SBC DIGEST: Racial unity, prayer, missions among June SBC emphases; WMU search committee prays, plans

by Art Toalston & WMU Communications Staff, posted Tuesday, March 15, 2016 (3 years ago)

Racial unity, prayer, missions, culture at SBC in June

ST. LOUIS (BP) -- "A National Conversation on Racial Unity in America" will be among the highlights of the 2016 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in St. Louis, as listed in SBC LIFE's spring edition.

The racial reconciliation emphasis will take place during the Tuesday morning session of the June 14-15 annual meeting, as announced by SBC President Ronnie Floyd in the Executive Committee journal. SBC LIFE is online at www.sbclife.net.

Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, and Marshall Blalock, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charleston, S.C., will be among the featured speakers.

Floyd and Young were key participants in two racial reconciliation gatherings in Jackson, Miss., in November and August last year. Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, and Young, who leads New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, subsequently were interviewed together by The New York Times and wrote an op-ed at CNN about racial healing in America.

Also on Tuesday morning at the SBC annual meeting, Floyd will deliver his presidential address and military veterans will be honored for their service.

For a second year, Floyd will lead a Tuesday evening session devoted to prayer, titled, "A National Call to Prayer for Spiritual Leadership, Revived Churches, The Next Great Spiritual Awakening, and The Future of America."

Reports by the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board are scheduled for the Wednesday morning session, June 15, and the two boards will close the annual meeting with a special missions presentation on Wednesday afternoon.

The Wednesday afternoon session will begin with two panel discussions: "The Local Pastor and Church in American Politics" and a question-and-answer period with the presidents of the SBC's 11 entities and the Executive Committee.

Delivering this year's convention sermon on Wednesday will be Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla.

The theme of the annual meeting will be "Awaken America, Reach the World" drawn from Acts 4:31.

Online registration for messengers and local hotels can be accessed at www.SBCAnnualMeeting.net. Information for preschool child care and programs for children ages 6-12 and students in grades 7-12 also is available through the website. Information about the annual Crossover evangelism outreach prior to the annual meeting can be accessed at St. Louis Metro Baptist Association.

WMU search committee moves forward

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- The search committee for WMU's next executive director-treasurer met at the missions organization's offices in Birmingham, Ala., March 2-4, spending time in prayer and planning in seeking a successor for Wanda Lee, who has announced her intentions to retire.

"The search committee is following a very prayerful, very deliberate process in seeking the next executive director-treasurer for national WMU," said Joy Bolton, executive director of Kentucky WMU and committee chairperson. "As a committee we have come to understand that there is great value in the process itself, and the amount of time spent in prayer by this committee was a deeply spiritual experience and one we would have missed without the process."

In addition to prayer, the committee developed a profile questionnaire to seek input from various audiences on the characteristics, skills and experience the next executive director should possess to best lead WMU into the future.

"We ask for your continued prayer for the committee, for the candidate that God has for us, and for Wanda and the national WMU staff during these days," Bolton said. Lee has not yet set a date for her retirement.

Committee members serving with Bolton are Debby Akerman, former national WMU president (2010-2015); Jill McNicol, president of Illinois WMU; Kathy Sheldon, president of Pennsylvania/South Jersey WMU; and June Tate, president of Colorado WMU.

Recommendations and resumes may be sent to WMU Search Committee, c/o Joy Bolton, Kentucky WMU, 13420 Eastpoint Centre Drive, Louisville, KY 40223, or by email to Joy.Bolton@kybaptist.org, to be received no later than May 1. The job description is posted at wmu.com/employment.

In other WMU news, former missionary Claudia Johnson has been hired as the leadership consultant for WMU's Missions Resource Center and Christian Women's Leadership Center (CWLC).

Johnson has served as a missionary teacher with the International Mission Board (IMB) for nearly 28 years.

"We are thrilled to have someone with Claudia's wealth of teaching and missions experience serve in this role," said Wanda Lee, executive director of national WMU. "We believe her unique perspective on leadership, having lived it out in another culture, will be key to the success of the CWLC and how we engage women in leadership within their church, workplace and community."

Johnson established and led a school in Bangkok, Thailand, for refugee middle and high school students. Her understanding of teaching and curriculum development will be an asset to WMU as they build online leadership instruction and certificate programs for women in the church.

"Having the educational expertise, a biblical worldview of missions, and the desire to lead women in leadership development makes Claudia uniquely qualified to lead the CWLC," said Kristy Carr, WMU's adult resource team leader.

The CWLC is an initiative of WMU to provide resources for women seeking leadership development in a Christian context. It may also serve as an entry point for women to missions through WMU. Johnson will develop WMU's online learning resources and incorporate leadership principles into all of WMU's age-level content.

Johnson and her husband David served in Bangkok where they ministered to Pakistani refugees fleeing religious persecution. They were able to provide for the physical needs of refugees through Baptist Global Response and lead many to Christ. They return to the U.S. as part of the IMB's voluntary retirement incentive (VRI).

"As we have been praying for IMB missionaries who are returning home, we asked the Lord how WMU could help beyond our ministry of missionary housing," Lee said. "We are grateful this position was open and available for a missionary who has the experience to continue WMU's tradition of providing exemplary missions discipleship in the local church."

The CWLC online Leadership Certificate Program will launch in September. More information on the CWLC is available at wmu.com/cwlc and on Facebook and Twitter.

Art Toalston is senior editor for Baptist Press, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. WMU communication staff is based at the mission organization's offices in Birmingham, Ala.
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