The New Year begins the 25th year of similar prayer newsletters that have helped to focus the prayers of D.C. Baptist on varied ministries, concerns and challenges within the work of the D.C. Baptist Convention in the metropolitan Washington area and beyond. We want to thank those who have joined in prayer on these issues and needs, even though they have been separated often by time and distance. Join us as we continue to pray for various concerns in 2020 as we begin this New Year. Let us also give thanks to God that we have another year to serve the Lord both in and through the D.C. Baptist Convention.
One of the major concerns ongoing at this time is the Search Team which is seeking a new Executive Director/Minister to lead the D.C. Baptist Convention. Robert Cochran, announced during June 2019 his intention to retire on April 1, after he reaches the age of 66 during March. Since that time an appointed Search Team has been working, one which is led by Mrs. Charlotte Peddicord, a member of First Baptist Church, Silver Spring and the current chair of the Human Resources Committee. Give thanks for the good work of Mrs. Peddicord and her team. Continue to pray for them as they continue their search. Ask God to prepare the person spiritually who will be called to this important ministry within the DCBC.
As a consequence of the prayer concern mentioned in the previous paragraph, the D.C. Baptist Convention is entering into a time of transition toward the future that God desires. Pray that there will be calm during this transition both within and among the congregations affiliated with the DCBC. We give thanks that the churches were very supportive of the DCBC this past year, in many different ways including their financial support as well as they prayer support and volunteer participation. As we enter this time of transition, let us maintain our commitment to God’s work within the DCBC and throughout the areas we serve.
Two of our staff members, Rev. Starlette Thomas and Rev. Andre Towner, are beginning their DMin studies in the following weeks. Pray for both of these as they study new areas and prepare to serve both the Lord and D.C. Baptists in fresh ways. Give thanks for each of these two staff ministers and their ministries among us and for the results that are coming from their efforts among the churches, efforts which bless both the churches and members as well as those which bless the larger community and our fellow citizens.
We give thanks that over the past few days that the Board of Directors of the D.C. Baptist Convention has voted to accept the recommendation of the Membership Committee to accept the John Leland Center for Theological Studies (JLC) as an affiliated member of the DCBC. JLC has worked with the DCBC throughout the life of this seminary, ministering to pastors and prospective ministers among us. Now, the President of JLC is Dr. William (Bill) Smith, who once served on the staff of the DCBC as Director of the Johenning Baptist Community Center and later as pastor of Riverside Baptist Church.
Further, several pastor of churches within the DCBC have been on the Board of Directors of the JLC. Still, the DCBC and the JLC recognized that the new bylaws of the DCBC give opportunity for the JLC to be an affiliated member of the DCBC. All of these connections, along with the origin of theological education in Washington, made such an affiliation reasonable. Give thanks for this new member, and pray for the continued connection between the two ministries. Pray for the JLC as they prepare to begin their new semester during the week of January 7.
With the New Year, the officers serving the DCBC changed. We want to thank Rev. Paula Moutsos, who has served as President, and Rev. Paige Harris, who has served as Vice-president, for their admirable service across two challenging years. Ask God to bless them as they continue to serve both within their own church ministries as well as within the DCBC. We welcome Rev. Dr. Donald Kelly, who begins his service as President, and Dr. Ella Redfield, who begins her service as Vice-president, with the New Year. Ask God to bless them in their ministries within their congregations and also within the DCBC. We thank God also for the service of Ms. Gail Lacy who continues to serve as Secretary with the DCBC. Let us ask for God’s blessing upon her as Ms. Lacy continues to serve.
One of our dear friends, a confidant to many different Executive Directors/Ministers of the DCBC across many years, Mr. Joe Hairston of Takoma Park Baptist Church, fell ill and recently passed away. Mr. Hairston was instrumental in the life of the DCBC, serving for many years as Parliamentarian and serving on the Board of Directors of our partner in Christian ministry, the D.C. Baptist Convention Foundation. Mr. Hairston also helped bring peace to many troubled congregations as well as to community groups across the city, sensing that was one of his ministries to Christ. Pray for both Mr. Hairston’s family and friends in their grief well as for the Takoma Park Baptist Church; all of these will miss Mr. Hairston greatly. Pray that God will continue to raise up lay leaders from among the members of the DCBC who will serve Christ through the DCBC as Mr. Hairston did.
We continue to develop our ministry to our Baptist friends in Myanmar. This ministry goes well. A recent grant from the Palmer Foundation (through the American Baptist Foundation) awarded $50,000 to the DCBC for three projects to serve the people of Myanmar. One of these projects is a teaching project among the seminaries in Myanmar, and a second project is a ministry to people through water conservation, land reclamation and assistance to individuals who have suffered trauma.
The third project develops paths in order to lead children and youth to Christian spirituality, focusing first on the refugees from Myanmar who now live in the United States. Give thanks for all these efforts and for those participating in them. Pray for the teaching trip aimed at the Baptists in Chin State. This trip begins on January 8 and extends for two weeks. Pray for the health and safety of those who are traveling to Hakha for this effort.
Be in prayer for the convocation called by the American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS). This group is headed by former Executive Director/Minister of the DCBC, Dr. Jeffrey Haggray. ABHMS includes several entities, including Judson Press. The DCBC project regarding leading children and youth toward Christian spirituality includes Judson Press as a partner. The convocation is bringing together leaders within the ABC from across the USA to consider the future direction of ABHMS. Give thanks for all these ministries, and pray for the upcoming convocation in King of Prussia, PA on January 27-28.
Pray for the staff of the DCBC during this time of the year. This is a part of the year which the uncertainty of the weather always affects. Pray for the staff as they work to close projects from 2019, lay out efforts for 2020 and begin planning (even in this time of transition) for 2021.