The combined session of the Baptist Educational Congress of D.C. & Vicinity and the National Capital Baptist Congress of Christian Education had its opening ceremony on Monday, May 5 in the auditorium of Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt.
The convention will meet at the high school from May 5 to May 9 to study God’s Word (the Bible), fellowship with Christians and take classes that will equip the people to reach out and benefit the community. There were about 600 people who attended the opening event, many of whom are residents of Prince George’s County.
Reverend Bernard M. Taylor, president of Baptist Educational Congress of the District of Columbia & Vicinity was the keynote speaker for the opening ceremony.
“We’re a faith-based organization and I believe personally that we serve a God through His holistic approach to helping mankind,” said Taylor. “I believe man has a duty and responsibility to God. We also have a duty and responsibility to each other. That duty and responsibility is to work together and do those things to the betterment of society in general.”
Taylor shared his belief that conventions like these help to better the individual which means that person is now equipped to go back into their community and make a positive change.
“People these days talk about paying it forward. Well, paying it forward is just another way of answering the age old question of ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ Yes we are,” said Taylor. “We were designed by God according to the Scripture, to be interdependent upon each other and therefore it is important for us to understand that us working together, doing new things to affect and overall benefit the societies, communities that we live in.”
Mark Leach shared the reason why he enjoys this event.
“Loved it because I always like to see a group of Christians get together and fellowship and talk about and learn about and study the word of God so that we can take it back to our own individual houses and share with our families,” said Leach. “I can tell you for a fact that a lot of people who are here are taking classes to help with the individual missions at the church. It’s going to give them additional education that’s going to allow them to be able to grow their ministries and move in exciting ways.”
Leach works for ResCare which is one of the largest workplace development organizations in the nation and is a vendor for the event.
“They have just launched ResCare Academy which is an online suite of educational tools geared to helping people find and keep employment,” said Leach. “They have over 1500 online classes, some of which are even college credit.”
ResCare recently gave a check of $1,000 to the Baptist Educational Congress of D.C. & Vicinity and the National Capital Baptist Congress of Christian Education. No one could say how the funds would be allocated.
“I don’t micromanage how they allocate the funds—it could go to buying books or giving books away. It could go to paying teachers,” said Leach.
Eric D. Barksdale, President of National Capital Baptist Convention of Washington, D.C. & Vicinity thinks the highlights of the event were to see all of the churches coming together.
“Some of the classes that we have, have to do with the political structure of our county, we’re trying to make sure people are aware of who’s running and what’s out there,” said Barksdale. “Other classes being offered are more than just biblical classes—estate planning, wills, things of that nature—we’re trying to hit the total man.”
May 5 was the first time Ann McNeil, member of Zion Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. attended the convention.
“I think it’s very good so far,” said McNeil. “I’ve really enjoyed the president’s speech and prayer.”
When asked what she’s looking forward to the most, McNeil said, “Just taking the classes and how to read and study the Bible. I need to know more about it.”
The sessions will be held all week starting at 6:30 p.m. The convention is open to the public who have not already registered. For more information, visit http://www.becongress.org/ .