|From the General Secretary |
By Neville Callam
"... whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent
or praiseworthy -- think about such things" (Philippians 4:8b).
If you have to face rush hour traffic morning and evening five days per week, how do you cope?
I remember traveling 15 years ago in a major traffic jam in Bangkok, Thailand. There were people on a bus in the next lane watching kick boxing on a television monitor suitably placed at the front of the bus. I wondered how the travelers could reduce their stress level by watching kick-boxing.
I prefer to employ other coping strategies while in the daily grind in the traffic. I listen to music. I might play a compact disc featuring Caribbean folk music by the Heritage Singers, religious music by the Dallas Baptist University Choir or the Shalom Choir from Korea, to mention a few examples. One of my favorites is a CD I secured in a souvenir shop in the Blue Mountains in Australia.
I have to do fairly extensive travels by road on some of my trips. Whether it is a pleasant journey from Sophia to Russe with the Oprenov family in Bulgaria to attend a major church celebration; or a scenic journey from Santiago to Concepción and beyond with Chilean leader Raquel Contreras and others to survey the result of their response to the February 2010 earthquake, these are experiences I cherish.
On the rare occasion during my travels, I manage to secure an hour or two in which to respond to overtures by friendly hosts I come across ever so often. Whether it is the journey with Walter Klimt to the hills overlooking Vienna, Austria, the trip with Harrison Olan'g and his son from Arusha to Ngorongoro in Tanzania, or the outing from Sydney to the Blue Mountains in Australia, how pleasant and memorable these experiences are!
It was nearly four years ago and the Epping Baptist Church was celebrating their 75th anniversary. They invited me to preach and provided me with accommodations with Peter and Kerrie Stiles and with Bob and Adrienne Batey. The journey I took to the beautiful Blue Mountains with the Stiles and the Bateys was without any traffic to write about and the time spent in the Blue Mountains was worth every minute of it. Before I left the place, I secured a Stewart Dudley Outback CD with beautiful instrumental music.
Whenever I am stuck in traffic and I listen to the Outback CD, I remember my visit to the Blue Mountains. The haunting melodies recorded to perfection help me relive pleasant moments enjoying the beauty of creation and the blessing of divine provision for all that lives. I also recall time spent basking in the joy of friendship and the blessing of Christian hospitality. Such positive memories can counter the stress experienced in myriad traffic jams.
But it is not only in the traffic on the roads that we risk being victimized by anxiety. As we traverse the heavily trafficked pathways of life, we come around bends that turn our minds to thoughts that can never inspire calm nor nurture equanimity. In those moments, how precious it is to remember the God who creates a beautiful world and cares for it and the many persons we meet on life's pathway whose friendship and hospitality provide sunlight to brighten every gloomy moment of each and every day!
Indeed, in all of life's twists and turns, "whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- [it is always good to] think about such things."
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|What BWA Member Bodies are Doing|
National Missionary Baptist Convention of America
The National Missionary Baptist Convention of America is one of four predominantly African American Baptist church denominational bodies in the United States. Incorporated in 1988, the NMBCA aims to "enhance personal and spiritual growth" through worship, and to sharing faith in Christ with others.
The convention comprises 14 state conventions, 39 district associations, and more than 500 churches. Both the state and district associations relate to and work with the national convention to carry out related ministries. There are four boards, including education and evangelism, and 10 auxiliaries such as that for ministers and the Nurses Corp.
The Baptist body is focusing on families, aiming to strengthen marriages, counseling singles, and educating children by providing support and scholarships. In addition, NMBCA is in the process of "re-establishing aggressive social programs" addressing single parenting, blended and dysfunctional families, drug addiction and AIDS.
NMBCA intends on re-connecting with the community by supporting African American businesses with economic strategies that help to promote the entrepreneur spirit.
There are attempts at further democratization of the one million member organization. "We want to lead this convention in such a way that every member can have a voice in the decision making process," the website reads. "We will appoint committees as deemed necessary such as an advisory committee of Young Pastors. We need to know their thinking and how we can better serve them."
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|Peachtree Baptist Church
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Peachtree Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States, aims, among other things, to proclaim the love of God in Christ in word and deed to all people; nurture people on their spiritual journey, enabling them to discern and fulfill their calling; create unity among neighbors; and to practice justice.
The congregation describes itself as "a historic church with a rich heritage and a progressive vision, a diverse community unified in faith and mission." This Baptist World Alliance Global Impact Church partners "with ministries in our community and around the world to extend the love and grace of God to all."
In seeking to fulfill this vision, several ministries have been established to help meet the needs of the community, including the
Benevolence/Homeless Ministry Team, the Church & Community Relations Team, the Senior Adult Ministry Team, and the Green Team for environmental responsibility.
The Faith and the Environment ministry focuses on congregational and community activities that "create awareness of earth stewardship and allow us to put our beliefs into practice and become a part our worship. This is accomplished through educational programs, community events and adopting green practices as a congregation."
Regarding itself as a Teaching Congregation, Peachtree partners with both Candler and McAfee Schools of Theology to better prepare divinity school students for local church ministry through mentoring, peer group reflection, and lay group reflection.
PBC strives to embody Micah 6:8. "We are a people of faith, hope and love, as revealed in Christ, who seek to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God."
Baptist World Aid
|BWAid grants for the months of January and February 2011|
Grants recorded in United States dollars unless otherwise noted
Poverty Reduction - 5,000.00
Rice Production - 9,808.00AsiaIndia
Women Empowerment Project - 13,332.60.00
Tailoring and Embroidery - 7,500.00
Construction -- School for orphanage - 9,000.00
Earthquake Relief Operations Expenses - 29,660.00Back to top
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 March we will remember the following:
February 27-March 5
International Baptist Convention (Germany)
Union of Evangelical Free Churches (Baptists) in Germany
Federation of Evangelical Baptist Churches in France
Baptist Union of Austria
Union of Baptist Churches in Switzerland
Baptists scattered over Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino
Myanmar Baptist Convention
Self Supporting Kayin Baptist Missionary Society (Myanmar)
12thDistrict of Church of Christ in Thailand
Thailand Baptist Convention
Thailand Karen Baptist Convention
Thailand Lahu Baptist Convention
March 20-26 Cambodian Baptist Union
Baptist Churches in Vietnam
March 27-April 2
Baptist Convention of Hong Kong
Macau Baptist Association
Baptists in China
Asia Pacific Baptist Youth Fellowship Leadership Consultation, Pataya, Thailand, March 15-18Back to top