CBF, African-American Baptists to gather for reconciliation event

August 18, 2017

By Aaron Weaver

DECATUR, Ga. — As faith communities seek ways to confront the scourge of racism and the presence of white supremacy in the aftermath of Charlottesville, Cooperative Baptists  — pastors and lay leaders — are invited to join African-American Baptists for a special gathering focused on racial reconciliation and justice September 11 in Louisville, Ky.

The event is the first of a series of three summits to take place over the course of the next three years as part of The Angela Project. The Angela Project aims to assist African-American institutions and promote African-American prosperity, and will commemorate the 400th anniversary of black enslavement in the United States in 2019.

CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter encouraged pastors and lay leaders from across the Fellowship to join in this historic effort alongside two major national Baptist conventions.

“This is an opportunity for concrete action toward justice and reconciliation,” Paynter said. “There are Charlottesvilles in many other places. We cannot rewrite history or undo the past, but we can seize a new future that strengthens our families, schools, businesses and churches. We lift up deeds beyond words.

“Let’s be the better future. Show your commitment by showing up. Faithful voices are needed.”

In 2016, CBF formalized a partnership with the National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc., a fellowship of 3.5 million African-American Baptists with the goal of “building authentic and Christ-like community through shared work. As this partnership took shape, The Angela Project was launched.

Named after the first known African slave to step onto American soil — Angela was baptized a Christian in her native home. The Angela Project features summits focused on public policy and education (2017), black and white poverty (2018) and the legacy of slavery in America (2019). Other partners in the project include the Progressive National Baptist Convention and Louisville-based Simmons College of Kentucky. The one-day summit will be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc.

CBF Moderator Shauw Chin Capps emphasized the Fellowship’s efforts to prioritize partnerships with African-American Baptists and seek hope and healing together.

“As our nation is experiencing much cultural turmoil and racial tension, we are prayerfully seeking ways to elevate hope, healing and dignity during this critical time,” Capps said. “As an Asian American, I join our two former African-American moderators to help enrich our Fellowship. Multiplying cross-cultural congregational linkages is a heightened priority of our Fellowship.”

Capps cited CBF’s multi-faceted response in the aftermath of the 2016 floods in Baton Rouge, La., which allowed the Fellowship to form new partnerships and friendships with African-American Baptists in the region, as well as providing leadership to Together for Hope and participating in EmpowerWest Louisville, two innovative models for rural development and urban uplift.

“Our passion, however, is to do even more — in bold and tangible ways,” Capps said. “We want to represent Christ in the culture with an empowering spirit of reconciliation. Please join us for a special time of friendship, fellowship and learning on September 11.”

Featured speakers include journalist and media expert Yvette Carnell; attorney Antonio Moore, a former Los Angeles County prosecutor and producer of the Emmy-nominated documentary “Freeway: Crack in the System”; author and antiracism activist Tim Wise; radio and television host Jared Ball, who is an associate professor of communication studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore; and Robert Franklin, president emeritus of Morehouse College in Atlanta. The “Little Rock Nine” — integration pioneers who enrolled in Little Rock’s Central High School 60 years ago — will be honored during the summit.

Topics of discussion include education and public policy, public school integration, the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and philanthropic discrimination and curriculum debates. Angela Project convener Kevin Cosby, senior pastor of Louisville’s St. Stephen Church and president of Simmons College of Kentucky, will join Joe Phelps, senior pastor of CBF-partner congregation Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, to discuss how to replicate their innovative EmpowerWest model for pursuing racial justice in other cities across the country.

Tickets for the summit’s luncheon are available for purchase here. To make your hotel reservation at the Galt House Hotel, please call 1-800-626-1814 and ask for the NBCA Annual Session rate. If you are able to attend or need additional information, please contact Kevin Pranoto at kpranoto@cbf.net.