Dear New Baptist Covenant Family:
Over the next several months, the New Baptist Covenant will be transforming its programing and transitioning its operations as it adjusts to COVID-19, missional challenges, and financial realities.
It is no longer feasible for us to function at the staffing and resourcing levels that we had attained pre-pandemic. In the coming days, our focus will be to return to our founding DNA as a movement while traveling as lightly as possible as an institution.
As you know, since President Jimmy Carter launched us 2007, the crux of our movement has been to dismantle the racial, theological, and geographic boundaries among Baptists while working together on justice – particularly racial justice issues – together. Quite frankly, we have never garnered the kind of financial support necessary to fully fund the kind of staffing and programming necessary to responsibly establish ourselves as a world class or premier organization.
COVID-19 has only exasperated this problem as churches and denominations have become inevitably more insular, addressing immediate organizational needs or reimagining how they engage in ministry. Additionally, diminishing church, individual, and partner funding over the last few years has impacted our staffing and board capacity. Our small cadre of staff goes way beyond their contracted hours of service. They are dedicated and highly capable individuals who distinguish themselves by putting the mission before their own self-interest. I am grateful each of them, past and present.
There is some good news in all of this! It is our belief that the missional objective of addressing racial justice has motivated denominations, churches, and organizations to take on aspects of this work that were not doing so before. Some do this collegially, if not collaboratively or in partnership, with New Baptist Covenant. We are encouraged that more and more, the work we wanted to see happening in 2007 is being done, even when we are not doing it together.
While we may no longer continue addressing this work in ways we have done in the past, we will maintain a presence and we will be exercising our voice. We are encouraged to see that many of our original mission goals are being realized effectively in other venues. One way we will continue to exercise our ministry is by brokering relationships and partnerships with others who are doing incredibly work. We encourage you to consider the following:
Interwoven Congregations is an ecumenical missional organization with Presbyterian roots that seems to have adopted our Covenants of Action model quite effectively yoking congregations to confront the reality of racism, build relationships, and practice antiracism.
BridgePeople was founded in 2019 in response to the very deep and palpable divisions across our society, fueled by dominant and toxic leadership models, and by the dehumanizing myths of scarcity, superiority, and separation. BridgePeople partners with socially-minded leaders and organizations committed and ready to eradicate all forms of injustice through cross-cultural relational competencies, human-centered culture transformation, and inclusive & embodied leadership development. BridgePeople is a network of interconnected, culturally competent local, regional, and global leaders who are accountable to the communities they serve and are willing to boldly shift power to eradicate the root causes of poverty and injustice in partnership with those most impacted.
The Center for Faith, Justice, and Reconciliation is dedicated to being and building a beloved community. Recognizing the ongoing crisis in our nation and world, the Center embarks on a bold journey of living faith, advancing justice, and building sustainable paths for authentic reconciliation and community. The Center offers a variety of educational programs – seminars, conferences, institutes, and symposia – for students, congregations, community and faith leaders, and public officials that advance justice and build cultures for reconciliation. Sabrina E. Dent, D. Min., has just been named the new President of the Center. Sabrina is a Baptist and a life-long advocate for human rights and social justice. As an interfaith leader, Dr. Dent developed a strong passion for religious freedom as a 2015 BJC Fellow with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. She is a graduate of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.
BJC (Baptist Joint Committee) continues to be a premier national organization where Baptists most effectively assemble across denominational, theological, and racial barriers. A few years ago, they launched Christians Against Christian Nationalism which addresses critical aspects of the mission and vision that New Baptist Covenant has been championing.
The Christian Citizen seeks to shape a mind among American Baptists and others on matters of public concern by providing a forum for diverse voices living and working at the intersection of politics, discipleship, and citizenship.
Baptist News Global is a reader-supported, independent news organization providing original and curated news, opinion and analysis about matters of faith. It covers the people, events and ideas that are shaping American religion and culture from a perspective that is Baptist in heritage and ecumenical in spirit.
The Raceless Gospel Initiative of Good Faith Media seeks to ultimately undermine the credibility of the sociopolitical construct of race in all Christian communications and in all Christian communities so that Jesus followers can live more deeply into their baptismal. Identity.
We will continue to maintain our website at https://newbaptistcovenant.org/ and will use it as a conduit for communication, relationship building and maintenance and resourcing. We are changing, but we are not going away!
The New Baptist Covenant wants to thank each of you for your generous demonstrations of financial, participation, time, and prayerful support you have given us for many years. Since 2007, we’ve been proud to build bridges toward the Beloved Community among and through Baptists. This would not have been possible without you. You are the New Baptist Covenant!
We are particularly grateful to the John and Eula Mae Baugh Foundation for its extraordinary commitment to New Baptist Covenant and to many other entities that work to collaboratively equip communities of reconcilers, justice-makers and healers to intentionally and decisively transform themselves and society towards the Beloved Community.
On behalf of me and the New Baptist Covenant Leadership Team, thank you.
Dr. Aidsand Wright-Riggins