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Summer Conference

“It never ceases to amaze me how my week there empowers, challenges, and delights me.”

—2011 Summer Conference attendee


In 2019 we'll be combining Summer Conference with the next Global Baptist Peace Conference! Click here for more information.



Click here for 2018 photos.

Reflections & Sermons

Being the Water by Kate Polaski
"Actively seek out ways you can help people and ways you can help yourself to grow. These are the ways you can continue to be the water in which people are purified and reaffirmed in their faith. We must go into the world not as a trickle but as a flood, covering the earth with water, washing away evil and injustice and much like the biblical flood, helping the world to be born anew. Keep reading...

Sé que no es perfecto by LeDayne McLeese Polaski
I hope that we can always remember that two things can be true at once – that we are growing – AND that we are always failing and in need of grace. I do know that if we keep going back to the Water found only in the wilderness – we will be more than we can imagine. We know it is and will not be not perfect – But it can be good, very good. Keep reading...

Allies & Accomplices by Josue Saldivar
The experiences of many of the multiple forms of oppression are a lot like prisons. Allow me now to take you back to the scripture again. Paul and Silas were freed because an earthquake shook the foundations of the prison which freed them from their prison doors and chains. Let me ask you this. What earthquake(s) do we need in order to shake the foundations of white supremacy? Keep reading...

Many Cultures, One Faith by Naim Wiest-Laird
"For future church, to me it is not necessarily changing how we think about what we do or changing traditions, but how we take our Christianity and ourselves into the world. How we pass on what we know to the next generation. Like in the scripture that has the rock as the foundation, because without a strong foundation we can’t build." Keep reading...

Facebook Live Videos

Thanks to member Marian Bacon, we also have several of the sessions available on our Facebook page as Facebook Live recordings.

Tuesday, July 3:
Music and storytelling with Cheryl Bear
Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle: IntroductionSermon

Wednesday, July 4
Music and storytelling with Cheryl Bear

Thursday, July 5
Worship: Music & Sermon with Rev. Elivette Mendez Angulo: Part 1Part 2

Friday, July 6
Music and Plenary with Rev. LeDayne McLeese Polask: Part 1Part 2
Music with Rev. George Oliver
Storytelling with Cheryl Bear and the Youth Worship Service

Saturday, July 7
Plenary session with Rev. George Oliver & Rev. Elivette Mendez Angulo and the Young Adult Worship Service: Part 1Part 2


Daily Themes:

Each of these topics can and should be experienced and influenced by each individual participant’s lived understanding. These are not topics that live in a “yes” or “no” reality. Rather, they live on a spectrum of truths that are affected and infected by our many cultures. Like the very idea of our theme Decentering Power & Privilege: Becoming a Peculiar People, by the very notion of choosing to be followers of Jesucristo, the Divine made flesh, by believing that the unlikely can be, by following a Palestine Jew who turned water into wine, who freed the captives from the binds of the status quo…we become a peculiar people, strange, no longer fitting into the expected societal norms. And so each day’s topic takes us a step deeper into Decentering those aspects of Power and Privilege that we have been socialized to enable the people to do (and yes, we are the people). 

Monday: Unity vs Uniformity
Tuesday: No limits, no boundaries, no one left out
Wednesday: Decolonizing the Americas
Thursday: I'm coming out
Friday: Let's go back to the water
Saturday: What you gonna do when you get out of jail

Click here to learn more about the daily themes.

Resources for 2018 Conference Attendees

1. Courageous Space Guidelines

On Tuesday, July 3, the plenary session at our 2018 Summer Conference will be “The Center and The Borderlands,” a Racial Justice Training with Jessica Vazquez Torres from Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing & Training. We encourage all conference attendees to read the following information on courageous space in preparation for that training and to use as a guide for the entire week. Click here.

2. Curated Resources

A collection of resources recommended by Racial Justice Trainer Jessica Vazquez Torres. Click here.

Theme Song

Click the image below to listen to the theme song of Summer Conference 2018! Music and lyrics written by Gerardo Oberman and Horacio Vivares.

2018 Leadership


Dr. Robyn Henderson-Espinoza
Named by the Center for American Progress as one of the 10 Faith Leaders to watch in 2018, Robyn Henderson-Espinoza is charting a path the gives new imagination to that of the borderlands and border crossing efforts of activism and theology.

Meet Robyn


Ree Belle (Brittíni)
Brittíni, who goes by the name Ree Belle as an ode to the women who have come before her (her grandmother J. Ree and her grandma’s cousin, L. Bell), is a poet, artist, and creative; womanist, scholar, and healer; organizer, activist, and strategist.

Meet Ree Belle


Dr. Cheryl Bear
Cheryl Bear is Nadleh Whut’en from the Dakelh Nation and Dumdenyoo Clan. She is a multi-award-winning singer/songwriter and a gifted speaker and teacher who has traveled to over 600 Indigenous communities in Canada and the United States sharing her songs and stories.

Meet Cheryl


Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle
Marvin McMickle is the 12th President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in 1973, and that same year, was ordained to the Christian ministry at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City.

Meet Marvin


Jessica Vazquez Torres
A native of Puerto Rico, Jessica identifies as a “1.5 generation Queer ESL Latina of Puerto Rican descent.” She currently works as a consultant and core/organizer trainer for Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training.

Meet Jessica


Dr. Derrick Harkins
Dr. Harkins is currently Senior Vice-President at Union Seminary. He previously served in pastorate positions and served as Vice President of the North American Baptist Fellowship of the Baptist World Alliance, amongst others.

Meet Derrick


Eleazar Pérez Encino
Eleazar is the Sustainability Programs Coordinator of the Mayan Intercultural Seminary. Here he works with indigenous communities in developing agricultural processes that are relevant to the cultural, historical, topographical, and nutritional contexts of these communities.

Meet Eleazar


2018 Music


Rev. Gerardo Oberman
Rev. Gerardo Oberman is a songwriter, poet, and pastor in the Reformed Churches in Argentina and current president of the denomination. In 2004 he co-founded Red Crearte, a Latin American liturgical network, and continues to coordinate the work. He also serves as historian of the Reformed churches in Argentina and the Dutch immigration in the region.


Mtro/Mr. Horacio Vivares
Horacio Vivares is a composer, arranger, and orchestra conductor from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He works in the field of academic and popular music. As a founding member of Red Crearte, he has participated in countless projects and meetings of the World Council of Churches and other churches and organizations especially in Latin America. He is also a teacher who directs orchestra programs for children and youth and leads training workshops for churches, especially focused around musical renewal in the liturgy.

Reasons to come to Summer Conference:

"This is my 'booster shot' to keep me going the rest of the year. Also I know you only get caliber speakers and resource leaders." —2015 Summer Conference attendee

  • Excellent and challenging programs on a variety of ways to practice peacemaking in your own communities.
  • Connections to a progressive Baptist community.
  • Appropriate peacemaking programming for children and adults of all ages.
  • Peacemakers come from all over North America to attend.
  • (For young adults) a vibrant, active, and passionate young adult group.


Additional Summer Conference Resources

Click here for worship materials, reflections, songs, videos, and more from previous Summer Conferences.

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