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An Amazing Community
by Mike Massar, CBF-LA Coordinator

Mike Massar

One of my favorite continuing education experiences has been The Proctor Institute For Child Advocacy that is conducted by the Children's Defense Fund. The event is a weeklong gathering of people and experiences at Haley Farm (a Tennessee property now owned by the Children's Defense Fund, but first purchased by Alex Haley with the proceeds of his book, Roots). The week brings all kinds of people together. There are ministers, church leaders and gifted preachers, such as Fred Craddock, James Forbes, Barbara Lundblad, Otis Moss Jr., Otis Moss III and many more. There are a whole host of lay leaders. And there are hundreds of young people bussed from the inner cities and other places to spend time with these gifted leaders and teachers.

I love Proctor because of the amazing community that takes place there. For young and old alike it is a community where servant-leadership and collegiality are practiced in a joyful environment that is conducive to communication and creation. For instance, I once observed a group of African-American young people sitting at a lunch table with octogenarian Fred Craddock, talking and laughing and learning. Craddock later quipped that the table wanted to make him their grandfather!

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is an organization that often reminds me of my Haley Farm experiences. Last month's general assembly meeting in Dallas emphasized that - so many different gifted people, so many different opportunities for learning and expression, so many ways to encounter the Good News of the Gospel.