Friday, April 10, 2009

Baptist Border Crossing

I have not posted to my blog for several weeks because I was so involved in the final preparations for the Baptist Border Crossing Summit. The Summit was held April 2-4 at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty. The Summit was a grand experiment as we attempted to bring the Baptist family from the Midwest together for worship and dialogue. The impetus for the gathering was the New Baptist Covenant Celebration in Atlanta last year. The Baptist Border Crossing Task Force has been working for about 10 months in preparation for the gathering. Rev. Dr. Wallace S. Hartsfield, II served with me as co-chair of our task force. His father, Rev. Wallace S. Hartsfield, Sr., was a driving force behind the event.

The Baptist Border Crossing event was a wonderful blending of Baptist traditions. We should have been working on this type of event years ago. The process of working with the Border Crossing Task Force provided opportunities for me to build relationships with brothers and sisters I would not have known without this effort. Many of us are not going back to the way things were. I look forward to a new day in Baptist life, when all Baptists stand together on issues of justice and when we work together to share the message of Christ with our world. It was exciting to see American Baptists, General Baptists, National Baptists, Cooperative Baptists, and Southern Baptists coming together with those from the Baptist General Convention of Missouri to worship and to explore ways to extend Christ’s Kingdom. If you were not able to attend you may contact our convention office for a copy of the program ( or (888) 420-2426 ext. 701). You may also want to watch the archived video of the worship sessions at the website.

I have been receiving e-mails from many people who attended the event. I have included some of their responses below:

I was privileged to attend all of the plenary sessions for the Baptist Border Crossing, and I was impressed with the fine planning, the high caliber speakers and the worship leaders, the smooth flow of the program, and the thoughtful presentation of the key themes of the weekend. As one who attended the New Baptist Covenant event in Atlanta, I had no expectation that we could do a Regional event that would match the Atlanta event in spirit and in quality; yet you accomplished it. Thank you. I commend the work of the planning committee. Job well done!

We...had a wonderful time at the BGCM Meeting, the Banquet and the Baptist Border Crossing. We greatly appreciate all the hard work...

I thought the Baptist Border Crossing event was outstanding. Thanks for all of your hard work making it happen.

GREAT job! It was good to be there and see so many friends.

Thank you for your leadership in making Baptist Border Crossing happen. It was the best meeting I have attended in years. We had 18 from our church in attendance and they all were very excited about they experienced.

I want to express my appreciation to you and all the others who worked so diligently and sacrificially to make the Baptist Border Crossing Summit such a wonderful experience.

I hope you are feeling good about the time and energy you put into the recent Border Crossing event. ...We had 18-20 people attend. Most of them also came to the BGCM meeting before and the banquet, too. ...Many of them were talking last night at church about how great the meeting was. It had a tremendous impact on folks and will lead to increased cross-lines cooperation in Springfield.

I am so grateful for all those who worked to make the Baptist Border Crossing Summit possible. It is my hope and prayer that God will take this beginning and use it to bring the our Baptist family together in a way we have never experienced.

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