First Baptist Church of Moorestown, New Jersey – a church rooted in social justice and welcome – has voted unanimously join the Alliance of Baptists.
The Alliance is involved in so many of the movements and causes that resonate with First Baptist Church, so joining was “a no-brainer for us,” said Linda Pepe, the church’s pastor. What’s most attractive is that the Alliance is “really standing with the least of these.”
The congregation of about 150 active members voted in September to join the Alliance. Members came to their decision after congregational chats and meetings, and a visit last summer from Alliance co-directors Paula Clayton Dempsey and Carole Collins.
The church knew joining the Alliance would enhance its participation in justice work, and provide resources and support to keep the momentum going, said Pepe, who has served as pastor since 2012.
First Baptist watched the Alliance over the last year, taking note of its involvement in causes from Charlottesville to Charleston to disaster relief, Pepe said. “It’s not just talking, you go. Those activities are very appealing to us.”
First Baptist Church of Moorestown’s engagement in the world includes operating a food pantry that serves 175 to 225 people a week. “It’s a pretty impressive ministry since the church is not that big,” Pepe said, adding that the pantry grew out of a need to address hunger in the community.
The diverse congregation, which openly welcomes and affirms all people, also has a heart for racial justice and immigration work. “We’ve always been very active in social justice things,” and even hosted Jane Fonda for an anti-war speech in the 1970s, Pepe said.
Now, the hope is that Alliance membership will empower the church to step out in action even further. “We’ve got the Alliance behind us and with us.”