by Dr. Ray Higgins, CBFAR Coordinator
The 2016 CBF General Assembly is June 20-24 (Monday-Friday) at the Sheraton Hotel in Greensboro, NC. This General Assembly begins CBF’s 25th Anniversary year which will be concluded at the June 2017 General Assembly in Atlanta. The 2018 General Assembly will be in Dallas, TX. The theme is for this year’s Assembly is: Twenty Five—Because Christ’s love compels us (2 Corinthians 5:14).
For special information about the General Assembly, scroll down and/or visit www.cbf.net/assembly.
Monday begins with a Prayer Retreat and Sessions for College and Seminary students. These go through Wednesday noon.
- Wednesday afternoon involves the Leadership Institute, a Worship Service and CBF’s 25th anniversary kick off celebration that evening.
- Thursday and Friday includes breakfasts, business sessions, luncheons, afternoon workshops, evening worship and fellowship events.
- There’s an assembly for Preschoolers, a Day camp for Children and a Youth Assembly.
CBF ARKANSAS STATE MEETING—Thursday, 4:15-5:15 p.m. in the Sandpiper Room on the Third Floor. We will have a time of fellowship with those who have traveled from Arkansas and with those who work with CBF and have ties to Arkansas. Dr. Pat Griffen, our moderator, will guide our time. We will recognize those from our group who are leading workshops. And, we will have a couple of CBF staff members who will connect our work together.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER/LEADER HIGHLIGHTS
Monday-Wednesday noon Prayer Retreat led by Dr. Glenn Hinson & Johnny Sears
- Wednesday afternoon Leadership Institute led by Dr. Tom Long on “Preaching and Teaching the New Testament Epistles in a Changing Church”
- Wednesday night Worship—Dr. Tom Long (preaching professor, Emory) speaking about how Christ love is compelling us to bring our passions and gifts to a table set for all
- Wednesday night 25th Anniversary Kickoff—attenders receive free copy of CBF at 25: Stories of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (more than 80 personal stories of CBF missions and ministries)
- Thursday night Worship—Dr. Diana Butler Bass (author, professor) and Dr. Matt Cook (CBF Moderator and North Carolina pastor) speaking about how CBF is uniquely positioned on the religious landscape for the future
- Friday night Worship—the Commissioning Service (chaplains, pastoral counselors, the largest group of church starters, and re-commissioning of field personnel)
WORKSHOPS PRESENTED BY ARKANSANS
- The Honorable Rev. Dr. Wendell Griffen and Rev. Megan J. Pike—Racial Justice in the United States in 2016 (Part 1) Location: Auditorium II; Thursday, Session I 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Racial Justice in the United States in 2016 (Part 2) Location: Auditorium II; Thursday, Session II 2:45-3:45 p.m.
- Dr. Pat Griffen and Rev. Megan J. Pike—The Elephant in the Room: Engaging in Dialogue Around Race Relations Location: Auditorium IV; Friday, Session I 1:30-2:30 p.m.
- Rev. Steve Sullivan, Chaplain—Wounds of War: How Churches and Communities Can Care for Veterans and Their Families Location: Tidewater B; Friday, Session II3:00-4:00 p.m.
ORIENTATION TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY EXPERIENCE
This is the time of year when many denominations are holding their annual meetings and working out their common life together. It’s hard work; it’s messy; it’s complicated; and it’s often divisive.
CBF, as Baptists and as a denomi-network (Suzii Paynter’s phrase), has a very unique way of coming together, forming together and working together in order to be the presence of Christ in the world.
We (Pat Griffen and Ray Higgins) encourage those of you who will be attending the General Assembly to prepare yourself to participate in and to enjoy what you will experience.
Special events begin on Monday and the concluding worship and fellowship happen on Friday night. It’s an enjoyable, energizing week of spiritual, relational, educational, and actional events for specific groups within the Fellowship and for the Fellowship as a whole.
The highlight this year is recognizing our 25 years as CBF and celebrating how God has formed us. You will learn about the new strategy for CBF Global Missions. You will see how CBF is wonderfully designed and positioned to engage our time, place and culture. As churches and individuals. Through missions, ministries, and spiritual practices. Honoring church autonomy and the priesthood of the believer. Working on behalf of religious liberty and justice. Living out the Great Commandment, the Great Commission and the Golden Rule. Embodying the Sermon on the Mount and the Fruit of the Spirit.
Years of prayer and planning have gone into the design of our General Assemblies, and this one in particular. Our times together in worship, fellowships, meals, business sessions, workshops and retreats will form us together and express who we are.
You will see a structure that organizes our time together and reflects our core values. You will feel a freedom to be led by the Spirit, to engage your passion and calling, and to be a part of organic expressions of your faith.
You will be part of moments when our worship draws us in praise of our gracious and loving God and in unity with one another.
And, you may be part of moments when we will have conversations about the issues of our time that are complex and controversial—issues that we are figuring out individually and together; figuring out within our families, churches and communities.
We will come together with a goal of unity in our diversity, as we join together to participate in CBF’s 25th General Assembly in ways that allow us to radiate the presence of Christ in the world.
ARKANSAS CONTRIBUTIONS TO CBF at 25: Stories of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
“Zero to Ten,” by Shane McNary
“A Beloved Partnership: CBF Arkansas and Arkansas Baptist College,” by Ray Higgins
“The Why and the What: A Reflection on Hurricane Katrina,” by Chris Ellis
“Unbuntu: South Africa Ministry Network,” by Matt Cook
“That’s Not What Ships are For,” by Carrie McGuffin (a student.go reflection about serving in Helena)