Decision-Making Model – Consensus—April Baker, vice-president
Declaring Our Identity—Reading the Covenant
Affirmation of the Covenant
In a time when historic Baptist principles, freedoms, and traditions need a clear voice, and in our personal and corporate response to the call of God in Jesus Christ to be disciples and servants in the world, we commit ourselves to:
The freedom of the individual, led by God's Spirit within the family of faith, to read and interpret the Scriptures, relying on the historical understanding by the church and on the best methods of modern biblical study;
The freedom of the local church under the authority of Jesus Christ to shape its own life and mission, call its own leadership, and ordain whom it perceives as gifted for ministry, male or female;
The larger body of Jesus Christ, expressed in various Christian traditions, and to cooperation with believers everywhere in giving full expression to the Gospel;
The servant role of leadership within the church, following the model of our Servant
Lord, and to full partnership of all of God's people in mission and ministry; Theological education in congregations, colleges, and seminaries characterized by reverence for biblical authority and respect for open inquiry and responsible scholarship;
The proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ and the calling of God to all peoples to repentance and faith, reconciliation and hope, social and economic justice;
The principle of a free church in a free state and the opposition to any effort either by church or state to use the other for its own purposes.
Invitation to 2015 Convocation & Benediction— Jillian Farmer
April 8-10, 2016 — Kirkwood Baptist Church, St. Louis, Mo.
A Statement on Lethal Drones To keep faith with our covenant, Alliance of Baptists members have pledged to: . . . Foster relationships within the Alliance and with other people of faith . . . . Pursue justice with and for those who are oppressed . . . . Work for peace.
In January, 2015, over 150 Religious leaders, scholars and community activists from across the country came together for the nation’s first Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare. The Alliance of Baptists supported this conference.
Following a weekend of presentations, discussions, interfaith prayer and deliberation, the conference adopted a set of policy recommendations to guide the faith community to address the critical issue of drone warfare as follows:
We, the more than 150 religious leaders who attended the Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare at Princeton Theological Seminary, January 23-25, 2015, represent many of the world’s religions, and the Just War, Pacifist and Just Peace traditions. We are compelled to address our growing concern about the use of lethal drones by the United States and other countries. Our concerns center on the nature of lethal drones as a weapon, namely their use in targeted killings of specific individuals most of whom are Muslims, their impact upon targeted communities, their operation by remote control, and the consequences that drones increase hostilities. After two and half days of presentations and conversation and in full awareness of the differences in our faith traditions and our beliefs about war, we have come together to issue this statement of recommendations.
We call on the Administration to immediately halt targeted lethal drone strikes.
2. We call on the administration to be transparent and accountable on the past use of such strikes by public disclosures including but not limited to:
Acknowledging strikes conducted
Accounting for victims
Explaining official criteria for the “kill list”
Disclose all legal justification for authorization of strikes
Detailing the methods of investigating deaths
Disclosing the standards and mechanisms for compensating victims
3. We call on Congress to repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that has been used as a legal justification for the lethal drone program.
4. We call on the President to rescind the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency, Joint Special Operations Command, or any other government agency or contractor to use weaponized or lethal drones. 5. We call on the President and Congress to commission an independent study on the impact of lethal drones on drone operators, targeted persons and affected communities to determine the full extent of costs and consequences (including political, economic, social, psychological, racial, and religious) of the use of drones from 2001-present. 6. We call on the U.S. government to pursue a negotiated global ban on semi-autonomous and autonomous weapons systems. 7. We call on the U.S. government to press the international community to abide by and especially hold our allies accountable to the same recommendations as stated here, beginning with an immediate halt to targeted lethal drone strikes. We call on our leaders to take us off the path of unending war by implementing these recommendations. As people of faith, we advocate the rigorous pursuit of Just Peace, based on upholding dignity and human rights for all, with resources dedicated to this alternative at a level matching that spent on the current drone warfare program. We - the Alliance of Baptists - affirm the policy recommendations from the Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare. We commit today to educate ourselves on the ongoing issue of U.S. drone strikes around the world, particularly in countries which are not “war zones” as defined in the law of armed conflict or international law. We commit today to join our interfaith sisters and brothers in advocating with the U.S. government for these policy recommendations.
A Statement on U.S. — Cuba Relations This year the Alliance of Baptists and the Fraternity of Baptist Churches of Cuba mark 25 years of a partnership that has mutually enriched our movements and congregations. Born of similar circumstances of crisis within larger and older denominational bodies, we found ourselves in the words of one of the Fraternity’s early leaders, “like the disciples on the road to Emmaus,” stunned by apparent defeat yet surprisingly awakened to the reality of resurrection. For this ongoing relationship we give thanks to God. We are particularly grateful for the congregational partnerships and innumerable friendships that have been forged during this time.
In addition, both the Alliance and the Fraternity have labored tirelessly for improvements in bilateral relations between our respective governments. From the Alliance side, we joined hands years ago with the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) alongside numerous other religious bodies and entities in the private and public sectors in a systematic effort to influence our nation’s leaders:
(1) To end an economic embargo first imposed in 1960 that has accomplished little more than contribute to the impoverishment of millions of Cuban citizens victimized by trade sanctions; (2) to restore the right of U.S. citizens to travel freely in Cuba; and (3) to restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba ruptured in 1961.
(1) Concerning the lifting of the embargo, congressional action is required. Accordingly, the Alliance of Baptists calls for the passage of S491, the Freedom to Export to Cuba Act, a bill that would end restrictions on trade with Cuba.
2) With respect to ending restrictions on travel, we support passage of S299 and HR 664, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, companion measures that would end these limitations. Taken together, passage of these measures would have the practical effect of ending the embargo.
3) Concerning the restoration of diplomatic relations, we commend President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro for their joint announcements of December 17, 2014, to that end. We anticipate eagerly the day when negotiations well underway between the governments of the United States and Cuba will culminate in the reopening of the U.S. embassy in Havana and the Cuba embassy in Washington and the flying of our respective flags at these buildings for the first time in more than half a century.
-- Submitted by Stan Hastey
2015 Nominating Committee Report The Nominating Committee recommends the following individuals:
To a three-year term on the Board of Directors:
Timothy Moore (C), Charlotte, N.C.
Susan Reed (C), Louisville, Ky.
Douglas Washington (L), Dallas, Texas
To a second, three-year term on the Board of Directors:
John Evans (L), West Chester, Penn.
Lee Nicholas-Pattillo (L), Halifax, Nova Scotia
Cecil White (C), Hayward, Calif.
Tim Moore holds the title of writer-in-residence at Sardis Baptist Church, Charlotte, N.C. where he was pastor for 19 years. Tim and his wife, Magay Shepard are the proud parents of teenage triplets, Abby, Hannah and Michael. He holds degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary, Alliance partner Andover Newton Theological School and Mars Hill College. He returns to the Alliance board after having served on the board in the early 1990’s.
Susan Reed is currently the associate pastor of Spiritual Formation and Discipleship at Broadway Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. She first served this church as its minster to youth and college students. Susan is from Central Kentucky and holds a B.A. in Communications from Georgetown College. She earned a Masters of Divinity from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, Va.
Douglas Washington is a Deacon at Royal Lane Baptist Church, an Alliance affiliated congregation in Dallas, Texas. Douglas retired as Director of Worldwide New Business Development after a 25-year career with Johnson and Johnson. Having formerly worked with a company providing electricity to more than 25 developing countries using large scale and utility scale solar installations, he formed Washington Power, LLC to provide electricity and sustainable sources of potable water to domestic and foreign markets. A lifelong Baptist, he is a past trustee and member of the Executive Committee for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Douglas holds a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Texas and received executive training from the Wharton School of Business and the Kellogg School of Management.