I write you today overlooking the towers of downtown Dallas, as I and more than a dozen others from our church have gathered with our larger Baptist family for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s General Assembly. These few days of convening are for us a time of renewal — renewing relationships, renewing call, and renewing by partnering together for the sake of God’s world. Among the various events of the week, leadership from many of these First Baptist folks will be on display in all sorts of ways. Through workshop facilitation, CBFNC state gathering, worship leadership, overseeing the art auction, and various recognitions, our church is well-represented in our broader Fellowship.

Two points to highlight for you —

Our own Daniel Hudgins was featured in the most recent Fellowship! newsletter as one of the “Top 25 CBF Youth to Know”! He and his fellow outstanding youth will be recognized and celebrated this week, and we claim him proudly!

On Friday afternoon, several of us staff and laity will lead a workshop entitled “Bricks and Mortals: Conversations on Facilities and Mission,” sharing with those who will gather about our church’s ongoing process of discernment and action regarding our facilities and the renewed vision for our church’s future within. Already I have lost count of how many conversations I’ve had in the hallways and across meal tables with these fellow Baptists about what we’re doing together. For so many of our sister churches are facing the same challenges with space as ours, and because of your witness, they are voicing a cautious optimism about what options might be available for their future vision.

Church, you have been praised over and over again for your courage, your vision, your boldness, and your faithfulness to God in this present moment. I share with folks about you with such deep pride, giving thanks for this hard and holy work we do together. I look forward to joining Amy, David, Larry, Chris, Mary, and Scott in telling our story on Friday, trusting that through God, we will bear witness to the hope for renewal — of buildings, yes, but of spirit and church too. May it be so!

Together in the work of Love,
Pastor Emily

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