Focus on North American missions gears up in Southern Baptist churches

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)--More than 8.5 million pieces of promotional materials being received by churches in January and February signals a change of season in many Southern Baptist churches -- the season of North American missions. Through the March 2-7 Week of Prayer for North American Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, Southern Baptists will undergird domestic missions efforts through prayer and financial support.

With a goal of $53 million, the offering theme for 2003 is Partners in Purpose, reflecting the cooperation of churches, associations, state conventions and the North American Mission Board in supporting 5,204 missionaries in the United States, Canada and U.S. territories.

The promotional effort began in late December and early January with the mailing of a promotional packet to 42,000 SBC churches. Offering envelopes, promotional posters and prayer guides will be mailed by state WMU offices in February.

The promotional packet contains a videotape featuring profiles of the Week of Prayer missionaries, a CD-ROM, promotional guide and a sample "missionary trading card" useful for helping both children and adults remember to pray for missionaries.

The www.anniearmstrong.com website also has become one of the primary resources for information about NAMB and the offering, with nearly 100,000 visitors using the site last year. Many of the resources in the promotional packet also are available on the website, as well as a number of unique resources and other up-to-date information useful to those promoting the offering.

A number of resources developed by missions leaders in local churches are also shared on the site. There are eight scripts for drama, as well as an original song written just for the 2003 Annie offering.

Among other resources available for order from the site are a prayer map showing missionary assignments and prayer requests, a missions study with materials for all age groups titled "Answer the Call" and full-color bulletin inserts.

The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering was started in 1895 by Annie Armstrong -- the first director of the Woman's Missionary Union -- and named for her in 1934. More than $950 million has been given to the offering since its inception, 100 percent of which goes to support NAMB missionaries. Southern Baptists last year gave a record $49.2 million through the offering.

The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions is a trademark of the Woman's Mission Union -- and since all the funds go to NAMB, it is the sole licensee. The two entities work together in promotion.

For more information about the offering, visit the www.anniearmstrong.com website, send e-mail to aaeo@namb.net or call (770) 410-6468.


(BP) logo posted in the BP Photo Library at http:www.bpnews.net. Logo title: ANNIE ARMSTRONG EASTER OFFERING.

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