By Carrie McGuffin
This week, March 9 – 11, Cooperative Baptists are in Washington, D.C., for the annual Advocacy in Action conference.
Stephen Reeves, CBF’s associate coordinator of partnerships and advocacy, is leading the conference, with hopes “to give participants a firm biblical and theological foundation for practicing this type of public witness in their church and community.”
The group of nearly 50 participants — made up of students from CBF partner schools, pastors, CBF field personnel, lay leaders and state/regional leadership—has the unique opportunity to meet with a variety of individuals and organizations involved in advocacy on a daily basis.
“We’ll make sure they have the experience of visiting the office of an elected official as well as our partners such as the Baptist Joint Committee, Bread for the World and the New Baptist Covenant. We will learn and discuss in depth how mission work leads to advocacy and what is being done on immigration reform, payday and auto title lending reform, religious liberty, poverty and hunger,” says Reeves.
The group will have the chance to hear from Melissa Rogers, Cooperative Baptist and Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, as she shares about her experience working in the White House. They will also then hear from current CBF Moderator, Kasey Jones, pastor of National Memorial Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., as she shares how her congregation partners with CBF to make a positive impact in the nation’s capital.
Beyond hearing the experiences of other advocates, part of the conference is an experience in doing practical theology, and being able to gain experience with taking an active role in advocacy efforts. Reeves emphasizes the effort made at equipping participants with effective strategies for affecting change, and how to be effective in ways that are not polarizing or divisive.
Through their work during the conference and through hearing from others who are actively working to make an impact in their communities, participants will leave Washington, D.C., with a network of like-minded partners who also want to see transformation and renewal within our world.
Check back in the coming days for reflections from Advocacy in Action participants.