While thousands of National Baptists are gathering in Atlanta today, and thousands more are planning to join them for the New Baptist Celebration beginning Wednesday, an old friend has found new lodgings.

Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina (WMU-NC) will soon move into an office building on the north side of Raleigh, a symbolic step in a critical transition year for the organization. WMU-NC’s new 3,600 square foot office suite is about one-third larger than the organization’s former space at the BSC office building in Cary. It is located in the Northside Center at 1200 Front Street, just inside I-440 between Wake Forest Road and Atlantic Avenue. WMU-NC will occupy the corner of the building shown at right.

A Baptist layman is making the space available at a reduced cost, while other donors have offered to assist with rent and moving expenses. Additional volunteers have been at work packing and preparing for the move, which Fulbright hopes will take place before the end of March.

This month, the organization is resurrecting the “Heck-Jones Offering” it relied on before agreeing to fold it into a combined North Carolina Missions Offering three decades ago. The BSC voted in November to remove WMU-NC from the statewide offering.

WMU-NC needs to raise $1.2 million just to provide basic budget costs for the year. My personal hope is that they will go well above the goal, because the organization also has some meaningful new ministry ideas on tap that will need additional financing.

One of the most exciting things about the New Baptist Covenant celebration is that it will bring together African-American, Anglo, and other ethnic Baptists in a way that is unprecedented.

One of the most hopeful things about WMU-NC’s adoption of greater independence is that it will unleash the power and compassion of Baptist women in ways we have yet to see.

In both cases, there is truly cause for new Baptist celebrations.

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