News

Savoring What's Growing

Posted on Jul 11, 2019

Every time I take the path between the Parkway House and the Tuck House, the two outposts of QC Family Tree in this West Charlotte neighborhood, I find newly-ripeblueberries on the large, lush bushes planted by Mt. Hermon Baptist Church in 2013. 

I always take a handful and eat them one by one as I walk. The spice of the warm, ripe, fresher-than-fresh berries lingers on my tongue long afterwards.
 
Likewise, I find that each day here brings small moments to savor. A young artist attending one of two monthly Community Meals happens to sit down next to another neighbor who, she learns, is also an artist. Before long, they are exchanging poems and Facebook addresses.
 
A young man walks into Midday Prayers and is warmly greeted by name. "We haven't seen you in a while. " So much is conveyed in those few words: We know you. We see you. You matter.

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What do you do with a calling you're not supposed to have?

Posted on Jul 11, 2019

One of my dear friends asked me this question, from a novel she'd been reading, a couple weeks before my ordination. Fully supportive of my vocation to ministry but fiercely loving and protective of her friend, she expressed concern that my church might be setting me up to fail. Would I have a place in the institutional church? In Baptist life, of all places? 

I understand her worry; the same thoughts have given me pause since I first discerned Spirit's gentle tug two years ago. An openly trans woman preaching is hard to imagine. Like a Baptist sitting on the front pew. 

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A New and Diverse Church in the 'Burbs

Posted on Jul 11, 2019

It's not every day that an American BaptistChurches-ordained pastor and a Lutheran-ordained pastor find enough community to join their efforts in the planting of a new church. For Kelvin Roberts and me, it was a natural move. Had All Saints Church been imagined a few years earlier, it might have been an "ecumenical partnership" or a "trans-denominational church," but we've landed in different territory.  

We had previously served together on the staff of another Chicago-area church and are not only colleagues but share a close friendship that encompasses our families. 

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Confronting Christian Nationalism

Posted on Jul 11, 2019

Christian nationalism, on display so vividly this past week, is deeply woven into the fabric of our country. From our nation's inception, Christianity has been used to justify the genocide of the indigenous peoples of this land and the forced migration and enslavement of Africans. Today, it is through appeals to white Christian nationalism, specifically for "our" safety and for "our" prosperity, that black and brown bodies are attacked, caged and killed at our nation's borders, in the heart of our cities and throughout the land. This ongoing abuse of Christian theology to bolster racism, colonization and white supremacy led me to go to our nation's capital to participate in direct action against Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

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Flaming Baptist Potluck at Wild Goose!

Posted on Jun 27, 2019

The Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, N.C. is coming up July 11-14, and the Alliance invites all to our "Flaming Baptist Potluck" on Friday night, July 12, at 6:00 p.m. by the Calvary Baptist DC tents. We'll provide the main dish (something flame-grilled, of course) and we invite you to bring a side dish or something to drink to share with all. Check the Alliance Facebook page closer to the event for information on where the tent is located and email Jason Smith if you have any questions. See you at the Goose! 

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Black Mama Bailout

Posted on Jun 27, 2019

"Somebody just asked me if I wanted to bail black women out of jail," I relayed to a friend in disbelief. For starters, I didn't know this kind of thing happened -- concerted efforts to bail people out of jail, and black women in particular. The invitation came from Southerners On New Ground (SONG) an organization working hard to dismantle the cash bail system. While they tackle policy, SONG is getting people out of cages now through their bailout campaigns.

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Mayan Voices in Chiapas, Mexico

Posted on Jun 27, 2019

While the US government focuses on slowing or stopping immigration from Central and South America, Mexico is experiencing its own interstate immigration crisis driven by poverty and lack of employment opportunities. 

In Chiapas, Mexico's southernmost state, these forces are also pushing members of the country's indigenous groups northward. 

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A multitude of JUSTSEX resources available

Posted on May 31, 2019

The JUSTSEX conference last fall in Nashville wrestled with a number of important questions: How can people of faith engage in constructive conversations about sexuality when we are more aware than ever of its complexity and diversity? When the word "sex" itself can elicit conflict and division, is it possible to move beyond schisms to dialogue and discernment? How do modern understandings of human sexuality inform a holistic sexual ethic?

The Alliance of Baptists hosted a justice-focused event that explored ways we can work together to bring sex to light. We now offer a variety of resources from the conference for your use at JUSTSEX

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Henry lauded as 'tireless and vocal advocate for equality and justice'

Posted on May 31, 2019

W. Craig Henry, an attorney and longtime lay leader in his Monroe, La., church and the Alliance of Baptists, has been honored with the Heart of the Alliance Award. A former president of the Alliance and one of its most generous supporters, Henry was cited "for his deep investment of time, energy, gifts and love, which have advanced the spirit of the Alliance of Baptists." 

Reflecting afterwards, Henry said he first learned of the Alliance in a published article soon after its formation in 1987. "In the midst of the turmoil in the Southern Baptist Convention, the Alliance sounded like just the home I was looking for. I immediately mailed a check and have been writing checks ever since!" Concerning his service to the Alliance, first as vice president and then as president, he stated, "I like to think that I provided some important leadership in helping us reach beyond our regional southeast United States roots." 

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Turning the world upside down for 30 years

Posted on May 31, 2019

In Acts 17, the religious establishment of the day charged the early church with "turning the world upside down." During its 30-year history, the Fraternity of Baptist Churches of Cuba (FIBAC) has been similarly charged. With courage and boldness, its churches and leaders have shaped a Baptist witness that has often upset the religious powers that be. 

Formed in 1989 by three congregations that were ousted from the Western Baptist Convention of Cuba, FIBAC is now home to 42 congregations that span the island. The 174 delegates who filled the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Havana in February for FIBAC's 30th anniversary meeting were but a small part of a larger Spirit-led body whose goal is to make their churches, their communities and their country more like the reign of God.

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