A Christian theologian and interfaith advocate said his Baptist faith has been deepened by a decade of service with the Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Robert Sellers, professor of theology and missions emeritus at Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon Seminary in Abilene, Texas, served seven years as a trustee and the last three as chair of the organization. He steps down on Dec. 31.
Sellers issued a written good-bye to members of the Parliament, expressing gratitude for the opportunities it afforded him to travel the world to cooperate with people of many faiths in causes ranging from human and religious rights to climate change.
“Working alongside a group of skilled, imaginative, collegial, and wise Trustees from 16 different religious and spiritual traditions has broadened my perspectives and deepened my spirituality,” Sellers wrote.
“Representing the interfaith movement in conference centers, meeting halls, worship spaces, classrooms, and private encounters has strengthened my conviction that we must all love our neighbors of other faiths as we love ourselves.”
Sellers said he was honored to be an observer during the creation of the Marrakesh Declaration, which he described as “a document defending the rights of religious minorities in the world’s Muslim-majority nations.”
On another occasion, Sellers shared that he once met privately with Vice President Al Gore during a climate change seminar in New York City.
“My immediate and ongoing response to these fascinating and life-enriching experiences is gratitude,” Sellers said.
Sellers will be succeeded by Audrey Kitagawa, the Parliament’s first female chair.
Baptist peace group seeks next leader
The Baptist Peace Fellowship in North America is seeking an interim executive director.
BPFNA~Bautistas por la Paz posted the opening on its website. The start date given for the new hire is around May 15, 2019.
The current executive director is LeDayne McLeese Polaski, an employee of the Fellowship for more than 20 years. She announced last May her intention to step down to pursue new opportunities.
In its posting for the position, BPFNA~Bautistas por la Paz said the interim executive director will have overall responsibility for the organization’s mission and must ensure that board, staff and partners are able to “witness to” and “work together” to accomplish “God’s peace rooted in justice.”
Detailed job requirements and application instructions are provided online.
Fellowship Southwest urges faith-based immigrant support
A Cooperative Baptist Fellowship group is calling on people of faith to provide spiritual and material support now and into 2019 for immigrants languishing at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Many immigrants are in the same situation as Christ’s family shortly after his birth: fleeing their homeland for another country to escape violence, Marv Knox, Fellowship Southwest field coordinator, noted in a newsletter emailed to supporters.
“In a mirror image two millennia in the making,” he added, immigrant parents have “marched their children through Mexico” toward the U.S. in search of safety, Knox said.
“As we remember the immigrant Jesus and his frightened parents, let us do what we can for the Central American immigrants,” he said.
Relevant actions include prayer.
“Pray for the immigrants, even those whose actions repel us and especially the ones whose stories make us cry,” Knox said. “Let’s also pray for the volunteers who feed them and the peacekeepers who protect them. Let’s pray for decision makers—throughout Central America, Mexico and the United States—whose policies shape their lives.”
Another action is to donate money to feed and clothe immigrants, “especially the children.”
Knox also urged supporters to contact U.S. lawmakers to press for comprehensive immigration reform.