Read this week's letter from Pastor David.
Dear FBCD church family,
I am writing today to announce my resignation as Interim Pastor for Youth and Families and Fresh Start Coordinator. My and my family’s last day at FBCD will be Wednesday, August 30.
In light of recent decisions concerning the future of the youth ministry at FBCD, I can no longer serve as an effective member of the ministerial staff. I feel it is in my best interest, the best interest of my family, and the best interest of the youth group for me to seek a new position and church home. The past two years of ministry with all of you have been some of the most rewarding and challenging times of my life. You all have helped me grow professionally and spiritually. Because of you, I'm leaving better than when I arrived.
I ask that you pray for Katie, Sam, and I as we attempt to navigate what our next step will be as a family.
The Decatur Book Festival
On September 2-3 (Labor Day weekend), First Baptist Church of Decatur will host attendees for the 12th Annual AJC Decatur Book Festival.
This is a big event during which thousands of people come to Decatur and even pass through the doors of our church, as our building plays host to several authors.
If you're interested in volunteering for the Decatur Book Festival, please email Debra Pyron.
Or to learn more visit: AJC Decatur Book Festival online.
Save the date!
Join us for our second movie on the lawn! Bring your lawn chair or blanket and your family for a fun night at the movies- al fresco style!
We will have carnival games and other fun activities on the lawn beginning at 6:30pm. There will also be snacks and food available. The movie will start at 8:00!
There is no charge for this event, but donations will be accepted to support Decatur Cooperative Ministries.
Help us Get the Word Out!
You can RSVP to the event on Facebook by clicking here. Afterward, share it with your friends!
At FBC Decatur, we value open dialogue and conversations with people who aren't like us.
You and yours are warmly invited to gather together with neighbors from all walks of life and faith expressions for an afternoon of storytelling, music, community service, a panel discussion, “speed-faithing” and, of course, a pot-luck meal. The gathering is offered free of charge and everyone is welcome. Bring a favorite dish to share and a friend!
I See You
Welcoming Our Neighbors
A Decatur Interfaith Experience
Sunday, August 20, 2017, From 2:00-5:00pm
at ST. Thomas More Catholic Church
636 West Ponce de Leon Ave.
Decatur, GA 30030
Event Supported by: Baha’i Community of Decatur; CAIR (Council on Islamic American Relations, Georgia Chapter); First Christian Church of Decatur; Gentle Spirit Christian Church; North Decatur Presbyterian Church; St. Thomas More Catholic Church; Sikh Study Circle; and more local communities of faith.
For more information please contact Pastor James Brewer-Calvert (firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-378-3621).
Statement on the Charlottesville Events
August 13, 2017
Genesis 1 says that all people are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-28), the pinnacle of creation.
Genesis 4 teaches that we are our brothers’ keepers, and when human blood is shed it cries out from the ground to God.
Genesis 9 says that there must be an accounting whenever human beings harm or kill each other.
Psalm 8 says that human beings are just a little lower than the angels, cherished by God.
Luke 10 says that to inherit eternal life, we must love God and love people as ourselves, we must be neighbor to those around us.
Christian faith ought to be, and often has been, a very powerful force for human equality, for compassion, justice, love, and belief in the sacredness of every human life.
But especially since the days when European settlers came to the New World in the name of European Christian civilization, Christian faith very often has been distorted by an unholy religious-racial-civilizational pride.
European Christian settlers came to define themselves with the label “white” and to believe that they were by God’s design superior to other peoples, such as Africans and Native Americans (and others too, including Jews, who were objects of a longer hatred). They came to believe that they were free to subjugate, enslave, and often, kill these others, and free to believe and act as if others not like them (us) were inferior human beings.
Both European and American history are deeply marked by this ideology, which is best labeled “white” “Christian” supremacism. Recent decades of our history have been marked by powerful counter-pressures to repudiate this ideology in the name of a different vision, of equality, justice, and respect for all, of a multiracial society in which all are valued equally. I have spent much of my career attempting to advance this latter vision.
In Charlottesville yesterday, the forces of a resurgent white Christian supremacism converged to rally. They got what they wanted, national media attention and counter-protests by people representing the opposite agenda, some of whom were trained in peaceful nonviolence and others of whom were there to confront the protestors. Tensions ratcheted up and finally an assault by vehicle occurred with many casualties. Three people are dead, 34 injured.
I speak today to lament this hateful ideology, which is fundamentally contrary to Christian values but remains in our bloodstream for periodic resurgence. I lament yet another incident of ugly conflict, violence, and murder in our streets.
I declare that First Baptist Church Decatur utterly repudiates racism, and seeks to stand for biblical values of equality, justice, and respect for all. I pray that white supremacist Christian nationalism will be clearly repudiated and rejected by all responsible national leaders -- and by all Christian people, in the name of Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. David P. Gushee
F.L.I.P. CONCERT features Young Aspiring Artists
Ovations Concert Series
Sunday, July 16, at 3:00 p.m.
F.L.I.P., the Freeman, Lee Intensive with Paschal is a 10-day vocal intensive training program, which is presenting its second edition as part of the Decatur Fine Arts Academy here at First Baptist Church of Decatur. They will be in residence here from July 5 through July 15. On July 16 at 3:00 p.m., the Ovation Concert Series will sponsor the young singers of F.L.I.P. in a concert of opera and song.
Please plan to join us to celebrate these young aspiring artists.
Hello there FBCD friends!
I just wanted to take a few minutes and officially say “hello” to you. I know that many of you I have met and many of you I have not. Whichever category you fall into, I am looking forward to getting to know you over the next few weeks and months as I learn about the life and ministry of FBC Decatur.
I first want to say that I am so thankful for the good work that is already happening in this place. As I have asked around and gotten to know you all throughout the interview process, I have been so impressed with what I have heard and seen. There are good things happening in this place! And I am thankful for those who have come before me (and all of us) to make this church what it is today. I have much to learn from you and can’t wait to get started!
One of my goals over the next couple of months is to get to know you! Not just those of you who have children, but all of you. It’s my belief that the more we know each other, the better we are. As I am working with children and families, I want to be able to provide them with all the support I can, and you, the congregation of FBC Decatur, are a huge part of that support. You may not have children who live under your roof now (or you may not have children at all) but each of you has something to contribute to the life of our children and families.
Last thing from me: One of the first questions I was asked by the search committee was “What are your top priorities when it comes to children’s ministry?” I share these with you as a way for you to get to know me, and so we can find ways to make these priorities happen.
First—it is my goal that every time a child enters this building, they encounter Christ and the love of God. From babies being rocked in the nursery to 1st graders learning to navigate the Bible to older children forming their own beliefs- each of these moments is vital and important to developing a strong faith foundation in our children.
Second—while the church and children’s leadership (myself included) plays an important role in building the foundation to our faith, we are not the only ones who should be teaching the children about living a God-filled life. It is the church’s job to equip and support parents and guardians so that they are confident as they guide and nurture the faith of their children. This is a partnership; a journey we are making together.
Third and finally—I want church to be a place where all children are welcome and feel safe and loved. The world can be a big and scary place, and our children need to know that Church is not that way. That’s not to say that church will always be easy. But it will always be a place where children are welcomed for who they are and will have the opportunity to use their God given gifts and talents to be a leader in the church, no matter how young or old they are.
Thank you for your trust as I step into this role, and as we continue to do the work God has called each of us to together.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Kristen Koger
(also known as Pastor KK)
A Conversation — Christian Response to Immigrants
Thursday, July 13
7 p.m. in Carreker Hall
The community is welcome.
A conversation IN Christian community, AS Christian community. The real world around us is a diverse one. In an urban center like Atlanta, or almost anywhere in rural Georgia, those "strangers" among us include folk who have fled from other countries, from political persecution and grinding poverty
In our own era, as in decades long before us, suffering people have fled to the U.S., seeing in us a beacon of hope for their families. Many of our own ancestors are among those who made a difficult journey to build a new life in this place of hope and freedom.
Immigration has become a heated and controversial political topic in our country. But what about the church? Is the church of Jesus called to have a witness about the value of every human and a responsibility to welcome and care for the stranger among us?
You are invited to join a group of Christians on Thursday evening, July 13, for a discussion about potential responses of the church and of individual Christians to immigrants in our midst. We'll consider the testimony of scripture, remember the witness of our own church over decades, see examples of how other churches have responded, and think about ways we can be responsible Christians in this encounter.
Christian Response to Immigrants is a one-time gathering, promptly at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 13, Carreker Hall, First Baptist Church Decatur.
In February when I started as the Pastoral Resident for Young Adult Ministry at FBC Decatur, I was presented with a unique challenge: help young adults in the community of Decatur grow personally and spiritually. That’s it.
The reason this is a unique proposition from the church is that it purposively evades all the demands of a traditional church ministry model.
Begin your 4th of July with the Pied Piper Parade
The City of Decatur invites you to join them on the 4th of July for the Pied Piper Parade, Concert on the Square with the Callanwolde Concert Band, and fireworks.
Parade lineup is at 5:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Decatur, 308 Clairemont Ave. Pedestrians should gather on the lawn and vehicles will line up in the parking lot. The parade begins at 6 p.m.
Anyone may participate in the parade, but those with vehicles must register by emailing Shirley.email@example.com or by calling 678-553-6573.
Sponsored by City of Decatur and the Decatur Business Association.
Go here for all the information about the July 4th celebration in Decatur.
Summer sermon series
A recent book by Old Testament scholar Brent Strawn suggests that "The Old Testament is Dying."
What he means is that churches today tend to neglect the Old Testament and that it is at risk of fading from Christian consciousness. I think he is mainly right, and in this sermon series I hope to address the problem by returning to the very first chapters of the Old Testament. Preaching through Genesis 1-11, often called the "Primeval History," will reveal both the centrality of the issues raised by these texts and also their profound complexity and potential for misuse and abuse.
The summer preaching schedule:
June 18 "In the Beginning" Gen. 1:1-2:3.
June 25 "Not Good to Be Alone" Gen 2:18-25.
July 2 "Did God Really Say?" Gen. 3:1-7.
July 9 "East of Eden" Gen. 3:8-24.
July 16 "Raising Cain" Gen. 4:1-16.
July 23 "A Brokenhearted God" Gen. 6:5-8, 7:11-24
July 30 "The First Covenant" Gen. 8:20-9:7.
You are invited to join us in worship at FBCD on Sundays —
FreshStart at 8:45 in Carreker Hall
11:15 a.m. for Sanctuary Worship.
Pastor David Gushee will preach at both worship hours.
2017 CBF General Assembly being held in Atlanta
The CBF General Assembly provides opportunities to explore the Fellowship's passion for spiritual and social transformation through:
Sustaining Global Missions
Forming Healthy Churches
Nurturing Young Baptists
There will be three nights of worship, Wednesday through Friday, June 28, 29 and 30. Brian McLaren will deliver the keynote address on Thursday night. For details go here.
Online registration is closed.
Onsite registration opens Wednesday at noon.
Registration is free.
The Assembly is being held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Georgia.
You are invited to study with Pilgrims Group
You are invited to join Pilgrims for their 10-week
study of The Great Spiritual Migration
by Brian McLaren. He challenges us to
stop worrying, waiting, and indulging in
nostalgia, and to embrace the powerful
shifts that are reshaping the faith. This
will be an engaging opportunity to share
your ideas, concerns, and questions.
For a preview of McLaren and The Great Spiritual Migration from his Georgia Center for the Book presentation in the FBCD Sanctuary in 2016, go here.
You are invited to attend all or some of the sessions hosted by the Pilgrims Group.
10-week session begins June 25
10 a.m. each Sunday
In S-305 (Sanctuary Building, third floor, enter from Portico and take elevator or stairs)