Alabama Baptists are kicking off a year of celebration, looking ahead to 2023 and the 200th anniversary of cooperative work in Alabama Baptist life.
A group of 15 Alabama Baptists met Oct. 28–29, 1823, at Salem Baptist Church near Greensboro to explore ways of more effectively working together. Out of that gathering, the Alabama Baptist State Convention was born.
The Alabama Baptist Bicentennial Commemoration Task Force is leading the effort to commemorate the anniversary. Greg Corbin, pastor of Lakeside Baptist Church in Birmingham, chairs the task force. Corbin updated messengers during the Nov. 15 afternoon session to messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention.
The Bicentennial Commemoration Task Force was created in late 2019 and began meeting in January 2020. Those serving on the Task Force along with Corbin are: State Board of Missions staff Rick Lance, Doug Rogers and Karen Gosselin (and former staff member Annel Robayna); pastors Matt Haines, Jarmen Leatherwood, Dewayne Rembert and Michael Synder; director of missions Neal Hughes; entity and auxiliary representatives Lonette Berg, Chip Colee, Brittany Garner, Candace McIntosh and Jennifer Rash. The sitting president of the state convention also serves on the task force, so Tim Cox, previous past president, served during his term and Buddy Champion, current president, is now serving.
Within the Task Force membership, three teams were formed, Corbin said.
The storytelling team, led by Jennifer Rash, editor-in-chief of TAB Media Group, went to work immediately, developing a list of 13 articles to run monthly in The Alabama Baptist and on social media from November 2022 through November 2023, showcasing major areas of ministry that developed since the founding of the convention.
The first of that series of articles is published in the Nov. 17 issue of TAB and online here.
The history team, led by Lonette Berg, executive director of the Alabama Baptist Historical Commission, began its work by conducting interviews, doing research and gathering oral histories and written materials to create an outline of significant historical dates in written form.
This outline is being used to provide a framework for the storytelling and other special events taking place through the year and at the annual meetings.
The program team, led by Doug Rogers, director of communications and technology services for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, worked closely with the other two teams to plan for moments of emphases and theme interpretations for both the 2022 and 2023 annual meetings. As you’ve seen, the theme for our annual meeting this year is “Celebrate,” based on Psalm 100. In this morning’s session, we focused on “Celebrating What God Has Done,” using a combination of Scripture, music and media to guide us in looking back at God’s faithfulness.
The 2022 ABSC annual meeting will include several nods to the 200th-anniversary celebration, Corbin said.
During the Nov. 14 afternoon session, Willie McLaurin, interim president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, will lead messengers in a time of “Celebrating What God Is Doing in Baptist Life.”
The Nov. 14 evening session will focus on “Celebrating What God Is Doing Through His People,” with testimonies from several Alabama Baptists who are on mission in areas like church planting, disaster relief and Baptist Campus Ministries.
During the Nov. 15 morning session, messengers will officially launch the anniversary year with a time of prayer to focus on “Celebrating What God Can Do in the Future.”
Corbin said details of events related to the anniversary will be publicized during the next year. The 200th-anniversary celebration will culminate with the 2023 annual meeting, to be held Nov. 14–15, 2023, at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. The theme of that meeting will be “Unfinished.”
“Even as we commemorate 200 years of ministry, we know that there is still much more to be done to see the Great Commission fulfilled in our state and beyond,” Corbin said. “We are grateful to the Lord to be able to celebrate this historic milestone, but even more grateful that He has allowed us as Alabama Baptists to be a part of the worldwide endeavor of reaching the lost for His kingdom.”