Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant

May 18, 2007

Yesterday was an exciting day as I met with other leaders of the communications committee for the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant. We are working on how to get the word out about this great event and how to get as many Baptists as possible to show up for it January 30-February 1. I got to meet Baptist leaders like Jimmy Allen, Emmanuel McCall, Roy Medley, and Daniel Vestal, as well as meet with some of the best journalist and communication people in Baptist life. At the meeting I also had the honor of meeting former President Jimmy Carter.

I am very excited about this event and I hope that all Baptists will seriously consider attending. If nothing else, I hope you will at least be in prayer for it. The Celebration will be a historic gathering as it will unite dozen of Baptist organizations in North America. It is time for Baptists to work together, celebrate our commonalities, and put forth a positive and compassionate image. In the January issue of the BGCM E-Message I had an article about why I thought this meeting was going to be a great thing for Baptists: Let's Hitch Ourselves Together. And in the May issue of the BGCM E-Message (to come out early next week) I'll have another piece with more thoughts as a result of yesterday's meeting.

The main speakers confirmed for the meeting were also announced yesterday (see stories by Ethics Daily and the Associated Baptist Press). Here are the speakers:

Dr. Charles D. Adams, pastor of Hartford Baptist Church in Detroit
Dr. Tony Campolo, professor emeritus at Eastern University and founder of EAPE
Former President Jimmy Carter
Former President Bill Clinton
Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund
Former Vice President Al Gore
Dr. Joel Gregory, professor of Preaching, George W. Truett Theological Seminary
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
Bill Moyers, author and journalist
Reverend Julie Pennington-Russell, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Waco, Texas
Dr. William J. Shaw, president of the National Baptist Convention USA Inc.

This is an exciting list of Baptists. It also destroys the accusations made by some earlier that this was going to be a rally for one political party as prominent Republicans and Democrats are on the list. Back in January I had a column for Ethics Daily that dealt with some of the inaccurate criticisms about the Celebration: Richard Land Doesn't Get Baptist 'Covenant'. With the announcement yesterday it should be even more obvious that critics like Richard Land were wrong. Thankfully, some Southern Baptists are being open to the event. Carter also met yesterday with a few prominent Southern Baptist bloggers (see an Associated Baptist Press story here) like Wade Burleson, Ben Cole, and Marty Duren, all of whom have written positively about the event.

I hope that all Baptists will start praying for the event, start planning to attend, and start getting ready to celebrate with the diverse family of Baptist brothers and sisters.