I Met Suzzie, and I am impressed- BFN spring 2014

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I Met Suzzie, and I am impressed- BFN spring 2014

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sun Jun 01, 2014 7:50 pm

Some of you may recall that I had reservations when the announcement was made that another Texan had been selected as the Executive Coordinator of CBF. I still question the wisdom of such a precedent of having each of the first three Executive Coordinators coming from the same state. Especially a state whose residents have a reputation for thinking it is the center of the universe. And at least Cecil and Danial had left Texas

However I am now persuade that CBF leadership is in capable hands. I am convinced Suzzi Paynter was an extremely good choice. Yesterday morning I was the first Non Metro Baptist Church staff person to make an appearance in the Sanctuary and multipurpose room at Metro. Rev. Ronnie Adams and other metro staff where busy in the kitchen setting up a wonderful array of breakfast items and treats for we their guest, for the annual spring meeting of the BFN (Baptist Fellowship of the Northeast). The next non Meto person to enter was Suzzi. I was a bit surprised at my uncomfortableness at addressing her by her first name, but everyone in BFN is on a first name basis. I had already expressed my appreciation for her message the evening before just shortly after she had delivered it. So I said "good morning Suzzi" and she replied with a warm smile "Good morning" as she preceded to help herself to the coffee. I did not introduce my self again, I was pretty sure Phylis Bozzer our Regional Coordinator had told her who I am because when I made a late entry the evening before. Phylis had excused herself from their table and come over to ask if I had eaten and when I said no she ushered me to the buffet table and said help yourself. And I settled in to eat and listen to Rev. Ken Bogan pastor of the Greater Restoration Church in Brooklyn and his Jazz group. Trudy and I have known Ken and Betty since our first BFN fall meeting in 2002, but I was not aware of his singing talent. He could make a good living with it .

I had a pressing question so I asked "Did you read the three part series in ABP by David Gushee and if so what did you think" she replied Yes, I did read it, what did you think of it? I said " I think David G. needs to come off of the lecture circuit and visit some CBF churches without announcing who he is." She seemed a bit surprised at my bluntness but smiled and gave a slight nod that I interpreted as a sign of agreement, before she replied "that may be, " I thought he was writing as an outsider offering friendly advice" And I can not honestly quote any more of that conversation because I ended up leaving my note book in a restroom at the Transit Authority Bus Station. But I did come away from the conversation with two very impressions of Mrs. Paynter, 1, she is very approachable and 2. She is a good listener. When I said earlier that I appreciated her her Friday evening message, I really should have said sermon. It was very well crafted and expertly delivered. Even though I was rather sure I knew, I asked if she had ever been and she said "no" rather emphatically and added "I am a lay person". I mentioned that Trudy occasionally reminds me that I am not the Associate Pastor, Suzzi said, I understand, my husband and I have also had that conversation. When I asked for an address to which I may send a copy of Trudy's new book as soon as we receive them, she gave me her business card which I was surprised looks and feels like every other CBF staff persons card. I only realized after we talked, that I had forgotten to remind her that the C, in ABC is American Baptist Churches, not Convention. She called it the American Baptist Convention last year both at the ABC Biennial and at the CBF Assembly. I believe dr. Medley corrected her when she did it in Greensboro. I have heard some say so what it is no big deal. But it was a big deal with some ABC folk back when they very deliberately changed the name. I will put in a note when I send the Book. :wink: I am now more sorry than ever that we can not make both the CBF Assembly and the ABC-USA's Mission Conference Celebration the the 200 years since Adoniram and Ann Judson first arrived in Burma.

Trudy was unable to go to NYC Friday and Saturday due to a fight with a kidney stone. Please be praying for her. However, I did get to introduce about a half dozen BFN folk to Schnippers after the meeting dismissed and before I had to get across the street to catch my bus back to the Motel in Jersey, to pick up my car before driving home. We sat outside on the patio, they all LOVED the place and the food.
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Re: I Met Suzzie, and I am impressed- BFN spring 2014

Postby Sandy » Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:01 am

I don't think a lot of people in CBF realize that the Texans aren't outliers when it comes to their involvement. They represent the mainstream. There are more CBF affiliated churches in the Virginia-North Carolina area, but not all of them represent the left side of CBF, as is often the impression. The CBF folks I've encountered from North Carolina are much like those in Texas in doctrine and practice, and most of them are in churches that wouldn't call a female pastor, and would never sanction a same-sex marriage. There may be more of those kinds of churches in Va/NC, but there are probably more of them which are like the Texans. On the other hand, there is a small group of CBF affiliated churches in Texas that are like their more liberal NC and VA brethren, a few, maybe half a dozen, but they're there, and Suzii's hubby pastors one of them.

Friends of mine in CBF churches aren't as impressed with her as you are, Ed, and they're Texans, too. I think their perspective stems from what they saw as regression and ineffectiveness at the CLC, in which the lion's share of the budget went to salary and expenses to keep that office open, and very little to the work itself. They don't see that much progress was made under her leadership, compared to previous leaders. Of course, there are those here who discount the perspective of Texas CBF'ers, because they are "too conservative," or because they're not like the ones in Virginia or North Carolina. I think that's a mistake. CBF is the whole made up of all of its parts, and Texas is home to the third largest number of participating churches, and has one of just two semi-sympathetic state conventions. I believe these next few years will be crucial to CBF's survival, and if the budgets in both the national office and the states keep dropping like they are, some real changes will be required to just keep going. Baptists need a kick in the pants type of leader to get to where they need to be. Time will tell if Suzii brought her boots from Austin.
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Re: I Met Suzzie, and I am impressed- BFN spring 2014

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:52 pm

Sandy wrote:I don't think a lot of people in CBF realize that the Texans aren't outliers when it comes to their involvement. They represent the mainstream. There are more CBF affiliated churches in the Virginia-North Carolina area, but not all of them represent the left side of CBF, as is often the impression. The CBF folks I've encountered from North Carolina are much like those in Texas in doctrine and practice, and most of them are in churches that wouldn't call a female pastor, and would never sanction a same-sex marriage. More liberal NC and VA brethren, a few, maybe half a dozen, but they're there, and Suzii's hubby pastors one of them.
There may be more of those kinds of churches in Va/NC, but there are probably more of them which are like the Texans. On the other hand, there is a small group of CBF affiliated churches in Texas that are like their more liberal NC and VA brethren, m

Friends of mine in CBF churches aren't as impressed with her as you are, Ed, and they're Texans, too. I think their perspective stems from what they saw as regression and ineffectiveness at the CLC, in which the lion's share of the budget went to salary and expenses to keep that office open, and very little to the work itself. They don't see that much progress was made under her leadership, compared to previous leaders. Of course, there are those here who discount the perspective of Texas CBF'ers, because they are "too conservative," or because they're not like the ones in Virginia or North Carolina. I think that's a mistake. CBF is the whole made up of all of its parts, and Texas is home to the third largest number of participating churches, and has one of just two semi-sympathetic state conventions. I believe these next few years will be crucial to CBF's survival, and if the budgets in both the national office and the states keep dropping like they are, some real changes will be required to just keep going. Baptists need a kick in the pants type of leader to get to where they need to be. Time will tell if Suzii brought her boots from Austin.


Ed: Sandy I am not sure how you are using the term "outliers". Is that some thing like Johny come lately s or foreigners ? if so I know no one in CBF who would ascribe such a term to Texans. On the other hand I am aware of some regional / sectionalism by geography. And i have a sense that a lot of that is historically tied to the 6 SBC Seminaries but exist primarily between Southern and Southwestern.

And when you say "they represent the Mainstream", I don't know who you are talking about, the Texans or those who you feel view Texans a outliers? And where you you find the stats to support your comment that "There are more CBF affiliated churches in the Virginia-North Carolina area, but not all of them represent the left side of CBF, as is often the impression" . And I would revise you your statement that " The CBF folks I've encountered from North Carolina are much like those in Texas in doctrine and practice, and most of them are in churches that wouldn't call a female pastor, and would never sanction a same-sex marriage. " to read The CBF folks I've encountered from all across the traditional South and Southwest are much like those in Texas in doctrine and practice, ranging from somewhat conservative to somewhat liberal on social issues. I have seen no state where female pastors are accepted with open arms by most churches. But given the years of indoctrination to Pau'ls personal bias that is not real surprising. Despite the ABC having always having some female pastors we still have churches where they are not welcome.The more People are exposed ro Female pastors the greater the acceptance. Also In my experience visiting CBF churches in Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Kentucky, Texas. Missouri and Virginia and in talking with folk from every southern state at and some Northern states at CBF assemblies I have found few people from churches that are absolutely committed one way or the other on the question of homosexuality. Most CBF churches it seems are still in the don't ask don't tell mode. I agree that both East and West plus all in between there are a minority of CBF churches that are soft on homosexuality. I know nothing about the Church where Rodger Paynter is Pastor. I wouldn't know him if I saw him.

As far as the opinion of Suzzii held by friends of yours who are not as impressed with her as I am that is no surprise. The probably wouldn't be friends of yours if they where. On the other hand I don't know how impressed with her I am. I reported that in our first, one on one encounter during the continental breakfast and in about 5 hours of listening to her interact with other I was impressed. And in all honesty I was more convinced than ever that you attempts at discounting her abilities and motives are simply more of you sour grapes in regard to CBF.

When I send Suzzii a copy of Trudy's new book, should I mention you to her? According to the tracking info our copies of the book are on a UPS truck at the Albany airport awaiting delivery. :)
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