New Baptist Covenant Uses Technology to Connect Cross-Country Gatherings


Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children's Defense Fund, was a speaker at 2008's New Baptist Covenant and will be featured at next month's gathering. (Photo: New Baptist Covenant)
Technology will be a defining characteristic for the New Baptist Covenant gathering Nov. 17-19, which will bring potentially thousands of goodwill Baptists together across racial, ethnic and denominational lines in a show of unity and recommitment to Jesus' agenda found in Luke 4:18-19.

Satellite feeds will connect Baptists at seven regional gatherings to the anchor site at Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta. Other churches will be connected through streaming video on the Internet.

When 15,000 Baptists met in Atlanta in 2008 under the banner of the New Baptist Covenant, two crucial components were the program leaders and the unity of the diverse denominational groups.

Thirty-one different Baptist denominational bodies and groups collaborated to support the 2008 meeting, including American Baptist Churches-USA, Canadian Baptist Ministries, National Baptist Convention USA Inc. and Progressive National Baptist Convention.

The star-studded program included two former presidents – Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton – and two Nobel Peace Prize winners – Carter and former vice president Al Gore. Other notables were Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and novelist John Grisham.

Some of the 2008 leaders will appear again on the 2011 program, including: Carter, Tony Campolo, emeritus professor at Eastern University; Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children's Defense Fund; and Stephen Thurston, president of the National Baptist Convention of America Inc.

New to the list of 2011 speakers are: DeeDee Coleman, pastor of Russell Street Missionary Baptist Church in Oak Park, Mich.; Ken Fong, pastor of Evergreen Baptist Church in Los Angeles; and Wendell Griffen, pastor of New Millennium Church in Little Rock, Ark., and a Baptist Center for Ethics board member.

The satellite-feed locations include: Citizens of Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Compton, Calif.; Israel Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.; New Beginnings Christian Fellowship in Seattle; Palmer Theological Seminary in Philadelphia; St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Oklahoma City; St. Luke Memorial Baptist Church in St. Louis; and Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio.

Each location will include breakout sessions.

One of the breakout sessions at the St. John Missionary Baptist Church will include a screening of EthicsDaily.com's newest documentary, Gospel Without Borders, followed by a panel discussion.

Confirmed screening panelists are: Stan Basler, director of Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries for the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church; Mike Girlinghouse, bishop of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America; Timothy Luschen, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Oklahoma City; and William Tabbernee, executive director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches.

Another Oklahoma City breakout session will screen Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism. Panelists are: Wilford Brown, campus minister at Bacone College in Muskogee; Larry Smith, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Muskogee; and Willie Tiller Jr., pastor of First Baptist Church in Ardmore.

A new seven-minute video from EthicsDaily.com will also be broadcast during the New Baptist Covenant gathering.

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