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WRAP-UP: D.C. Baptists ‘serving all people’

WASHINGTON (BP)–The District of Columbia Baptist Convention held its 131st annual session of at Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church with the theme of “Serving God by Serving ALL People.”

A total of 144 delegates registered for the Oct. 22-23 meeting from 46 of the eligible 115 churches in the convention.

A panel discussion Tuesday afternoon featured five churches sharing how they reach out to the community and the world in mission projects and ministries. During breakout sessions, also Tuesday afternoon, 18 members from 12 churches focused on discipleship, while youth ministers and leaders spent two hours sharing ideas on how to reach youth.

The Procession of Ministries on Tuesday evening featured 11 churches from the convention focusing particularly on their international missions involvement.

Harold Recinos, a professor of church and society at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, spoke at the Ministers Convocation on Monday afternoon about growing up as a Hispanic in New York’s South Bronx and shared ways to reach out to different ethnic groups. Recinos also spoke about immigration during the Monday evening session.

During the Older Adult Ministries Convocation, also on Monday afternoon, Ostein Truitt, assistant pastor at St. John Baptist Church in Columbia, Md., challenged the attendees to write down and share their personal stories as a way of passing on their wisdom to the younger generation.

Monday evening’s dinner spotlighted the convention’s past presidents, and the historical committee presented video clips of three former executive directors and two laypeople highlighting achievements during the convention’s 130-year history.

Kip Banks, pastor of East Washington Heights Baptist Church, delivered the convention sermon, “A Message to the Church at Modern Rome.” Referring to the meeting’s Scripture theme from Romans 12:9-13, he said District of Columbia Baptist Convention churches represent the church at modern Rome. Banks said Christians’ love must be sincere, they must hate evil in all forms, they must walk together in unity, they must maintain a spiritual fervor, and they must practice a social gospel and share the love of Jesus with all who are in need.

Delegates approved a 2008 budget of $1,195,022, which is a 1 percent decrease from the current budget. Giving to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program and American Baptist Churches’ United Missions remains at 35 percent of the DCBC’s undesignated cooperative budget.

Helen Mays-Jackson, a member of Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church, was elected president; Ella Redfield, pastor of New Creation Baptist Church, was elected vice president; and LaTricia (Tish) Jones, a member of Georgetown Baptist Church, was re-elected recording secretary.

A proposed change to the convention’s constitution will be voted on during next year’s business session. If approved, the section about membership would read: “Upon a recommendation of the Executive Committee, and upon approval of the Executive Board, all or a portion of a Constituent Member church’s rights and privileges may be suspended, consistent with rules and procedures to be adopted by the Executive Board, for continued failure to cooperate with the Convention as defined in Section 4 of this Chapter. Notice shall be given by the Executive Board to a church at least one month prior to such vote.”

Two events preceded this year’s annual meeting. A rally for youth with games and other activities was held Oct. 20, while District of Columbia Baptist Convention Day was observed on Sunday, Oct. 21, at area churches. Each church was encouraged to send a representative to Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church, where Jeffrey Haggray, the convention’s executive director, delivered the morning message. Throughout the metro region, other member churches prayed for the convention.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Oct. 27-28 at First Baptist Church in Washington.

The District of Columbia Baptist Convention is aligned with three national bodies: American Baptist Churches, Progressive National Baptist Convention and Southern Baptist Convention.
Based on a report by Tish Jones of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention.

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