|From the General Secretary |
Wisdom flowing from Grace Experienced
By Neville Callam
"One should walk through doors that are open
rather than bemoan those that are closed." J. Deotis Roberts
When first I met him, J. Deotis Roberts was visiting the Divinity School where I was a student decades ago. On the last occasion I spoke with him, he was among those attending the New Baptist Covenant meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2008. Between those dates, I learned much about him from his friend, and one of my mentors, the outstanding Caribbean church historian and ecumenist, Dr. Horace Russell.
In Atlanta, Roberts gave me a copy of his autobiography, The Seasons of Life: By Grace with Gratitude - a Memoir (Charp Communications, 2007). Recently, I reread this book, which I highly recommend. The book shows the advantage of having servants of God who understand the synergy that needs to exist between church and academia for faithful ministry to be fulfilled.
Dr. J. Deotis Roberts is a well known and respected philosopher and theologian. He wrote The Seasons of Life to share many of the events that shaped his personal life and witness. Roberts offers a glimpse into his family life - his marriage to Elizabeth, the impact of the death of their only son, Deotis, Jr., and the excitement surrounding a family gathering in connection with his 70th birthday.
Roberts's theological output is phenomenal and, as David Goatley has said in his Foreword to The Seasons of Life, Roberts's "numerous theological books and articles are the fruit of the labor of an African American philosopher, theologian, and Christian minister who intentionally engages in the hard work of dialogue and reconciliation with local, national, and global implication and application."
There is much to learn from Roberts's story about the virtue of courage. We begin to see Roberts's courage amidst challenges he faced growing up as a black man in the American South, 1927-1950. In a manner reminiscent of Emmanuel McCall's book, When all God's Children get Together: A Memoir of Baptists and Race, (Mercer, 2007) Roberts tells of appearing at a church to teach a Sunday School class and being greeted by a member who took him to the broom closet to wait for the person who had invited him to speak. After a disappointing experience at a seminary that left him devastated, Roberts says: "It took much prayer and great determination to continue." Of his experience in the US state of Georgia, he states: "Blacks were treated as children at best and as non-persons (or animals) at worse." Roberts encountered paternalism and racism in the church.
Roberts's story also teaches the importance of perseverance. In the period 1951-1970, he says he felt unfulfilled and not fully challenged. His family faced serious financial challenges after coming to serve in Washington D. C. - a not uncommon experience! Despite the potential cost to him personally, Roberts persisted as an outspoken advocate for racial justice. He was not one to give up easily; he fought for what he believed in.
When first I met him, his confessional background was not mentioned - perhaps, for good reason in that place at that time! Yet, Baptists would lose much if they never gained familiarity with what this significant scholar has had to say, for example, about the place of reconciliation in Christian living. I do not think that enough is known within the Baptist family about this Baptist thinker who says that he has experienced grace as Divine Aid.
We would reap much benefit from the life of one who, born in the home of a Baptist pastor and his wife, never forsook his calling as a disciple of Christ and, despite setbacks, never turned away from his vocation to bear witness to the reconciliation available by God through Christ Jesus.
May many emerging leaders in our Baptist and other churches, read and benefit from the sifted wisdom that Roberts communicates to all who read his autobiography.
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|What BWA Member Bodies are Doing|
| Association of Baptist Churches in Israel
The Association of Baptist Churches (ABC) in Israel will observe the 100th anniversary of the founding of Baptist witness in Israel in 2011. The first baptism occurred on May 10, 1911, when Shukri Mosa baptized his nephew, Louis Hanna, in Wadi El Laymoun, near Safad.
The association was formed in the early 1960s when Nazareth Baptist Church, Jerusalem Baptist Church and Baptist Village came together to promote mutual cooperation and fellowship.
ABC comprises mainly Arab-speaking Christians in 20 churches in Galilee and Central Israel. It has close links with the Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary which opened in September 2007, and the Nazareth Baptist School.
ABC tries to maintain close relationships with other Baptists in the Middle East, including the Gaza Baptist Church in Palestine. In 2008, Baptists from Gaza traveled to Israel to celebrate Christmas as guests of ABC. Even though Baptists in Gaza are only a few miles outside of Israel, contact is difficult due to the Israel-Palestine crisis.
ABC states its vision "is to reach the world with the message of Christ and to proclaim this message by showing love to all people." ABC also "seeks to be light and salt in the land where God became flesh and dwelt among us."
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|Central Baptist Church
Central Baptist Church (CBC) of Quincy, Illinois, in the United States, has been associated with the Baptist World Alliance since 1988 and became a BWA Global Impact Church in 2008.
Founded in 1835, CBC is engaged in a number of community and other mission efforts, including food relief programs such as a soup kitchen and a hunger walk, Operation Christmas Child, which offers gifts to needy children, and Madonna House of Quincy, a homeless shelter for mothers and children.
The congregation supports five Special Interest Missionaries and their families through International Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA, a BWA member body. These missionaries serve in Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Thailand, Costa Rica and Zambia. In addition, Central Baptist is engaged in mission outreach to Native Americans through Kodiak Baptist Mission in Alaska and Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
CBC offers several scholarships and special grants to active church members at schools of higher education.
The church is "committed to the teachings of God's Word, the Holy Bible, and to working together in unity, faith, and love by the indwelling Holy Spirit." It aims to build up "the Body of Christ and to share the Gospel, the Good News of redemption through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to our community and throughout the world." The congregation describes itself as "a large sized multicultural fellowship of mature followers of Jesus Christ who love God and love people."
|To the estate of Charles and Charlotte Wills for a gift of $10,000|
To Richard and Linda Smith for a generous gift
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|In Memoriam: Sydney Hudson-Reed|
Sydney Hudson-Reed, former president of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa (BUSA) , died on May 4, in Cape Town, South Africa.
While serving as president of the Baptist union, Hudson-Reed founded the Treverton Schools in Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal in 1964, an independent school associated with the Baptist church aimed at fostering a strong Christian ethos. The school offered classes from pre-primary classes upwards, for boarders and day pupils.
He was again elected as president of the BUSA in 1977 during the centenary celebration of the union.
A historian, the South African Baptist leader was the first chairman of the South African Baptist Historical Society upon its formation in 1964, a position he held until being made life president in 1988. He has had responsibility for the Baptist Union Archives, and oversaw the publication of a number of books and pamphlets. His books included 1820 Settlers Stories, Bound for the Border, and Together for a Century : The History of the Baptist Union of South Africa, 1877-1977.
Hudson-Reed served as a military chaplain in Egypt and Italy during the Second World War; was ordained in Cairo, Egypt; was traveling secretary for the Students' Christian Association; and pastored churches in KwaZulu-Natal, the former Transvaal, the Eastern Cape and Zimbabwe.
He earned diplomas and degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand, Rhodes University,Transvaal Teachers College, the Baptist Theological College, and at the former University of Natal.
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Baptist World Aid
|BWAid grants for the month of October|
Grants recorded in United States dollars unless otherwise noted
Delmas 19 Complex Construction - 50,000.00
Hungarian Baptist Aid - 51,590.00
Monthly Prayer Guide
Each week, the staff of the Baptist World Alliance prays for conventions and unions throughout the world.
We invite all other Baptist conventions and unions, and individual Baptists everywhere, to join us in these prayers.
For the month of November we will remember the following:
October 31-November 6
Union of Baptist Churches BurundiDemocratic Republic of Congo
Baptist Community In Central Africa
Baptist Community of the Congo River
Baptist Community of Western Congo
Comm Bapt Autonome Enre Wamba-Bakali
Community of Baptist Churches in North Congo
Baptist Churches in Eastern D.R. Congo/Africa
Community of United Baptist ChurchesRwanda
Association of Baptist Churches in Rwanda
Community of Christian Churches in Africa
Union of Baptist Churches in Rwanda
Cameroon Baptist Convention
Eglise Baptist Camerouaise of the Cameroon
Union of Baptist Churches in CameroonCentral African Republic
Association of Baptist Churches of Central African Republic
Baptist Churches Union
Fraternal Union of Baptist Churches
Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Burkina Faso
Baptists scattered in Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger
Liberia Baptist Missionary and Education Convention
Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone