President Audrey Neal
Message from the President
Greetings to each of you in the matchless name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus
All praises to God for allowing us another opportunity to reflect and begin to
prepare for another year. We are most grateful to Almighty God for having bestowed upon us much favor as this year swiftly comes to an end! The Lord has smiled upon us mightily in being all that He would have us to be, yet, there is still room for more. What a Mighty God We Serve!
In my readings, I came across an article about a family that lived in the Dominican Republic, who became friends with a Dutch missionary family who lived across the street. The Dutch parents led their six children in a tradition of discerning their “life verse” for each New Year. At the close of the year, each child was encouraged to pray and discern what verse might serve as a focus for the coming year. What verse would summarize how they sensed God calling them at this time in their life and throughout the year ahead?
That practice has inspired me over the years to ponder just what verse might sum up God’s call in my life of discipleship at each stage. If I were to choose a verse for this coming year it would be Philippians 2:5, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” In pondering the context of this verse, I hear the call to allow the Spirit of Christ within me to transform my attitude, thoughts, and actions to be more Christ-like each day. Further, I wonder how the life of congregations, boards, committees, and church members might be transformed by the example of Christ’s servant attitude.
A British theologian and writer commented that the way we get to know who we are and where we’re called is through soaking ourselves in the scripture much more than we ever imagined we had to, soaking ourselves in prayer, participating in the ordinances of the church, and listening intently to the cries of those in pain and poverty around us. The theologian said, “Jesus will come afresh to us and through us in ways we cannot imagine or predict, let alone control.”
During this New Year, I encourage all of us to deepen our practices of soaking ourselves in the scripture, in prayer, in the ordinances, and in hearing the cries of the poor. Let us reach out to one another through these practices, strengthening our life of Christian community. Let us deepen our personal practices of moments spent in communion with Christ. Let us open ourselves more completely to the communities’ right around us. Jesus tells us in Matthew 25 that it is in caring for “the least of these,” that we actually meet Jesus without realizing we are doing so.
As we prepare to gather for our Annual Session in Columbia, South Carolina, from June 12-16, 2017, may these next six months draw us closer to Christ and closer to one another? May our continued study of the book of Philippians inspire courage that is expressed in our deeds and words? May we share the good news of Jesus in fresh, new ways this year? And may we continue to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As Paul writes in Romans 15:4, “Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.”
“May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant us to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together we may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 14:5-6).
“May God Richly Bless and Keep You!” Have New Year!
Your Sister and Servant,
Audrey P. Neal
IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER
June 12-16, 2017
Woman’s Baptist Educational & Missionary Convention of South Carolina One Hundred Twenty-Ninth Annual Session
First Nazareth Baptist Church
2351 Gervais Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29204
Host: Dr. Blakely N. Scott, III, Pastor
Deadline for Pre-Online Registration is May 1, 2017 - https://www.regonline.com/wbemc
200 Stoneridge Drive
Columbia, SC 29210
Convention Room Rate: $119.00 (Free full breakfast and parking included)
Deadline for hotel reservation is May 15, 2017
Banquet Tickets: $50.00 per person
Deadline for purchasing Banquet Tickets: May 15, 2017
Dates for Pre-registration: January 15, 2017 – May 1, 2017