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Model Ministries

Providing a Space: First Fridays at First Baptist

July 19, 2012 | The inspiration to start First Fridays Youth Open Mic came to me early in my ministry. It was at First Baptist Jamaica Plain in August 2011, only a few weeks after I started there as Minister of Christian Formation and Outreach. I wanted to create a context in which youth could put their best selves forward—that is, express their ideals, dreams, and values—and find the support not only of peers and caring adults, but of God. Read more »

How Closely Related All Our Fights Are: Thoughts on Peace and Protest

How Closely Related All Our Fights Are: Thoughts on Peace and Protest

July 19, 2012 | The history, theory, and practice of nonviolent direct action were on the agenda in an April training convened for Asheville, NC area residents by BPFNA partner congregation Circle of Mercy (COM). The event was one of thousands that month sponsored by a national coalition of progressive organizations calling itself "The 99% Spring." Trainees learned about the long struggle for economic justice in the United States and about how their own stories and experiences qualify them to enter that struggle. Read more »

Occupying Church

April 9, 2012 | Seattle First Baptist has had a wonderful opportunity to participate in the global Occupy movement. Shortly after 82-year-old Dorli Rainey's pepper spraying gave it a certain international visibility, Occupy Seattle (OS) moved its tent location from Westlake Plaza to the campus of Seattle Central Community College, just two blocks from Seattle First Baptist. Read more »

Making a Prayer

April 9, 2012 | Our prayer for Martin Luther King Sunday came about during an after-school conversation with two high-school seniors; one, who has never been to church, and the other, who has; one, a black guy, and the other, a white girl; both, friends. After listening to them talk about their day at school, I told them it was going to be Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday at my church and asked if they’d want to write a prayer with me? Read more »

Death row inmate joins Circle of Mercy Congregation

April 9, 2012 | It was an unusual service, for several reasons. To start, it’s not often a small congregation welcomes 22 new members into its ranks. Because the congregation has no indefinite membership, everyone—including the pastoral staff—is asked to choose again. But it’s always been that way, so this wasn’t out of the ordinary. What was really unusual is that one of the new members is an inmate who’s been on death row for decades. Read more »

The Spirit Moving in Our Midst

April 9, 2012 | It all started with Nancy Hopkins. This summer when Nancy preached on the working of the Holy Spirit, she asked us to confer in small groups about significant promptings or visitations of the Spirit. Several days before, I had received a message from personnel at the New Sanctuary Movement (NSM) to ask if CBC could help with a political refugee from Zimbabwe – Ellen Chandemana, a young activist for GALZ (Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe) who had been arrested and tortured in the spring of 2010. Her “crime” - believing that gay persons like herself deserved fair treatment. Read more »

The Making of Radical Christians

January 16, 2012 | Like most liberal to progressive mainline Protestant Churches in the beginning of the twenty-first century, Old Cambridge Baptist Church in Harvard Square has had its issues with membership growth and sustainment in the last few years. OCBC, a Partner Congregation with BPFNA, has a history of being one of the most progressive churches in the area for several decades. The church participated actively in the anti-war movement in the sixties and seventies, and became a sanctuary church in the eighties. It paved the way for women’s ordination in the American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts, and has, as well,  for the social and ecclesiastical rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. Read more »

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