Baptist Center for Ethics directors adopted a resolution of support for a “New Baptist Covenant Celebration” scheduled in Atlanta Jan. 30-Feb. 1 in 2008.

Robert Parham, executive director of the Nashville-based BCE and Elizabeth Fogg, a BCE board member from Richmond, Va., were among leaders of 40 North American Baptist groups present at the Jan. 9 announcement of the major meeting seeking to build unity around issues including peace, poverty, race, the environment, human rights and social justice.

Founded in 1991, the BCE has established a long record of addressing those concerns, according to the resolution. The BCE is also a member of the North American Baptist Fellowship, a regional affiliate of the Baptist World Alliance that is involved extensively in the effort.

In part an alternative voice to harsh voices of the Religious Right that give the Baptist name an image of being judgmental and negative, the gathering will seek to highlight emphases of Jesus ministry like the Golden Rule.

BCE directors meeting Thursday and Friday in Nashville expressed “enthusiastic support” for the celebratory gathering and pledged to “take initiatives that equip, inform and encourage Baptists committed to the Golden Rule to understand the biblical basis for the meeting, to recognize the need for the gathering, and to participate in this unparalleled celebration.”

The press conference announcing the meeting featured two former U.S. presidents, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, both lifelong Baptists. The BCE resolution thanked Carter in particular, “for his long-standing work at reconciling Baptist bodies and urging them to find ways to work together for the common good.”

The BCE “believes church leaders and faith communities possess the keys to developing moral character, teaching sound decision making, offering a clear moral witness to the larger culture and advancing social change,” according to the resolution.

Founded with a mission of “providing proactive, positive and practical ethics resources and services to Baptist congregations and a goal to work with all goodwill Baptists,” the resolution says, the BCE has through its flagship Web site, “developed a global Baptist readership,” and “provides educational and advocacy resources to the global Baptist community.”

Bob Allen is managing editor of

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