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Black church, family conference marks 25 years
Published Thursday, February 1, 2018
by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

RIDGECREST, N.C. – The Black Church Leadership and Family Conference celebrates its 25th year July 16-20 at Ridgecrest Conference Center.

The only year Mark Croston didn't attend was when obligations at his former pastorate, East End Baptist Church in Suffolk, Virginia, kept him away.

"Churches from across the country have participated and been blessed by this event," said Croston, who resigned his pastorate in 2013 to serve as LifeWay's national director of Black Church Partnerships. "Many who have attended over the years have watched their children grow up together and become lifelong friends. Some are serving in ministry and others are in seminary today preparing for ministry careers."

The conference theme, "Still Turning Things Around," is based on Isaiah 45:22-25 and is also the focus of the fall 2018 YOU Bible Study curriculum, LifeWay's urban and multicultural series. 2018 marks the curriculum's 10th anniversary, Croston said.

The conference is designed to encompass transformation and leisure, Croston said.

"While other events have come and gone, Black Church Leadership and Family Conference still seeks to provide the relevant and transformational training that our churches need to meet the challenges of today."

Croston credits several Southern Baptist Convention groups, the Woman's Missionary Union and the National African American Fellowship of the for the event's longevity.

"For the past 25 years, LifeWay Christian Resources, IMB (International Mission Board), NAMB (North American Mission Board), GuideStone, WMU and NAAF have been coming together to provide training and inspiration in the African-American cultural context at Black Church Leadership and Family Conference," Croston said. "In these latter years, the SBC Executive Committee, the ERLC (Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission) and several of our seminaries have partnered as well."

Biblical edification, worship, fellowship and recreation highlight the event that Croston describes as "a grand reunion of old and new." Elgia "Jay" Wells, Croston's predecessor at LifeWay, is expected to attend, and children who grew up in the conference will be among an extensive lineup of ministers and teachers.

Registration and additional information are available at http://ridgecrestconferencecenter.org/event/.



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