2015-2016 Mission Focus
See…the Beloved Community:
“Do not be conformed to this world,” we are instructed by Scripture, “but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect,” (Romans 12:2 NRSV).
Society often seems to try to separate us from one another. News media and politicians play on our fears to get ratings or get votes; television shows and movies often rely on stereotypes to play on the viewers’ emotions. Entire neighborhoods are classified as “good” or “bad.” The world would have us segregated, fearful, distrustful, suspicious.
Yet God calls us to something not only different—but transformative. We are transformed in our relationship with Jesus Christ, restored to right relationship with God. We are transformed in our relationships with one another: as the Nguni Bantu term Ubuntu
describes, “I am because we are.” We transform our society as we take one another into our hearts and experience one another’s experiences as our own.
We are called to be the Beloved Community.
"The cross is the eternal expression of the length to which God will go in order to restore broken community. The resurrection is a symbol of God's triumph over all the forces that seek to block community. The Holy Spirit is the continuing community creating reality that moves through history,” Martin Luther King, Jr. (Stride Toward Freedom
The 2015-2016 mission focus “See…the Beloved Community: Transformative Relationships” offers American Baptist women and girls the opportunity to explore:
How we are drawn into reconciliation with God through the cross
How we, together, are co-creators of the Beloved Community through authentic relationships with one another
How our ministries and congregations can lead our neighborhoods, towns, and cities in becoming the Beloved Community
There are several recordings available from the ABCUSA Biennial Mission Summit, Jun 25-29, 2015, in Overland Park, Kansas, that are related to Beloved Community; these recordings would be an excellent resource for a time of study and reflection in a women's ministry program. The recordings are available for purchase from Dove Cassettes at this link. You will want to particularly consider the following (look for the bold-faced titles below in the order form listing to order):
Rev. Tamara Jackson was the Bible study leader at 2015 Women's Day, sponsored by AB Women's Ministries. Her Bible studies focused on the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the question, "Who is my neighbor?"
At the ABCUSA Biennial Mission Summit Committee on Christian Unity and Interfaith Relations Dinner, both Rev. Dr. Molly T. Marshall and Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley spoke to the need for interfaith dialogue and its relationship to peace. (Please note: the entire dinner proceedings were recorded so you need to fast-forward a bit to reach the speakers. You will want to listen to this recording ahead of time and note the desired start time if you want to use this in a group setting.)
ABC Emerging Theologians Conference was a pre-Mission Summit event featuring papers presented by several American Baptists on the topic of Beloved Community. You need to purchase these as sets. There are three sets, each including several presentations; some also include recordings of the Q&A sections that followed each presentation. There are unfortunately no listings available for what presentations are on each CD, but any or all of them would be valuable.
The 2016 Ecumenical Advocacy Days, "Lift Every Voice! -- Racism, Class and Power," will be held at the DoubleTree Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Virginia, on April 15-18, 2016. The gathering will address solutions to issues of injustice to communities of color and immigrants, voter suppression, and economic exploitation.