Baptist Leaders Announce Plans for 2008 Convocation in Atlanta


Photo Caption: Former President Bill Clinton and Mercer University President William D. Underwood look on as Former President Jimmy Carter introduces a gathering of more than 30 Baptist leaders at The Carter Center on Tuesday. The group announced a “Celebration of a new Baptist Covenant” adopted by the groups last April. The celebration will take place in January 2008 in Atlanta. Billy Howard photo.

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ATLANTA — Leaders of 40 Baptist organizations representing 20 million Baptists throughout North America convened at The Carter Center today and announced plans for a Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, tentatively scheduled to be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2008. Joining in the meeting were former U.S. Presidents and prominent Baptists Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and Mercer University President William D. Underwood.

“This has been what may turn out to be one of the most historic events, at least in the history of Baptists in this country, and perhaps Christianity,” Carter said. “We believe it will bear fruits.”

Plans for the historic celebration, which is expected to draw more than 20,000 Baptist participants, grew out of the North American Baptist Covenant, a document that was signed by Baptist leaders following a meeting at The Carter Center last April.

The covenant – endorsed by a racially, geographically and theologically diverse assembly of Baptists – underscores the group’s desire to speak and work together to create an authentic and genuine prophetic Baptist voice in North America. It goes on to reaffirm traditional Baptist values, including sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications for public and private morality. The group has specifically committed themselves to their obligations as Christians to fulfill the biblical mandate to promote peace with justice, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and the marginalized, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity.

The celebration will begin on the evening of Jan. 30 with a keynote address by President Carter. The three-day program will feature speakers and presenters who will address these historic Baptist commitments and explore other opportunities to work together as Christian partners.

Tentative themes for the four plenary sessions are: “Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant,” “Unity in Bringing Good News to the Poor,” “Unity in Respecting Religious Diversity,” “Unity in Seeking Peace with Justice,” and “Unity in Welcoming the Stranger and Healing the Broken-Hearted.” Keynote speakers confirmed to date include President Carter, Bill Moyers and Marian Wright Edelman.

In addition to the plenary sessions, the convocation will feature special-interest sessions dealing with topics such as racism, religious liberty, poverty, the AIDS pandemic, faith in public policy, stewardship of the earth, evangelism, financial stewardship, and prophetic preaching.
Additional program information, including the names of other keynote and special interest session speakers, will be released as details are finalized later this year.

 “Today’s meeting was an historic gathering of Baptists from the north and south, black, white and brown, theologically conservative, moderate and progressive,” Underwood said. “All are committed to traditional Baptist values and all committed to our obligations as Christians to address poverty, health care, and religious liberty. I believe the convocation in January 2008 will be an important first step in mobilizing 20 million Baptists to find a unified voice in addressing these critical issues. There is power in unity. We Baptists can accomplish more together than any one of us can accomplish alone. I am greatly encouraged by the spirit and commitment of the Baptist leaders who gathered at The Carter Center today.”

Celebration of A New Baptist Covenant
Meeting Attendees

The Carter Center
January 9, 2007

1.         Jimmy Allen, Chairman, Baptists Today; Former President of Southern Baptist Convention.
2.         Lloyd Allen, McAfee School of Theology
3.         Rob Appel, Executive Director, Seventh Day Baptist Conference.
4.         Jedaias Azevedo, General Secretary, Association of Brazilian Baptist Churches in North America
5.         Jeremy Bell, Executive Minister, Baptist Union of Western Canada
6.         Ken Bellous, Executive Minister, Baptist Convention of Ontario & Quebec
7.         Yvonne Best, Associate Director for Program Development, Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Society
8.         Ron Black, Executive Director, General Association of General Baptists
9.         Larry Brumley, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff, Mercer University
10.       Richard Brunson, Director, North Carolina Baptist Men
11.       George Bullard, North American Baptist Fellowship
12.       Ruby Burke, North American Baptist Fellowship
13.       Thelma Chambers-Young, Vice President, North American Baptist Women’s Union
14.       Alan Culpepper, Dean, McAfee School of Theology
15.       David Currie, Executive Director, Texas Baptists Committed
16.       Lance Currie
17.       Charles Deweese, Executive Director, Baptist History and Heritage Society    
18.       Ralph Duke, North American Baptist Fellowship
19.       James Dunn, Executive Director Emeritus, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
20.       William Epps, Editor-in-Chief, National Baptist Voice
21.       Beth Fogg, Past Member, Coordinating Council and Advisory Council of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Past President, Baptist General Association of Virginia
22.       David Goatley, President, North American Baptist Fellowship, Executive Secretary, Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Society
23.       Harry Gardner, Executive Minister, Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches
24.       Gail Gardner
25.       Kirby Godsey, Chancellor, Mercer University
26.       Roland Grimard, Canadian Baptist Ministries
27.       Sarah Hallstrand, Executive Minister, American Baptist Churches of Greater Indianapolis
28.       Derrick Harkins, Vice President, North American Baptist Fellowship
29.       George Harlov, Russian-Ukranian Baptist Union, USA
30.       Gordon Harris, Interim Executive Director, North American Baptist Conference USA & Canada
31.       Joyce B. Harris
32.       Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications, Baptist World Alliance
33.       James Hill, Baptist General Association of Missouri
34.       A. Wayne Johnson, General Secretary, National Missionary Baptist Convention of America
35.       Jerry Jones, Team Leader, Global Missions and Evangelism, Baptist General Association of Virginia          
36.       James A Keefer, Baptist Educators
37.       Marv Knox, Editor, Baptist Standard
38.       Robert L. Lamb, Baptist Educators
39.       Patricia Lane, Strategist, Intercultural Affinity Group, Baptist General Convention of Texas
40.       Bill Leonard, Dean, Wake Forest School of Divinity        
41.       Denton Lotz, General Secretary, Baptist World Alliance
42.       Emmanuel McCall, Moderator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; Vice President, Baptist World Alliance; Pastor, Baptist Fellowship Group, East Point, Ga.
43.       Ashley McNeil, Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Society
44.       A Roy Medley, General Secretary, American Baptist Churches, USA
45.       Phil Miller, Ministry Team Leader, Baptist General Convention of Texas
46.       Gary Nelson, General Secretary, Canadian Baptist Ministries
47.       Robert Parham, Executive Director, Center for Baptist Ethics
48.       William Perkins, Professor, Morehouse College
49.       Lewis Petrie, Vice President, Baptist General Conference
50.       Johnny Pierce, Editor, Baptists Today
51.       Tyrone Pitts, General Secretary, Progressive Baptist National Convention
52.       Bruce Prescott, Executive Director, Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists
53.       Michael Reel, Managing Editor, National Baptist Voice
54.       Paul Reitzer, Baptist Educators
55.       Albert Reyes, President, Buckner Children and Family Services
56.       Herbert Reynolds, President-Emeritus, Baylor University
57.       C.C. Robertson, President, National Missionary Baptist Convention
58.       Don Sewell, Executive Liaison for Missions Relationships, Baptist General Convention of Texas
59.       William Shaw, President, National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.
60.       Jerry Sheveland, President, Baptist General Conference
61.       Walter Shurden, Director, Center for Baptist Studies
62.       T. DeWitt Smith, President, Progressive National Baptist Convention
63.       Richard Swindle, Senior Vice President, Mercer University
64.       Rev. Ademir Simoes, President, Association of Brazilian Baptists of North America
65.       Alan Stanford, General Secretary, North American Baptist Fellowship
66.       Yutaka Takarada, President, Japanese Southern Baptist Churches of America
67.       Gerry Taillon, National Ministry Leader, Canadian Conference of Southern Baptist Churches
68.       Bill Tinsley, WorldconneX Leader, Baptist General Convention of Texas
69.       Stephen J. Thurston, President, National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.
70.       Samuel Tolbert, General Secretary, National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.
71.       Bill Underwood, President, Mercer University
72.       John Upton, Executive Director, Baptist General Association of Virginia
73.       Victor Upton
74.       Daniel Vestal, Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
75.       Houmphanh Vongsurith, President, Laotian National Baptist Fellowship
76.       Charles Wade, Executive Director, Baptist General Convention of Texas
77.       Rosemary Wade
78.       Greg Warner, Executive Editor, Associated Baptist Press
79.       Ross West, Director, Baptist Way Press, Baptist General Convention of Texas
80.       Brent Walker, Executive Director, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty
81.       Bertha Williams, Vice President, North American Baptist Fellowship