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Family oriented SBC afoot for Phoenix, planners say

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–It is shaping up as the most family oriented Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting yet.

“Bring the family!” planners are saying about the June 16 Kingdom Family Rally and other events for all ages slated in conjunction with the June 17-18 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix.

“At this year’s convention, we’re not simply having a rally about the family, but the whole event is designed with the family in mind,” said Tom Elliff, a former SBC president who chairs the SBC Council on Family Life.

“There has never been a convention when it has been easier to bring an entire family — and have them involved in the whole convention.”

Among the family oriented facets of the convention:

— The SBC’s first-ever Kingdom Family Rally on Monday evening June 16 featuring Dennis and Barbara Rainey of Family Life Today, singer Steve Green and his wife, Maryjean, and Elliff and his wife, Jeannie. The rally also will include testimonies from various SBC leaders and Baptist families; conference leader and author Gary Chapman; and video segments from James and Shirley Dobson of Focus on the Family and Bible teacher and author Beth Moore. The rally will be part of the SBC Pastors’ Conference, a June 15-16 gathering that also will be devoted to the family. The conference is open to church staff members’ families as well as laypeople interested in bolstering marriage in America.

— An SBC Children’s Conference for children in grades one through six, a new format for previous years’ day camp which will provide teaching and activities from Monday through Wednesday. The Denton Brothers Quartet — Michael, Christopher, David, Brian — from San Jose, Calif., will lead the conference.

— Convention child care, to be available from Sunday through Wednesday for infants through children who have finished kindergarten.

— Student Night, slated for Tuesday, June 17, with a climbing wall and other activities opening at 4:30 p.m. and a worship service and concert at 6:30, sponsored by the SBC North American Mission Board.

Various details about the Kingdom Family Rally, the June 17-18 SBC annual meeting and other related activities are being posted and regularly updated at the SBC website, www.SBC.net.

Registration for the SBC Children’s Conference and convention child care will open Feb. 15, with registration specifics to be announced shortly.

“It is the goal of our SBC Council on Family Life, the Pastors’ Conference, LifeWay and all our entities to ‘put Southern Baptists on the map’ as being good for every community because we are good for the family,” said Elliff, pastor of the Oklahoma City-area First Southern Baptist Church in Del City.

“Having a great family attendance in Phoenix,” he said, “will make a bold statement to the world at large — a world of people desperately seeking answers for their own families.”

The SBC Council on Family Life was created during the 2000 SBC annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., and functions under the auspices of the SBC Executive Committee.

“Strengthening families,” SBC President Jack Graham has said, “is one of the most important things we’re going to be doing as Southern Baptists.”

The rally will “encourage our pastors and laity to develop disciples among their own children and grow strong, healthy marriages and to model for the culture the family as God has planned it and designed it,” Graham, pastor of the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, has noted.