From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
ABC/USA STAFF EXPLORE 'KEEPING SABBATH' AT GATHERING
01 Apr 2000 07:39:32
AMERICAN BAPTIST NEWS SERVICE
Office of Communication
American Baptist Churches USA
P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851
Phone: (610)768-2077 / Fax: (610)768-2320
Richard W. Schramm, Director
AMERICAN BAPTIST STAFF FOCUS ON 'KEEPING SABBATH'
AT GREEN LAKE GATHERING
Nearly 300 regional and national staff of American
Baptist Churches USA gathered March 23-27 at the American
Baptist Assembly in Green Lake, Wis., for "God's Servants
Together: Keeping Sabbath," an event focusing on spiritual
renewal, relationship building and discernment.
The gathering featured a variety of worship
experiences, prayer and meditation, workshops and informal
fellowship, all lifting up the biblical call to Sabbath and
its implications for work and family life.
Dr. David Wheeler, senior minister of First Baptist
Church in Los Angeles and former professor of theology and
ethics at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, helped frame
the context for the week's activities in several Bible
studies. "If God enjoyed reflecting upon and interacting
with God's creation, how much more you and I should," he
said. Sabbath "is part of the very nature of God...the
renewal and restoration of original creation, part of the
original rhythm. [It] not only is the key feature of the
'warp and woof' of creation, it also is part of the very
nature of time."
"Part of our struggle with sin and woundedness," he
said, "is to justify ourselves out of our own strength
"Even Jesus of Nazareth found it necessary to retreat
to places of prayer and privacy, to prepare Himself to do
great things for God," noted Dr. George Cummings during
Sunday worship. Cummings, Pearl Rawlings Hamilton professor
of systemic theology and acting dean at the American Baptist
Seminary of the West and senior pastor of Imani Community
Church in Oakland, Calif., said, "If it was good enough for
the Savior it should be good enough for us. Sabbath
ultimately must not be a goal but the life we live."
Among other program participants were Dr. Ella P.
Mitchell, visiting professor at the Interdenominational
Theological Center in Atlanta; the Rev. Raul Ruiz, pastor of
Spanish American Baptist Church in Union City, N.J., and
coordinator of Hispanic and Portuguese Ministries for the
American Baptist Churches of New Jersey; the Rev. Alyn
Waller, pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in
Philadelphia; Lynette Algarin-Johnson, an attorney and
seminarian from Puerto Rico; and Dr. James Bonn, professor
emeritus of music at the University of Southern California.
During the event an offering of $1,401 was received
for "L'Abri...a shelter for those who serve," a temporary
shelter house on the Green Lake grounds for displaced clergy
families and/or missionaries on home assignment.
Dr. Kate Harvey, executive director of the Ministers
Council and chair of the Program Committee for the staff
gathering, noted: "The committee worked diligently to
provide more than learning about Sabbath but actual Sabbath
space for the restoration of our souls and the reminder that
we are indeed precious in the eyes of God before we are ever
productive. We thank God that participants left refreshed
and encouraged about what God is doing among the American
Baptist Churches USA and our role in that mission."
Program Committee members, in addition to Wheeler and
Harvey, included the Rev. DuWayne Battle, pastor of St. Paul
Baptist Church in Montclair, N.J.; the Rev. David Laubach,
associate executive director for Evangelism and Church
Renewal for American Baptist National Ministries; Laura
Miraz, director of Laity Ministries for National Ministries;
Dr. Keith Russell, president of the American Baptist
Seminary of the West; Dr. Dwight Stinnett, executive
minister of the American Baptist Churches of the Great
Rivers Region; the Rev. Linda Lea Snyder, resource minister
for the American Baptist Churches of Connecticut; and Ernest
Sutton, associate director of the Business and Finance
Division of American Baptist International Ministries.
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