After a year of particularly acute trauma and loss, we are reminded of the importance of gathering, dreaming big, deepening our discipleship towards justice, and reaffirming our desire for an emancipatory future for all.
The 100% online 2021 Annual Gathering will be a unique experience in the life of the Alliance of Baptists — one where we affirm our new covenant and hold space for community in the midst of a pandemic and white supremacy. At the 2021 gathering, you will:
- Be inspired by powerhouse keynote speakers Aurelia Dâvila Pratt, Robert P. Jones and Naomi Washington-Leapheart
- Discover how to deepen your commitment to ongoing antiracist work
- Find space with fellow Alliance members — for lament, praise, conversation, seeing old friends and making new ones, and more
- Be equipped with new skills that you can use in your ministry settings
This event will be fully online, with some content available in advance. We are busy brainstorming ways to take creative advantage of the flexibility of an online conference, while staying true to the spirit of Alliance gatherings past.
Join us April 23rd and 24th as we celebrate and affirm a new era in the life of the Alliance of Baptists.
Alliance of Baptists 2021 Annual Gathering Schedule
(all times are listed in EDT)*
Friday, April 23
10a Morning Worship & Welcome featuring Aurelia Dávila Pratt (60 min)
11:30a Workshops: a variety of workshops will be offered at this time (60 min)
12:30p Meal Break
2p Community Meetings 1: a variety of meetings will be offered at this time (45 min)
2:45p Community Meetings 2: a variety of meetings will be offered at this time (45 min)
4p Closing Worship (30 min)
5p Happy Hour!
Chaplains Happy Hour
Divinity Students Happy Hour
Spanish-Speaking Happy Hour
Main Happy Hour
Pastors Happy Hour
35 and Under Happy Hour
Saturday, April 24
10a Morning Worship, Community Announcements & Business Report (60 min)
11:30a Workshops: a variety of workshops will be offered at this time (60 min)
12:30p Meal Break
2:30p Plenary: White Supremacy in American Christianity with Robert P. Jones (60 min)
4:30p Closing Worship featuring Naomi Washington-Leapheart (60 min)
Looking for a space to just hang out with other Alliance friends? Check out the Zoom Cafe. The Cafe will be open from 9-5 EDT both Friday and Saturday and is free for you to pop in and out of as you wish. You can also ask the Cafe host to create a breakout room if you’re looking to catch up with a new or old friend in a more private setting!
*Please note that the schedule may change as we near the event. Check back the week of the event to confirm the final schedule.
Alliance of Baptists 2021 Annual Gathering Workshops
Friday, April 23, 11:30a EDT
Beyond the Shift: Embodying Faith Post-Deconstruction
Aurelia Dávila Pratt
Post-deconstruction, we often focus on what needs to be thrown out. We talk a lot about what we no longer believe is helpful. While there is a place for this part of the work, there's got to be more to it! How do we move from a reactive faith posture to one that is grounded in the truth of imago dei? How do we become people who actually embody equity, justice, compassion, and peacemaking? What does faith look like beyond the shift?
Chaplaincy Through Pandemic Restrictions
Chaplaincy, like so much else in our world, has had to face an evolution of care to meet the changes required to provide care for patients and families. During this workshop, we will look at the changes that I have experienced as a chaplain both in a hospice and hospital environment then discuss how you have discovered new techniques for offering care in your settings.
COVID's Grief: What's Your Story?
This workshop will have live Spanish interpretation available.
COVID-19: What's Your Story?" translates contemporary grief research and best practices into a warm, personal, supportive video. Its creative use of vivid images, texts, voice-overs, and music engages the person, and evokes their own stories of coping through this epic pandemic. Whatever your pastoral role—in the church, clinical settings, community, graduate education, or something else—update and strengthen your loss/grief knowledge, terminology, understandings, and best practices. This content was developed for and continues to be used by hospice bereavement programs throughout the United States since June 2020.
Food & Faith: How God Still Connects Us in a Troubled World
In a time when equitable access to food and good health is tenuous, this workshop will provide participants with a contemporary perspective on the ancient connections between God and the equitable provision of food. Scripture repeatedly uses agrarian images to teach the mechanisms of grace, and this workshop will offer perspectives on how we can be instruments of grace as stewards of the earth that feeds humanity. Running counter to racial and economic disparities in nutrition, and historic and contemporary abuses of the agricultural labor force, we have timely opportunities to redeem agriculture in ways that befit God’s original plan.
Internal Equity: Hospitality and the Self
To become anti-racist requires internal transformation. Sometimes we attempt to do the work of justice without really going within, but this is half-baked activism, as likely to re-harm as it is to heal. But when we do our inner work, outer transformation follows. The less we marginalize pieces of ourselves, the more we expand our capacity for inclusivity externally. Come join in an uncomfortable but useful exercise for white people who want to dismantle their own racism. Let's learn to make room at the table for all of who you are and to change systems from the inside out, beginning with the system inside you.
Recovering from Trauma and Recurring Trauma: Living WHOLE again!
This workshop is designed to help bridge the gaps of recovering from trauma and recurring trauma through pastoral holistic care. The workshop will include contemplative exercises and information on body and spiritual-oriented approaches to offer healing. A special portion will include ways for clergy and ministry workers to engage in this process.
An introductory discussion with children grade 2 through Junior High School about oppression and white supremacy. The workshop will include a 13 minute video with Minister Ben Boswell (Myers Park Baptist Church) reading his new book (not yet published) called Proud Pigeons. The book provides an effective launch and elementary foundation for stimulating children's thinking about racism and white supremacy. The discussion that follows the video will provide an example of how to support children in living out significant parts of the newly proposed Alliance of Baptist Covenant that address racism and white supremacy. The workshop will be strongly interactive, engaging children in an age and developmentally appropriate discussion on the difficult and challenging issues of racism and white supremacy in our society.
Spiritual Direction and Social Change: Developing Spiritual Strength for Promoting Justice
Spiritual direction is usually thought of as a self-reflective experience, focusing on one’s personal spirituality, beliefs, emotions, and relationship with God. It is seen as an inward journey, not an outward one. A trained spiritual director with a doctorate in Christian social ethics, I have an approach to help clients (“directees”) who are interested in exploring both their inner spiritual resources and how those resources can equip them for social change. This workshop will explain the basics of spiritual direction, the spiritual growth one can expect from spiritual direction, and how one’s spirituality can inform one’s social activism.
The Three Disruptions Needed: An Afro-Centric Call to Society in Brazil and the United States
Ronilso Pacheco and Michael-Ray Mathews
This workshop will have live Portuguese interpretation available.
The workshop aims to discuss the Brazilian context in relation to the theme of blackness and the Brazilian black community claiming Christian identity. We intend to share such initiatives as the Evangelical Black Movement, Afrocrente, Negritude Observatory of the Alliance of Baptists, and the new Black Theology in Brazil has played an important role in the Brazilian reality and has helped black people to reconnect the Christian faith. With this, the workshop aims to establish a conversation that broadens the understanding of black Christian identity and resistance in the diaspora. The idea of the “three disrupting” is to reflect context-history- perspective-ecclesiology in three blocks that demand attention and action: abandonment, becoming black and white supremacy. Action responses given these three blocks, they should be considered as responses to the question “How then should we live?”
Trauma-Informed Pastoral and Spiritual Care
In this year of the twin pandemics of coronavirus and racial injustice, the traumas that people experience in life—from accidents, assaults, abuse, and other ruptures—are amplified. Simultaneously, resources for coping have been diminished. The pandemics themselves are wide-scale, chronic and debilitating traumas. As professional and lay ministers, leaders in beloved communities, we need to cultivate our vision, skills and practices for offering trauma-informed care. This begins with understanding trauma, knowing what pathways toward healing are viable, having resources and referrals ready, and knowing our strengths and limits as caregivers.
Processing the Pandemic: a Space for Youth
A space for youth and young people to process together the challenges, traumas, pains, fears, and ongoing concerns of navigating life and caring for others during the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine distribution.
Saturday, April 24, 11:30a EDT
Antiracist Discipleship in Predominantly White Congregations
Stephen Stacks and Wesley Spears-Newsome
In this workshop, we will explore the implementation of several programs designed to develop antiracist consciousness at Greenwood Forest Baptist in Cary, N.C. Over the past few years, we have piloted a year-long Freedom curriculum for youth, a Freedom Ride pilgrimage for the entire congregation, and an intensive antiracist reading group syllabus for adults, all of which have led to significant movement in our church. We will describe these efforts, offer key takeaways, and provide resources for predominantly White congregations to adapt them for their contexts.
Confronting Christian Zionism
Christian Zionism is a white supremacist theology prevalent in evangelical and mainstream Christian churches that promotes the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland. Christian Zionists are the largest pro-Israel lobby group in the U.S. and the current driving force behind the intensification of apartheid conditions in the Holy Land. This workshop will examine the power of Christian Zionism, its racist underpinnings, and how we can confront Christian Zionism as part of our commitment to challenging white supremacy.
Do You Hear What I Hear? — Part 2
James Forbes, Lyn McLaughlin, Mel Williams, Nancy Hastings Sehested, and Jim Strickland; Mahan Siler, moderator
The impact of the elder conversation with Dr. James Forbes—"Do You Hear What I Hear?"—lives on. The challenge of his White Manifesto and conversation have sparked a response among some Alliance elders. Eight of the Alliance elders have completed a class led by Dr. Ben Boswell, pastor of Myers Park Baptist Church, "What Does It Mean to Be White?" In the workshop, four elders from this group experience will continue our elder conversation with Dr. Forbes.
Engaging People With Whom We Disagree
Having experienced the violence in Charlottesville in 2017 and engaged with the BLM movement, Dr. Tennant has been developing ways to engage with people who have a different perspective than his own. This means talking and listening. In his book Crossing the Lines We Draw (Judson Press 2020), he describes these techniques. This workshop is a product of his experience and practice. Dr. Tennant’s background as an academic theologian in Oxford informs his approach, but this practical workshop presents a method for engaging people with whom one might disagree.
Exploring the “Whiteness” of Jacob: The Challenges of Racial Reconciliation
Lauren Jones Mayfield and Tyler Mayfield
This workshop uses the compelling biblical story of the “reconciliation” of Jacob and Esau to challenge us to ponder anew a faithful condemnation both of racism and easy answers to this evil. What if we see Jacob as a depiction of “whiteness”? Many of Jacob’s actions surrounding his reunion with Esau are self-serving and superficial. The problem with a reconciliation paradigm is that Jacob/Whiteness is never held accountable for previous actions. How might this story relate to current calls for reconciliation and the work of anti-racism? How do white people move beyond well-intended but shallow calls for reconciliation to a paradigm of repentance and reparation?
How Then Shall We Teach
The “How Then Shall We Teach?” workshop and subsequent participant discussion will explore how curriculum for children can reflect the new Alliance of Baptists covenant and the Alliance’s commitment to deepening its awareness of racism and white privilege. Participants will watch a short video of the Myers Park Baptist Church Senior Minister reading his upcoming children’s book, Proud Pigeons. They will be provided an opportunity to share the meaning and moral implications of the story from their adult perspective. Participants will then focus on how educators in religious settings might share/teach the meaning and moral implications of Proud Pigeons and other children’s literature on race, whiteness, and multicultural issues.
Lies My Church Told Me: exposing the myths, mistruths, and betrayals that have made the Christian church a dangerous, painful place
The church was the first place I learned to lie - to and about God, myself, and the world. And these "church lies" have propped up oppressive systems, traumatized generations of people, and ultimately betray the gospel of Jesus. Let's expose them and think collectively about how to return to the truths that can set us free and redeem the Church.
No More White Saviors: Community-Based Approaches to International Mission Work with AMOS Health & Hope
Participating ethically in God’s work in the world involves disrupting white saviorism, American exceptionalism, and other narratives that perpetuate the idea that privileged outsiders can “fix” systemic injustices in impoverished communities. As a Christian organization based in Nicaragua, AMOS Health & Hope reduces health inequities by working alongside communities in health, education, and development. In this session, you’ll learn the basics of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and other community-based approaches that equip local leaders in creating the change that they imagine. We’ll also explore how short-term missions can fit into this ongoing work to encourage long-term partnership and sustainable change.
Organizing for Racial Justice
An antiracist activist “produces power and policy change, not mental change,” writes Dr. Ibram Kendi in How to be An Antiracist. In this workshop, we will learn how the practice of community organizing can equip our local Alliance congregations to become antiracist in ways that create real policy change. Hear stories about how congregations across the country are building power, transforming their communities, and discovering new life through organizing for racial justice.
Reckoning with the Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity
Robert P. Jones
As the nation grapples with its legacy of racism and white supremacy, Christianity’s role as a cornerstone of white supremacy has been largely overlooked. But white Christians—from evangelicals in the South to mainline Protestants in the Midwest and Catholics in the Northeast—have not just been complacent or complicit. Rather, as the dominant cultural power they have constructed and sustained a project of protecting white supremacy and opposing Black equality that has framed the entire American story.
TikTok, Black Lives Matter, and the Baptist Tradition
Micah 'Benji' Belong
The genre of TikTok helps illustrate the modern fight for civil rights known as the Black Lives Matter movement. In this workshop, we will see how TikTok and BLM prophetically capture the brutality of police violence, democratize information, and act towards change. Our discussion will then turn to our own tradition as Baptists whose prophetic voices democratized our church and changed the world. How might God be uniquely using our church in the modern fight for civil rights?
Transforming Injustice! Art, Meditation, and Prayer
Kathy Manis Findley
This workshop will have live Spanish interpretation available.
Transforming Injustice! is a series of five watercolor paintings that capture the events and emotions following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. The dramatic and provocative paintings are combined with guided reflections and prayers. The workshop will demonstrate how to use the five- or six-week group experience to encourage awareness, contemplation and commitment to racial justice. The workshop will include access to a group leader’s guide.
Resisting Racism: A Space for Youth
A space for youth and young people to imagine creative actions for resisting internalized racisms as well as systemic, social, and political racisms in our local, national, and global contexts.
More workshops are being added to this list. Please check back for more information.
Alliance of Baptists 2021 Annual Gathering
Community Groups are open to anyone who has interest in any of the following communities. Some communities meet throughout the year, while others are newly forming. Check out the list of communities that will be gathering this year at our virtual gathering and join any meetings that sound interesting to you!
Friday, April 23, 2p EDT
Hosted by Michael-Ray Mathews
A community of Black/African-descendent leaders within the Alliance of Baptists committed to creating community, cultivating spiritual/leadership formation, and conjuring prophetic action to support the mission and vision of the Alliance of Baptists.
ACPE Alliance of Baptist Educators
Hosted by Amy Canosa
This community exists to provide ACPE educators, spiritual care professionals, and psychotherapists who are endorsed/and or affiliated with the Alliance of Baptist an opportunity to connect, share best practices, and network with one another.
Cuba Community Group
Hosted by Stan Dotson
Given the Alliance’s commitment to its partnership with the Fraternity of Baptists in Cuba and to improving US policy toward Cuba, this community serves to promote and support the establishment of more partnerships between the churches of both countries. The community serves to inform the wider Alliance community about US policy issues affecting Cuba, its people, and US citizens, encouraging active participation when appropriate.
Community on Homelessness
Hosted by Mary Bradley
The Community on Homelessness seeks to provide support and resources to those in the Alliance that encounter, work with, or have a passion for the homeless in our neighborhoods. We promote health, hope, and dignity for the homeless and under-served with whom we engage.
Seminario Intercultural Mayanese (SIM) Partnership
Hosted by Colin Holtz, Allen Jones, and Eugenia Reyes
The Mayan Intercultural Seminary is a non-denominational theological school that seeks to prepare pastoral leaders to respond to the context in which they live and service. SIM is committed to nurturing peace through nonviolence means, bridging cultural divides, and expanding values of the household of God including equity, justice, inclusivity, dialogue, human integrity, reciprocity and a sense of vocation. This community group seeks to continue to build strong partnerships with SIM.
Friday, April 23, 2:45p EDT
Racial Justice and Multiculturalism (RJM)
Hosted by Tammerie Day
Mindful of the reality that we live in a racialized society and that our institutions often reflect this racialization, the Alliance of Baptists has made historic commitments to promote racial reconciliation, diversity and multiculturalism. This commitment requires the ongoing leadership of the members and staff of the Alliance. RJM cultivates leaders and shepherds the work of building a multicultural organization committed to racial justice and reconciliation in our congregations, ministries and the broader society.
Justice in Palestine and Israel Community (JPI)
Hosted by Allison Tanner
JPI works for justice in Palestine and Israel by raising awareness about the current situation there, sponsoring trips/pilgrimages to the Holy Land, networking with other like-minded faith-based groups, and advocating the pursuit of justice with elected policy makers.
Clergy Affiliate Information & Resource Network (CAIRN)
Hosted by Mimi Walker
CAIRN is a network of Alliance-affiliated clergy who believe that together, in a Spirit-led community, we have everything we need to become and remain healthy, resilient, and prophetic leaders. Throughout the year CAIRN hosts a variety of events and opportunities for clergy to engage and gather with others who are engaged in this unique calling. All clergy are invited to join this community gathering.