CBF Fla. gathering has international, interfaith flavor

 Workshop discussions range from Baptist women in ministry and ecumenical dialogue to how churches can be more relevant in society.

By Jeff Brumley

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida members have a wide range of interfaith and international topics to choose from at their Spring Celebration in Orlando this week.

The meeting, May 2-3 at College Park Baptist Church, includes workshops, panel discussions and speakers on Baptist women in ministry, overseas missions, spiritual fitness, diversity in ministry and other topics.

A Friday afternoon panel led by Rob Nash, professor of missions and world religion at McAfee School of Theology, was designed to challenge Baptists to envision their churches as visitors in their communities and society at large.

“Becoming the Other: The Church as Stranger in a Brand New World” offered ways churches can respond to a world in which they no longer hold a privileged status. Operating from that viewpoint may transform the church and, in turn, the world in which they operate, leaders of CBF Florida said in describing the discussion.

Another Friday offering included an interfaith panel discussion featuring representatives from several world religions — a rabbi, an imam, a Zen Buddhist monk, a Sikh leader, a Hindu and two Christians.

Pam Durso, executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry, was scheduled to lead talks Friday and Saturday titled “Her Place at the Table: Creating a Church Culture in Which Women are Welcomed as Ministers and Leaders.”

Durso was to take up the challenge faced by women seeking careers in ministry: churches that embrace the gifts and callings of women, but remain unprepared to call a woman themselves.