the tentmaker

daily thoughts on the common lectionary

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Location: Sharpsburg, Georgia, United States

"...because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together — by trade they were tentmakers." Acts 18:3. Tentmaker is a title taken by bi-vocational pastors. As such, I am both a pastor and a project manager. I am a pastor of a local congregation of moderate, accepting and affirming people who worship in the Baptist tradition. We call our church "Hope Memorial Baptist" and we are about 40 in number. I am also a project manager of major construction projects for the State of Georgia. My home and church is in rural Coweta County, between Peachtree City and Newnan, with a mailing address of Sharpsburg, Georgia.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Baptist Summit

On November 15, the Georgia Baptist Convention chose to sever a 172-year old relationship of major significance when it voted to break ties with Mercer University.  Now we must begin serious dialogue with our church constituencies about how this decision will impact Mercer.
     We invite you to attend an important conference in Macon.  At this conference, we will begin the discussions on the effect this watershed decision will have on Mercer's relationship with its primary Baptist constituencies:  Baptist churches and Baptist Students in Georgia and the Southeast.  We believe that this "Summit" will be the beginning of an effort to listen, learn and minister as we move forward through a new era in Baptist life.

I received the above notice in today's mail.  Please pray for the students, staff and faculty of Mercer University.  Please pray for the non-fundamentalist Baptists in the state of Georgia that we will have the courage to forge ahead in new directions "as we move forward through a new era in Baptist life."


Blogger Christopher said...

Hey Joel, I was in Talmo GA. I certianily thought about paying your church a visit . . . but it was vacation and to hard to break away from the family . . . where is sharpsburg for future times I'm up that way? Anyway, my prayers to the Mercer baptists open minded variety . . . it's hard times to operate as a minister/student in baptist life.

12/31/2005 3:27 AM  
Blogger the tentmaker said...

We're out I-85 South out of Atlanta, one exit past the Peachtree City exit. Do a mapquest search for 2321 Fischer Rd., Sharpsburg, GA.

I'm not familiar with Talmo. I'll have to look that up.

Hope you all had a great Christmas. We did.

12/31/2005 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Lorna said...

why were the ties severed?

12/31/2005 5:14 PM  
Blogger the tentmaker said...

I'm not sure how much, if anything, you know about the take over of the Southern Baptist Convention by the extreme right wing minority. It began in 1979 and continued to split the Baptist churches. This is one more attempt to either push their conservatie agenda or to ostracize all Baptists that do not adhere to their agenda.
The Georgia Baptist Convention has walked in lock-step with the national organization. They have tried on several occasions to gain more influence on the Board of Mercer University, without success. It appears now that this move will pull all formal convention support away from the school. Of course, Mercer has been self supporting for decades. The Georgia Baptist Convention funds went to fund scholarships for kids from Baptist Churches. Those kids will have to look elsewhere now.
The split between the conservative Baptists and the more moderate factions is becoming more and more complete.

12/31/2005 6:36 PM  
Blogger SingingOwl said...

I will be praying about this. I spent the first 25 years of my life in Southern Baptist churches, and I still care about what happens. I have, more or less, followed events in the SBC. I have some sympathy with the right wing on some issues...but not much. This is all sad and disturbing. May God use the upheaval, in some as yet unknown way, to ultimately build the Kingdom of God.

1/03/2006 11:14 AM  

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