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Covenant participants close gathering with determination but few specifics | Print |

By Greg Warner
Associated Baptist Press

Photo: Rod Reilly

ATLANTA-"We don't want this to be a wasted moment," Jimmy Carter said, describing the excitement and concern he said he found among participants in the first-of-its-kind New Baptist Covenant, which wrapped up its three-day gathering in Atlanta Feb. 1.

As the unprecedented event came to a close, participants and organizers alike pondered the challenging task of turning energy and enthusiasm into tangible action.

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Any church can participate in disaster relief, Baptists are told | Print |

By Bob Perkins

ATLANTA-To test how prepared churches are to face natural disasters, panels offered suggestions for participants during a special interest session at the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant meeting Feb. 1.

For example, conference leaders asked participants if they have "go bags" in their churches that are easily accessible for church members in the event of an immediate forced evacuation.

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Separation of church & state can be complex, but it's worth the effort, speakers insist | Print |

By Robert Marus

ATLANTA (ABP)-Although often difficult to negotiate, drawing the proper line between church and state is worth it for both institutions, according to experts in the topic.

A panel of religious-liberty advocates addressed a small-group session of the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant Feb. 1. They said that religious is Baptists' birthright-but that the church-state separation that protects religious freedom is imperiled and need Baptists' advocacy.

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Panelists urge New Covenant Baptists to fight institutional racism | Print |

By Bob Allen
EthicsDaily.com

Photo: Joel McLendon

ATLANTA-The church's struggle against racism no longer is primarily about skin color but about institutions that bestow privilege on some and penalties on others, an activist, denominational leader and scholar said in a special-interest session Friday at the New Baptist Covenant Celebration in Atlanta.

"While I applaud the organizers of our event in coming together and asking the question of how do we move forward beyond race, I think the real challenge for us is to deal with that insidious cancer that is within the very fabric of our society, that I would term racism," said Aidsand Wright-Riggins, executive director of National Ministries, American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.

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Medical professionals urge congregational health advocacy | Print |

By Brian Kaylor
Baptist General Convention of Missouri

Photo: Joel McLendon

ATLANTA-Medical professionals explained how the biblical calling to take care of the sick could be met by churches offering medical treatment and information Feb. 1 during a New Baptist Covenant special interest session titled "Reaching Out to the Sick."

Offering advice, resources, contacts and a strong challenge, panelists addressed the health needs of people and how churches can help.

Retired physician Drayton Sanders outlined the problems he sees with the current medical system and ways that churches could be part of the solution. He charged that the medical field has turned from being a calling—as it was for him—to a business.

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Prophetic preaching breaks down barriers, builds up God's kingdom | Print |

By Jennifer Harris and Ken Camp
Word & Way and Baptist Standard

Photo: Billy Howard

ATLANTA-Breaking down barriers, healing the hurting, challenging Christians to transcend categories of "us and them" and announcing the coming kingdom of God are just a few of the roles prophetic preachers must fill, according to speakers at a Baptist preaching conference.

Four preachers representative of varied traditions delivered sermons during a seminar on prophetic preaching held in conjunction with the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant in Atlanta, Feb. 1.

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Program enables watershed experience for seminary students | Print |

By Bob Perkins

ATLANTA-A program endowed by a $100,000 gift from Oklahoma Baptist Robert Stephenson has ensured that seminary students from around the nation could participate in the historic celebration of the New Baptist Covenant.
 
The Stephenson Seminary Scholars program helped underwrite the participation of 178 seminary students from 16 different divinity schools.

Bailey Nelson, the program's coordinator, said her involvement has been an inspiration.

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Biblical witness commands God's people to 'welcome the stranger' | Print |

By Patricia Heys
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Photo: Joel McLendon

ATLANTA-Professors Daniel Carro and Richard Wilson drew on biblical examples as they discussed immigration issues at a special interest session "Welcoming the Stranger" Feb. 1 at the celebration of a New Baptist Covenant in Atlanta.

"Our question today is who is a stranger," said Carro, as he showed the audience of more than 90 people a diverse array of faces. "If you can't define who is a stranger, you can't define who you should welcome. And friends, I presume that all of us are strangers. Each of us is a stranger to someone else. In the wrong place, in the wrong moment you become a stranger, refugee, alien, non-entity, intruder, immigrant, trespasser, [and an] outlander."

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Panelists offer practical suggestions for peacemaking | Print |

By Patricia Heys
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Photo: Joel McLendon

ATLANTA-David Gushee and Stan Hastey offered Baptists ways to promote peacemaking during a special interest session Feb. 1 at the celebration of a New Baptist Covenant.

Gushee, a professor at Mercer University's McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta and recent author of The Future of Faith in American Politics, talked about just war theory and its seven criteria. He also outlined the 10 best practices of peacemaking from Glen Stassen's book Just Peacemaking.

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Need for church response grows as HIV/AIDS pandemic continues to spread | Print |

By Carla Wynn Davis
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Photo: Carla Wynn Davis

ATLANTA-About ten years ago, when Wayne Smith stepped in his first HIV/AIDS education class, the other students started applauding. A member of Central Baptist Church of Bearden in Knoxville, Tenn., Smith didn't realize how significant his church affiliation would be. For those gathered, Smith's presence sent a message.

"The church had come. It wasn't Wayne Smith. It wasn't Central Baptist Church Bearden. It was somebody from some church in this town has come," Smith said.

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