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RBC Selected for THRIVE Racial Justice Project & Atonement Study

Alliance of Baptists’ Churches that THRIVE for Racial Justice Project 

In late 2020, Ravensworth Baptist Church was invited to apply to the new project through the Alliance of Baptists called “Churches that THRIVE for Racial Justice.” Leadership Council and staff agreed that this was an opportunity that would support the ongoing work of racial justice to which RBC is committed. We submitted our application in late 2020.
Exciting news: RBC was chosen as one of the 25 congregations to participate! 
The Alliance of Baptists released this announcementlate yesterday from co-director Rev. Paula Clayton Dempsey saying, “Followers of Jesus are called to constantly examine the way things are in our churches, communities, nation and world, as compared to God’s dream and vision for the way the world should be. Examining the way things are, and working to nurture the way things should be— through the lens of race—is at the heart of the Churches that THRIVE for Racial Justice five-year project of the Alliance of Baptists. In this project the Alliance, led by the 25 congregations who make up the learning cohort, will engage in a collective examination of identities, structures, ministries, worship, staffing, and commitments, in order to give birth to the kind of Alliance and local church God dreams.” 
As we have more information from the Alliance, we will share. We are thrilled that Rev. Caitlyn Gudmundsen has agreed to be our RBC coordinator for the first year of the program. Today, we are giving thanks for the Alliance of Baptists and this opportunity to pursue more work around justice and God’s dreams for our world. Learn more about the grant description from the original Alliance press release.

RBC to Participate in a Study on Baptist Churches & Atonement with Rev. Dr. Tim Moore

Last month, Pastor Leah was approached by her colleague Rev. Dr. Tim Moore, writer in residence at Sardis Baptist Church, Charlotte, N.C. to see if RBC would be interested in participating in his research around how Baptist churches like ours practice and live out the concept of atonement in our worship, communion and baptism, and in our hymnody. 
Specifically, Tim is interested in pursuing conversations around traditional views of atonement (penal substitutionary atonement: Jesus died on the cross for my sins because God was angry) and what churches like RBC are living out in practice. Pastor Leah shared this project proposal with Leadership Council, Education Commission, and staff. All were enthusiastic about RBC’s participation. He plans to compile his research into a book after interviewing congregations and share the findings at the Alliance of Baptists’ Annual Gathering in 2022. All interviews and findings will be shared in a general way, without specific names. 
Tim wrote, “The academy may be the place where great minds deconstruct old beliefs and propose new concepts, but congregations revise Christian practices, and transform the faith. I am curious as to how this critique is reforming centuries-old practices of congregational worship and impacting congregational ministry.”
Later this month, you will be invited to take a congregational survey on your views on atonement and our practices at RBC. He’ll also host a few focus groups via zoom, so let Pastor Leah know if you’d like to participate in a focus group. 
With these two special projects intersecting, we have the opportunity to reflect intentionally around traditional views of atonement and those implications on racial justice. Together, these reflections and action will help RBC and the Alliance of Baptists participate in God’s justice at work in the world. What an exciting time to be sharing love, doing justice, and building community at Ravensworth Baptist Church! 
If you have any questions about either of these opportunities, contact Pastor Leah or RBC Leadership Chair April Pavis-Shroeder. 

Rev. Dr. Tim Moore

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