The parent company of – the Baptist Center for Ethics – observed its 20th anniversary this summer.

Call it a very quiet celebration. We’ve said almost nothing about it on We’ve barely talked about it as a staff. We’ve had no party.

Frankly, we’ve been too busy – too busy building on the successful platform we’ve constructed over 20 years.

As an reader, I want you to know that 2011 has been a breakthrough year, the kind of year that two decades of diligence ought to birth.

Before delineating the breakthrough notes, consider a few humorous notes about where we were in fall 1991 compared to fall 2011:

â— BCE used a landline phone, had one hulking CompuAdd computer with a floppy drive and used occasionally a fax machine. Compare that now to our laptops, iPhones, Final Cut Pro editing system and hard drives that hold terabytes of information.

â— BCE relied exclusively on paper and snail mail. Today we are almost paperless and do almost everything via email.

â— BCE’s programming included a two-day conference and a four-page newsletter in 1992. Compare that to, which posts fresh content each weekday and has documentaries being used across the country.

â— BCE was focused solely on moderate Southern Baptists. Today we have a pan-Baptist global network with an energetic ecumenical and interfaith engagement.

Yep. We’ve come a long way.

We know we didn’t get to where we are without a lot of goodwill Baptists trusting our direction and underwriting our mission.

And where we are in 2011 requires some celebration about our breakthroughs.

Consider these:

â— The United Methodist Foundation of Arkansas funded a good deal of our newest documentary on faith and immigration – Gospel Without Borders.

â— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops mailed at the end of September a copy of Gospel Without Borders to every Catholic bishop with a strong cover letter urging bishops to order the DVD and distribute it to their parishes. Several dioceses have done so, including the Roman Catholic dioceses of Gary and San Angelo.

â— A United Methodist Church bishop sent the DVD to every active Methodist bishop. Several United Methodist conferences have ordered DVDs in bulk.

â— Documentary screenings have included two Catholic bishops, a Lutheran bishop, a Methodist bishop, Catholic priests, two rabbis and Baptist preachers.

â— Within two months of its release, more than 5,000 DVDs have been sold and given away. A second order had been placed.

The Baptist-Catholic initiative around immigration is particularly positive. I can remember as a Ph.D. student at Baylor University reading anti-Catholic articles in Baptist state newspapers from the 1950s.

I remember hearing a moderate Southern Baptist leader in the 1980s say that he wasn’t anti-abortion because he wasn’t going to let the Catholic bishops tell him what to do.

Of course, the Baptist-Catholic breakthrough mirrors the Baptist-Muslim advancement with our documentary Different Books, Common Word, which aired on ABC-TV stations.

We hope the 2011 breakthroughs are a doorway to our third decade.

We are fully aware that these breakthroughs happened because we built together a dependable and innovative platform.

The platform exists because our readers and others have given often and generously.

We hope you have a sense of celebratory achievement in our 20th anniversary and what we’ve accomplished together that advances the common good.

Know that your 2011 gift ensures a dynamic witness in 2012.

If you haven’t given this year, please do so. If you’ve already given, please consider a second gift. To make a secure online donation, click here.

We think we’ve proven our trustworthiness and innovative productivity. We hope you agree. We are grateful for your partnership.

Robert Parham is executive editor of and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics.

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