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Restorative Justice event - register now!

Zacchaeus made amends to persons he had defrauded, so deeply had he taken Jesus' love to heart. (Luke 19:1-19) As ambassadors of reconciliation, we are to make amends when we can, allow others to make amends, and foster this practice broadly as a way to heal the world's hurts. It's called "restorative justice," and it has become a movement in our day.

The Kentucky Council of Churches has stated, "The primary Christian understanding of justice is one that focuses on the potential for redemption, an effort to restore wholeness -- wholeness to the individual, as well as wholeness to the community."

Please consider attending the Restorative Justice 2014 assembly sponsored by the Council. Everything needed for registration is on our web site. You may download the brochure containing all the details here.

The dates are Friday October 24th (late morning) and Saturday October 25th (adjourning just before lunch). The location, in Lakeside Park, Kentucky, is just south of Covington in northern Kentucky. The leaders will include:

The Rev. Dr. Carl Stauffer
Co-Director of the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice at Eastern Mennonite University, Stauffer has done hands on work for restorative justice in the US and abroad.

Ms. Nontombi Naomi Tutu
Having lived through the end of apartheid as the daughter of Bishop Desmond Tutu, she is a moving speaker on issues of truth and reconciliation, gender and race.

Sister Helen Prejean
Spiritual advisor to death row inmates, she is the author of Dead Man Walking as well as The Death of the Innocents.

The devotions leaders and workshops, banquet awards, exhibits, and fellowship with leaders of a dozen Christian traditions all work together to make this an opportunity to "go deep" into the most challenging aspects of the Gospel.

Please prayerfully consider registering for and attending this event! 


Bethany Fellows program "goes ecumenical" to help new clergy

The Bethany Fellows program supports ministers in those early years of service when they are most likely to burn out and leave the ministry. It was pioneered by the Christian Church Disciples of Christ and is funded by the Lilly Endowment.

Now the program is “going ecumenical” and will no longer be exclusively for Disciples clergy.

The program structure is two 5-day retreats throughout the year for a total of 8 retreats per participant. The week is filled with small group processing with participants’ peers and seasoned mentors, site visits to congregations doing excellent ministry, a 24 hour silent sabbath, and a great deal of prayer.

It is a national program, so all clergy in congregations and chaplaincies in all denominations across the country, within those first 5 years of serving, are eligible. The mentors are dispersed throughout the country. Rev. Kim Gage Ryan (located in Missouri) is the executive director. The website for the current Bethany Fellows program, including the contact information for the executive director, is here.

The Rev. Robyn Bles, a Bethany Fellow serving at Crestwood Christian Church in Lexington KY, says, “If you know of any clergy serving a congregation or in chaplaincy and are still within those first 5 years, I hope you'll pass along this invitation to them. I cannot speak more highly of Bethany Fellows.  It not only steeped my first years of ministry in love, support, and prayer, but it transformed my daily practice of ministry.  I'm so thrilled that they're making it ecumenical as I think forming these prayerful colleagues in ministry is just what the Church needs.”


Engaging Compassion in 2014 - An Interfaith Discussion

To mark the one year anniversary of the Dalai Lama's visit to Louisville, a panel of representatives of diverse faith groups met May 19th at the Drepung Gomang Institute. Numerous practical insights were shared, such as the Dalai Lama's challenge for social service providers to meet the needy "where they are." If there was a consensus on priorities, they were education and practical action.

The Kentucky Council of Churches representative, Executive Director Marian Taylor, added a state-wide perspective on the challenges of moving to full acceptance of religious diversity. There was applause when she announced the Council's 2015 assembly will focus on just that theme. A photo of the evening's program can be seen here.


KBF Coordinator Announces Retirement

(Provided by KBF's Laura Barclay)

Dr. John LepperJohn Lepper, Coordinator for the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship, announced his retirement effective June 30.  Lepper, founding Coordinator, has served in this role for sixteen years.  Bob Fox, KBF moderator and pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Georgetown, stated, “I am confident that John has left us as an organization well positioned to use our considerable gifts to do the continuing hard work of ensuring that KBF will be an organization that individuals and churches will partner with in meaningful gospel work for years to come.”

Lepper’s last acts as Coordinator will be to help oversee KBF’s ninth Extreme Build project in McCreary County and facilitate the KBF state meeting at the CBF General Assembly.

During Lepper’s tenure at KBF, the organization forged partnerships globally and locally with ministries in Morocco, McCreary County, Owsley County and Nada. In addition, KBF was instrumental in the founding of the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky and has provided financial support for and collaboration with BSK from its inception. Greg Earwood, President of BSK, shared that he was “grateful that John guided KBF into this partnership” and appreciated his “kind and gracious friendship.”
Lepper also served on the board of the Kentucky Council of Churches after helping lead KBF into a formal partnership. Marian McClure Taylor, Executive Director for the KCC, said of Lepper, “He helped bring the KBF into the Kentucky Council of Churches, not just formally but relationally…I personally see John as a mentor, because he exemplifies Christian leadership.”
Lepper is optimistic about KBF, saying, “I have high hopes for the future viability of Kentucky Baptist Fellowship. With a succession plan in place and with a staffing study group in the process of evaluating the overall staffing needs and financial abilities of KBF, I can move forward in my own life, confident that the One who began a good work in KBF, and in each of us, will continue that good work.“
Prior to his work with KBF, Lepper served as Department Director at the Kentucky Baptist Convention and was a pastor for 15 years. Prior to and during his time with KBF he has had extensive experience in interim ministry.
When asked about his plans for retirement, Lepper responded, “I anticipate focusing on one of my passions which is helping churches in pastoral transitions. It remains to be seen how that will unfold but I do anticipate being involved in this aspect of church life. 


Shards of Grace Movement Launches

 Shards of Grace is a movement to acknowledge the acts of kindness we have received by sending a simple note of thanks. In God's economy, each act of kindness performed or acknowledged inspires more acts of kindness. That creates a movement of kindness, a movement our world so desperately needs.

  Each of us has been on the receiving end of another person's grace. Think about a time when a teacher, youth leader, Sunday School teacher, co-worker, relative, neighbor or friend touched your life in such a way that you still carry the effect of that touch. We call those act of kindness "shards of grace." Each of our lives is a mosaic shaped by others' acts of kindness. They influence our attitudes, our behaviors and our priorities. We ask you to take the time simply to say "thanks" to people who have touched your lives. Help us change the world one simple thank you at a time.

   If you choose, you can order our Shards of Grace note cards we have created to facilitate the movement. We would like to harvest acts of kindness stories, share them lavishly, and inspire more acts and stories.

   The purchase of Shards of Grace note cards also supports our shared ministries through the Kentucky Council of Churches.

  Why not demonstrate to your community the love and compassion of your congregation through a Shards of Grace ministry? Order cards and read more ideas about this at this link!


The Inscription on the Back of the Card reads: 

Shardof Grace

People we encounter each day gift us with a piece of themselves, a “shard of grace.”

Our lives are like a mosaic shaped by these gifts.

Your “shard of grace” has influenced me.

I just wanted to say, “Thank you!”