Why Baptist? Gathering

  • Location: Raleigh, N.C.
    Contact: Leah Grundset Davis

    April 27, 2017, Meredith College Chapel, Raleigh, N.C.

    Register today!

    Why Baptist? We often answer that question with why we aren’t “that kind of Baptist.” What does it mean to remember why we ARE Baptist? We’ll share stories of why we’re committed to our Baptist traditions, hear from our speakers about their expressions of Baptist-ness and discuss why we have hope in what Baptists can offer the world.

    This ground-breaking, crucial event will draw us to mirrors where we’re able to look at ourselves so that we might better reflect Baptist identity in the future. Join us as we grab hands with each other and commit ourselves to the future of Baptist life. We believe this event could have huge impact for the years to come!

    We welcome seven incredible, nationally-respected speakers who will share stories and thoughts on one of the seven points of the Alliance of Baptists’ covenant followed by an interactive conversation with moderators who are creative, thoughtful and engaged in Baptist life and beyond. 

    Registration, Hotel & Raleigh Area Information:


    Registration: $65

    Moderator Registration Fee: $25

    College and graduate students: Free

    Speakers/Planning Team/Exhibitor Registration: Free

    Register today!

    Looking for Annual Gathering registration too? Click here.

    Hotel Information:

    Our hotel blocks expired on March 24. However, these hotels are close to Pullen and should have competitive rates. 

    Fairfield Inn & Suites Raleigh Crabtree 2201 Summit Park Lane Raleigh, NC 27612 (919) 881-9800

    Residence Inn Raleigh Crabtree 2200 Summit Park Lane Raleigh, NC 27612 (919) 279-3000

    Aloft Raleigh, 2100 Hillsborough St. Raleigh, NC 27607 www.aloftraleigh.com, 919-828-9900

    Doubletree Hilton Brownstone Raleigh, 1707 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh NC 919-828-0811, http://www3.hilton.com/en/index.html

    Childcare: We will not have childcare offered for the day of Why Baptist onsite. We welcome children into the space for Why Baptist. We do have contacts for childcare options in Raleigh. Please email Leah Grundset Davis.

    Dining Options: Thursday Lunch is "on your own." There are several lunch options close to Meredith College Chapel. The campus has two on-site dining options, which you can read about here. There are a variety of options across the main entrance on Hillsborough Street, which are walkable and also have ample parking. 

    Our Speakers


    Jeff Hood: Covenant Point #1

    Jeff Hood is a Baptist theologian and activist living and working in Texas. The author of 16 books, Hood has appeared on countless media outlets to discuss his queer ideas. A father of 5 and husband of 1, Jeff also maintains a number of close relationships with men on death row. With deep soul and a belief that God is “calling us to something queerer,” Jeff is a radical mystic and prophetic voice to our closed society.

    Kyndra Frazier: Covenant Point #2

    Kyndra Frazier is a native of Charlotte, N.C. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker currently serving as Associate Pastor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at First Corinthian Baptist Church in New York City. She is also the Director of the HOPE (Healing On Purpose and Evolving) Center, which is a subsidiary of First Corinthian Church. 

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    Allyson Robinson: Covenant Point #3

    Allyson is a 1994 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and holds a master of divinity degree from Baylor University. She is a frequent guest on cable news and in other media outlets. Her 2012 TEDx talk on the economics of social inclusion has received over 10,000 views on YouTube and has been used to train leaders, educators, and healthcare professionals worldwide.

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    Micah Bucey: Covenant Point #4

    Micah Bucey currently serves as the Associate Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City, where, among other duties, he curates Judson's always-free and always-queer weekly food-and-art program Judson Arts Wednesdays. His perennial passion for exploring the intersections of art, spirituality, and justice keeps him continually curious and playfully faithful.

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    Elizabeth Mangham Lott: Covenant Point #5

    Elizabeth Mangham Lott serves as Senior Pastor of the St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. She shares her life on the Gulf Coast with husband Nathan and their two children, Turner and Julia.

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    Alan Sherouse: Covenant Point #6

    Alan is pastor at First Baptist Church, Greensboro, N.C. and previously served as pastor at Metro Baptist Church, New York City.

    Charles Watson, Jr: Covenant Point #7

    Charles Watson Jr is the Education and Outreach Specialist of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C. His work is focused on expanding the base of support for religious liberty and engaging the next generation of advocates. A graduate of The Citadel, Watson earned a Master of Divinity degree at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, and he is a veteran of the United States Air Force.

    Our Moderators:

    Our moderators will lead the discussion times following each talk from our speakers. 

    Austin Almaguer, Arlington, Va., is pastor at Vienna Baptist Church, Vienna, Va., and on the Why Baptist planning team.

    Morgan Caruthers, Denver, Colo., is associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church and on the Why Baptist planning team.

    Stephanie True Cooper, Austin, Texas, a native Kentuckian, serves as the Associate Pastor at the University Baptist Church in Austin, Texas. She is a graduate from Georgetown College (B.A. in Religion, 2007) and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (M.Div., 2010). Stephanie has served churches in Kentucky, Virginia, and Texas and has also with Americorps for 3 years working towards affordable college access for low-income students. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her wife, Ashley, camping, running, and gardening. 

    Leah Grundset Davis, Bristow, Va., is the communications specialist at the Alliance of Baptists and served on the Why Baptist planning team. 

    Malu Fairley, Charlotte, N.C., serves as the Director of Spiritual Care and Education for Carolinas Palliative Care & Hospice Group. A graduate of Spelman College and Candler School of Theology, of Emory University, Malu is endorsed by the Alliance of Baptists. She has been an Association of Professional Chaplains, (APC) Board Certified Chaplain (BCC) since the fall of 2012. She currently serves as the Associate Pastor of Wedgewood Church. She co-parents an amazing soon to be 12 year old son, who is a lover music. She is an African-American, self identified gender-queer fem (pronouns she, her, hers) who is passionate about empowering herself and others to embrace the truths of their spirituality, sexuality, and ethnicity. 

    Andrew Gardner, Tallahassee, Fla., is a doctoral student in American Religion at Florida State University and the author Reimagining Zion: A History of the Alliance of Baptists.

    Mike Gregg, Dallas, Texas, is pastor at Royal Lane Baptist Church and previously served as associate pastor at Northside Drive Baptist Church, Atlanta. 

    Rachel Johnson, New York, is the Director of Communications and Public Relations at The Riverside Church New York City. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Yale Divinity School.

    Keith Menhinick, Winston-Salem, N.C., works as a Pediatric Trauma Chaplain at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem, N.C. He also serves as a Minister at College Park Baptist in Greensboro, N.C., and he uses the pen to question the intersections of faith and identity.

    Judith Myers, Lexington, S.C., is pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Fellowship in Lexington, SC. She enjoys running, reading, spending time with her family, and snuggling with her cat, Stella the Fella.

    Brent Newberry, Worcester, Mass., is pastor of the First Baptist Church in Worcester, Mass. He is a Southern transplant to New England, currently learning to appreciate four seasons. He has a seven year old named Zooey; she's half German and half Lab. Brent enjoys Netflix, Photography, Moltmann, and being with friends. You can read articles and sermons at brentnewberry.com

    Sally Sarratt, Washington, D.C., is co-pastor at Calvary Baptist Church. She has previously served on the Alliance's Identity Discovery Team. 

    Daniel Willson, Williamsburg, Va., the pastor of Williamsburg Baptist Church. He is a graduate of Fuller Seminary and Duke Divinity School and resides in Williamsburg with his wife, Wendy, and their four children. 

    Molly Brummett Wudel, Durham, N.C., serves as Co-Pastor of Emmaus Way, a holistic, missional Christian community, in Durham, NC. She finds life in fostering diverse relationships, reflecting about the in-breaking Kingdom of God, dreaming outside the box, thinking theologically, drinking strong coffee, frolicking outside, reading good poetry, enjoying hearty laughter, organizing political community, and living into embodied radical hospitality. She muses about all these things (as well as post an occasional sermon or two) at www.mollybrummettwudel.com

    Elijah Zehyoue, Washington, D.C., works at New Baptist Covenant as the director of programs and communication. He also serves at Calvary Baptist Church. He earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College and followed it with a Master of Divinity from the University of Chicago. 

    Register today!