ATLANTA – The New Baptist Covenant is under way in Atlanta, drawing on some of the most prominent figures in Baptist life. T
he Celebration will continue through Feb. 1 at the Georgia World Congress Center.
The New Baptist Covenant traces its roots to April 10, 2006, when Jimmy Carter and Mercer University President William D. Underwood convened at The Carter Center in Atlanta a group of 18 Baptist leaders representing more than 20 million Baptists across North America.
The leaders were unanimous in their desire to transcend their differences -- including such factors as race, culture, geography and convention affiliation -- and seek common purpose. The outcome of the meeting was a document called A North American Baptist Covenant and preliminary plans to hold a major gathering of Baptists from throughout North America in 2008. The leaders of these organizations reaffirmed their commitment to traditional Baptist values,
including sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and its implications for public and private
morality. They specifically committed themselves to their obligation as Christians to promote peace with justice, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and the marginalized, welcome the strangers among us, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity.
A followup meeting attended by 80 representatives of more than 30 Baptist organizations was held on Jan. 9 at the Carter Center. The core group of those who attended the meeting were representatives of organizations that are members of the North American Baptist Fellowship (NABF), a regional affiliate of the Baptist World Alliance. The 2008 Celebration was announced at the conclusion of this meeting.
As sessions at the Celebration are held, links to stories on the events are available at www.newbaptistcovenant.org.