By Emily Holladay
The 2014 Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly in Atlanta kicked off Monday with Atlanta Sessions for college and graduate students and the Dawnings Prayer Retreat. Atlanta Sessions will continue throughout the week of General Assembly, giving college students the ability to experience all aspects of Assembly, and the prayer retreat will wrap up Wednesday morning.
Each year, college and graduate students gather to spend five nights on the floor of a church near the Assembly location for discussion on a current topic and to share (what for many of them is their first) General Assembly together. This year, 15 students and student ministers joined Atlanta Sessions to discuss peacemaking in the 21st century. In addition to plenary sessions led by Lauren McDuffie, a Vanderbilt Divinity School graduate and former CBF Collegiate Congregational Intern, the group visited The King Center on Tuesday to better understand the history of peacemaking and nonviolence in Atlanta and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
During the week, McDuffie, who has grown up in CBF life, will be sharing perspectives on peacemaking from many Baptist and Christian scholars, including Walter Rauschenbusch, Walter Wink and Stephen Jones. Atlanta Sessions allows these students to engage in dialogue with one another to discover ways that they can be peacemakers in their own communities.
The Dawnings Prayer Retreat is being held at the Hyatt Regency with CBF’s Missional Congregations team leading the retreat. A group of church ministers and lay leaders are gathering to prayerfully discern who God is calling their church to be. Dawnings is an organic, contextual, collaborative process — not a program — which is creating holy space and a spiritual rhythm within churches where vision is being discovered rather than invented.
Participants of the Dawnings Prayer Retreat are led through different colloquy experiences, during which they engage in direct conversations with Jesus, Paul and other biblical figures who help them to discern how God is speaking at this time. Together, those gathered are learning how to bring new life to their own spiritual journey, and translate what they have learned within their church context.
To learn more about the Dawnings initiative and how you can participate in a Dawnings retreat in your area, visit www.cbfdawnings.org. Continue to keep up with General Assembly events on the CBFblog or at www.thefellowship.info/Atlanta2014 and follow the conversation on Twitter via #cbfassembly.