Weekly Words - 7/20/17

Dear FBCD Family and Friends:

Looking ahead into the second half of the summer season, please be aware of these opportunities to share in fellowship, faith, and service with our church family...

  • Book Signing & Ice Cream Social. Meet author Emma Eminash, a Ugandan immigrant who built a new life in Colorado. Her book, From Africa to America, documents her story of determination, resilience and strength. The Spring Café, $5 at the door. TONIGHT July 20 at 5:30 pm.
  • Volunteers needed -Women’s Homeless Initiative hosted at FBCD every other Friday night. Next event is TOMORROW, July 21. Help needed to set up cots, supplies and prepare simple meals for 24 women to spend a night off the streets. Contact Marcia Meier 303.884.1106, mmeier@iliff.edu.
  • Baptism Service - Rev. Henderson will be planning a service of baptism July 30 during the 10:30 service. If you are interested or would like to know more about this historic Baptist tradition, please contact him by calling the church office at 303.861.2501 or emailing him at minister@fbcdenver.org. Currently three people are scheduled for baptism.
  • 3rd Annual Pool Party at the home of April Alsup. Please bring a dish to share and your own towels and chairs. Sunday, July 30 after church service. RSVP by calling the church office at 303.861.2501.
  • The Colorado Sacred Harp invites you to join its singing of 4-part hymns and anthems. No auditions, all music is sung a cappella. Miller Hall, Monday, July 31 at 6:30 pm. More information at www.sacredharpcolorado.org.
  • NEW! Scripture Study - Beginning in September, Rev. Henderson will be offering a scripture study on Sunday mornings at 9:00 am. More information to follow.
Please plan to participate in at least one of these opportunities. Also, please consider always inviting at least one person to join you in service on Sundays at 10:30. They’ll be glad you did. If you haven’t noticed, FBCD’s summer attendance has been higher than in previous summers. Good things are happening at 1373 Grant Street.

Peace!

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

Weekly Words - 7/13/17

American Baptist Churches, USA

2017 Mission Summit Report

Dear FBCD Family & Friends:

Thank you for the opportunity to represent our congregation at the 2017 Mission Summit, a national, biennial gathering of American Baptists from throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The Mission Summit was convened in Portland, Oregon. Along with myself, Wayne and Ingrid Dvirnak, Adam McGowen, and Scott Pegues served as delegates from FBCD. Our church was joined by several other congregations from the Evergreen Association. The Evergreen Association was the only American Baptist region to have a booth in the exhibit hall. Over the course of the weekend we were able to share with many about how unique Evergreen is and our Executive Minister, Rev. Dr. Marcia Patton, autographed her recently published book, Intentionally Inclusive: Together at the Table for Ministry. This book tells the story of the history and development of our region and what sets it apart from all others.

During the biennial gathering several national awards were announced and presented. FBCD’s own, Ingrid Dvirnak, American Baptist author and editor, received the Judson Press Ministry Award for commitment to excellence in publishing ministry. She has authored two Judson Press books and an ABHMS (America Baptist Home Missions Society) book. She edits The Secret Place devotional quarterly, creates online workshops for ABHMS’ Church Life & Leadership series, and writes leader’s guides for Judson Press books. She has previously edited The Baptist Leader and has both written and edited Judson Bible Journeys adult study curriculum.

Throughout the event, new leaders of American Baptist Churches USA had the opportunity to preach and address delegates and participants gathered in Portland. Rev. Sharon T. Koh, executive director/CEO of International Ministries, gave the message during the Friday evening Worship Experience; Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, executive director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, preached during the Saturday evening Worship Experience; and new ABCUSA General Secretary Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer gave the sermon during the Sunday morning Worship Experience. On Friday evening, Spitzer, whose role began on June 1, 2017, was officially introduced to Biennial Mission Summit attendees as General Secretary by ABCUSA President Judy Fackenthal. Members of the General Secretary Search Committee joined Spitzer on stage as he gave his opening remarks, and prayed around him along with those in attendance.

This was an historic gathering for sure. The national leadership of our denomination has entered a new chapter of history with fresh perspectives and people to lead us well into the future. As a local congregation we can pray for them and trust that together, with all of the diversity of our American Baptist family, we can continue to be the hands and feet of Christ to our world, country, and local communities.

Thank you again for the opportunity to represent FBCD and to serve you in the capacities I can.

Peace,

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.

Weekly Words - 6/29/17

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses...let us run with perseverance looking to Jesus...” -Hebrews 12:1ff

Last week the summer season officially began. This changing of seasons has prompted me to think about several things. One, life keeps moving on. Two, we are not alone. Every time I walk up to our church property and enter into our historic facility, I’m reminded of the thousands of people over the past nearly two centuries who contributed to what FBCD is today. Using the language of the writer of Hebrews above, we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.

Our nation will celebrate its 241st birthday next Tuesday. As we celebrate throughout the country with backyard barbecues and downtown fireworks, it is good for us to remember the cloud of witnesses who have contributed to making the United States what we are today. This week, I’m appreciating the words of one of our Presidential forebears, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who said, “Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”

Within our Christian tradition, President Roosevelt’s words remind me too of the revolutionist whose words and actions we seek to emulate today. Jesus showed us the way of love. The way of love seems like it ought be an easy way to go. Sadly, the human story reminds us that the love’s way isn’t often the way chosen by many.

As we celebrate this coming week, may we not forget that the love of God is for all people...immigrants, refugees, the poor, and EVERYone. I trust that 1373 Grant Street will continue to be a place that embodies our mission statement: First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

Enjoy this holiday weekend. Be safe. Plan to attend our 10:30 service on Sunday. Invite someone to join you. They’ll be glad you did.

Peace,

Weekly Words - 6/15/17

Dear FBCD Family & Friends:

Summer is a week away...Pride weekend is here as is Father’s Day.

Yet once more, there have been numerous, demoralizing events this week globally and nationally. May we pray that the better angels of our humanity prevail even when hope appears to be a lone flickering flame in a sea of darkness.

One of the ways we can remain hopeful, is to stand together in community. Below are various ways you can stand with folk over the coming days and weeks. Will you consider connecting in at least one way? You can...

  • Get your tickets for “Sisyphus, the Musical,” music and lyrics by FBCD’s own April Alsup. This production runs through this Sunday at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, CO 80010. For tickets, visit www.sisyphusthemusical.com. Enter code FBCD for a discount. Parts of this musical were inspired by FBCD’s Sunday morning services!
  • Mark your calendars - Interfaith Pride Service, TOMORROW, Friday, June 16, 6:00 pm. FBCD Sanctuary.
  • Calling all Volunteers! FBCD offers several opportunities to use your special gifts to make a difference…
    • Special Event Parking Lot Attendants:
      • Pride Fest, Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18. We have SEVERAL shifts still needing to be filled. PLEASE CALL the church office ASAP to sign-up.
    • Women’s Homelessness Initiative hosted at FBCD Friday night, June 23. Help is needed to set up cots and supplies for 24 women to spend one night off the streets. Contact Marcia Meier 303.884.1106, mmeier@iliff.edu

And as always...

  • Adult Bible Study takes place every Wednesday in the Fireside Room starting at 7:00 pm with a time for food and fellowship starting at 6:30 pm. Food is potluck style. Please bring a dish to share. The south entrance (double doors by the parking lot) will be open. For more information, contact Michael Holmes at: mach87@gmail.com.
  • FBCD Care Corner is in place to support local organizations and individuals with everyday essentials. Non-perishable foods, toiletries and undergarments/socks can be placed in the donation receptacles in the Narthex. Contact Naveed naveed.castleman@gmail.com.
I am grateful to be your minister. Know I keep our congregation in thought and prayer daily. Life is a mystery. Learning to live through life is a daily challenge. It is good that we can experience life together through the ongoing mission and ministry of the historic First Baptist Church of Denver.

Peace,

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

Weekly Words - 6/8/17

Dear FBCD Family & Friends: 

Here are a number announcements of which to keep track...

  • Get your tickets for “Sisyphus, the Musical,” music and lyrics by FBCD’s own April Alsup. June 9 - 18 at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, 9900 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, CO 80010. For tickets, visit www.sisyphusthemusical.com. Enter code FBCD for a discount. Parts of this musical were inspired by FBCD’s Sunday morning services!
  • Mark your calendars - Interfaith Pride Service, Friday June 16, 6:00 pm. FBCD Sanctuary.
  • Calling all Volunteers! FBCD offers several opportunities to use your special gifts to make a difference…
    • Install traffic bollards in the church parking lot. The work includes mixing and pouring cement; work clothes and gloves recommended. Saturday, June 10, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Contact Larry Wheeler 720.290.8093, lwheele3@gmail.com.
    • Special Event Parking Lot Attendants:
      • Pride Fest, Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18. Sign up to volunteer on Sunday during the weekly reception.
    • Women’s Homeless Initiative hosted at FBCD THIS Friday night. Help needed to set up cots and supplies and for 24 women to spend one night off the streets. Contact Marcia Meier 303.884.1106, mmeier@iliff.edu

And as always...

  • Adult Bible Study takes place every Wednesday in the Fireside Room starting at 7:00 pm with a time for food and fellowship starting at 6:30 pm. Food is potluck style. Please bring a dish to share. The south entrance (double doors by the parking lot) will be open.
  • FBCD Care Corner is in place to support local organizations and individuals with everyday essentials. Non-perishable foods, toiletries and undergarments/socks can be placed in the donation receptacles in the Narthex. Contact Naveed naveed.castleman@gmail.com.
Much continues to happen at 1373 Grant Street. I hope to see you at one of the above opportunities for fellowship and service...and I hope to see you this Sunday. Invite someone to join you. They’ll be glad you did!

Peace,

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

Weekly Words - 6/1/17

"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” -Acts 2:1

This coming weekend we will celebrate Pentecost Sunday. Traditionally, this is considered the birthday of the Christian Church. In celebrative fashion our choir and musicians will offer their gifts of music. The Spirit will move among us as Scott Pegues offers his first public sermon. And...Jeanette Vizguerra and members of First Unitarian Society’s Social Justice Committee and the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition will be in worship with us expressing their appreciation for FBCD’s support of the sanctuary movement.

As the scriptures of old say, it will be good for members and friends of FBCD “...to be all together in one place.”

We can anticipate a Sunday service filled with energy and inspiration. Will you plan now to invite folk to join you in your pew at 10:30? They’ll be glad you did.

Hope to see you Sunday!

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

Weekly Words - 5/26/17

 

“They said, '[Folk] of Galilee, why do you stand up looking up toward heaven?’” Acts 1:11

Dear FBCD Family & Friends:

As you know, this is Memorial Day weekend. With this holiday, for many, the summer season begins. Over the past week I’ve begun some of my annual pre-summer routines which include cleaning out files and organizing and reorganizing my office. The change of a season often inspires me to reflect upon work and projects previously accomplished as I look ahead to future opportunities for service and ministry.

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week many members and friends of FBCD helped to clean out pipes and parts of a sister congregation’s old pipe organ. These pipes and parts now are stored at FBCD in the recesses of the stage in Miller Hall. I found it ironic that as I was cleaning out my own office space, we were filling up space with an instrument of significant size.

Isn’t this the story of life? When we make space, we usually fill it. Over the next couple of months the day-to-day pace of ministry will slow down at FBCD...but not too much. In this season, my prayer is that we will appreciate the many things our church family has accomplished and that we will look ahead and be open to the opportunities we will have to build up and upon the ministry of our historic congregation.

This coming weekend we will celebrate Ascension Sunday. The story of Jesus ascending is rich with imagery. If we’re not careful, like the people in this story, we can get caught gazing ahead or looking up for too long and miss the opportunities right before us in the present moment to serve and minister in significant ways.

It’s good to look up or ahead...but it’s also important to stay aware always of the mission that quite literally surrounds us.

I hope to see you this Sunday for service. Please consider who you can invite to join you in your pew. They’ll be glad you did!

Peace,

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

 

Weekly Words - 5/18/17

REGULAR SUNDAY SERVICE CANCELLED

Please note that due to the Colfax Marathon (which literally shuts down Capitol Hill) FBCD will not hold its Sunday morning service this weekend.

Rev. Eric Reagan will be at FBCD Sunday morning to greet anyone that does manage to arrive and will offer an informal prayer service.

I invite you to join me and my children at

KING BAPTIST CHURCH 

3370 Ivy Street, Denver, CO 80207, for the 8am service.

This is a sister-Baptist congregation and the home church of FBCD member, Morris Price.

It will be good to experience worship in a different context and setting.

I hope you can join us. Invite someone to join you. They’ll be glad you did!

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

Weekly Words - 5/10/17

Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer Called as

ABCUSA General Secretary

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 5/9/17)—On Monday, May 8, the Board of General Ministries met at Springhill Suites in Chicago to elect Reverend Dr. Lee B. Spitzer to the position of General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA. Dr. Spitzer’s name was brought forward to the Board of General Ministries by the General Secretary Search Committee. Over the past several months the Search Committee had interviewed numerous candidates. After much prayer, discernment, and deep discussion, the committee identified Dr. Spitzer as the candidate best suited to lead American Baptists forward.

Currently Dr. Spitzer serves as Executive Minister for the American Baptist Churches in New Jersey (ABCNJ). He has served congregations in New Jersey, Nebraska, and Rhode Island. Dr. Spitzer brings a wide range of experience and expertise to his new role as General Secretary. In ABCNJ he guided a strategic planning and renewal process, provided pastoral leadership, launched new ministries and collaborative efforts, created networks and new partnerships, promoted church growth, fostered a united community, and managed financial growth. He continues to speak prophetically into current issues and concerns.

 

Dr. Spitzer has authored Endless Possibilities: Exploring the Journeys of Your Life(1997), the companion Endless Possibilities Course Book (2001), A Summer’s Journey (2001), three articles for the Encyclopedia of Religious and Spiritual Development(Sage, 2006), and Jesus Christ from Cover to Cover (2006). In his first Judson Press book, Making Friends, Making Disciples(2010), he explores the pivotal role friendship plays in support of the church’s mission to make disciples and evangelize. Dr. Spitzer’s newest Judson Press book, Baptists, Jews, and the Holocaust: The Hand of Sincere Friendship, is scheduled for release in October 2017.

His goal as General Secretary is “to lead ABCUSA into a future of spiritual renewal, creative service, and church growth, in joyful cooperation with all partners of the American Baptist Family.” His efforts as General Secretary will be directed toward strengthening connections with ABC regions, affirming and enhancing our diversity, reaching out to the next generation of leaders, growing trust and collaboration, strengthening our American Baptist identity and providing administrative leadership in areas of stewardship, funding, and fiduciary concerns.

Dr. Spitzer will be preaching on Sunday morning, July 2, at the American Baptist Biennial Mission Summit in Portland, Oregon.

ABCUSA President, Judy Fackenthal, wishes to extend her gratitude to the work and ministry of the General Secretary Search Committee: Wesley Roberts (Committee vice-chair), Robin Crouch, Shirley Fair, Kelly Legg, Charity Matic, Don Ng, Marcia Patton, Charles Revis, Don Robinson, Tom Ross, and John Williams-along with ABC staff member, Marilyn Tyson.

Dr. Spitzer will begin his service as General Secretary on June 1.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.

A Response to this news by

Rev. Dr. Brian Henderson

 

 

Okay American Baptist Family and Friends across the United States, in Puerto Rico and around the globe...here are my thoughts and reflections in light of the news about the appointment of our new General Secretary, the Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer :

In true American Baptist fashion, reactions to this announcement have run the gamut of feelings and emotions. Per Facebook posts, some folk are excited and energized and others are angry and discouraged while there are I’m sure, given the size of our denominational family, many, many people in between these responding realities.

For personal reasons, I would count myself among the group of folk who are angry and discouraged. However, as I’ve talked with colleagues and friends around the country and as I’ve allowed myself to sit with this news for nearly 48 hours, here are my conclusions and commitments moving forward:

1. While some are drawing comparisons of Dr. Spitzer’s appointment as General Secretary to the national election our country experienced last fall, there is NO comparison here. There is enough angst in our country (no matter one’s party affiliation) and we do not need more angst in our denomination. American Baptist Churches, USA, is not a country. We are a movement of congregations that seek collectively to do more together for mission and ministry than any one of us can do on our own. Whether we welcome this news of a new General Secretary or find ourselves disenchanted by it, it is important for us to remain United in Mission. For the sake of the Good News we have the capacity to proclaim in so many ways and through so many people, we can do this.

2. Lest we forget the rich history and heritage from whence we’ve come...may we remain committed to the tension of being a denominational family that has labored hard to create as many seats as possible around a common table...for as many people as possible. I know it can rightly be argued that some of us have been kept from this table. In this time of history, we can’t afford to let a proverbial "herd of elephants" remain silently present in our ecclesiastical house. As American Baptists, let’s stay steadfastly strident to our principles and liberties. There is room in our faith family for all of us to voice our discontent and describe how we hope better to be a faith family that resembles a Beloved Community wherein the diversities of our humanity are celebrated and honored. For the sake of the Good News we have the capacity to proclaim in so many ways and through so many people, we can do this.

3. To keep some historical and practical perspective, if we look back over the centuries of our history, we have had women and men, from different cultures and theological perspectives that have served in leadership capacities at all levels of our national family. When I served the nearest congregation to the Mission Center in Valley Forge, I only had to walk through the three floors of that circular edifice to be reminded of our social, political, and theological diversities. And you know what, while folk may not have seen eye-to-eye on any number of realities, mission and ministry happened and affected many people in so many life-giving ways. The arc of history would remind us that we will have leaders, even General Secretaries, that will represent the more conservative to the more liberal among us. These individuals are not Jesus...they are not our saviors. Each one has the capacity to offer our faith family something unique. Time and history will ultimately be the judge of their legacies. In the present moment, it seems to me the better angels of our humanity may be calling us to support the one who will now lead us for the next four years. We can support Dr. Spitzer whether we agree or disagree with him and his style of ministry. We can support him and each other by being the BAPTISTS we are. We can support the work of the General Secretary by respectfully reminding him of our diversities. The strength of our American Baptist family is that there can always be a way to communicate prophetically our passions. When we cease to prophetically communicate our passions, we lose some of our Baptist-way. For the sake of the Good News we have the capacity to proclaim in so many ways and through so many people, we can do this.

4. I’ve asked myself, “Am I acquiescing to the status quo?” No. I am not. I am committing myself to being the best American Baptist I can. Some day, I hope my children will see that the struggles and strengths of the American Baptist Churches, USA, is for them a model of how to be and not to be. Of how to be Christian and Baptist...of how to be socially, theologically and culturally informed and aware. When I consider that this work we do can inspire and encourage my children...your children...then my own cynicisms become the inspiration I need to go “high” when others may go “low.” For the sake of the Good News we have the capacity to proclaim in so many ways and through so many people, we can do this.

5. Many of us are tired of fighting. Unlike the Apostle Paul, we feel like we are afflicted, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. Decades of debating and discussing real life matters is tiring and demoralizing. It is tempting to throw in the towel and give up the struggle of this American Baptist enterprise. My hope and prayer for myself and for us all...is that we will not be distracted by matters that will keep us from sharing the hope we have and the rich expressions of ministry that are taking place throughout our larger faith family. The good news of Jesus whose narratives still have the power to heal and transform our love and lives today can be seen in and through our American Baptist witness...by the grace of God, whether we’re at our best or at our worst.

So...let’s channel our passions into the ministries we are all about. Let’s hold each other accountable. Conservatives and Liberals, and everyone in between, let’s encourage each other to be the best and the brightest we can. When our humanity gets in the way, and it will, may we remember to stay United in Mission. This is our call. This is our work. This is our ministry.

For the sake of the Good News we have the capacity to proclaim in so many ways and through so many people, we can do this.

Jesus was a partier and a protester. Sounds kinda like us American Baptists. Whether partying or protesting...let’s do what we do with love and passion. Hope to see you in Portland!

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.

Weekly Words - 5/3/17

Dear FBCD Family & Friends:

"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed...” 2 Corinthians 4:8

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
― Helen Keller

The above words resonate within my soul this week. Sometimes life seems overwhelming. I wonder what life is like for you today?

If you’re overwhelmed. Be encouraged. Remember the ancient words of scripture above. There is always a way forward. And...remember the words spoken by Hellen Keller, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens..."

I’m believing these words to be true for me this week. I invite you to claim them as yours too.

Know you’re in my thoughts and prayers. If you haven’t planned yet, plan to be at FBCD for service this Sunday. It will be good for you and for everyone else present too. Your life makes a difference.

Peace,

First Baptist Church of Denver is a welcoming and affirming, inclusive Christian community that embraces diversity, engages personal faith, and serves with compassion.


Caring Deeply.    Loving Everyone.    Serving Together.