DURHAM, N.C. (RNS) — On top of all the state and federal disaster relief groups readying for Hurricane Florence as it barrels toward North and South Carolina are a group of expert helpers: the faith teams.
As about 100 Baptists from around the world prepared for worship Sunday morning at the start of the Baptist World Alliance’s 2018 annual gathering, they left behind the bustling city of Zurich, Switzerland, and hiked up a quiet hillside near the community of Bäretswil about a half-hour drive away. Once up in the cave hidden back in the woods off a dirt path, their words echoed through the chamber — the same words that have bounced off those dark walls for hundreds of years.
DALLAS (BP) -- Engaging the topic of unity within the Southern Baptist Convention, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Jason Allen moderated a panel discussion during the fourth annual For the Church Regional Conference June 12.
NASHVILLE (BP) -- At its annual meeting this fall, the Colorado Baptist General Convention (CBGC) announced plans to sell its Denver-area office building and relocate to a smaller facility nearby. They are among a dozen of the 42 state conventions that partner with the Southern Baptist Convention that have sold, moved out of or attempted to sell their buildings in the past decade.
The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty is an 80-year-old organization, representing 15 Baptist bodies. While in mid-Missouri to talk about religious liberty issues, BJC's Executive Director Amanda Tyler sat down for an interview with Word&Way Editor Brian Kaylor.
Robert Parham, founding executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics and executive editor of EthicsDaily.com, passed away Sunday night. With his leadership, BCE produced award-winning news coverage and documentary films, provided a strong public voice on moral issues and set an innovative example for other Baptist news outlets on utilizing new technologies. I had the honor of working for Robert as a contributing editor for EthicsDaily.com for more than 11 years. We traveled together to Jamaica, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and multiple domestic locations.
Robert and Brian trying out the smells and tastes of the Spice Souk in Dubai.Robert introduced me to the world of global Baptists — literally. At the first annual meeting of the Baptist World Alliance I attended, Robert took me around to introduce me to Baptists from dozens of countries. It seemed he knew nearly everyone. So perhaps it’s appropriate I’m spending the first couple of days after his passing at a meeting of the BWA. I had just landed in Washington, D.C., Sunday evening when I got a call with news of his passing. The next morning, Baptists from several countries offered their condolences, remembrances and hugs. We reflected on Robert and his love for global Baptists.
Robert served for decades as a prophetic voice for “goodwill Baptists,” writing about Christian ethics, creation care, missions, immigration and human rights. He championed the work of missionaries, promoted dialogue with Muslims and warned against uniting church and state. He dedicated his life to living out the call in Luke 4 to “proclaim good news to the poor…freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Robert offered encouragement and advice as I moved behind the editor’s desk at Word&Way. During our last phone call in February, we talked about his new film “The Disturbances” and a piece I wrote about it for the March issue of Word&Way. The film tells a powerful story of how missionaries saved lives during a genocide in Nigeria in 1966. Robert’s health briefly came up in that last call, though he kept those matters mostly private. He returned to his eager tone to end that call with a question he posed nearly every time we chatted: “Well, any Baptist news?”
Building on the lessons I learned from Robert and the opportunities he provided, I’ll keep working to answer that question and tell those stories. A prophet has left us and we must continue the work.
A church in Springfield, Mo., decided to change their name a few months ago. Originally known as First Evangelical Free Church of Springfield, the large congregation now goes by The Springs Church. Why did they change their name? The church’s leadership explained that “the old name would cause some confusion because people would think that the church was free from evangelicals, which is not the case at all.”
Brent Walker can look out his office at the U.S. Capitol and the U.S. Supreme Court building, where he often finds himself heading. He serves as the executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC), making him a key voice for Baptists in the nation’s capital.