The Kentucky Council of Churches will gather for its 64th Annual Assembly, October 27 – 28, 2011, at Faith Baptist Church in Georgetown, Kentucky. Delegates from 12 member denominations, as well as observers and visitors from around the Commonwealth, will participate in two days of worship, workshops, and fellowship around the theme, “Who Is My Neighbor?”, with particular emphasis on immigration policy and ministry.
Keynoting the Assembly will be Ms. Marilyn Daniel, an immigration attorney and Presbyterian church elder from Lexington, who will present the scope and impact of immigration issues and policies in Kentucky. Ms. Daniel is a graduate of the University of Kentucky School of Law, has practiced law for more than 30 years, and was a co-founder of the Maxwell Street Legal Clinic, which provides low cost legal assistance to the immigrant and refugee communities in central and eastern Kentucky.
In addition to Ms. Daniel’s presentations, Assembly workshops will explore the biblical/theological basis for church involvement in immigration ministry and offer ideas and resources to enhance that involvement.
Highlighting the Assembly program will be an ecumenical community worship service on Thursday evening, 7 p.m., featuring leadership from Georgetown area congregations. Preaching will be Dr. Robert Parham, founder and executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics (Nashville), executive director of EthicsDaily.com, and member of three commissions of the Baptist World Alliance. Rev. Parham has earned degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Baylor University.
The Assembly will also celebrate the history of the Kentucky Interchurch Disaster Recovery Program (KIDRP), which for many years led the way in cooperative response to natural disasters in the Commonwealth. As disaster response is now being done by government agencies and private disaster response organizations, KIDRP is being retired. The Council of Churches will now turn its attention to “disaster preparedness.”
Other Assembly activities will include morning devotions each day; greetings from the presidents of Georgetown College (Dr. Bill Crouch) and the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky (Dr. Greg Earwood); the Assembly banquet on Thursday evening; display exhibits.
At the beginning and end of the assembly, delegates will meet to consider Council business reports and vote on two particularly important items:
• A new policy statement about racism: The policy statements of the Council set the parameters of the public advocacy and education work of the Council. The Council has had policies opposing racism but this will be the first full-length statement. As the statement begins, “One of the most prominent and pervasive evils in our national heritage and cultural reality is racism. The task of combating racism in all its forms is not a new one for Christian church bodies, but it should be a continuing priority as each era produces or harbors its own manifestations of this persistent and resistant sin. This statement of the Kentucky Council of Churches lifts up the urgency of our unfinished task: to raise awareness of racism in ourselves and our society and to transform it by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” (from the Introduction)
• A visioning report with recommendations: The Council will consider ways to adjust course in the fulfillment of our enduring mission of Christian unity. Recommendations include offering annual fellowship retreats for leaders of member communions, partnering with local initiatives, improving the sharing of clergy training and enrichment events, recruiting “under-forty” church leaders and reaching out to congregations that do not belong to member denominations. Pending approval by the Assembly, the Council’s new mission tag line will be, “Witnessing to Christian unity through relationships and actions.”
Assembly activities are open to the public with advance registration. Display space is available to churches, schools, mission agencies, and advocacy organizations with advance registration. Thursday evening’s community worship service is open to all without advance registration.
Founded in 1947, the Kentucky Council of Churches is an ecumenical organization. Our members are 24 regional religious bodies (variously called dioceses, conferences, presbyteries, or fellowships) representing 12 Christian traditions, both Catholic and Protestant. These regional entities serve nearly one million persons in approximately 3,000 congregations and parishes across the Commonwealth. In addition, one Council member is an independent congregation, and the Council also enjoys the partnership of official observers and affiliated ecumenical organizations. The KCC provides a forum for mutual ministry, dialogue, and understanding and a common voice regarding issues affecting all Kentuckians.