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Vol. XXXVIII • No.

2 • February 1, 2008

Among Friends
Next Wednesday, February 6, we’re observing at First Baptist the beginning of the Lenten season with an Ash Wednesday worship service. I was 24 years old when I attended my first Ash Wednesday service. Some of my friends in seminary were going and I was curious. As a Baptist I’d never observed the Christian Calendar beyond Christmas and Easter. I was living at Golden Gate Seminary at the time, five miles north of San Francisco. We drove to a little Episcopal church perched on the side of a hill in Sausalito, not far from the Golden Gate Bridge. The service began at 6:00 a.m., giving Bay Area commuters a chance to attend and still make it to work in the city. It was a freezing February day. I stumbled in the door of the church, cold and only half-awake, looking for coffee and donuts (this Baptist girl hadn’t quite yet caught the spirit of Lent). But there was no coffee. No donuts. Only a faint light in the small sanctuary where about 30 people were sitting quietly, some with their head in their hands and some on their knees. My friends and I slid into a pew. The service began. We started with a hymn and then a layperson stood and read from the prophet Joel: “Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing…” We sang, Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God, accompanied by guitar. We read from the Sermon on the Mount; we read from the Psalms; we prayed. There was a brief devotional message. Then the pastor stood with a little bowl in his hands. “Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I invite you, in the name of the Lord, to observe in the coming forty days a holy Lent by self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and by reading and meditating on the Word of God. To make a right beginning—and as a mark of our mortality—let us now bow before our Creator and Redeemer.” At that point we were invited to come forward and receive the “imposition of ashes.” Slowly, people began moving toward the aisle. Some remained in their pew to pray for a few moments. Some were weeping. Some were writing confessions of sin on small cards that we’d been given. When it came my turn at the front I presented myself nervously to the pastor, thinking to myself, “Should I move aside my bangs or will he?” In answer to my thoughts the pastor brushed my bangs aside and, with his thumb, made the sign of the cross on my forehead saying, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Repent, and believe the gospel.” Then he sent me out into the cold morning. I felt conspicuous for the rest of the day with that “Jesus smudge” on my face, but it was a bit of a thrill to spot other “smudgees” in cafés and at bus stops and on the busy sidewalks of San Francisco. We were marked, and it made a difference in the way we walked around in the world. Come next Wednesday night at 6:45. There’ll be no coffee. No donuts, either. Just some people on a journey to the cross. Blessings,

Our Team: Mike and Nancy Norman, Phil Holt, Julie Pennington-Russell, Liz Hackney, Bill and Leslie Madden, Kate Perry and Ryan Forbes. We need your support... It will take our Team 2 1/2 days of travel to actually get to the Upland Holistic Development Project. Along the way they will pick up at least 2 and possibly 4 translators that will be working with the team all during the week. Each day the team will setup a medical screening site and mini pharmacy. Begin now to pray for this major mission effort; for our team, for the missionaries, for the translators, and for the Palaung People we will be working with. Also... Our team needs bottles of Tylenol (any bottle size) to take with them as part of their pharmaceutical supply list. If you would like to help, please bring new, boxed and sealed, bottles of Tylenol to the church office. We will have a collection box available in the Welcome Center and designated for Thailand Mission Assignment supplies.

New Baptist Covenant—Jan. 30-Feb. 1
Plenary Session Schedule and Speakers
Wednesday, January 30; 7:00-9:30 pm William Shaw and Jimmy Carter Thursday, January 31; 9:00-11:30 am Tony Campolo and Marian Wright Edleman Thursday, January 31; 7:00-9:30 pm Julie Pennington-Russell and John Grisham Friday, February 1; 9:00-11:30 am Joel Gregory and Lindsey Graham Friday, February 1; 7:00-9:30 pm Charles G. Adams and Bill Clinton Wednesday Night at the NBC On Wednesday night, January 30, we’re taking a break from our regular activities so that as many FBC folks as possible can attend the opening night session at the GA World Congress Center. Childcare will be available at the church that night by reservation. You can register to attend the New Baptist Covenant Celebration for free at or call 678-547-6455 *On Friday February 1, our own David Gushee will lead two break-out sessions on peacemaking at 2:30 & 3:45 pm

Congregational Life
Hospitality to Voters on February 5th You may not realize that our church serves as a polling place for our immediate neighborhood. There is a primary election on Tuesday, February 5, and turnout is expected to be high. We would love to offer good hospitality by way of a warm welcome, help with directions to restrooms, a donut and cup of coffee, etc., to all who come through our doors. We can do this with the help of 36 people who are willing to serve a one-hour shift. We also need someone who’ll be willing to purchase donuts for the morning hours and candy for the later hours (we’ll reimburse you, of course). If you are able to help, please call Amy Russell in the main office (404)373-1653 or send her an email ( Women on Mission Our next meeting of Women on Mission is February 12. Leadership will meet at 10:00 am, groups will meet at 10:30 am and the program will be at 11:00 am. Carolyn Bishop will be our speaker. Wednesday Night Schedule 5:15—6:30: Family Night Supper (Fellowship Hall) 5:45—6:15: Children’s Handbells (S-314) 6:15—7:30: Discovery Kids (S-322/324) 6:15—7:00: Handbells (option 1, Sanctuary) 6:30—7:30: The Gathering (Fellowship Hall) 6:30—7:30: Youth Half-Time (Activities Center) 7:00—7:30: Handbells (option 2, Sanctuary) 7:00—7:30: Adult Vocal Ensemble (S-226/228) 7:30—8:45: Sanctuary Choir (S-226/228) “Unpacking” the Upside-Down Church—Two More Wednesday Night Sessions We will conclude our series on “Unpacking” the Upside-Down Church on February 13 and 20 during The Gathering at 6:30 in the Fellowship Hall. Upcoming Wednesday Night Series— “The Six Hottest Moral Issues of Our Time” Dr. David Gushee, the Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at McAfee School of Theology, will be leading our Wednesday Night discussions starting February 27 through April 9. Issues to be discussed are war, marriage and divorce, ecology, euthanasia, reproductive technologies and terrorism and torture. Looking Ahead...Important Dates to Remember! February 6: Ash Wednesday Service, 6:45 pm, Sanctuary (children grade 4—adults); Children (up to grade 3), 6:45, Chapel March 9: First School Sunday, 11:00 am, Sanctuary March 20: Maundy Thursday Service, 7:00 pm, Sanctuary March 30: WorshipING Outside (one worship service), 10:30 am, Front Lawn (No Sunday School) April 4-5: Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia Spring Meeting, FBC Decatur April 25: Parents’ Night Out New Ministry Opportunity The Missions Ministry Team, in conjunction with the new Welcoming Ministry initiative, is working to put together a group of volunteers who can help Sunday and Wednesday evenings in greeting and assisting those who come into our church looking for assistance. This will be an opportunity for our church to show that we care about those in need and provide them with more substantial and enabling resources. Training will be provided for volunteers. The remaining training date is Wednesday, February 20th at 7:30 p.m. The training session will be held in the church parlor. Please contact Katie Howard at or (404) 210-6170, if you are interested in participating.

Prayer Concerns as of January 29, 2008
Sympathy To: ▪ Marie Browne on the death of her nephew Preston Fleming. Thanks be to God! ▪ Pat Britt’s ovarian tumor is benign! In the Hospital: ▪Miriam Skelton, St. Josephs, Room 632 ▪Joan Kennedy, Atlanta Medical, SICU-258 ▪Breon Morgan, Egleston, Room 351 ▪Burl Brown, Emory, Room G-454

Tithes & Offerings

A Celebration of Gifts
2008 Ministry Action Plan Weekly Need: ...................$ 27,361 Received on Jan. 20: .........$ 14,785 Received on Jan. 27: .........$ 19,086 Y-T-D Need:...................$ 109,445 Y-T-D Received: ..............$ 81,099 Surplus/(shortfall):............ (28,347) “Years of Opportunity 2007-09” Campaign Given to Date:.................$ 259,389 Bank Loan Balance:........$ 281,364 Owed to FBC Fdn.:.........$ 180,000

Wednesday Dinner Menus
February 6 Poppy Seed Chicken, White Rice, Italian Cut Green Beans, Salad Bar, Yeast Rolls, Peanut Butter Chip Pie Kid’s Menu Chicken Drumsticks, White Rice, Green Beans, Yeast Rolls, Cupcakes February 13 Glazed Ham Steak, Roasted Potato Medley, Steamed Carrots, Broccoli Salad, Yeast Rolls, Brownies w/ Peanut Butter Icing Kid’s Menu Cheese Pizza, Salad w/ Ranch Dressing, Brownies w/ Peanut Butter Icing

Youth Sp•t
The youth schedule for 2008 and is finally coming together, so please mark these dates on your calendar! March Mission Madness: March 7—9 Youth Spring Break Retreat: April 6—12 Grades 8—12 Youth Yard Sale Yard Sale Week, May 25—31 Yard Sale, Opens at 7:00 AM on May 29 Junior/Senior Road Trip: June 6—15 Intown Mission Week: June 22—28 Out of Town Mission Week: July 12—19 Beach Retreat: August 3—8 For all who have completed grades 5 -12

Announcement from Your Finance Committee
In 2007 our church gave $1.5 million toward our budget and our indebtedness. Gifts were strong in December and our mission partners were supported at the percentage given to our total unified budget. Thank you for your prayerful and generous support for last year. We are able to begin a new and exciting year with real since of optimism and anticipation for new ventures in ministry and mission for 2008. 2008 Finance Committee Aubray Abrams (Chair) Judi Belcher Mack Bowers Wayne Gresham Liz Hackney Don Hammonds John Hamrick Philip Holt Jason Leeth Jonathan Milton Fred Palmer Tom Seim Beth Smith Galen Swint *The 2008 Finance Committee wants to hear from you! They would like to know what four questions you have for them. Contact one of the members listed above with your questions.

Kid’s Zone
Feb. 3rd 12:30-2:00 Nu Thang, a class for children who are new Christians begins. Please call the church office to register. Thank you to our February Extended Session Team: Feb. 3rd Hinkle Carter Salcedo Hamrick Feb. 10 Castleberry Clay Warshauer Jones Feb. 17 Stanford Hayes Fewell Duke Feb. 24 Eargle Perry Leeth Parker

*Please try to switch with someone on the February Team if you can not serve on your assigned Sunday. In the event you are unable to find a sub please contact Debbie. Please mark your calendars with the following Spring and Summer Dates: March 9 Celebrate First School in worship May 14 Parent Child Dedication May 21 March 15 Decatur City Egg hunt on the square June 1-6 April 25 Spring Parents Night Out July 21-25 May 4 “A Time to Dance” Spring Recital
The Outlook, a publication of the First Baptist Church of Decatur, Georgia, is mailed to members and friends of the First Baptist family.
Main Office......................................404-373-1653 Finance.............................................404-370-7694 First School ......................................404-370-7688 Activities ..........................................404-373-2442 FAX ..................................................404-370-7692 Counseling Center ...........................404-874-8909 Debbie Britt ............................. cell: 678-414-0399 Ryan Forbes.............................cell: 404-273-6678 Julie Pennington-Russell.................404-370-7684 Kurt Varney.............................. cell: 404-219-3920 Bob Williamson ....................... cell: 770-633-4651 Computer Connections: Website— E-Mail—

Children’s Spring Musical Children Sing and Serve at Clairemont Oaks Children’s Beach Trip (3rd-5th grade) VBS Power Lab “Discovering Jesus’ Miraculous Power”

The Outlook, USPS 600-320, is published bi-weekly, except Christmas week, by First Baptist Church Decatur, GA Postmaster: Please send address changes to First Baptist Church, 308 Clairemont Avenue, Decatur, GA 30030