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By Greg Warner
New Baptist Covenant Communications
ATLANTA – In about two months, Baptists of many stripes will gather simultaneously in dozens of cities across the country for a unique virtual meeting, during which they will not only worship and learn but spread out to work in their local communities.
The occasion is New Baptist Covenant II, a three-day gathering being planned by Baptists from a number of different denominations and ethnic backgrounds.
The Nov. 17-19 meeting is a follow-up to the first New Baptist Covenant, a historic 2008 meeting of 15,000 Baptists at a central location in Atlanta, which brought together Baptists from 40 different denominations and groups for the first time ever – Caucasians, Asians, African-Americans, Hispanics.
Rather than use air and ground transportation to bring the Baptists together this time, participants will rely on communication technology to traverse the miles. Most participants will gather at one of eight viewing locations that are linked by satellite feeds. Many more people will watch in smaller church-based gatherings via Internet video streaming.
As many as 30,000 to 35,000 Baptists could participate in the November event – more than twice as many as gathered in Atlanta in 2008, said Philadelphia pastor William Shaw, one of two national co-chairs for the event.
“It was challenging and affirming when we gathered in Atlanta a couple years ago to seek and affirm our common purpose in Jesus Christ,” said Shaw, former president of the National Baptist Convention, USA. “Now we want to do it again, not in one place but in many places, and those places are closer to home.”
The New Baptist Covenant is the brainchild of arguably the world’s most famous Baptist, former President Jimmy Carter. It is a loose-knit, grassroots effort to unite Baptists in North America around the mandate from the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. In that passage, Jesus declared his ministry was to “bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
With more than 33 million adherents, scattered in about 70 denominations, Baptists are the largest Protestant group in the United States. One key objective of the New Baptist Covenant is to unite the disparate Baptist groups around a covenant of social and justice ministries, providing an alternative voice to more strident Baptist voices.
We are pleased to announce the New Baptist Covenant will gather together November 17-19, 2011. What began four years ago with a small group of committed Baptist leaders has grown into a thriving grassroots movement. In 2011, this movement will bring NBC II closer to you through some of the latest technology as we continue to live into Jesus’ Luke 4 mandate to “bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA will serve as NBCII’s anchor site, hosting worship services and breakout sessions that will be broadcast via satellite to various host cities across the nation. Host cities will provide additional programming and coordinate a day of local missions opportunities on November 19.
We hope you will join with us in celebrating this next phase of the New Baptist Covenant.
Specific host cities to be announced soon. Please subscribe to our email newsletter to receive updates.