Luncheons and Galas
2021 Luncheon: Fierce Freedom with the Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis
On June 18, 2021, BJC broadcast a virtual lunchtime event for religious liberty advocates and supporters — and even those simply curious about this issue — across the country. Our speaker was the Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, an author, activist and public theologian who serves as the Senior Minister of Middle Collegiate Church in New York City. The program included a panel discussion with the Rev. Robin Anderson, co-pastor of Commonwealth Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia; the Rev. Keisha I. Patrick, a 2019 BJC Fellow; and Dr. Andrew Gardner, a BJC Board member who is a visiting faculty associate in American Religious History at Hartford Seminary.
2020 Luncheon: A national conversation on white supremacy and American Christianity
On June 26, 2020, BJC hosted a conversation on race and Christianity with author Robert P. Jones and journalist Adelle Banks, broadcast live from the National Press Club studios.
Click here to watch a recording of the entire program on BJC’s YouTube channel.
After the event, we had a live discussion on our Facebook page with reactions and a continuing conversation with BJC Director of Education Charles Watson Jr. and Dr. Alphonso F. Saville IV. Click here to watch their conversation.
Read a recap of BJC Luncheon from our magazine: Reckoning with white supremacy in American Christianity
2019 BJC Luncheon with Jonathan Merritt in Birmingham, Alabama
Religious liberty supporters from across the country gathered under banners with the revamped BJC logo on June 21, 2019. Jonathan Merritt — bestselling author of Learning to Speak God from Scratch — urged the audience that it was their Christian obligation to speak out. “The world needs you to lead the conversation, especially in this moment,” he said. “I think it can make a difference. I think it needs to make a difference.”
2019 BJC Dinner with Corey Walker, Linda McKinnish Bridges and Amanda Tyler in Washington, D.C.
Religious liberty conversations often fail to include discussions of slavery and oppression, and the BJC Dinner explored the need for a new narrative. Dr. Corey Walker, Dr. Linda McKinnish Bridges and Amanda Tyler discussed these topics and more in a special discussion at the BJC Dinner on April 26, 2019.
Recap: Elevating an inclusive approach to religious liberty (Magazine)
Watch the conversation at the 2019 BJC Dinner (Video)
Listen to the conversation at the 2019 BJC Dinner (Podcast)
2019 BJC Dinner (Photos)
2018 Luncheon with BJC Fellows in Dallas, Texas
At the 2018 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon, hundreds of religious liberty supporters gathered to hear from members of each class of BJC Fellows, who shared their individual journeys and how they’re putting the BJC Fellows Program’s teachings to use in their everyday settings.
Recap: The next generation takes the stage at the RLC Luncheon (Magazine)
Watch the 2018 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon (Video)
Listen to the 2018 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon (Podcast)
2018 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon (Photos)
2017 Luncheon with Rabbi David Saperstein in Atlanta, Georgia
How will you take a stand for religious liberty and speak up for your neighbors? The 2017 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon presented new ways to make an impact for religious liberty every day, and Rabbi David Saperstein gave a passionate reminder of the need.
2016 Luncheon with Brent Walker in Greensboro, North Carolina
More than 700 friends of BJC gathered for the 2016 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon. BJC Executive Director Brent Walker was the keynote speaker, and he reflected on the importance of soul freedom and protecting religious liberty for all people as he plans for retirement.
2015 Luncheon with Marvin McMickle in Dallas, Texas
What will you say when faced with injustice and inequality? On June 19, 2015, the Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle asked attendees at the Religious Liberty Council Luncheon to break the sound of silence and explained the complicated relationship between African-Americans and church-state issues.
Recap: Luncheon celebrates Juneteenth, connection between religious liberty and human freedom (Magazine)
Watch the entire 2015 Religious Liberty Council Liberty Luncheon (Video)
Watch the address from Marvin A. McMickle on Juneteenth (Video)
2015 Religious Liberty Council Liberty Luncheon (Photos)
2014 Luncheon with Melissa Rogers in Atlanta, Georgia
Melissa Rogers, the head of the White House’s faith-based office, reminded the crowd gathered at the 2014 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon to continue to speak up for religious liberty and “never forget how much your voice matters.”
2013 Luncheon with Suzii Paynter in Greensboro, North Carolina
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter recounted her road to religious liberty advocacy and encouraged the crowd to speak up for freedom during the 2013 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon.
Recap: CBF Executive Coordinator calls crowd to religious liberty advocacy (Story)
2013 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon (Video)
Text of Paynter’s address: Teacups, Tevye and the First Sixteen (PDF)
2013 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon (Photos)
Church historian Bill J. Leonard received the Baptist Joint Committee’s highest honor and challenged the crowd to embrace its historical Baptist identity at the 2012 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon June 22, 2012.
Recap: Religious Liberty Council Luncheon 2012 (Story)
Watch the 2012 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon (Video)
Read Leonard’s address: The Baptists: Distressed and Distressing Conscience (PDF)
2012 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon (Photos)
2011 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon with James Dunn in Tampa, Florida
Accepting the J.M. Dawson Religious Liberty Award from the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty June 24, 2011, former BJC leader James M. Dunn identified “soul freedom” as the driving force behind the church-state watchdog organization now in its 75th year.
The culture warriors who contend that the United States is a “Christian nation” gravely endanger freedoms sacred to both Christianity and the nation, Mercer University President Bill Underwood warned supporters of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty June 25, 2010. The organization also honored Gardner C. Taylor at the event.
Recap: BJC warned of ‘Christian nationalists,’ honor Gardner C. Taylor at luncheon (Story)
Watch the entire 2010 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon (Video)
Watch Underwood’s address: A Christian Nation: But Which Christianity? (Video)
Read Underwood’s address: A Christian Nation: But Which Christianity? (PDF)
2010 CBF General Assembly & RLC Lunch (Photos)
Rep. Chet Edwards, an advocate in the U.S. Congress for church-state separation, thanked Baptists for their contributions to religious liberty and reminded them of the need to continue defending the wall of separation at the 2009 RLC luncheon in Houston, Texas.
Baptists, of all people, should defend the rights of minorities against the majority, American Baptist leader Aidsand Wright-Riggins told supporters of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty at the RLC lunch on June 20, 2008.
Randall Balmer, a history professor at Columbia University and one of the most prominent historians of American evangelicalism, called on “true Baptists” June 29, 2007, to re-assert their prophetic role “as watchmen on the wall of separation between church and state.”
2006 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon with speaker Walter B. “Buddy” Shurden in Atlanta, Georgia
Warning “it can happen here,” Baptist historian Walter Shurden told religious liberty advocates at the RLC lunch on June 23, 2006, that the principle of religious freedom is threatened as never before in American history.
2005 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon with speaker Charles Foster Johnson in Grapevine, Texas
American Christendom has become infected with a disease, and free and faithful Baptists hold the cure, Texas pastor Charles Johnson told a group of Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty supporters July 1, 2005.