Baylor Conference Focuses On 'Rest And Restoration' For Ministers

March 26, 2001

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Ministers from throughout Texas, and from as far away as Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina and Arkansas, will be on the Baylor University campus March 27-30 for the inaugural "R&R: Rest and Restoration for Ministers" conference, sponsored by Baylor's Office of Church Relations.

Held in the Blume Conference Center in the Hankamer School of Business, the four-day conference is designed to provide a balance of educational opportunities and relaxing pursuits, said Howard Williams, Baylor's director of church relations.

"There are two commodities that every minister values: resources for ministry and time to rest," Williams said. "By bringing in notable pastors and scholars from around the country, we hope to provide ministers with resources that will enhance their ministry, as well as the opportunity for rest and fellowship with others who share similar challenges. We want ministers to know that Baylor University continues to stand by its historic roots of being a resource for churches and those who minister."

Registration begins at noon Tuesday, with the conference concluding at 1:30 p.m. Friday. In addition to the morning and afternoon sessions, The Rev. Dr. William H. Willimon, dean of chapel and professor of Christian ministry at Duke University, will speak at a special worship service at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Seventh and James Baptist Church. Willimon, who also will lead two sessions at the conference, was named one of the Twelve Most Effective Preachers in the English-speaking world, according to a survey conducted by Baylor in 1996.

Morning sessions will include presentations by several leading pastors and theologians, including Willimon; Dr. Lewis B. Smedes, professor emeritus of theology and ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., and the author of Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don't Deserve, The Art of Forgiving and Keeping Hope Alive; Dr. Nancy T. Ammerman, professor of sociology of religion at Hartford Seminary in the Hartford Institute of Religion Research and the author of Congregation and Community, which tells the stories of 23 congregations that encountered various forms of neighborhood change; Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr.; and Dr. Robert B. Kruschwitz, director of the Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor.

Smedes' sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings will focus on "Living in Covenant -- Living in God's Covenant With Us, Living in God's Covenant With the World and Living in Our Covenant With Each Other." Other topics to be covered include "Failing Leaders: Churches Respond to Leaders' Moral Failures" with Kruschwitz on Tuesday; "Clergy Character: Community, Cross, New Creation" with Willimon on Wednesday and Thursday; "Congregations in a World of Change" and "Leading Congregations That Matter" with Ammerman on Thursday and Friday; and "Feeding the Cybersheep" with Sloan on Friday.

Participants will use Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to enjoy relaxing pursuits, such as golf, a Baylor baseball game, shopping or sightseeing. On Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m., Baylor Assistant Professor of English Bob Darden, the author of Mad Man in Waco, will lead a tour of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco.

The R&R lectures are free for faculty, staff and students. There is a minimal charge for meals which require a reservation.

For more information, contact Williams at 710-3522 or visit the Baylor church relations web site at www.baylor.edu/Church_Relations/ .

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