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There was great excitement at the CBFVA state meeting on Thursday afternoon during CBF’s General Assembly. If you were unable to attend, here is what you missed:
  • CBF Global prepared a new promotional piece called “Joining God’s mission in Virginia and around the world.” This piece was distributed to all who attended our state meeting.
  • Clergy new to Virginia in the room were introduced. We built-in some time to get to know each other and to network.
  • John Carroll, pastor at First Baptist Church in Danville, shared a testimony about how he utilized CBFVA Seeking Transformation Bible studies.
  • Mark Snipes shared about the Youth Summit taking place at University Baptist Church in Charlottesville, January 17-19, 2020. The focus will be racial justice. Mark highlighted a milestone: 10 years of Mission Madness to be celebrated on March 27-29 at Second Baptist Church in Richmond.
  • We are proud that five of the Young Adults to Know named by CBF this year have Virginia connections. Three attended the General Assembly in Birmingham and were interviewed by Mark Snipes: Houston Blake, John DeWitt, and Rachel Jones. The maturity and prophetic words of these young leaders impressed and inspired us.
  • Terry Maples introduced CBFVA’s 2019-2020 theme, Faithful Voices. He also previewed the CBFVA General Assembly coming up on September 17 at Bethel Baptist Church in Midlothian and announced Dr. Bill Leonard as the speaker for Pastors’ School on January 30, 2020 at Huguenot Road Baptist Church in North Chesterfield.
  • CBF field personnel Jessica and Josh Hearne shared about their work with homeless folks through Grace & Mainin Danville.
  • Terry Maples outlined the significant projects to be funded by the $100,000 block grant from CBF. We are excited to share more about these projects in days to come and to engage partner congregations in implementation.
  • Kathy Shereda offered a meaningful and heartfelt benediction.

Thanks to all who provided leadership for our Virginia state meeting! We give thanks to God for all the ways our CBFVA stories connect with God’s story!

CBFVA State Meeting in Birmingham

The 2019 CBF General Assembly in Birmingham AL, was a wonderful time of fellowship, worship, learning, encouragement, and challenge! To read a number of articles about this year’s Assembly, go to https://cbfblog.com/or the CBF Facebook page. Because so many choices are available, the annual Assembly is unique for each individual. Below are a few of my memorable Assembly encounters and experiences:
On Wednesday, I was humbled to participate in the Angela Project at 16thStreet Baptist Church. In 1963, at height of the Civil Rights Movement, this church was the target of a racially motivated bombing that killed four young girls. New Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley spoke during the opening session and reminded us of the significance of “this sacred site.” We heard powerful presentations by Joshua Poe on Redlining Louisville: The Racist Origins of Real Estate, Planning & Wealth; Joe Phelps on Waking Up White: My Journey with EmpowerWest; and Kevin Cosby on The Angela Project and the 400thCommemoration Ceremony. That this year’s Angela Project took place in Birmingham and in concert with the CBF General Assembly made a strong statement of conviction and intent.
On Wednesday evening I attended the Emmanuel McCall Racial Justice Trailblazer Dinner (CBFVA purchased a table for this event). We heard moving stories about individuals, churches, and ministries that are “blazing the trail” for the rest of us. See recipients and view videos here:  https://cbfblog.com/2019/06/19/cbf-opens-2019-birmingham-assembly-with-day-focused-on-racial-justice/.
Wednesday evening worship featured upbeat music and videos featuring racial justice award recipients.
At the Assembly’s Thursday morning business session, we heard reflections from outgoing moderator Gary Dollar and dreams from incoming moderator Kyle Reese. A new budget was introduced and approved on Friday.
At the New Baptist Covenant luncheon on Thursday we were introduced to the new co-executive director of NBC Dr. Aidsand Wright-Riggins. Program highlights included six pastors representing three covenants of action.
Thursday afternoon I attended an extremely thought-provoking workshop called “Combating Christian Nationalism” presented by Baptist Joint Committee staff members.
Please read about CBFVA’s Thursday afternoon state meeting below.
On Thursday evening a banquet to celebrate Suzii Paynter’s tenure as Executive Coordinator for CBF was held. (CBFVA purchased three tables for this event). A large crowd participated in an evening of blessing Suzii as she moves into her next chapter of life. Nineteen people spoke and lifted up what was accomplished because of Suzii’s leadership.
Thursday evening’s worship message The Most Compelling Witnessby Paul Baxley inspired us. We commissioned and laid hands on [chaplains, pastoral counselors, church starters and field personnel (re-appointment).
During the Friday morning business session, Paul Baxley shared a report in “Our Next Steps Together.” He cast vision to further the mission of Jesus through CBF and called on all of us to: 1) pray for CBF, 2) ambitiously promote the Offering for Global Missions, 3) put CBF in church budgets, and 4) don’t take our life together for granted. In addition, we heard hopeful reports from CBF ministry leaders and marveled at incredible stories of what God is doing through the Fellowship. The 25 Young Baptists to Know were introduced (five are from Virginia).
At the Religious Liberty Luncheon on Friday, the Baptist Joint Committee unveiled a fresh branding campaign and a new focus on combating Christian Nationalism – defined as “political ideology that merges American and Christian identities.” BJC is committed to religious freedom for all! Go to BJConline.org for more.
New this year was FaithTalks (much like Ted Talks). On Friday afternoon I attended the Racial Justice FaithTalk featuring Chris Sanders (Building an EmpowerWest Where You Are), Brenda Girton-Mitchell (Grace and Race—the God Connection), and Jemar Tisby (The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism). All three speakers’ challenges stretched and motivated us!
I attended “The Enneagram: Essentials and Possibilities” led by Sam and Melody Harrell, John Singletary, and Shaun King. Even though I have studied the Enneagram for a while, hearing more about this spiritual growth tool from different vantage points was very helpful.
Friday evening worship featured inspirational words from Krista Tippett, award-winning author and broadcaster. Per CBF tradition, our final act of worship was communion.
One of the best parts of the CBF General Assembly is reconnecting with friends, old and new, in the hallways or The Gathering Place or during meals. These impromptu conversations are uplifting and life giving.
Make plans now to be in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 22-26, 2020 for the next CBF General Assembly. Attending the Assembly is the best way to fall in love with the Fellowship, learn about the meaningful work of the Fellowship, meet incredible missionaries serving through the Global Mission Enterprise, and form lifelong friendships.