CBF-NC looks forward
March 20 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

CBF-NC looks forward | Friday, March 21, 2003

Friday, March 21, 2003

CBF-NC looks forward

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

GASTONIA - "Our calling is to be the presence of Christ wherever we serve," coordinator Bob Patterson told the annual general assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina (CBF-NC), "bringing Baptists together for Christ centered ministry."

About 550 CBF-NC members attended the meeting, held March 14-15 at First Baptist Church of Gastonia.

Kelly Belcher, a North Carolina native who is minister of children and family life at Fernwood Baptist Church in Spartanburg, S.C., brought the sermon during worship on Friday night. Belcher compared the stories of the Israelites crossing the sea to escape the Egyptians, and Peter attempting to walk on the water in the midst of a storm. Caught between life and death, both had to learn to trust God, she said.

For Cooperative Baptists, she said, "It is not time to fish or cut bait, but time to take the hand of Almighty God and step beyond the Baptist infinity we have known." The times, like the threatening waters in the Bible stories, are uncertain, Belcher said, calling for a church that allows all members to minister according to their gifts and that offers acceptance to all people.

"Dare to go with God where you have not been before," Belcher said. "You are the real, authentic Baptists, you are the Moses and Peters of our time."

Participants elected Roger Gilbert of First Baptist, Mt. Airy as moderator elect. Larry Hovis of The Memorial Baptist Church in Greenville is moderator for 2003-04. Tyanna Day of First Baptist, Mount Olive is outgoing moderator.

The group approved a 2003-04 budget of $548,359, a 17 percent increase over the current budget. CBF-NC now has four full time employees.

Task force leaders highlighted new initiatives during the past year, including the gift of a relief trailer for use by the CBF Rural Poverty Initiative, a targeted ministry to the 20 poorest counties in the U.S. Ben Newell, a missionary who will use the trailer in the Mississippi delta region of Arkansas, thanked CBF-NC for its support.

CBF-NC also financed the construction of a medical trailer and the purchase of a tow vehicle for use in Indonesia.

Several youth and children's retreats were held during the year, along with a retreat for youth ministers and a variety of workshops.

In a closing worship service, Mike Cogdill, dean of the Campbell University Divinity School, said it was good to be together during Lent, remembering the difficulties Jesus faced leading up to the crucifixion.

"It's been a rough year," Cogdill said, citing anti-CBF rhetoric and concerns about the Plan C giving option for North Carolina Baptists. Cogdill said 45 percent of all scholarship aid for N.C. Baptist divinity school programs comes through Plan C. Cogdill also expressed concern for the Baptist World Alliance, which is facing budget woes compounded by a reduction in contributions from the Southern Baptist Convention.

Instead of "giving up" something for Lent this year, Cogdill encouraged attenders to add two things to their lives: courage and compassion.

Jesus demonstrated great courage on his way to the cross, Cogdill said, challenging participants to "say 'no' to Pilate's way of doing things," to say "I will not wash my hands of this matter." There are too many Baptist principles to defend, Cogdill said, too many bright students wanting to study theology in an open environment, too many women who need affirmation. CBF-NC Baptists need to stand up to critics, modeling both compassion and conviction, he said.

Jesus fell victim to those who had a high view of scripture and a low view of people, Cogdill said, but answered with love. And for Christ's followers, "The way to live as a Christian is to love like Jesus."

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3/20/2003 11:00:00 PM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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