by Bob Fox, KBF Moderator & Pastor, Faith Baptist, Georgetown
Sometimes a plan comes together and great things happen, but sometimes great things just happen. I think sometimes people of faith call that providence. I would love to tell you that the following great happenings were the results of thoughtful planning and execution. The truth is that this all just fell in our laps in the most providential way.
As best I can tell, it started with a conversation that Roger Jasper had some months ago with a leader of a congregation that shares the building where Living Faith worships. I first became aware of it, though when in early January I received a call from our Interim Coordinator, Chris Sanders. He had gotten a call from Simmons University, and they wanted to have a talk with KBF.
I grew up in Louisville, but had never heard of Simmons which calls the Derby City home. After some questions and research, I was shocked to find that this school which I had not heard of had been in existence for almost 150 years. It was a school started by former slaves to ensure educational opportunities were available for African Americans at the conclusion of the Civil War. This historic black college had educated and provided opportunity for many ministers and students. And here they were calling KBF, who would have thought!
I had the pleasure of meeting with Frank Smith their Dean and Kevin Cosby their president along with Chris Sanders, Chris Caldwell, and Matthew Johnson. We were received with warmth in their downtown Louisville administrative offices. A productive discussion began which left all of us encouraged. They told us that they were interested in partnering with KBF not for monetary reasons but for reasons of identity. They were pleased to find a group of Baptists that valued the same things they did.
Back to Roger Jasper. It was his conversation that led Simmons president to find out more about KBF and CBF. In addition to being president of Simmons, Cosby is the pastor of St. Stephens Baptist Church in Louisville. But not only in Louisville, they have a satellite congregation in Elizabethtown. The conversation that Roger had with the associate pastor of St. Stephens is what ultimately introduced the Fellowship to Cosby.
The news only got better when Cosby took me by the hand at the meeting and said, "We need you." He told me that in addition to a partnership with Simmons, St. Stephens wanted to join KBF. "I'm ready to write a check," he told me. My heart leapt with joy at the prospect (not of the check) but of KBF growing and more specifically building a relationship with an African American congregation.
We received an invitation at that first meeting to share greetings with the General Association of Baptists (the association of African American churches in Kentucky). So, a week later, I found myself standing in front of 250 black pastors sharing with them your greetings and our work. It will be one of the highlights of my year of service as moderator.
I have for many years been concerned about the diversity of our fellowship. I have even been involved in some attempts to widen our fellowship. Typically they were met with polite disinterest. But now as we partner with Simmons and accept St. Stephens into our membership, it has been nothing but the work of God's grace that has brought us together. And I for one celebrate these great things of God that have happened without my effort. Thanks be to God!