Hello BRN Family.

I want to share some of my own reflections of the SBC Convention that I attended last month in Phoenix AZ.

There were three things that stood out to me as the SBC family met during their annual meeting.

First, the SBC is looking more young and diverse. While at the meeting in Phoenix, I was impressed how much more young and diverse we are becoming compared to just 3-5 years ago.

Second, the IMB is certainly back on track. After a couple years of struggle, 34 new missionaries were commissioned at the SBC meeting to serve in nations all around the world.

Finally, the resolution to denounce the “Alt-­‐Right” Movement.” After much confusion once the SBC Resolutions Committee rejected the original resolution presented (mainly because some of the language written within the original resolution), and after much concern was raised by the messengers to present a new resolution condemning the Alt Right movement, a resolution was presented and unanimously passed condemning this “white supremacist” movement and the racism that they propagate.

As your new Executive Director to PA/SJ, I wholeheartedly affirm the resolution that condemned the actions and organization of the “Alt Right Movement.” As a Southern Baptist messenger from PA/SJ, I can tell you things were very confusing on the floor when this was presented. And, I certainly regret that at the meeting there was not better clarity and initial action taken on this matter. But, I do applaud that in the end, action was taken at the meeting because there was a unanimous sentiment of the messengers who were in attendance.

I want you to know that as your new Executive Director I will always oppose and stand against any actions or language that elevates any form of racism. We have a very long-­‐standing history within the Baptist Resource Network of condemning racism in any shape or form, and we will continue to reject any racism within our BRN family or among any people group connected to our family. I spoke with Dr. Frank Page, Executive Director of the Southern Baptist Convention, about this “alt right” matter yesterday. I was pleased to hear him say that any church within the SBC found practicing and propagating racism will be removed from the SBC family. I promise to you to take that same stand in PA/SJ today. We will not allow any church within the BRN family to practice or propagate racism in any shape or form.

As Baptists in PA/SJ we wholeheartedly celebrate and practice diversity. PA/SJ is known as one of the most diverse conventions within the SBC, so much that our staff reflects this diversity. In PA/SJ we will continue to assist and encourage Christians and churches of all races, because that is what our Lord Jesus expects and desires. I will reiterate the words I heard Dr. Steve Gaines (current President of SBC) communicate at the SBC meeting. “Jesus is the only one that can take care of the race issues in America, and there is only one race, the human race. God loves us all and God has created us all in His image. Jesus has died for us all and anyone can be saved.” I echo the same sentiment to you as your new Executive Director. My hope and prayer is that we will be the people of God, of all races, who will create a culture of Christianity within PA/SJ with this same heart and sentiment towards all people for the cause of the gospel and for our King.

God bless you all,

Rev. Barry Whitworth
Executive Director, PA/SJ