A lifelong devoted Baptist, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has announced he has been diagnosed with cancer. American Baptist Home Mission Societies calls on Baptists everywhere to add Jimmy Carter and his family to their prayer lists.
Carter, who served as 39th president of the United States from 1977-1981, convened leaders of more than 30 Baptist organizations in 2007 to form the New Baptist Covenant, charging the group with identifying opportunities for fellowship and cooperation that would build bridges across the barriers of race, theology and geography that divided Baptists and diminished their witness. More than 15,000 people attended the inaugural gathering of the New Baptist Covenant in 2008.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies Executive Director Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III—a New Baptist Covenant board officer—describes Carter’s contribution to Baptist life in this way: “President Carter is what some of us refer to as a ‘Goodwill Baptist’ or a ‘Red Letter Baptist.’ He is more concerned about what pulls us together as Baptists and what pushes us out in service and ministry in the world than he is about what divides us. He focuses most on the declarative message of Jesus, which some Bibles publish in red ink, rather than on secondary theological reflections. I believe that it was in this spirit that he initiated the New Baptist Covenant movement. He prepared a table and invited all Baptists to it while others drew circles and excluded others from joining in.”
Following his term as president, Carter, a Nobel peace prize winner, established the Carter Center in Atlanta, Ga., to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy and improve health around the world. The center, in partnership with Atlanta’s Emory University, is committed to alleviating suffering and assuring human rights for all.