karen in Northern Africa) blanket and a pack of food to last two a family of Fellowship Southwest’s network to feed H: Feed an Immigrant Family - Enable st) Southwe hip (Fellows four for a week. in need or Counsel l Pastora or Chaplain orsed I: Support a Chaplain - Assist a CBF-End ncy Assistance Fund) during a time of financial crisis. (Chaplai for to help Roma in Eastern Slovakia pay J: Roma Student Stipend - Provide a stipend Parks) greater chance to succeed. (Jon & Tanya a them giving books, school tuition and nal programs educatio and n recreatio meals, of K: Youth Summer Camp - Provide a week for youth this summer. (Together for Hope)
www.cbf.net/giftcatalog | 7 6 | CBF Gift Catalog
ason Payne grew up with international mindfulness as a way of life. With two volunteer English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers for parents, his passion for the global sojourner was intrinsic by the time he was an adult. It’s no surprise he landed at a church where international ministry was important, too. It makes even more sense that he eventually answered the call to exercise that passion alongside the congregation as director of international programs at Forest Hills Baptist in Raleigh, N.C.
Since 2013, Payne has leveraged his eagerness to soak up knowledge and works to connect people across language barriers, serving a much greater goal in God’s kingdom. Established in 1978, the international ministries at FHBC were already doing some pretty exciting things when Payne jumped on board, including ministering to refugees and touching international neighbors through outreach programs and their English language classes and Sunday morning ESL Bible lessons. Payne has been able to build on that, using community connections with local universities and nearby churches to spread the Gospel through learned, spoken word. Together, they’ve ignited an environment where young students, families and adults can make friends, feel confident and—it goes without saying (pun very much intended)—learn to talk to each other. But then March 2020 happened, and the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we all connected. And what’s more fascinating
How a North Carolina church’s international ministry carried on during quarantine By Jennifer Colosimo
The Forest Hills Baptist Church International Ministry group poses together on February 26, 2020, during an English Culture and Conversation class before COVID-19 made programs move to virtual learning environments.
about the FHBC story is how it grew that international ministry once the world shut down. At first, it meant no more in-person classes and potentially a closed door to education, community and outreach. That wasn’t going to work—not for a congregation passionate about staying connected with their international neighbors, and certainly not for the teachers who value the relationships with their students so much. The result? The class calendar stalled for only one week, before they were back up and running, with more teachers and students than before. It’s also worth noting that no secret weapon was deployed to find this success. No magic formula or groundbreaking strategy was developed. No, it was simply a church and a community who answered the call and pushed on, trusting God to make it happen. The adaptations looked similar to many other churches with worship services recorded live and posted on Facebook and YouTube, a
The International Ministry at FHBC ministers to international neighbors through outreach programs, English language classes and ESL Bible studies, as well as using connections through local universities and nearby churches to spread the Gospel through learned, spoken word.
Classes with the International Ministry Team resumed virtually only one week after the pandemic closed church doors. Now classes take place on Zoom, meeting people where they are and allowing the program to have a global reach.
WINTER 2020 -2021 |
Previously, the International Ministry would host in-person classes like this Wednesday English Culture and Conversation class, where this visiting scholar from North Carolina State University is participating in the oral production that would open this multi-level English class.
congregation staying connected via social media. As for the language classes, they went virtual too. “When March came and none of our teachers wanted to stop, we prayed and had to think about how we were going to do that,” Payne said. “I paid attention to what other people in our community, including Wake Technical Community College and North Carolina State University, were doing and started exploring those ideas.” One teacher had already met with her students via Skype, but both teachers and students needed to adjust to a virtual platform. When Payne discovered the low cost and user-friendly platform Zoom, he took it to the International Ministry Leadership Team and support staff, spent three days in training and launched their first class on March 22—reopening virtual doors just days after the pandemic had closed them. “We have such gifted and generous servants of God in our church and when we expressed that we needed teachers, they responded,” Payne said. “Since it was mid-semester, we contacted our existing students, who then contacted their friends, and then folks on other platforms found out about us. Classes have grown ever since. English language learners and those looking to connect know that they can get what they need here. Each person is at a
different stage in their faith journey, and moving our classes to Zoom has provided a way to connect together in a way that makes sense—it meets people where they are, and as a result, we’re actually thriving.” “We praise our sovereign God for working in this omnipotent way,” Payne added. “Our story is truly a story of how God provides. When the pandemic shut everything down, we put out some feelers to see what our options would be. Of course, there were ups and downs, but God brought us through it, and all of a sudden, mid-pandemic, we had enough teachers for six classes on Wednesday nights, covering beginner students to those in our fluency classes.” Payne referenced a common Christian thought process in their journey to digital— one that that requires us to prayerfully seek God about doing the hardest thing we’re able to do and the most crucial task we can find. For Payne, that meant God was calling him to face challenges that were beyond what he could handle. “I’ll be the first to admit, I knew nothing about Zoom before this,” he said. “But God provided. He gave us the knowledge, and the ability, and we went after it.” Now—right in the middle of a pandemic— this ministry is reaching more than 160 people representing 30-plus countries, speaking an impossible-to-count number of languages, with students who have joined
class while in 14 different countries—a global outreach in every single Zoom call. “We’re excited about our international mission because, by the grace and provision of the Lord, we’ve been able to accomplish our goal of leading people to Christ through language,” Payne said. “It began with a Bible study for Lebanese and Palestinian children and families in the school across the street 42 years ago, and now, due to the pandemic, we are truly a global ministry with so many doors left to open.” Payne is currently attending Moody Bible Institute for a Master of Arts in global ministry design—a perk for FHBC’s international ministry, as the congregation’s plans for the future include keeping the digital platform alive, hoping to mesh those in-person classes with their international attendees in hybrid classrooms, no matter where in the world they are. “Here’s something cool,” Payne said. “When God brought us 10 teachers to be able to offer six classes, we knew that he was preparing us for something big. I don’t know what it is, but I love the saying that, ‘God doesn’t call the equipped. Instead, he equips the called.’ God has called us, he’s equipped us, and he’s preparing us. We are excited to see what comes next.”
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One Thing as Important as Quality Theological Education... Making Tuition Affordable. Union Presbyterian Seminary, in partnership with CBF Virginia and CBF Global, is pleased to announce a program designed to offer up to 40 full-tuition scholarships for CBF students in the Master of Arts in Public Theology, M.Div. and M.A.C.E programs. Application for admission is now open. The deadline to apply is February 15, 2021.
To learn more, please contact our admissions office: (804) 278-4221 or email@example.com
3401 Brook Road, Richmond VA 23227
Theological education options expand in Virginia with formation of two new partnerships with CBF Cooperative Baptists in Virginia will have new options for advanced theological study thanks to partnerships developed by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Virginia and CBF Global. Two schools, Union Presbyterian Seminary, which has campuses in Richmond, Va., and Charlotte, N.C., and Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, which offers distance education and has campuses in Georgetown and Louisville, will each play distinct roles in the effort to make theological education more accessible to CBF students in Virginia. Union will establish a Baptist House of Studies and will serve students who want a traditional classroom experience in a residential campus setting. BSK, which has a growing distance education program, will reach out to Virginia students who wish to learn where they currently live and work. Leaders say the goal of both partnerships is to educate effective leaders to serve Virginia’s CBF congregations. In the agreement with Union Presbyterian Seminary, the 208-year-old school will establish a Baptist House of Studies on its Richmond campus and will offer full tuition scholarships for up to 40 qualified full-time Baptist residential students. A new Baptist House Advisory Board will offer input and support as Union Presbyterian Seminary hires a director for the Baptist House, recruits adjunct faculty, engages churches for field education placements and works with seminary administration and trustees to set strategic direction. This partnership will offer a high-quality traditional, residential theological education option in Central Virginia, which will accept students to begin in the fall of 2021. To facilitate learning across denominations present in the seminary, courses taught
through the Baptist House of Studies will be made available to non-Baptist students. Brian Blount, president and professor of New Testament at Union Presbyterian Seminary, said his community is eager and excited to broaden its ministry of equipping leaders for Christ’s church by welcoming CBF and the Baptist House of Studies to its Richmond campus. BSK, founded in 2002, has been affiliated with CBF since its birth. Earlier this year, it also became affiliated with the National Baptist Convention of America, International, when the predominately Black 3.5-millionmember denomination designated BSK as its official seminary. In Virginia, BSK’s learning opportunities are expected to appeal particularly to individuals who desire to pursue their degree where they currently live and work. BSK is approved by the Association of Theological Education (ATS) to provide comprehensive distance education. The school’s Master of Divinity program includes optional concentrations in rural ministry and pastoral care, and BSK offers certificate programs in both areas. From its beginning, BSK has emphasized a commitment to full inclusion of women in church leadership and more recently racial justice has become an institutional and curricular priority. BSK opened its Louisville campus in 2018 at Simmons College of Kentucky, a historic Black institution. Racial justice is also a major concern of Union Presbyterian Seminary. BSK, like UPSem, will be enrolling Virginia CBF students for the 2021 fall semester. A six-member advisory team, which will include three representatives from BSK and three from Virginia CBF, will guide the development of BSK’s initiatives in Virginia.
CBF Virginia also will have representation on BSK’s board. David Cassady, president of BSK, said Baptist Seminary of Kentucky is honored by the invitation to extend its work into Virginia in cooperation with CBF Virginia. The process was led by a CBF Virginia Theological Education task force established in the fall of 2019 by CBF Virginia Coordinator Terry Maples and CBF Virginia Moderator Michael Cheuk in partnership with CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley. The task force included a representative group of pastoral leaders, ensuring the new vision for theological education and ministerial formation flows from the needs of congregations and their leaders. After naming a series of goals, the task force invited proposals from interested theological schools, reviewed proposals considering those criteria and eventually narrowed its focus to these two partnerships. A theological education fund will be created by CBF Virginia to help establish and support the partnership. Individuals and congregations are invited to contribute to the fund. Baxley said that these partnerships mean that congregations in Virginia will have access to really strong theological partners to prepare ministers. “For us Baptists, the calling, forming, preparing and sustaining of faithful ministers belongs ultimately to congregations,” Baxley said. “These new partnerships will thrive in collaboration with congregations and their leaders.” Terry Maples, coordinator of CBF Virginia, said he is delighted a year-long conversation among CBF Virginia pastors has birthed new theological education opportunities in Virginia. WINTER 2020 -2021
THE IMPACT OF HOPE & HOSPITALITY Moussa’s Story
an electrical engineer in Iraq, Moussa had it all. With a successful career working in the public and private sector, Moussa was at the top of his profession. He was a successful, educated man with a family whom he loved. Then war broke out in Iraq. Moussa and his family fled Iraq and, when he returned, things had drastically changed. The war had ended, but the lasting effects it had left on the country were painfully apparent. Moussa lived in Iraq for two years before he started to receive death threats. He felt unsafe and decided it was best to take his family and leave. Again, Moussa was forced to flee the country that he grew up in. “Due to adverse security matters, we had to leave Iraq and flee to Belgium,” Moussa explained. “God made our path easier. However, it cost us very much. I sold everything I had in Iraq to reach Belgium.”
When Moussa and his family arrived in Antwerp, Belgium, they were granted refugee status due to the risk of political violence. Although happy to be safe from the forces that sought to harm them in Iraq, there were massive adjustments they had to make. Among them were the weather and the language barrier. There were also challenges within the family—specifically religious ones. And that is how Moussa and his family connected with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Janée Angel. “Moussa arrived at our first church plant in Antwerp several years ago, coming because of his wife,” Angel said. “She had
By Melissa Browning
been having dreams about Jesus, and she wanted to understand those dreams.” As a lifelong practicing Muslim, Moussa was opposed to the idea of converting to Christianity. His entire family was Muslim; he had studied Islam all throughout school; and he knew nothing else but the Muslim world. Although he was apprehensive to consider learning about Christianity, there was a bit of curiosity in his mind. It also wasn’t the first time he had been curious about other religions; but it was the first time that he could actually do something about it. “When I was in Iraq, I had many questions in my mind,” Moussa said. “Whenever I asked anyone about them, they would reply that these questions were unacceptable and, if I kept asking them, I would become a heretic.” Because of that, Moussa had convinced himself that he should not ask about those questions. But now, given the opportunity to pursue them in a place where he would not be persecuted for it, he decided to try to learn more. At the very least, he wanted to learn what Christianity was all about.
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That’s when he went out on a limb and began talking to Hary, Janée’s husband, a pastor and Syrian native. Hary opened Moussa’s mind to the teachings of Christianity, telling him the story of Jesus and what it meant without pressuring or persecuting him. “In our meeting, Mr. Hary talked about Jesus,” said Moussa. “He also said that he didn’t want me to immediately convert to Christianity. He just wanted me to think about the points he had made.” For Moussa, those questions became louder and more frequent. But those old questions that he was hearing were nothing compared to the new questions that had begun to surface. What once had been a small ember had erupted into a full-blown fire inside his mind. Moussa wanted to learn more, so he took the Bible that Hary had given him and started to read it. He then used the Internet to compare its text to the Qur’an. For the first time, Moussa finally had the resources to get answers to those questions; but he quickly realized that more questions existed than there were answers.
CBF field personnel Janée Angel and her husband, Hary, opened Christus Voor Alle Naties (Christ for All Nations) in Antwerp, where refugees and migrants from Egypt, Morocco, Syria and Iraq have come together around a common faith that makes them a community.
“At the end, there were no answers,” Moussa said. “I believed that Islam was transferred from one person to another without answers. People block their minds and are stuck in a circle of having questions they are forbidden to ask.” After a lifetime of practicing the Islamic faith, Moussa had changed his mind. Because of his contemplation and his conversations with Hary, Moussa had decided to follow Jesus. Even though he felt ignorant of Christianity, he felt the presence of God guiding him and answering his questions. “It was a wonderful thing to watch Moussa blossom in his faith,” Angel said. “His faith was his own. It wasn’t because of us or his wife, although that was the journey that God used to introduce him to Christ.”
Although Moussa’s family back in Iraq was unhappy with his decision, he didn’t care. Even as they began to disassociate with him one-by-one, he felt that Jesus filled every hole that they left behind. He has now lived in Belgium for nine years, regularly attends church, hosts Bible studies, and plays an integral role in the Christian outreach to the Arabic community in Antwerp. “My experience with Jesus can replace all my relationships,” Moussa said. “The power which God gave us is life. Not just the words we read, but the words we believe in and live by. I experienced true life and faith. I have a true relationship with Jesus.”
Get Offering for Global Missions videos and other resources at www.cbf.net/ogm
WINTER 2020 -2021 |
PLANTING NEW CHURCHES JanÃ©e Angel Antwerp, Belgium
OFFERING FOOD & FRIENDSHIP Mira and Sasha Zivanov St. Louis, Missouri
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
— Hebrews 13:2
Your gift to the Offering for Global Missions will share Christ’s love with refugees. When you give, you help plant new churches and share the hope of Christ with people who have never heard the Gospel. You offer food, teach children how to succeed in school and help refugees adapt and thrive in their new homes.
Please give today through your church or at www.cbf.net/ogm
100% of your gift
“We plan to have churches all over Belgium and pray to have a church in every city. We had nearly 35 baptisms in the last year, whether they had a Muslim or Christian background.” – HARY, CBF FIELD PARTNER
to the Offering will support CBF field personnel serving in the U.S. and around the world. “It was very hard to find food. Then cooking gas was missing. Then school stopped. Death was everywhere. I went through very hard times.” – MARY, SYRIAN REFUGEE
THE IMPACT OF HOPE & HOSPITALITY John’s Story By Grayson Hester
After a difficult journey from Egypt to Sweden to Belgium, a 150-day stay in a prison camp, bureaucracy and uncertainty, John experiences freedom.
hat do the far-flung countries of Egypt, Sweden and Belgium have in common? A man named John.
John followed his call to minister to people of the Islamic faith in 2015, and found CBF field personnel Janée Angel, her husband, Hary, and Christus Voor Alle Naties, their Arabiclanguage church in Antwerp, Belgium which welcomes a community of immigrants and refugees.
God had different plans. “The Lord then talked to me and ordered me to come to Belgium,” John said. “At first, I was stubborn, and I thought it was not a real vision. And I didn’t want to go to Belgium, I wanted to go to Egypt again.” John, who attends Christus Voor Alle Naties (Christ for All But, faithful and receptive as ever, in February 2015, John made Nations), a church planted by Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field the nearly 1,000-mile journey to Antwerp. What he encountered there personnel Janée Angel and her husband, Hary, in Antwerp, Belgium, revealed that homesickness was to be the least of his worries. feels called to minister to the Muslim population there. It is a call For the first six months, his limited visa assured his stay in so persistent and so keenly heard that it led him across years, Belgium. He was able to reunite with his sister and even twice renew continents and countries, and helped him endure months in a camp his papers. On that second attempt, however, the brunt of the he called prison. bureaucracy came to his door. “Suddenly, they came to my house and John came to know Christ in 1991 because of a man named Ashraf. told me, ‘You need to come with us to the police station; you have to “He talked to me about hell and then I started thinking about how I be transferred to Egypt,’” John explained. “Then they sent me to a once feared death so much and how I should take Christ as a guide closed camp which was really a prison.” to lead me to heaven,” John said. “So, I decided to follow Christ and, There, John languished while the wheels of international relations since that day, I became solely dedicated to the Lord.” ground with painful slowness. In order to send him back to Egypt, he It is at this point that John received his call to minister to people needed some travel documents of which he was not in possession. of the Islamic faith, which initially led him to Sweden in 2015. The This meant the authorities had to appeal to the Egyptian embassy country and climate, when compared to the heat of Egypt, could not in Belgium to receive a permit. After a week, he was told, with have been more different. Struggling to adjust and to find his people, devastating frankness, that he would definitely be going back to John remembered having a “gloomy heart” and longing for home. Egypt. But John didn’t believe it.
him back to a home to which he did not want to return. This time, it seemed, they would win. “The last day of the last week I was in the camp, a Thursday, I faced my hardest challenge,” John said. “I was supposed to be released then, and the Lord had shown me a vision that day.” Despite the difficult circumstances, John said he felt a peace At first, he tried (and failed) to secure a lawyer. But, as it turned in his soul. Affirming this peace was the social worker’s report on out, John had something better. He had an advocate. Friday that nobody could get in touch with the Egyptians, and that “The Lord talked to me and told me, ‘Don’t be afraid. Nothing the embassy was mysteriously closed. They would have to try again will harm you. I will not send you back to Egypt. I brought you here, on Monday. On Monday, the embassy told the officials they could and I want you in this country,’” John said. “Once, when I was terribly not retrieve the papers. John’s peace persisted. scared, the Lord talked to me in a vision and said, ‘Didn’t I ask you not The next day, John’s social worker told him the news that should to worry about the embassy? I control the embassy with my hand.’” have sealed his fate. They had purchased his ticket. He was going Although it was not easy—John likened the struggle to a home. “I went to my room with the ticket in my hand,” John said. psychological war in which he managed to maintain faith that he “In my room, the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘John, are you going to would be able to remain in Belgium and pursue his call. Whether or trust my word or the paper in your hand?’ I said, ‘Your word.’” not he would leave the camp’s walls, he would be free to follow his With deep and unshakeable assurance, he placed the ticket in God. his closet. The social worker called at sunrise to inform him that a And so, John began busying himself by talking to his fellow mistake had been made and the ticket would be cancelled. And more campmates. The camp represented a cross-section of the world, than that, John would be released. On the last day of October, after containing Arabs, Europeans and all sorts of people, he said. Here he 150 days of uncertainty and waiting, testing, praying and internment, spoke of the God who steadied him and loved him. “It was like a fire John would finally see his sister. He would finally be free. inside me; I could not keep it inside. I was unable to keep the word of “I really thanked the Lord then and stood in the social worker’s Jesus to myself, and I talked to many people about Jesus,” John said. room and said, ‘Hallelujah!’” “Many people heard me, and many felt it in their hearts.” Janée and Hary were the first to pick him up from the camp. Months went by, and the Belgian authorities were persistent in And their relationship, forged in struggle and pain, continued far their efforts to deport John to Egypt. It was like a game of diplomatic beyond its walls and into the halls of a church. chess, with the state making one move and John always trying to Since his release, John has been attending one of the few stay one step ahead. He would hire lawyers; then they wouldn’t be churches in Antwerp for Arabic people like him. “This church is able to help. He would try to arrange reunions with his sisters to like my home and the Lord is my identity in his body in which I no avail. He even got a six-month release paper drafted; but it was am a member. Being a member in this church is not a coincidence. summarily rejected. Any one of these should have secured John’s Meeting Janée and Hary as guardians of this church—I am thankful release and guaranteed his ability to stay in Belgium. But none of to the Lord.” them materialized and no reasons were given. “They tried everything to send me back, but they couldn’t, because the Lord said his command for me was to stay,” John said. At this point, John had been interned for nearly five months. While his own liberation seemed unreachable, he nonetheless fought for the liberation of others. John distributed to the campmates a cartload of Bibles provided to him by Janée and Hary, who also supported John by way of intercessory prayer and visits. “Most people took the Holy Book, thanks to the Lord,” John said. “It was like a new era in the camp.” While it might have been a new era for his fellow campmates, John’s status remained unchanged. As did his faith. Each time his papers were rejected, or his release forestalled, John moved into deeper and deeper faith. “Every time my papers were rejected, I would say, ‘Oh, Lord, you are good.’” Matched only by the Belgian authorities’ resolve, John’s faith persisted even until the very last week of his internment. The authorities became insistent upon his deportation and once again Since his release from internment, John has been attending Christus requested his travel documents from the Egyptian embassy. His Voor Alle Naties and sharing his deep devotion to God with the community of believers there. social worker informed John that, by the end of the week, they would meet with the Egyptian embassy, receive his documents and send
“EVERY TIME MY PAPERS WERE REJECTED, I WOULD SAY, ‘OH, LORD, YOU ARE GOOD.’”
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God can be found in the most unlikely of situations, God definitely could have been found on October 4 at Central Baptist Church Bearden in Knoxville, Tenn.
Unusual Ordinations for Extraordinary Times Tennessee Church Ordains Two Women to Ministry in Midst of Pandemic By Grayson Hester
Due to the extraordinary circumstances imposed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the church hosted its first-ever hybrid (meaning online and in-person) and dual ordination service. Two women, Joyce Wyatt, 93, and Bekah Rhea, 25, became reverends this fall, representing both the abnormality of our times and the holiness that can be found in the midst of it all. “At first, the image in my mind was, ‘beginning and ending ministries,’” said Wade Bibb, senior pastor of Central Baptist Bearden. “But that’s not it. This is a trailblazer. And because of what this one person did, this other person gets to do. She doesn’t have to fight as many battles.”
Wyatt was ordained following a lifetime of service to the church and many years advancing the cause of women in ministry. Rhea was ordained after having just received a Master of Divinity degree from Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, officially establishing her as the kind of woman in ministry for whom Wyatt had fought for decades. That they were ordained together was a product of the pandemic, yes. But it was something more entirely: A reaffirmation of women in ministry, and a striking picture of how one person’s life can profoundly impact the life of another. “It gave us an opportunity as a church to reaffirm our stance and offer a reaffirmation of women in ministry as well,” Bibb said. “I had
Wade Bibb, senior pastor of Central Baptist Bearden, speaks at the dual ordination service of Bekah Rhea (left) and Joyce Wyatt (right).
never done a dual-ordination service for ministers; nor have I ever heard of it being done.” No stranger to doing new things, Wyatt was ordained in the same manner in which she has lived—as a trailblazer and a fearless advocate for women in ministry. “The reason that I accepted ordination was to be a voice for women,” Wyatt said. “And to be able to have women know that they can be called of God, and can have an amazing life of ministry, doing things that are far beyond all that we could have ever asked or thought or imagined.” Indeed, when Bibb approached Wyatt about the possibility of ordination, she accepted only under one condition—that it be an example for the women and girls of Central Baptist Church Bearden. Rhea is one such woman. “For me it was really special, because I know that Joyce is this revered figure,” Rhea said. “It was an honor to be ordained beside her. Some of the teens in the church now are girls I taught in preschool. Their mothers came up afterwards and said, ‘We’re glad our girls have seen this.’” No stranger to the disruption caused by COVID-19, having had her graduation celebration cut short, Rhea was at first a little wary of having yet another altered milestone. But meeting Wyatt changed all that. “The tide really turned when I got to meet Joyce and have her in my ordination council. Joyce is kind of a legend,” she said. A recounting of Wyatt’s ministerial activities, over a 70-plusyear ministry, would merit attention on its own. In short, Wyatt has done pretty much everything for which a seminary education could prepare anyone. She has taught; she has preached; she has studied in seminary; she has served as a missionary in Colombia and other Latin American countries; she has written books; and, most relevant
for Central Baptist, she has led a seminary-level Bible study for more than 20 years. She has been a passionate advocate for serving the international community, especially welcoming Latino immigrants and other neighbors. And at 93, Wyatt is still going strong, teaching her famous Bible study over Zoom to accommodate social distancing. In other words, a woman who learned to type on a typewriter is now leading a Bible study via the Internet with group video chatting. “I’m grateful for the technology,” Wyatt said. “In our early years in the 1950s or 1960s, we were missionaries in Spain and had 12 students in our class, along with carbon-copy paper. If you typed hard enough, maybe copy 13 was legible; but sometimes, you’d have to type it twice.” These reasons, along with others, account for the fact that when Bibb discovered she had never been ordained, he said it was embarrassing. “I’m not pointing the finger at other people, but at myself for the fact that I had not realized that lapse in 10 years,” he said. “It was appalling to think that her gifts and calling had not been affirmed in that way. We just saw it as a great opportunity to open that door for other people in the future.” Of course, Rhea, in her relatively short time on Earth, has done a considerable amount of work as well. She’s made much-needed contributions to the burgeoning field of disability theology, as well as engaging ministerially with her passions for theater and international travel. One might think that the only thing separating Rhea from Wyatt is the number of years they have lived. Indeed, the similarities between the two are downright spiritual. “Bekah and I both indicated that we were 15 when we had that real sense of call,” Wyatt said. That call took Wyatt all over the world and
The dual ordination service of Bekah Rhea (left) and Joyce Wyatt (right) presented a unique challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the service was attended by a limited congregation in person and was streamed online. Participants were able to lay hands on both women to offer prayers while wearing masks.
All Photos: Rachel Cromer, Central Baptist Church Bearden
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across the decades. At its core, it has been to build the Kingdom of God with full inclusion for women. For Rhea, it goes a little something like this: “At its core, my ministry is simply to help others see the image of God in creation, in other people and in themselves,” she said. “No matter what position I’m in, that is my calling. That part doesn’t change.” During the ordination service, both that call (to see the imago Dei) and Wyatt’s call (to empower women in ministry) were recognized and affirmed. Each candidate was able to choose a select few people to participate in the laying on of hands that traditionally occurs in an ordination service. Per social distancing guidelines, the sanctuary’s capacity was greatly reduced, requiring many to tune in from their computers and mobile devices at home. Masks were worn, and proper spacing was instituted. All the necessary steps were taken to ensure a safe and meaningful—albeit unusual—ordination service. Even in midst of atypical circumstances, the most unexpected blessings can arise. “This blessing is really important to me at this time,” Rhea said. “I feel really encouraged by the honor and I know
that I have a big responsibility ahead. I don’t know yet what that’s going to look like, but I think this is a demonstration that I will be equipped to handle it.” As for Wyatt, even after 93 years, she still managed to be surprised. “I never expected this to happen,” she said. “It was a beautiful service, and I’m grateful for Bibb’s initiating that, along with some of the women in the church. It was a wonderful moment to be able to do that with Bekah.” While in any other time, the past and future would not have been able to converge as strikingly as they did that day in Knoxville, this is not any other time. It’s a time of profound instability and confusion. It’s a time of fear for the future and questions about the past. But what Rhea and Wyatt have to contribute to our current moment is a recognition that if you can’t find a trail, just blaze one. “You have a trailblazer and a young woman,” Bibb said. “Bekah is able to do what she is called to do because of what Joyce has done. There is a sense of celebration, joy and pride—a sense of calling for the church. We can do this, even if others aren’t.”
(Clockwise from top left): Bekah Rhea speaks to the congregation gathered in person and online. Joyce Wyatt offers words of thanks as she is ordained at 93 years of age. Friends and family safely gather around Bekah and Joyce to lay hands on the women and offer prayers of support for their ministries. Pastor Wade Bibb presents Bekah Rhea with a Bible as a gift from the church.
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Missy Ward-Angalla (left) is a CBF field personnel serving women, men and children in Kampala, Uganda, through Amani Sasa, which offers safety, wholeness and empowerment through various support programs for vulnerable and at-risk refugees.
A Day of
CBF field personnel in Uganda offers holistic ministry at Amani Sasa By Melody Harrell
It was supposed
to be your average staff Christmas party. The Secret Santa gifts had all been doled out with much hilarity. Lucy patted the stalk of matoke beside her, smiling. Her Secret Santa had sent her on a treasure hunt. The clues led to the banana tree outside where the Secret Santa revealed herself, cutting the stalks of fruit down and carrying them into the party room. What a creative gift that would be put to good use come dinner time, when the cooking bananas would be made into a delicious mash for Lucy’s family!
Suddenly, someone broke out singing, “Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you,” as another danced in carrying a cake. With surprise, a little one-year-old girl, the daughter of one of the women in the young mom’s program looked up, her big brown eyes wide and bright. She saw she was the focus of everyone’s singing. “Happy Birthday, dear Favor. Happy Birthday to you.” It made perfect sense. This season of gift-giving was just the time to celebrate the birthday of this precious child. Favor’s mom,
Sarah, with a big smile wrapped her arms around the beautiful little girl in her lap, as if gathering up all the love in the room and folding it around her like a blanket. Sarah had come to Amani Sasa in Kampala, Uganda, two years ago. Her sister had been taken into their women’s shelter some months before and promised Sarah that she would find the support she needed. Sarah was desperate and had nowhere else to turn. She had recently been assaulted by her employer and become pregnant. She
was barely managing as a widow with the four children she already had, barely making ends meet with the cleaning job she worked in her boss’s home. She was already living on less than one dollar per day and their family was barely scraping by. Now without a job and with the trauma of the assault, she felt even more overwhelmed. She was left vulnerable and alone. The social work team at Amani Sasa received her immediately and began doing what they always do: loving, caring, counseling, guiding and looking at Sarah in her beloved-ness. Missy Ward-Angalla, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel and co-director of Amani Sasa alongside her husband, Francis, explained, “Our work at Amani is multifaceted, just like people are,” said WardAngalla of the holistic ministry in Kampala with programs for women, men and children. “We respond most immediately to the first needs we encounter such as compromised nutrition, physical and emotional trauma,
(Left) One of the greatest joys at Amani Sasa is to witness women who have graduated from one of the programs beginning to reach out to those around them and offer strength to others. (Right) Sarah and her daughter, Favor, received love, holistic care, counseling and guidance from their community at Amani Sasa.
and isolation from the community. Then we begin the slow process of healing and transformation through counseling, praying together, reading the Bible together; and the women begin slowly recovering as they open up to the other women in their program who have experienced many of the very same things. Together, they form a community where they continue to grow and heal and learn the various skills needed in order to be empowered to support themselves.”
Within a few months, Sarah began having hope again. She now serves on staff at Amani Sasa and has responded to new opportunities to share in devotions and to talk about her own journey with the other women.
had a new family. Missy noticed small flower arrangements appearing on the desks of the staff and, with a little inquiry, discovered it was Sarah who was picking flowers from the garden and quietly offering these gifts of beauty and grace. One of the greatest joys to witness at Amani Sasa is seeing women who have graduated from one of the programs begin
to reach out beyond themselves to others around them. It is visible evidence of the transformation that has taken place, that women who were once marginalized have new places of strength to offer to others. Sarah found family among the staff, who talked with her about parenting, about some of the things she was about to face with a newborn, and about techniques for nursing the new baby effectively. She also found community and support from the other young mothers who were going through the program with her. When Sarah went into labor, Missy went with her to the hospital in Kampala and sat with her during the long hours. “Coming alongside, actually being present, is perhaps the simplest but deepest work we do,” Missy said. “It shows the women we are here for them and will walk all parts of their journey together with them, showing them they are safe and cared for, especially when they need it most.” When the baby was born, a beautiful little girl, Missy asked Sarah, “Have you decided on a name for her?” “I will call her Favor,” Sarah said. “Because through Amani Sasa, I have seen and experienced God’s favor in my life.” There was perhaps no more meaningful endorsement. There are multiple ways to be a part of the good work of Amani Sasa. Giving to the CBF Offering for Global Missions allows Missy Angalla to live in Kampala and be present to the ministries at Amani Sasa, offering safety, wholeness and empowerment to vulnerable refugee women, men and children.
Amani Sasa is the only organization in Kampala that offers refugees holistic in-depth trauma-healing and empowerment, serving more than 500 women, men and children each year.
“Before I came to Amani Sasa, I was ready to die. I couldn’t see any other way,” she shared. Now she was not only living, but she WINTER 2020 -2021 |
A Change of
Heart By Grayson Hester
the summer of 2020, Wallace Montgomery, III, had never even heard of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Now, only a few months later, he’s transferring to one of CBF’s partner seminaries—Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology. The difference between then and now? CBF’s Young Baptist Ecosystem and its Student.Church program, which placed Montgomery at First Baptist Church, Roswell, Georgia. Oh, what a difference it made! “It literally changed my life,” Montgomery said. “I never could have seen this in a million years; but I wouldn’t change it for the world.” And Montgomery isn’t the only one to experience change this year. The whole program, in order to adapt to constraints and concerns presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, had to go in a new direction. Typically, the Student Dot summer internships—Student.Church and Student.Go—place young adults with CBF-affiliated churches and partners or CBF field personnel ministries, respectively, sending them physically to their sites for two months of supervised ministerial experience. But summer 2020 was anything but typical. Once it became clear that COVID-19 would not allow any kind of safe interstate travel, the program was overhauled and moved almost totally online. And, perhaps expectedly, some churches had no choice but to drop out. This opened the door for
churches like FBC Roswell and students like Montgomery to try the program for the first time. Montgomery was pursuing his Master of Divinity at Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta when he first heard of CBF thanks to a fellow student. Upon learning about CBF and its Student Dot programs, he went out on a limb and applied, despite knowing almost nothing about the Fellowship or anyone involved. Soon after he was accepted, he received a call from Devita Parnell, director of CBF’s Young Baptist Ecosystem. “Devita called and said, ‘You need a match. And I have found a church that needs an intern,’” Montgomery said. As is the case with many CBF churches, FBC Roswell is a predominantly white congregation. And Montgomery is a black man. Parnell made sure to make Montgomery aware of this.
“Hey, I grew up in rural Arkansas,” he said. “I was always the only African American in the room. Do they believe in Jesus? If they believe in Jesus, I believe in Jesus. It’ll be fine.” But that confidence doesn’t mean he was without understandable reservations. Although Montgomery was living in Atlanta, he was unfamiliar with Roswell, a majoritywhite, northern suburb of the city. He didn’t know anyone at the church, and he had never participated in this kind of program. But once he arrived at FBC—a fact made possible by his close proximity to the church—all the anxiety melted away. “When I got there, they loved on me and they accepted me,” he said. “I thought I was going to get just a stipend; but instead I got a family. We do life together.” Montgomery immediately got plugged into the church, performing duties as diverse as filling in for a drummer, planning and teaching students and young adults. “Wallace was fantastic to work with all summer long,” said Logan Carpenter, minister of spiritual development at FBC Roswell. “He had a positive attitude and a great mindset in everything he did.” It was a mutually beneficial relationship so successful that now, according to Carpenter, the church is considering rejoining Student Dot next year, and they have offered Montgomery a year-long pastoral internship position.
Wallace Montgomery, III
Wallace Montgomery (left) served alongside Logan Carpenter (right), minister of spiritual development at FBC Roswell.
But beyond any professional credentials achieved or ministerial experiences gained, what really impacted Montgomery was a change of heart. “CBF kind of changed the heart of me. Growing up in Arkansas, racial tension is nothing new to me. But this summer changed me for the better. I now see the heart of a person, instead of the exterior.” The staff at FBC Roswell made him feel heard. The members of FBC Roswell took him in, even going so far as to provide him a bedroom so he wouldn’t have to make the 30-minute drive back to
Atlanta too late at night. And at the end of the summer, members wrote him thank-you cards, something he said he’d never experienced at any other church. For a Black male soon-to-be pastor who has a heart for social justice, serving in an unfamiliar congregation in a new denomination—both of which are predominantly white—during the most racially significant summer arguably since the 1960s—for all this to happen, and for him to have had a positive experience, can only be chalked up to grace. “Even with the adverse experiences of my past, my current experience has greatly improved who I am becoming,” Montgomery said. “My current experience has allowed me to live in grace. I’ve preached about grace before; I’ve even taught lessons on it. But participating in this CBF summer program taught me how to live in grace—how to accept it for myself, welcome it and walk with it dayto-day.” And as for his life, with a changed heart, a renewed calling, a different seminary direction and a now-familiar church to serve over the next year? Well…“Life is better than it has ever been,” he said.
Student.Church Student.Church provides congregational internships to students who are interested in a deeper experience of church life or pursuing a call to ministry. Interns are mentored by seasoned ministers as they explore the breadth of congregational ministry through a variety of learning experiences.
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to offer Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hope this Christmas season!
YOUR GIFT MAKES HOPE HAPPEN! CBF field personnel Eddie Aldape (pictured above) serves in Albacete, Spain, alongside his wife, Macarena, where they minister to immigrants and refugees. Through Centra de Esperenza (The Hope Center), they assist immigrants with the registration process, offering language help and meeting basic needs so that they can experience the hope of Christ.
Give Today! www.cbf.net/give
Partnership in Louisiana
Members of Broadmoor Baptist Church and Greater St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church partnered to respond to the impact of hurricanes in Lake Charles, La.
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.
Prepare for the session by reading the article about the CBF-National Baptist hurricane recovery in Lake Charles, La., on pp. 4-6 in this issue of fellowship! Distribute copies of the article before the session to encourage informed discussion. Say: This article highlights Broadmoor Baptist’s involvement in disaster response in Lake Charles, La. Partnership is a vital element of the story. Ask: Why do churches choose to partner in a scenario like disaster response? What makes disaster response different than other kinds of missions or ministries churches do? Say: Several kinds of partnerships are mentioned in the article, including individual partnerships, partnerships between different church groups and even partnerships between denominations. Ask: Why do you think these groups are able to make a disaster response partnership work in spite of the diversity and difference of opinions that surely exist?
Ask: What kinds of community needs, besides disaster response, tend to lower denominational and cultural barriers to cooperation? What could churches do to lower these barriers on a more permanent basis? 7. Ask: What are the most important factors when a church chooses to partner with a group for something like disaster response? How important is a prior relationship compared to other factors such as proximity or doctrinal alignment? 8. Say: LaConya Ceasar is the local disaster response coordinator in Lake Charles for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc. 9. Ask: Why is local knowledge important to effective disaster response ministry? In our church, which ministries require local knowledge? 10. Say: Caesar believes that many people don’t realize how hard-hit Lake Charles has been. 6.
Learn more at www.cbf.net/dr
11. Ask: Do you agree? Why do some disasters have a higher profile than others? Should churches consider a “least of these” approach to disaster response by finding people and places that may have been overlooked? 12. Ask a volunteer to read Luke 10:30-37, the Parable of the Good Samaritan. 13. Ask: What elements in this parable remind you of a disaster response situation? 14. Say: The Good Samaritan provides hands-on relief to the wounded traveler and also provides money for his continued care. The response is both short- and long-term. The same kind of multi-faceted approach seems to be called for in communities recovering from disasters. 15. Ask: When our church considers community needs, are we more likely to respond with hands-on help or with a monetary gift? Is our response likely to be short- or long-term in duration? How could we cultivate a more multi-faceted approach? 16. Close the session in prayer for the people of Lake Charles and for the churches and groups that continue to serve there.
The Impact of Hope & Hospitality in Belgium At Home: With Children MISSIONS EDUCATION RESOURCE: The following coloring and maze activity can help children learn how CBF field personnel Janée Angel and her husband, Hary, extend hope and hospitality to Arabic-speaking refugees in Belgium. Photocopy permission granted.
Journey of Hope
Directions: Help Janée and Hary extend hope and hospitality to their neighbors in Belgium. Follow the paths to help their neighbors find food and a church home. Color the page after the journey is complete.
Hary and Janée
Refugees in Belgium
Ministry during a Pandemic
The International Ministry at Forest Hills Baptist Church ministers to international neighbors through English language classes and ESL Bible studies to spread the Gospel through learned, spoken word.
In Worship: A Litany
Learn more at www.foresthills.org/international
MISSIONS EDUCATION RESOURCE: The following worship resource is designed for use in a congregational worship or small group setting. Photocopy permission granted.
Leader: God of all nations, you created a world that is connected. People: By climate, by trade and now by disease. Leader: Your world is being threatened by a pandemic that affects us all. People: Every religion, every class, every race and every language. Leader: God, we want to be your people. People: A people who share your concern for the world. Leader: God of all peoples, you created us with a deep desire for connection. People: You gave us a capacity to learn from each other. Leader: To talk to each other and to relate. People: To hear each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s voices and to know each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stories. Leader: To understand each other when we really try. People: You created us to thrive together rather than alone.
Leader: God, we yearn to be your people. People: A people who listen to the cries of the world. Leader: God of all creation, you sent your Son and you sent your Spirit. People: You have given us the love and hope of Christ. Leader: You have given us the creativity of your Spirit. People: You call us and you equip us. Leader: To be present to the people who cross our path. People: To use our skills and to share the gifts that you have given. Leader: God, we long to be your people. People: A people who minister to the needs of the world.
160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500 Decatur, GA 30030 www.cbf.net (800) 352-8741
THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON, GIVE BACK THROUGH YOUR FAITHFUL LEGACY Looking for ways to give back this year? In 20 easy minutes, you can take a simple step to protect your loved ones and support Christ’s mission for generations to come—without paying a cent now. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and CBF Foundation have partnered with FreeWill to make creating your legal will, and your faithful legacy, completely free. Take one bold step today to ensure that the people and the church you love are forever cared for, at no cost.
Create your legacy at www.cbf.net/freewill