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Florida Fellowship News The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida 2013 Fourth Quarter Issue Volume 23 - Number 4

CBF Bahamas annual convocation “Above and Beyond” expectations Every year, tens of thousands of people move to the United States. Some are international students, who study for a few years and later return to their home country. Some are immigrants, who choose to relocate for employment or family. And others are refugees, who are forced to resettle Butch and because of violence, Nell Green poverty or other unrest in their own country. Many refugees start with little to nothing, arriving with only the clothes on their back. In Houston, Texas, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Butch and Nell Green help transition refugees to their new homes by serving as cultural guides and offering emotional support. “God today has brought the world to our doorsteps,” Butch said. “Refugees, immigrants and international students . . . are our neighbors, and we have a responsibility as Christians, as churches, to reach out with the love of Christ.” In Houston alone, an estimated 2,500 refugees resettle every year. “We have to realize that God is not only giving us an opportunity in this migration, but a blessing,” Nell said. “Our churches will be better for seeing it, embracing it and reaching into it.”


By Ray Johnson

ore than 100 Cooperative Baptists in the Bahamas, representing six churches, celebrated their second annual convocation at St. Cleveland’s Baptist Church, located in Freetown, Grand Bahama, October 16-20. Suzii Paynter, CBF’s national Executive Coordinator, was the keynote speaker for the opening worship service on Wednesday evening. Other speakers for the week included John McIntosh (Coordinator of CBF of the Bahamas), Marcus Cooper (Youth Director, CBF of the Bahamas), and Ray Johnson (Coordinator of CBF of Florida and the Caribbean Islands). This year’s convocation, whose theme was “Above and Beyond,” opened up a variety of new relationships between CBF’s Bahamian churches and other CBF organizations and ministries, including Passport, disaster response, theological education, as well as other CBF states and regions.

John McIntosh and Suzii Paynter

Tommy Deal, CBF’s National Disaster Response Coordinator, led a workshop on disaster response. David Burroughs, Executive Director of Passport Mission Camps, led a youth outing on Saturday morning. Burroughs was assisted by CBF Florida’s Associate Coordinator, Rachel Gunter Shapard. Bahamian churches that sent representatives to the meeting included from Grand Bahama: St. Cleveland’s (pastored by Preston Cooper), New Emmanuel (McLean’s Town, pastored by Edwin Pinder), Ebenezer (Sweeting’s Cay, pastored by Pedyson Baillou); from Abaco: New Hope (Mount Hope, pastored by John McIntosh), St. Thomas (Wood Cay, pastored by Elon McIntosh); and New Ebenezer International Ministry from Salina Point (Acklins Island), pastored by Rufus Forbes. Coordinators from seven of CBF’s 18 states and regions attended the convocation both to celebrate the partnership between CBF of Florida and CBF of the Bahamas and to discover partnership possibilities with CBF’s Bahamian churches. The coordinators (and several of their spouses) included Christian Byrd (MS), Glen Foster (the West), Rob Fox (VA), Ray Higgins (AR),

Your gifts to the CBF Offering for Global Missions support Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel, such as Butch and Nell Green, as they minister among refugees and immigrants in Houston, Texas, and change lives in Houston and worldwide. Please give. Photo and content courtesy of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Pausing at New Emmanuel Baptist Church in McLean’s Town for a photo. Left to right: Rachel Gunter Shapard, Edwin Pinder, Alma Pinder, Harold Phillips, Larry Hovis, Christian Byrd, Ray Johnson, Pat Anderson, Susan Deal, Rufus Forbes, Tommy Deal, Rob Fox, Pedyson Baillou, Rick McClatchy (Photo by Tommy Shapard)

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CBF of the Bahamas - 2nd Annual Convocation

Larry Hovis (NC), Rick McClatchy (TX), and Harold Phillips (Heartland). They were also joined by Pat and Carolyn Anderson, CBF Florida’s first two coordinators, who were instrumental in establishing the partnership with the Bahamian churches. An important development of the convocation was the national exposure that CBF of the Bahamas received. On Thursday, Oct. 10, Preston Cooper and Ray Johnson interviewed with The Hon. Dr. Michael Darville, the Minister of Grand Bahama. The day before the convocation began, the interview aired on ZNS, the national television station of the Bahamas. Also, Mr. Peter Turnquest, one of Grand Bahama’s four members of parliament, attended the concluding service on Sunday when he brought official greetings from the government to the assembly. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of the Bahamas constituted as a duly recognized Baptist body of the Bahamas two years ago. At the October 2010 meeting of CBF of Florida’s Representative Assembly (CBF Florida’s governing body), the RA approved expanding the geographical reach of the organization to include the Caribbean Islands. Since that time eight churches in the Bahamas have partnered in a variety of ways with CBF of Florida, including sending a mission team to Open House Ministry center.

Concluding worship celebration on Sunday, October 20

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John McIntosh and Preston Cooper

Edwin Pinder, pastor of New Emmanuel Baptist

Rufus Forbes, pastor of New Ebenezer International Ministry on Acklins Island

Rachel Gunter Shapard stands beside Obediah Wilchcombe, Minister of Tourism

Suzii Paynter and Enid McIntosh (front) worship on Thursday evening

Ray Johnson preaching on Sunday

Tommy and Rachel Shapard join forces with Tommy and Susan Deal during Sunday morning’s concluding worship service.

Florida Fellowship News

Join us in Orlando 2014 CBF Florida Spring Celebration & Clergy Conference College Park Baptist Church “Intersectionality: Church and Culture at the Crossroads”

2014 Spring Celebration

2014 Clergy Conference

Intersectionality: Church and Culture at the Crossroads

Becoming the “Other”: The Church as Stranger in a Brand New World

Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, Keynote Speaker Friday, May 2— Saturday, May 3

Dr. Robert Nash, Facilitator Thursday, May 1—Friday, May 2

“Becoming the ‘Other’: The Church as Stranger in a Brand New World”

Meet Janyth Bryant A conversation with a CBF Florida scholarship recipient  Why Cooperative Baptists? Being a part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship enables me to be connected to other believers who embrace the basic Baptist principles of salvation through Christ alone, and who also recognize and value the ministry of women and their calling to serve the Lord.  What’s playing on your iPod these days? I am listening only to Basics of Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary by Gary D. Pratico and Miles V. Van Pelt. But in my mind, I keep hearing a couple of lines playing over and over again from the chorus of “I Give Myself Away,” by William McDowell.  Who was instrumental in your being called into Christian ministry? There have been several pastors in addition to my present pastor, Rev. Allan Bendert, who have helped me to believe that I “could” be called. The leadership of CBF Florida has now become instrumental in my calling as I recognize their support and encouragement to be an outpouring from the Lord to continue onward in preparation for a career in ministry. 

What was it about your home church that helped you hear God’s

calling? At first it was the support of Pastor John Carter, who was serving as the interim pastor when I first joined Emmanuel Community Church, and the entire congregation was supportive. Then, when Pastor Bendert came to us, he became a mentor to me and is now helping me to begin the steps toward ordination following the completion of my seminary degree. I hear God’s calling through their support. 

What are your plans for ministry when you finish your degree? I hope to work on staff for a hospital as a chaplain. In this role, I hope to help people refocus their lives after they have experienced loss.

The best part about seminary for you is . . . The spiritual growth and enlightenment I have gained from doing the coursework. That is what I have always liked the best. I also like the fact that it’s almost over (only 7 more classes)!

If you could give any advice to someone who is considering going to seminary, what would you say? Press on without delay toward beginning seminary with a sense of urgency. Consider that seminary is preparation-time for serving the Lord in the future. From this perspective, study is imperative and should be given first priority, even over ministry. And trust God; the Lord is faithful to bring about completion of what He has begun in you!

Florida Fellowship News

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Compañerismo que alimenta By Ruben Ortiz

By Tim Sizemore

Cuando ya era muy avanzada la hora, sus discípulos se acercaron a él, y le dijeron: “El lugar es desierto y la hora ya muy avanzada. Despídelos para que vayan a los campos y aldeas de alrededor y compren pan, pues no tienen qué comer.” Respondiendo él, es dijo: “Dadles vosotros de comer.” Marcos 6.35-37 Alguien dijo que la misión de iglesia o es integral, o no es misión. Tal y como el evangelio nos enseña la misión es proclamación de una verdad que se hace física, real, palpable en el diario del vivir. Eso está muy claro para La PIB Deltona. Desde Enero de este mismo año 2013 se ha comprometido a abrir sus manos para el necesitado. Deltona es la ciudad más grande del condado de Volusia y ha sido muy afectada por la crisis económica. La iglesia decidió tomar muy en serio su misión integral. Para ello se unieron al banco de alimentos local “Open Hands Ministries.” El resultado ha sido hermoso, durante los últimos 10 meses más de 50 voluntarios han respondido con más de 600 horas de trabajo voluntario mensual para alimentar aproximadamente a 350 familias cada mes. Esto hace un total de más de 6 mil horas donadas que sumarían más de 100 mil dólares en una nómina si esto fuera a ser pagado por un empleador. Bien lo dice nuestra coordinadora ejecutiva en el Compañerismo Bautista Cooperativo “podemos hacerlos solos, o podemos tener un compañerismo.” Aquí en la Primera de Deltona, hemos decidido tener un compañerismo. Yes, this article is in Spanish! Go to for the translation. Un equipo dispuesto

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Open House Ministries: A personal narrative This past summer, the youth group of the Church in the Meadows of Lakeland, Florida, traveled to Homestead to assist South Venice Baptist Church during a week of summer day camp ministry at Open House Ministries (OHM). Since our group consisted of teenage youth who had never experienced this type of mission opportunity, we were grateful for South Venice and their willingness to let us both observe their well-planned program and augment their efforts. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting the children at OHM and will never forget the new friends we made while there. As pastor and one of the adult leaders for our team, I developed a deepened appreciation for the work of OHM and the vital service it provides. Wanda Ashworth and her devoted team have created a loving home-away-from-home for children and youth in the very challenging environment of Homestead. During the summer day camp, children and youth are provided a caring community emphasizing not only the spiritual message of God’s love in Christ, but also a framework of structure and accountability that expresses gracious compassion for each child while teaching valuable life lessons. Our group had the privilege of participating in a farewell prayer for two Donald Mesier teaching OHM high school swimming lessons to campgraduates as they ers at OHM last summer. left for college. Donald Mesier, one of the graduates we prayed for, is now a freshman at Texas Southern in Houston with a full scholarship for football. While mission teams like ours come and go after a week of ministry, the OHM staff is sustaining a presence in the neighborhood for the long haul. Wanda and the staff of OHM (many of whom were themselves former participants) are particularly adept at developing young leaders from within. As Wanda often states, “It’s chess, not checkers!” The organization’s long-term approach to being the presence of Christ is one of the most significant strengths of this South Florida ministry. Parte de los más de 50 voluntarios de Open Hands en La Primera

Florida Fellowship News

Floridians Provide Disaster Relief in Oklahoma By Robert Searl

When Bob Searl, pastor of the North Stuart Baptist Church, arrived for the May 21 st deacons meeting, one of the deacons met him at the door and said, “I’m surprised to see you here. I thought you’d be on your way to Oklahoma by now.” The tornadoes that tore through central Oklahoma May 19-20 struck close to the hearts of the folks at North Stuart Baptist Church. Bob Searl, pastor of North Stuart, and his wife Debbie moved to Florida from Oklahoma after serving the University Baptist Church in Shawnee for almost fifteen years. Debbie is an Oklahoma native, having grown up within a few miles of where the tornadoes struck. North Stuart’s missions committee sprang into action. By the following Sunday, the committee began formulating a plan to send a group to Oklahoma to help with the recovery. Church members were asked to contribute donations to help underwrite the trip. On July 22, twelve volunteers from North Stuart boarded a plane bound for Oklahoma City. The North Stuart team’s efforts in Oklahoma were coordinated through the CBF Oklahoma (CBFO) office. Partnering with the national CBF office and CBF of Georgia, CBFO was able to hire additional staff to help with disaster relief. The Florida team was sent to Emmanuel Baptist Church, a rural congregation near Shawnee that served as a tornado relief center. The team removed brush and debris, and with the help of a youth group from North Dakota, razed an old shed that had sustained heavy damage. Heavy rains drove the North Stuart team indoors on their final workday, but they discovered that the Goodwill Distribution Center in Oklahoma City needed volunteers to prepare for a free distribution of clothing to tornado victims the next day. Connecting with the families they served was the best part of the trip for the North Stuart folks. One family was deeply saddened to lose several 100 year-old trees from their yard during the May 19th outbreak. Although there were no trees available at the time to replant in their yard, the North Stuart church is partnering with University Baptist in Shawnee to replace the trees this fall when the stock of new trees is replenished.

Time to think about Martha! Each year Baptist Women in Ministry encourages Baptist churches to invite a woman to preach on any Sunday in February. The month-long emphasis is named in honor of Martha Stearns Marshall, an 18th-century Separate Baptist preacher. Last year, 201 churches celebrated God's gifting of women! Meredith Stone at College Park in Orlando Here's how your church can participate:

1) SAVE THE DATE!! Reserve any Sunday in February. 2) Invite a woman to preach. Ask a member of your church; contact a nearby seminary and inquire about a student or professor, or ask someone in your community. If you need help locating a preacher in your area, contact the CBF Florida office or the office of Baptist Women in Ministry. 3) Download the certificate from the BWIM website; print it out and present it to the preacher on your church's Martha Stearns Marshall Day of Preaching. To learn more about the Martha Stearns Marshall Month of Preaching, visit Baptist Women in Ministry’s website,, or scan the tag on the right. Make plans now to participate each February in the Martha Stearns Marshall Month of Preaching. Florida Fellowship News

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My Island Encounter By Dianne Forrest

I recently spent eight days with Karen Alford in Indonesia. I visited Karen with no pre-conceived ideas about her work and life on Mentawai Island. Let Karen Alford (left) and Dianne Forrest me tell you what I found.

officials now provides her the opportunity to work alongside local Non-Governmental Organizations in developing and presenting health education programs and services for schoolaged young people designed to address critical topics such as I discovered a simple island HIV/ AIDS and alcohol and tobacco abuse. The intent is to prevent these practices and diseases from emerging into lifecommunity nestled along a two-mile harbor, with homes long health problems. built on the hillside occupied When asked what her one unfulfilled dream is, Alford quickly by caring people who have replies, “Better training for village midwives.” She went on to lovingly welcomed Karen say, “When I first arrived in 2011, I was astonished by the high into their close-knit families. infant mortality rate in the remote villages. I quickly learned it Karen reaches out to the was attributed to local midwives, often no more than children people, young and old, by themselves, lacking any type of formal training in hygiene or providing medical services at procedures. My desire is to establish a quality training program a small three-room clinic situated alongside her home and for village midwives with standards equivalent to those taught operated by the nearby GKP (Protestant) church. By helping out to government midwives.” at a larger clinic on the grounds of the Roman Catholic Church, In two short years, Karen Alford has gone Above and Beyond her she is making services available on a regular schedule to people simple dream of treating the sick on an island where the most in the small village of Sikakap. basic medical care is limited or inaccessible. She has become a On several occasions, Karen has been called to consult on more vital link in a community where love is often the best medicine. serious medical cases at the government-run clinic located some Karen offers hope for a better life to the people of Mentawai distance away on Pagai Utara (North Pagai) Island. The growing Island. relationship between Karen and Indonesian government health


CBF Florida welcomes two new pastors

January - October 2013 November 3 Jeff and Jessica Summers New Hope Baptist Church Port Orange

November 17 Jack and Sandy Mercer College Park Baptist Church Orlando

Thank you for the gifts!   

To the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida, a gift from Nell Scott Cornwell, in memory of her husband, Marion M. Cornwell. To the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida Annual Missions Offering, a gift from Bud and Pat Strawn, in memory of Russell and Valeda Strawn. To the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida, a gift from Chloe Hadaway, in memory of her husband, Earl Hadaway. To make a contribution to CBF Florida, visit, or mail to P. O. Box 2556, Lakeland 33806.

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Florida Fellowship News

Brownwood Baptist Church – A Dream and a Prayer By Mary Lois Sanders When Tom and I moved to The Villages in 2003, we looked for a CBF or CBF-friendly church. The closest were 1.5 hours away in Orlando and Gainesville. That’s when we began dreaming. Although we tried for four years to start a church, our small group needed a church planter, full-time! Just after Christmas 2008, we decided not to continue, but to wait for God’s timing. Then in April 2012 Ray Johnson called us. “Would we like to talk to Donn and Katherine Poole of Atlanta? They’re interested in starting a church in The Villages! God’s timing.” “In April 2012,” Donn says, “Katherine and I stayed a week with friends in The Villages. We had a wonderful time and decided to spend the rest of our lives there. But one of the key components of our life is church and we couldn't find a CBF church nearby.” They began to pray. Finally, Katherine turned to Donn. "Why don't we start one?" Donn agreed. They called CBF National which gave them Ray’s name. He, in turn, gave them our names. We talked on the phone and then met with them in July of 2012 in The Villages. Together we prayed for God's will to be done, and that’s how it began . . . a CBF church start in central Florida. No backing or endorsement by a “mother” church as a mission. Cold turkey . . . after a LOT of prayer and discussion and planning. With Tom’s encouragement, Donn registered for CBF’s cohort program, a church-start seminar for those who feel called to be church planters. After a six-week online "drill,” answering questions and writing his autobiography, Donn began the seminars. He completed them last spring and was commissioned a church starter at the 2013 CBF National Assembly in Greensboro, NC. “On August 5, 2013, we held the first meeting of the ‘Anchor Group,’ about 16 people,” said Donn. “Then Katherine and I met with each couple to further discover how this core group wanted to proceed. After that week, Katherine and I decided that, even though our home in Atlanta had not sold, we needed

to move to The Villages and begin.” After weeks of packing and meeting with friends and the missions committee of their home church, Johns Creek Baptist, the Pooles had sufficient financial commitments to help them with the move and their own rental expenses. “We alerted the anchor group that we would arrive to begin our work on October 3.” With funds from CBF National, the church start rented a conference room in the Barnstorm Theater in the Brownwood Entertainment Complex of The Villages, which is in the southern part of The Villages where the growth is. Donn continued, “We believe that this is a fertile field and where we should plant our work!” The anchor group chose a name, Brownwood Baptist Church. They then chose a date for the opening and began to pray. The first worship service was held on November 3rd. “If we could double the number of our anchor group, I would consider it a success,” Donn says. “We had 37; we maxed out the theater’s party room. God is GOOD!” Theater management recognized the church’s problem and on Sunday, November 10, they moved into one of the small theaters where they had 25 visitors and ten core members in worship. Worship now starts regularly at 9:00 a.m. “Dreams are important,” Donn says. “They are the essence of our passions and reveal what really matters to us. Our dream for The Villages is a church that has at its core the compassion and love of Christ for people. With the Lord’s blessing and a dedicated membership, we will see this work grow and minister here in central Florida. May God be praised and glorified!” For more information on Brownwood Baptist Church, visit their website at, or email the church start at The Barnstorm Theater is on Highway 44 on the east side of Wildwood, between Wildwood and Leesburg.

Give to CBF Florida’s 2013 Annual Mission Offering Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) Florida Fellowship News

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Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida P. O. Box 2556 · Lakeland, FL 33806-2556 217 Hillcrest Street, Lakeland, FL 33815-4720

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Return service requested

Florida Fellowship News is published quarterly by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida, Ray Johnson, Coordinator. P. O. Box 2556, Lakeland, FL 33806-2556. Postage paid at Jacksonville, Fla. Phone (863) 682-6802. Toll free (888) 241-2233. Fax (863) 683-5797. CBF-Florida’s e-mail address is; Web address is A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE WITHIN THE STATE: 1-800-435-7352. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.

Serving and connecting churches and individuals in their calling to be the presence of Christ Pat Herold Financial Secretary

CBF Florida’s newest church start: Brownwood Baptist Church By Mary Lois Sanders (Page 7)

Marti Edwards Administrative Assistant Newsletter Editor Rachel Gunter Shapard Associate Coordinator Ray Johnson Coordinator Staff

Floridians Provide Disaster Relief in OK by Robert Searl (Page 5)


Compañerismo que alimenta por Rubén Ortiz (Pagina 4)

Email: Toll-free 888•241•2233 217 Hillcrest Street Lakeland, FL 33815 Contact CBF Florida at: P. O. Box 2556 Lakeland. FL 33806-2556 2013 Fourth Quarter Issue Volume 23 - Number 4

CBF Bahamas hosts annual convocation by Ray Johnson (Pages 1 & 2)

In this edition . . .

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