2016 BJC Fellows

The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty welcomed the second class of BJC Fellows in 2016, offering young professionals the opportunity to deepen their historical, theological and legal understanding of religious liberty and develop skills to advocate for the cause throughout their careers.

On July 27-30, 2016, ten young professionals from across the country gathered in Colonial Williamsburg for the BJC Fellows Seminar. BJC staff, historical interpreters and other experts led them in conversations and lessons about religious liberty.

The BJC Fellows are committed to being advocates for religious liberty in the future. Click here to learn more about the 2016 class.

I gained a new appreciation for the deep Baptist history in my home state.

Sarah Amick / Richmond, Virginia

I discovered that religious freedom is God-given as well as government-protected.

John Weber / Louisville, Kentucky

I was moved by the legacy of Baptists speaking from the margins.

Jo Bair Springer / Hastings, Nebraska

I discovered new ways to share the legacy of religious liberty with others.

Ashton Wells / Kansas City, Missouri

“History wants us to believe that the Founders were dichotomous robots that could come out vehemently and uniformly on one side of the issue or the other. I have . . . 

Mariamarta Conrad / Fayetteville, North Caroling

discerned that religious liberty is a ‘touchy subject,’ in part, because it is complex and cannot neatly fit society’s desire to compartmentalize between conservative and liberal.”

“Buoyed by the knowledge of a common goal in the promotion and protection of religious liberty, we shared our experiences, our questions, and our doubts. On Wednesday . . .

Brian Knight / Johns Creek, Georgia

of that week, ten strangers arrived in the living historical site that is Colonial Williamsburg, but on the following Sunday, ten friends departed amongst heartfelt goodbyes.”

“Re-thinking Baptist theology as a theology of freedom was a revelation for me. Through this new way of understanding the origins of Baptist life in the U.S., my identity . . .

Jaimie Crumley / New Haven, Connecticut

as a young, black woman called to ministry in the church and in the world made sense. My Fellows experience served to reinforce my growing consciousness of Baptist history as a history of inclusion rather than exclusion.”

“As a BJC Fellow, I was able to learn, experience, and practice [Jeffersonian] trust in others. I learned about the fears our Founders had, like Thomas Jefferson, . . .

Jenny Hodge / Chesapeake, Virginia

and how they overcame them to embrace religious liberty for all. I experienced a diverse group of people of different backgrounds and our commitment to listen and learn from each other regardless of the conclusions.”

“I was struck by the point Michael Meyerson made: if the framers wanted to exclude those of faith communities other than Protestant Christians from freedom of religious expression, . . .

Megan Pike / Little Rock, Arkansas

religious practice, or the lack thereof, they could have done so explicitly in our founding documents. But our founding framers chose not to be exclusive.”

“To have a learning community with which to be engaged beneficially juxtaposed living debates in apposition to the historical and theological knowledge we gained. Hearing . . .

Christopher The / Pasadena, California

how colleagues are re-imagining the capacious ideals of religious liberty in their particular and varied contexts continue to be a prime highlight of the Fellows experience.”

Apply to be a BJC Fellow!
There is no religious requirement for the program; those with six years or less experience in their profession are eligible.