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Prayers for President Carter

In August, President Jimmy Carter announced that he is battling cancer.  As is his custom, he astounded us with his grace and fortitude. His optimistic outlook, deep faith and overwhelming gratitude are contagious, awe-inspiring and what we’ve come to expect from him. We stand with President Carter in faith and hope, trusting that God will be with him throughout this process. We will continue to pray for him and his family to have the strength they need for this journey. Please join us in praying for them.

Since President Carter shared his diagnosis publicly, there has been a great outpouring of support and prayers on his behalf from Baptists across the county. We have been encouraged and uplifted by the many kind and thoughtful words of encouragement that we have received and know that President Carter has been as well. To that end, we will be gathering notes, prayers and other expressions of love and support to send to him for his birthday next month from his beloved Baptist family.  

If you would like to send President Carter a note or prayer, please email your brief message to office@newbaptistcovenant.org or post it on our Facebook or Twitter pages no later than Monday, Sept. 28. We will include them in a multi-page “card” filled with prayers and edifying words of encouragement for him and his family.  

President Carter has done so much for us and for the work of peace, reconciliation and justice in our nation and the world. We hope our expressions of support uplift him in the days and weeks ahead.

Summer Literacy Program Reaps Rewards, Builds Relationships


The “summer slide,” when students forget much of what they learned during the school year, is a growing concern among educators, especially for students from under-resourced households. To combat this problem, New Baptist Covenant partners in Atlanta used a Covenant of Action grant to include literacy in their summer camps and to make sure students had access to quality, literacy-based programming that built on and further developed their reading skills.
 
Park Avenue Baptist Church and Ebenezer Baptist Church developed programs that served approximately 75 students a week from Southeast Atlanta. The literacy-focused summer camps eliminated typical barriers of cost and transportation for students who have limited access to similar programs in the city. For six weeks, participating students were able to be assessed and receive help on their reading as well as to read books that they enjoy.
 
But, the programs were more than that. According to Minister Cassandra Henderson who directed the program for Ebenezer Baptist Church, the students who participated received a “total life experience.”
 
“This year’s program was very rich. Students were able to grow, build new and meaningful relationships with people from different backgrounds and age groups, camp together, serve together and have an experience that was impactful for everyone,” said Min. Henderson.
 
A game room, reader’s circle, arts and crafts, field trips and other activities allowed students to have fun, use their creativity and build their literacy skills. For one student in particular, the camp was a transformative experience for him. He went from being very distant and shy to being a willing participant who was very engaged in the activities.  
 
An added bonus for the program was that participating students were able to interact with the PASSPORT program, which is sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and was a part of Park Avenue Baptist Church’s summer program. According to Min. Henderson, “Not only did students have an opportunity to learn but they were also able to build relationships through their interaction with the PASSPORT program participants who were older and from different backgrounds. It was an awesome experience for them.”
 
In addition to building their literacy skills and new relationships, the program participants worked on service projects together, including planting flowers, a chair spray painting project and taking care of the garden at Ebenezer’s educational building. 

NBC Welcomes New PNBC General Secretary

New Baptist Covenant welcomed the Progressive National Baptist Convention's new General Secretary Dr. Timothy Tee Boddie with a gift basket filled with Compass Coffee, Georgetown Cupcakes and other trinkets and snacks found in the D.C. area. We are excited for him and praying for his good success as he begins his tenure at PNBC!

Pentecost Sunday Proves Transformative, Reconciling for Macon Community


Pentecost took on new significance in Macon, Ga., when two Baptist churches—one  predominantly African American and the other, predominantly white—worshiped together for the first time since the churches split 150 years ago, except for a pulpit exchange in the 1970s! Although the churches are around the corner from one another and have a shared history, their respective members have had almost no opportunities for interaction in a century and a half. But that all changed on Sunday, May 24, when the First Baptist Church on New Street and the First Baptist Church of Christ held a joint afternoon service with a combined choir, communion and sermons from pastors of both congregations. Fittingly, the Spirit brought these believers together on one accord, just like those who gathered waiting in the Upper Room centuries ago.
 
Having attended a New Baptist Covenant meeting together in January, Rev. James Goolby (FBC on New Street) and Rev. Scott Dickison (FBC of Christ) decided it was time for their congregations to come back together for worship and ministry. They both use the same parking lot for Easter egg hunts just on different days and decided to have a joint Easter egg hunt along with a barbeque and fellowship. They then began to plan a combined worship service. As part of this historic celebration, the two churches signed a Covenant of Action, committing to work together to tutor and mentor students in Macon public schools. A Covenant of Action, which is a New Baptist Covenant initiative, is when two or more congregations from different racial or ethnic backgrounds come together to address a pressing need in their community. FBC on New Street had a tutoring program that FBC of Christ will now fully participate in as well. In addition, worship services and other activities and programs are being planned to help the two congregations unite to develop meaningful relationships, reconcile past divisions and transform their community in the process.
 
For more about how these two congregations came together, click here to read an article in the local newspaper. You may also read Rev. Dickison’s blog about the experience by clicking here.
 

NBC Welcomes New Staff


Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune has joined the staff of New Baptist Covenant as the deputy coordinator. In this role, she will help to implement and manage the activities of the organization and specifically be responsible for coordinating event planning, and overseeing NBC’s communications, branding and integrated marketing efforts. Prior to joining NBC, Dr. Copeland-Tune was the director of communications & resource development for the D.C. Baptist Convention. She also served as the assistant director for justice & advocacy for the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Dr. Copeland-Tune is a dedicated social justice advocate and is passionate about racial reconciliation and justice in our society, making NBC a perfect fit for her. She is vice president and a founding board member of Grace & Race Ministries, Inc., an ecumenical ministry that seeks to equip and empower participants to help foster racial understanding, healing and reconciliation. Her chapter on Christian leadership, “The Heart of the Matter: Reimaging Christian leadership,” was published in the recently released book, Church on Purpose: Reinventing Discipleship, Community & Justice by Judson Press. An ordained Baptist minister, Dr. Copeland-Tune, serves as an associate minister at Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va.
 
NBC staff participated in the Progressive National Baptist Convention's Legislative Day in June to advocate for voting rights and ran into Congressman John Lewis.(Pictured left to right: Rev. Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, NBC's Deputy Coordinator, Congressman Lewis, NBC Coordinator Hannah McMahan and Maryanne Henderson, NBC's summer intern.

Covenants of Action Bring Transformation


One way that congregations can participate in ongoing efforts for reconciliation and transformation is by making a Covenant of Action with another church. A Covenant of Action is when two or more Baptist churches from different racial or ethnic backgrounds join together to address a pressing need in their community. NBC guides participating churches through a process that helps them to develop a covenant distinguished by collaborative ministry, worship and authentic fellowship. Churches involved in this New Baptist Covenant Initiative have witnessed transformative results in the communities where they live, serve and worship together. We invite you to consider partnering with another Baptist church from your area and making a deeper commitment to end racism.
 
For more information about making a Covenant of Action, visit NBC’s website at www.newbaptistcovenant.org or contact us at info@newbaptistcovenant.org

Save the Date: Space for Grace

 
This fall, the New Baptist Covenant will be one of the organizations supporting “Space for Grace,” a national gathering that will invite God’s healing grace on the journey to justice. Sponsored by the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, “Space for Race,” will be held Nov. 4-7 at the Hilton Airport Hotel in Los Angeles and feature renowned preachers, speakers and musical artists who will address issues of race, class, religion and culture. The event will also celebrate the 24-year ministry of Dr. Aidsand Wright-Riggins who is retiring from his position as executive director of ABHMS. The cost is $250 if you register by Oct. 1 and $275 after that. For more information or to register, visit www.abc-usa.org or click here.  

Be a NBC Intern

If you're interested in working with Baptist churches across the country to transform communities and foster racial reconciliation, an internship with the New Baptist Covenant may be for you. Contact us at office@newbaptistcovenant.org to find out more about the NBC internship program.

 

Carruthers Challenges CBF to Engage in the Work of Radical Reconciliation

 
The timing seemed providential when New Baptist Covenant partners and friends gathered for the annual luncheon at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s General Assembly on Thursday, June 18. It was only hours after nine people were massacred by a gunman who, motivated by racial hatred, opened fire during Bible study and prayer service at Mother Emauel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. The moment called for an assembly of believers to pray, mourn and lament, and to touch and agree that it is time for racial hatred and violence to end. The keynote speaker was Dr. Iva Carruthers, a highly-regarded champion for social and racial justice who is also the general secretary of the Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, an interdenominational organization within the African American faith tradition that is focused on social justice issues. With precision and grace she challenged and urged participants to move beyond superficial displays of equality and justice to engage in the deep and arduous work of reconciliation and transformation.
 
“Transformation is not a flyover destination but a total immersion into the world of the other,” Dr. Carruthers told attendees who filled the room at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dallas. “…We must accept the transforming nature of radical reconciliation and reparations and let go of the ethos of entitlement,” she said.
 
Dr. Carruthers went on to say that we are experiencing a “soul lockdown” that is “suffocating our nation.” Offering an alternative to the soul lockdown, Dr. Carruthers advocated that we embrace and seek ubuntu, which means “I am because we are.” 
 
“Our humanity is in what we do, not what we say,” she said. “We must turn over the tables in the temple and set the stage for a new normal.”  
 
Judging by the rousing applause and standing ovation she received, New Baptist Covenant partners and friends are poised to lead the movement toward radical reconciliation, community transformation and ubuntu

Voter Registration, Protection Efforts

 
The New Baptist Covenant stands in support of the Progressive National Baptist Convention’s national voter registration campaign, which was launched during their 54th Annual Session. The goal of the campaign is to register 200,000 voters by the 2016 election. They will also advocate for voting rights to be protected. NBC joins Progressive Baptists in the call for local congregations to get involved in voter registration and protection efforts.. A free voter education and registration toolkit, which was developed by the Freedom Sunday Coalition, is available for download on PNBC’s website.
Copyright © 2015 New Baptist Covenant, All rights reserved.


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