Religion

Baptists gear up for convention

87th annual session expected to be a ‘refreshing’ of the soul

Like many things in life, the Bahamas Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (BBMEC) was on hiatus for two years, due to the pandemic, but they are gearing up for an in-person 87th annual session to refresh souls. And according to Reverend Dr. Phillip McPhee, coming together in person is expected to ignite a fire of togetherness among Baptists.

“Just seeing each other makes a lot of difference,” said McPhee, BBMEC’s first vice president. “Most people are looking for changes from the pulpit to the door, and churches in general need a new outlook. We as Baptists feel that we have lost a great part of our joy that we must get back if we’re going to impact this present age.”

While some denominations opted for virtual convention experiences during the pandemic shutdowns, McPhee said Baptists did not.

“Our greatest desire in this 87th year is to unify our convention to correct the wrong and build on what is needed to make us stronger. In keeping to the trust that has been mandated by the constitution of our convention and to respect leadership and govern ourselves accordingly, and be subject to no man but God – then, give God the honor and praise,” said McPhee.

He said their focus remains the same – fulfilling the tenets of the New Testament church and going out into all the world and preaching Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection and that he is coming for his ready people to be with him in glory.

“We are to teach Christ to The Bahamas and the world to make all men brothers in Christ Jesus and to love everybody,” he said.

The 87th session, under the theme “God Builds A Wall of Protection Around His Church” is scheduled for May 23-26 with morning and evening sessions.

Reverend Dr. Tellis Chapman, pastor, Galilee Baptist Church, Detroit, Michigan, kicks off the four days on Monday with a communion service to be held at the William Thompson Auditorium at 7 p.m. He will be followed by Convention President Reverend Dr. Lloyd C. Smith, who is tapped to speak on the president’s night on Tuesday at Bethel Baptist Church at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m; the service will also air live on ZNS. Wednesday is women’s night with Rev. Dr. Sabrina Pinder, Baptist women’s president tapped to speak; and the closing session on Thursday with a 10 a.m. memorial service at the William Thompson Auditorium.

McPhee said through their upcoming sessions, they plan to show Baptists that God is still on them to lead in the transformation of lives and the reformation of a new culture – especially among Baptists in The Bahamas.”

He said the cry for Baptists should still be for unity with genuine fellowship.

“We fought for the change, we got the change but we’re still hoping to enjoy the change that was promised to Baptists by prophets, priests and kings. As a Baptist convention, we did our part [but] we still await our portion. We need a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit in our Baptist faith right now. Too much worldly acts and beliefs that have not been tested to see the reality of what God wants and needs of Baptists right now this very minute.”

The BBMEC first vice president said new strategies and new arrangements are needed around the table of opportunities for Baptists.

“This is now a new era in ministry the world over. A new discussion has evolved, especially among young Black Baptists in The Bahamas and it seems like we are trying to find ourselves in 2022.”

The BBMEC came into existence 87 years ago when Black Baptist pastors saw the need to “empower and rescue” the people of The Bahamas through education exposure to a perspective of change from inward interaction to outward perceptions.

“This was not easy, simply because, although a Black nation, we were governed by a white group of leaders who, at times, seemed to forget that God does not see color – but people living together as one family serving one God who only sees all as His children.”

He said the founders of the BBMEC desired a better life for all Bahamians and recognized the importance of the Black church that was going through the same predicament that the United States Black church was facing.

“Unifying Black churches was the beginning of the new Bahamas that brought power to the new movement in the erection of a new day among Baptist leaders. Coming together as Baptist leaders brought leadership to women and men to help meet the needs of the then-poor Baptist community. Much opportunities were given to Baptists and Bahamians through the empowerment the new Baptist Convention which we are so proud of to this day,” said McPhee.

Past presidents of the BMMEC include Dr. Micheal Symonette, Dr. Charles W. Saunders, Dr. R.E. Cooper., Dr A.S. Colebrook, Dr. Charles Smith, Dr. William Thompson, Dr. Anthony Carroll and Dr. William Thompson.

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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