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  A covenant of action is when two or more churches from different Baptist traditions come together to address a pressing need in their community.
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NBC Participates in UN Conversation Regarding Justice for People of African Descent

The New Baptist Covenant was represented at the United Nations on Nov. 3 for a powerful dialogue about the impacts of structural racism on people of African descent. Dr. Tyrone Pitts, who serves as a member of NBC’s Executive Leadership Team, and Dr. Scott Stearman, who was a part of NBC’s first Covenant of Action as a pastor in St. Louis, participated in the UN dialogue on NBC’s behalf. Dr. Stearman also serves as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship liaison to the UN. “Confronting the Silence: Perspectives and Dialogue on Structural Racism against people of African Descent Worldwide,” was one of many programs and activities planned for the “International Decade for People of African Descent,” which the UN General Assembly declared for 2015-2024 to address the unique ways in which African people have been impacted by racism, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Famed civil rights activist, actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Harry Belafonte delivered one of the key note addresses for the meeting where he acknowledged the importance of the UN’s International Decade for People of African Descent noting that “…the United Nations is the perfect place for us to sit and to have exchanges and to find our deeper humanity in settling the affairs of the cruelty of racism and classism,” said Belafonte. Dr. Stearman agreed that the UN’s emphasis on the impacts of racism on African people can make a difference internationally. “Most of the world pays a lot of attention to the United Nations and focusing on structural racism could impact millions of people by highlighting best practices and what is being done…This is a good moment...

NBC Celebrates the Ministry of Dr. Aidsand Wright-Riggins III, Welcomes Dr. Jeffrey Haggray

Dr. Aidsand Wright-Riggins III, who led the American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) for nearly a quarter century, retired in November as the longest serving employee in the history of organizations affiliated with American Baptist Churches USA. In addition to being executive director of ABHMS, he also served as the chief executive officer of Judson Press, which is the publishing arm of American Baptist Churches USA. Dr. Wright-Riggins is well-known for his work on racial and social justice issues. During his career, he has served as a pastor, civil rights leader, educational administrator and ABHMS leader. As a denominational leader, he led the charge in many ways for reconciliation and transformation. It was his belief that the full scope of American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ mission included “evangelism and emancipation, spiritual formation and social justice, church planting and community transformation.” This vision was evident in the many successes he had while at the helm of ABHMS. “Throughout his ministry Dr. Wright-Riggins has been a champion for the cause of justice. It was a deep pleasure to participate in his retirement celebration and honor his ministry. Dr. Wright-Riggins has shown generations of ministers what it means to stand up for the gospel of Jesus Christ and to do it with flare. He has made us proud to be Baptist and I am grateful for his continued ministry,” said NBC National Coordinator Hannah McMahan. To help mark this milestone in Dr. Wright-Riggins’ life, the Space for Grace Conference was held Nov. 4-7 in Los Angeles where Baptist leaders gathered to discuss issues of race, class, religion and culture and how to...

Covenant of Action Spotlight: Oklahoma Baptists Restore Campgrounds and Build Lasting Relationships

News of a racially-charged song by fraternity members rocked the University of Oklahoma’s campus and garnered national attention. It was one of many incidents spotlighting the need for racial reconciliation in communities across the nation. As these events unfolded, three very different Baptist bodies joined together to offer another kind of narrative about racism in the Sooners state. The Progressive Oklahoma Baptist State Convention, Oklahoma Indian American Baptist Association and Cooperating Baptist Fellowship of Oklahoma are the latest to join the New Baptist Covenant movement with a Covenant of Action that is generating important results. This Covenant of Action is unique in that it connects three networks of Baptist churches representing Native American, African American and Anglo American Baptist churches that are working collaboratively to improve race relations and transform communities in Oklahoma. The three Baptist bodies restored the OIABCA’s campground in Anadarko, Okla., and also plan to adopt and enhance at-risk urban schools in Oklahoma City. Their 2015 mission has been to work alongside one another with each group having an equal amount of influence and authority. The three groups began this journey together in a worship service in April and later worked together at the OIABA Campgrounds. The Covenant of Action has moved the groups outside of the walls of their churches and compelled them to engage with one another in ways they would not have normally interacted. Their collaborative work is crossing old racial and denominational boundaries while modeling new ways for African Americans, Native Americans and Anglo Americans to be in relationship with one another. According to Rev. Wil Brown, pastor of First American Baptist...