Posts Tagged ‘Baptist World Alliance’

Story by Jeannie Dortch. Photo by Dean Hawthorne.

Shine down Your light on me
Let the people see
That in Your presence darkness flees
Father of light
Shine down on me
          “Shine Down” by Sandi Patty

December is a time of international missions’ emphasis. In First Baptist’s Chapel, the East Window is a fitting symbol of that emphasis. It reflects centuries of evangelism, missions and Christian education.

In the top circle of the window, Jesus reads from Isaiah 62, revealing that this scripture has been fulfilled in their hearing and that the Lord has sent Him to bring hope to the world.

In the circle below Him, members of FBC’s Female Missionary Society listen to Luther Rice, a Baptist missionary to India and Burma. Their support helped him continue his work and that work, in turn, led to the formation of the Foreign Missionary Society of Virginia.

Chapel east window

The left center shows the 1814 founding of the Goodwill Centers in Richmond. These centers cared for children and provided assistance to the needy. Three centers continue to serve Richmond neighborhoods today.

In the right center children participate in the first Sunday school class in the South, at FBC in 1816. Sunday school was a controversial concept at that time. FBC members disagreed about the idea of launching a Sunday morning Bible study program. The disagreement contributed to a church split and the formation of Richmond’s Second Baptist Church.

In the upper left, Lott Cary, a former slave and member of First Baptist, preaches from the pulpit of Providence Road Baptist Church in Monrovia, Liberia. Having sailed to Africa in 1821, he helped establish this church that continues to thrive today.

The emblem of the Baptist World Alliance is seen in the upper right. This organization began in London in 1902, largely through the efforts Robert H. Pitt, FBC member and editor of the Religious Herald. Dr. Theodore F. Adams, pastor of FBC from 1936-1968, was the first Virginia Baptist to serve as its president (1955-1960).

The lower left depicts Lewis and Henrietta Shuck and Robert and Frances Davenport, who were appointed in 1835. The Shucks were the first Baptist missionaries to China; the Davenports served in Thailand. The Shucks and Robert Davenport were all members of First.

On the lower right is Lottie Moon, after whom the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (the Southern Baptist Convention offering for international missions) is named. She served as a missionary in China for 39 years and is seen teaching some of the women and girls she loved and served until her death in 1912.

The East Window spotlights a 230-year history of FBC members filling the lives of people all over the world with the Father’s light. That legacy continues in the congregation’s daily commitment to the charge of KOH2RVA. The standard set by those commemorated in the window serves as an apt model for FBC members to shine on!

Copies of the fully illustrated Memorial Windows, written by Theodore F. Adams and The Open Door, the church’s history from 1780-2005, are available for checkout or purchase in the church library.

Jeannie DortchJeannie Dortch joined FBC in 1974 after being lovingly mentored by the members of Buddy Hamilton’s Sunday school class. A grandmother of four, Jeannie has served as a deacon, taught in our children’s, youth, international, and adult Sunday school departments, but is presently a member of the WebClass. A retired teacher, Jeannie enjoys exercising, cooking, reading, ringing bells with FBC’s newly formed senior adult Joy Ringers directed by Ruth Szucs, and writing articles for FTF.

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By Susan Beach.

Here’s a good recipe that everyone can prepare:


Cost of fast food meal
1 Missions Offering envelope

Place first ingredient in envelope; write Disaster & Hunger (BWA or SBC);
drop it in the offering plate. Fills two or three tummies a day.

The opposite is also true – don’t follow the recipe and there are no full tummies.

It’s a simple fact that 925,000,000 people are hungry every day – in this city, this country and around the world. (Click here for more hunger statistics….) That number can be overwhelming, even immobilizing. How can anyone deal with it?

One way is to bring items (see list at end of story) to the grocery cart in the church’s main hallway. FBC’s Ministry of Christian Compassion disperses food to more than 200 families every week.

special missions offering envelope

Use a Missions Offering envelope to designate your World Hunger gift.

But that only feeds the hungry in Richmond. When Jesus said to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Samaria and the ends of the earth, He didn’t give the option to pick one. He sent us to all three.

So, how to do that? Baptists are fortunate to have organizations for just that purpose, feeding the hungry throughout the U.S. and the world. Special emphasis is given on World Hunger Sunday, October 9, 2011, but funds are accepted any time through the year. Gold Missions Offering envelopes provide two ways to give to Disaster and Hunger relief efforts: through the Baptist World Alliance (BWAid) and through the Southern Baptist Convention (Global Response). Missions offering envelopes are available in the bi-monthly envelope packet or at the kiosks. Baptists are also fortunate to know their money is well used: Both organizations spend every penny donated directly on food for those in need; none goes to administrative costs.

FBC Food Pantry Needs
Spaghetti sauce in cans
Soups, Chunky Soups (pop top if available)
Baked Beans, Black Beans, Navy Beans, Pork and Beans (pop top if available)
Microwaveable Rice
Canned fruits (pop top if available)
Peas (pop top if available)
Corn (pop top if available)
Green Beans (pop top if available)
Peanut Butter
Tuna fish (pop top if available)
Breakfast Bars
Mac and cheese
Canned pastas (pop top if available)
Potted meat (pop top if available)
Vienna sausages (pop top if available)
Apple sauce (small plastic containers)
Pop Tarts
Saltine Crackers

Susan BeachSusan Beach volunteers as editor of First Things First. A graduate of Virginia Tech, Susan and her husband, David, have been members of First Baptist Church since 1981. She is a Deacon, a member of the Endowment Fund Board and a member of the Prayer Ministry Team.

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By Susan Beach & David Powers.

The congregation will discuss and vote April 27 on a proposal from the Deacons to change the church’s missions giving plans. A brief synopsis of the proposal and a side-by-side comparison of the plans are available on the church website. Copies are also available on the kiosks in the church hallways.

Carl Johnson: “The goal . . . was that no members would feel they needed to leave First Baptist because they might disagree on where their mission dollars were being sent.”

Missions and giving to missions are basic to the identity of Richmond’s First Baptist Church. According to former Deacon Chair Carl Johnson, when the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) originated, “FBC was an immediate and full participant.”

That participation remained consistent until the early 90s, when some members of the congregation sought an alternative giving plan that would better reflect their views on how to divide the 10% mission portion of the annual budget. A committee gathered input from the congregation, studied the issue, and recommended three giving plans: the Cooperative Program (SBC) plan, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) plan, and an FBC plan. Carl remembers: “The goal of the committee, embraced by the church membership, was that no members would feel they needed to leave First Baptist because they might disagree on where their mission dollars were being sent.”

The Deacon Advisory Council (DAC), consisting of the five previous Deacon Chairs and Vice Chairs, was initially organized by then-pastor James Flamming in the early 90s to review and recommend changes to FBC’s giving plans on a periodic basis. The DAC and the Deacons have recommended, and the congregation has approved, changes in the giving plans twice in the last 20 years.

Lee Stephenson: “The proposal was intended to align our giving options with FBC’s statement of denominational relationships.”

In 2009, at the request of some church members, the DAC again reviewed FBC’s giving. Lee Stephenson, chair of the Board of Deacons then, says: “The specific issue raised was the policies of the NAMB (SBC’s North American Mission Board) with regard to ordained women not being hired for leadership positions and whether it was appropriate to include NAMB in the FBC-tailored plan.”

The DAC presented a proposal to the Deacons, which they approved in February 2011. Lee says the proposal was intended to align our giving options with FBC’s statement of denominational relationships: “First Baptist Church relates to the Richmond Baptist Association, the Baptist General Association of Virginia and the Baptist World Alliance, and supports missionaries through the Southern Baptist Convention and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.”

Each person who gives to the church may choose a plan to allocate his or her denominational partnership giving. If a giver does not indicate a choice, the allocation is currently made according to the FBC Plan (the Shared Plan under the new proposal). In 2010, 233 giving units chose the First Baptist Plan; 56, the CBF Plan; 17, the SBC Plan; 1,063 units did not choose a plan and their gifts were allocated according to the FBC Plan.

While there are significant differences in the three proposed giving plans, what is identical in all three are the first two items, 65% directed to the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) and 2.8% to FBC Community Missions. While the BGAV was included in all the previous plans, the percentages vary slightly from the previous amounts. In the previous plans, FBC Community Missions was part of only the FBC Plan.

Other changes reflect the uniqueness of each plan. NAMB is no longer included in the Shared Plan, but is still in the SBC Plan. Convention operations of SBC and CBF are no longer part of the Shared Plan, but continue to be included in their two giving plans. Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR) was originally only included in the FBC Plan; it is now also in the CBF Plan because it is affiliated with the CBF.

Continuing as part of the Shared Plan and the CBF Plan are the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, important to Virginia Baptists for its support of separation of church and state; the Associated Baptist Press, a significant source for information on mission work outside the state; and the Baptist World Alliance, as listed in our denominational relationship statement. None of these is part of the SBC Plan because they are not SBC entities.

Lee Hilbert: “The change in the Shared Partnership Plan is balanced . . . not showing favoritism to one philosophy versus the other.”

The Shared Plan expresses the view that each mission organization is valued equally for what it does, not for the numbers of its personnel. According to Lee Hilbert, Chairman of the Deacons from 2004 through 2006, “the DAC saw the First Baptist Plan as disproportionately weighted toward SBC. So the change in the Shared Partnership Plan is balanced . . . not showing favoritism to one philosophy versus the other. The principle of supporting the groups we say we are aligned with makes sense to me.”

The previous FBC Plan allocated 18% to the International Mission Board of the SBC and 6% to CBF; the proposed change will give 12.5% to each of them. NAMB, which previously received 3% in this plan, is not included in the proposed Shared Plan.

Lewis Myers has a different view of how the allocation should be divided.

Lewis has been a member of FBC since 1977 and a life-long supporter of SBC missions. His education at Baptist schools, his service as a missionary in Vietnam and then on staff at the International Mission Board exemplify his commitment to what God is doing through the SBC.

He looks at the 10,109 missionaries supported through the SBC compared to the 160 supported through CBF and sees the even division of dollars to SBC and CBF illogical. “In any reasonable business plan, money would be allocated on the size and budget needs of the whole. I can’t conceive of any business being run where each component part, large or small, receives equal resource allocation.”

Through the SBC, NAMB supports 5,096 missionaries at work in North America, 1,616 of which are self-funded Mission Service Corps missionaries. The IMB supports 5,013 missionaries overseas. All CBF missionaries, whether serving in the U.S. or internationally, are counted together as Global Missions personnel.

Although Lewis would have chosen different percentages, he supports the new SBC plan because all SBC structures are included. He is glad to have FBC Community Missions brought into all the giving plans; however, he notes that its inclusion has caused an effective reduction of the 10% the church has committed to missions outside of the church. Lewis also supports FBC’s denominational relationship statement, saying it “fits my perception of my relationship with the SBC.”

Lewis Myers: “All (plans) reflect concern for global needs . . . The passion of my heart is that ‘to the ends of the earth’ be taken seriously, which is one of the marks of a missional church.”

But Lewis regrets that support for NAMB has been removed from the Shared Plan. While he disagrees with NAMB’s decision to not appoint ordained women, he “cannot turn (his) back on those 5,000 missionaries who are laboring their hearts out all over this country.”

Lee Stephenson states that removing NAMB does not mean that we are abandoning missionaries serving in North America. Of the 5,096 NAMB missionaries 3,480 are operating under various levels of cooperative funding with state conventions and local associations. She points out that we continue to support missionaries serving in Richmond through our contributions to the Richmond Baptist Association.

Lee Hilbert says that “our church is not trying to decide for everyone how to spend their missions dollars. If NAMB is important to people, they can show that by choosing the SBC plan” which includes it at 7.34%.

He believes the Shared Plan best expresses who the majority of FBC’s members are: “We’re diverse but tend to lean to the middle. One of the unique things about First Baptist is that we are able to bring together a wide array of Baptist philosophies. We have a culture (that is) able to support lots of different views as long as our core values are the same.”

Martin Law has given through the CBF plan since he joined FBC in 1992 because, he says, “it has provided additional choices for people who want to support quality missions and higher education institutions with moderate evangelical perspectives.” He feels this option reflects changes in our congregation’s understanding of the range of Baptist mission efforts.

“Ben and Leonora Newell are excellent examples of the holistic witness provided to some of the most poverty stricken and deprived people in our nation,” Martin states. The Newells have served as CBF missionaries in Helena, Arkansas since 2002. Martin believes this kind of witness to the people Jesus had the most compassion for is where CBF excels. Because FBC has sent numerous volunteer groups to work with Ben and Leonora, “our church has learned more about the full meaning of Jesus’ command to witness,” says Martin.

Martin Law: The Shared Plan’s increase in giving to BWA is reflective of FBC’s part in a “more complex Baptist community.”

Martin supports the proposed changes to the Shared Plan because they “will provide crucial additional financial support to CBF missions activities at a time when virtually all missions organizations are struggling to maintain adequate funding.” He also appreciates the increase in BWA giving because “it is one of our primary relationships. Even though the increase is not huge, it still is a six-fold increase from 0.4 to 2.4%.” He sees this change as reflective of FBC’s part in a “more complex Baptist community. FBC’s very close relationship with the BGAV has also been an important part of this change” as it has partnered with diverse missions organizations.

Lewis sees the giving plans as a good thing: “All (plans) reflect concern for global needs . . . The passion of my heart is that ‘to the ends of the earth’ be taken seriously, which is one of the marks of a missional church. I think by and large these plans reflect that intent.”

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