Churches Jump Hurdles to Reopen to Public

By Sheila Allen

July 20, 2020

Worshippers at Grant Ave. Baptist Church in Corvallis, OR, were directed to appropriately distanced seating when state regulations allowed churches to resume services.

As Alex Kato and his family prepared a cross-country move for him to step in as new pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Renton, WA, life was upended even more with the onset of the COVID-19  pandemic hitting the greater Puget Sound area with the first recognized cases in the United States.

 

“One challenging factor for us is that I just started as pastor in March, and until the last week of March, we were still living in New Jersey,” Kato said. “So we met for worship online only, uploading services stitched together by our tech team, with prayers and music from various homes in Washington and sermons from New Jersey.”

 

The church targeted May 31 as their first opportunity to stream services from the TBC sanctuary after the Katos arrived at their new home. New state guidelines received just prior to that date were rolled out to allow outdoor services for up to 100 people, which required church leadership to remain nimble in their approach. A tent-raising on the back lawn offered opportunities to gather in person with adequate space to remain in compliance with the public health protocols

 

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Faitahful Servants Blessed Northwest Congregations

By Sheila Allen

July 20, 2020

Shirley and Jerry Kanzler

After a career begun as an atomic reactor operator, Jerry Kanzler entered the burgeoning field of computer operators in 1963 and eventually spent 33 years working at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. He and his wife, Shirley, both retired from WSU and then began another storied career with a ministry focus.

 

What began as a volunteer role to help build Emmanuel Baptist Church in Pullman as a member went on to become a life calling, taking the Kanzlers on the road for over eight years in their RV. The Kanzlers, who will soon celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary, moved from church to church as site construction managers in locales form Arizona to Alaska, with many Northwest Baptist churches in between.

 

The Kanzlers became adept at marshalling the forces of volunteer building crews and in 2008 accepted the volunteer assignment of church construction consultants for the Northwest Baptist Convention.

 

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Longtime Staffer Retires Following Years of Ministry

By Sheila Allen

July 20, 2020

Garry Benfield

Although a Texas native, Garry Benfield has spent his career serving in the Northwest as intern, pastor, director of missions, camp missionary and church planting catalyst. Now newly retired, Benfield and his wife, Suzanne, will take some time to consider their next phase of ministry.

 

“I served in the Air Force and then Suzanne and I married in 1979,” said Benfield. “I was an intern pastor at First Baptist Church of the Deaf in Portland, OR, while Suzanne worked at a school for the deaf and thought I would stay there and remain in deaf work. I attended Golden Gate (now Gateway) Seminary at the Pacific Northwest Campus and graduated in 1988.”

 

The Benfields began going to deaf camps at Mt. Baker, in Portland and in Seattle, where they volunteered to work with children. Eventually Harold Hitt, a longtime state director of missions for the Northwest Baptist Convention, became a mentor and the young Benfield seized opportunities to “pick the brains of many old-timers.” He sees himself as a link to the past.

 

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Race & Justice: Southern Baptists Weight in with Views

By Cameron Crabtree

July 20, 2020

Randy Adams, executive director of the Northwest Baptist Convention, joined Southern Baptist ministry leaders across the country in a statement that grieved the May 25 death of George Floyd, an African American who died while in police custody in Minneapolis, MN, and decried “racial inequity in the distribution of justice” in the United States.

 

The statement co-authored by J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and SBC seminary president Jamie Dew was signed by all SBC officers, entity heads and state convention executives.

 

The statement, released on Baptist Press May 30, described churches of convention as “committed to the equality and dignity of all people.”

 

It noted the incident that sparked demonstrations, protests and riots across the country – including Portland, Seattle and smaller communities in the Northwest -- connected to a “long history of unequal justice in our country, going back to the grievous Jim Crow and slavery eras. The images and information we have available to us in this case are horrific and remind us that there is much more work to be done to ensure that there is not even a hint of racial inequity in the distribution of justice in our country. We grieve to see examples of the misuse of force, and call for these issues to be addressed with speed and justice.”

 

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2020 Northwest Missions Offering

By Cameron Crabtree

July 20, 2020

With 12 million people living across the diverse communities of Washington, Oregon and north Idaho – and only about 4 percent of them participating in various church services and ministries in a given week – it’s easy to see the Pacific Northwest as a vast mission field full of opportunities for a growing gospel witness.

 

About 500 churches that comprise the Northwest Baptist Convention seek to reach their communities with the message of God’s life-changing love through cooperative efforts focused in four areas: starting churches, training leaders for various ministries, offering hope during crisis and, ultimately, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ through multiple evangelism efforts and outreach projects.

 

Over the next few weeks, Northwest Baptist churches will receive information about the Northwest Impact Missions Offering and promotional materials offering ways church members can participate in this important funding channel for missions in the Northwest.

 

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Gateway Seminary Offers Multiple Avenues for Training

By Sheila Allen

July 20. 2020

The Pacific Northwest Campus of Gateway Seminary plans to resume face-to-face instruction for the fall 2020 semester, according to seminary officials. Health and safety measures will be in place, including masks, social distancing, handwashing and more, with allowances made for medical conditions.

 

All the face-to-face classes will also offer a remote video access option, which allows students to participate in the classes in real time. Other classes may only be offered in distance learning formats, either remote access or online. Remote access was already a growing phenomenon for Gateway and the Northwest campus specifically, according to campus director Mark Bradley.

 

“From the middle of the spring semester, Gateway demonstrated the ability to deliver all our courses via remote access, so regardless of potential COVID-related complications, we are prepared to deliver our courses to our students,” Bradley said. “Students who choose the remote access option are grateful for the real-time experience of the lectures and discussions without the expense and inconvenience of multiple hours of driving from places like southern Oregon, central Washington or eastern Washington.

 

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Northwest Families Open Homes to Missionaries

By Sheila Allen

July 20, 2020

Northwest Baptist Convention churches and their members showed great heart for International Mission Board personnel serving in East Asia in recent days when a call went out requesting housing for those workers recently displaced due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other global issues. Although the request was later scaled back, an original request for accommodations and vehicles for up to 50 family units was met with swift affirmation.

 

Nearly 70 churches or individuals offered to provide housing for missionaries who have been displaced from their homes, according to Randy Adams, NWBC executive director.

 

“The overwhelming response of our people and churches to this need ‘blew our IMB leaders away,’” said Adams. “They were hoping maybe a fraction of that number would respond, but they didn’t quite know how much we love our missionaries and how so many would move largely and quickly to meet this need.

 

“Our IMB East Asia leaders are very grateful and want me to express that,” Adams added.

 

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Leadership Urge Caution for Overseas Missions Travel

By Leslie Peacock Caldwell

July 20, 2020

Southern Baptists have helped more than 900,000 people worldwide affected by the coronavirus to date. (IMB photo)

International Mission Board officials have urged Southern Baptists to use extreme caution in considering overseas missions travel for the remainder of 2020. As countries continue to require quarantines or have not yet opened their borders, travelers could face unexpected circumstances, including quarantines upon re-entering the U.S.

 

"The work of Southern Baptists' missionaries has and will continue," said Paul Chitwood, IMB president. "In making decisions about hosting volunteer teams during this unusual season, however, we must consider the well-being of locals in the host countries, our field workers and our faithful volunteers."

 

IMB personnel on the field continually monitor their local situations and governments' restrictions. Many missionaries will not be able to host groups for the foreseeable future due to government-imposed travel bans and other factors related to the pandemic.

 

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GuideStone Strives for Diversity

By Roy Hayhurt, GuideStone

July 20, 2020

GuideStone Strives for Ethnic DiversityKasan Boyd is no stranger to GuideStone’s employees and leadership. A 14-year veteran of GuideStone, she knows the organization’s needs thoroughly.

 

In her newest role, as director of inclusion & diversity, she’ll lead GuideStone’s efforts to recruit and retain a diverse workforce.

 

“I believe my purpose in life is to help people,” Boyd said. “In this day and time we all need help in understanding what is needed to eradicate these deep-rooted injustices that we see in our country and how those play out in our everyday lives. When I was approached about leading inclusion and diversity efforts at GuideStone, I saw this as the opportunity to help GuideStone show the world what it truly means to walk out Romans 12:5–8, and I knew this was God’s hand at work.”

 

O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone, said the Southern Baptist financial services entity strives to reflect the ethnic diversity of the SBC and recognizes the importance of a diverse workplace. At the start of 2020, non-Anglo employees accounted for nearly 18 percent of GuideStone employees, up from nearly 10 percent in the early 2000s.

 

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July-August 2020 Complete Issue
2020 July August.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [18.5 MB]