Being Baptist

| March 11th, 2024

Dear Beloved Community,

March is a month full for us of opportunities to share fellowship, resources, vision, and encouragement with our wider Baptist communities. I want to be sure you know about these upcoming chances to do just that!

This Sunday and next, we will collect our church’s portion of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) Offering for Global Missions. This annual gift funds the long-term presence of CBF field personnel in the United States and 17 countries around the world in three contexts – global poverty, the global Church, and global migration. As a CBF Encourager Church, our closest glimpse of the immense gifts that CBF field personnel offer the world comes through Missy Ward Angalla, our partner in ministry working to empower women and secure futures for children through Amani Sasa in Kampala, Uganda. If not for the long-term presence of people like Missy, communities of the world’s most neglected around the world would lack resources and be short in supply of lasting hope. Our gifts to the Offering for Global Missions can come through the pink offering envelope in your envelope packs, online through designated to “CBF Offering for Global Missions,” or by cash tucked in a blue envelope from the pews as designated above. My kids slipped their coins in the pink envelopes last week (which made me realize they’re ahead of me!), and it was a true joy to remind them what those dollars and cents, transformed through God’s mercies new every morning, might do. CBF has an audacious goal of $4 million dollars. But together, we can do more and work far more audaciously than we can apart. Let’s do our part to get there!

Next week on March 14-15, friends from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina will gather at our sister church, First Baptist Greensboro, for CBFNC’s Annual Gathering. This year is a special one, as we mark 30 years of the ministry of CBFNC. Our church family will be well-represented among the leadership of this annual meeting – offering worship leadership, serving on various committees to bring the event to life, and showing up in the fullness of who we are. One personal note – in Friday morning’s workshop hour, I will be joining nine other pastors from churches across the state to talk about our churches’ transformative journeys on the road to becoming welcoming, affirming, and celebrating of our LGBTQ+ siblings. Greensboro is but a short drive away, so make your plans now to join in the fellowship with our CBFNC family next week!

Finally, on March 17, all are invited to an Alliance of Baptists informational session after worship that morning, led by our members and friends, Kris Norris, Richard Groves, and Lynn Rhoades. Richard and Lynn were among the first leaders who gave shape to the Alliance of Baptists in its earliest years, and Kris now serves as the Vice President of the Alliance’s Board of Directors. The Alliance of Baptists is a vibrant community of Baptists located across the country, who are committed to historic Baptist freedoms and cultivating beloved community in the way of Jesus. The Alliance of Baptists’ annual gathering will be held this year at Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, April 12-14. This informational session is intended to share about the work of the Alliance from some of its current and past leadership, particularly for anyone curious to learn more or interested in attending the Annual Gathering in April. 

My former professor and friend, Bill Leonard, reminded me recently that Baptists can be a dissenting, cantankerous bunch sometimes. But when we’re at our best – free and faithful, clear in our integrity and hopeful in God’s unfolding future – what a fellowship we are!

Together in God’s work of Love,

Pastor Emily