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shall we gather at the river

Convention 2005 update


When Free Will Baptists gather at the river in Louisville, Kentucky, July 17-20, they will carry on a centuries-old tradition. When early French and American settlers began their trek, the Ohio River was their primary highway to the West. A series of rough water, however, forced travelers to leave the river to portage around the falls. This natural stopping point eventually became the city of Louisville. Founded in 1778 by Revolutionary War hero, George Rogers Clark, this “city on the river” was named for King Louis XVI of France.Today, the lonely frontier crossroads has evolved into a bustling metropolis of more than a million people. Louisville sprawls along the banks of the Ohio River between St. Louis and Cincinnati, at the intersection of three major interstates, I-64, I-71, and I-65. With its central location and more than 17,000 hotel rooms, Louisville provides a splendid setting for the convention.Most cities are well known for something, and Louisville is known for its food! With more than 2,500 restaurants scattered throughout the city, convention attendees will have ample opportunities to savor local specialties such as:

  • Modjeskas – Created in the 1870s by Anton Busath, these creamy marshmallow candies dipped in liquid caramel melt in your mouth.

  • Hot Brown – An open-faced turkey and bacon sandwich topped with a rich cheese sauce, this favorite originated at Louisville’s Brown Hotel in the early 1900s.

  • Derby Pie - Introduced by the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky, in the 1950s, this dessert features a rich chocolate filling and walnut crust.

  • Cheeseburgers – According to Louisville tradition, restaurant owner Margaret Kaelin added a slice of American cheese to her husband’s burger in 1934, and the rest is history!

  • Chewing Gum – John Colgan developed his product called “Taffy Julie” in 1873 . . . but he failed to patent the chewy sensation.

Food is not the only attraction in Louisville, however. The city boasts more parks per capita than any other city in the United States, crowned by award winning Waterfront Park that meanders quietly along the banks of the river. Golfers can choose from 23 public golf courses while shoppers will find endless possibilities from antiques to high fashion. The young at heart will enjoy the excitement of Six Flags™ Kentucky Kingdom amusement park, and folks buying their tickets will love the reduced prices offered to the convention (available online


As exciting as Louisville may be, the 69th annual Convention will be the main attraction for Free Will Baptists this summer. Anticipate great preaching during each service as five pastors address the theme, “Pleasing God,” based on 2 Timothy 2:4. Other convention highlights include a Tuesday morning preaching conference featuring Dr. Stan Toler, a Tuesday afternoon seminar addressing theological trends, various workshops, fellowship dinners, and receptions.The convention will get “down to business” on a new schedule, meeting on Tuesday afternoon and finishing the session Wednesday afternoon. The Wednesday evening worship service will mark the conclusion of this summer’s convention. Executive Secretary, Keith Burden, cites low attendance as the reason for the change. “The numbers of delegates in the Thursday morning business session reduced gradually until a handful were making decisions that impact the entire denomination. We are here to conduct business, and we want to give it the attention it deserves.”


Hundreds of women from across the nation will gather for a refreshing two-day convention packed with instruction, worship, fellowship, and opportunities for service. The 2005 conference theme “Pursue” is based on Hosea 6:3. On Monday afternoon Sandy Atwood, women’s ministry leader and former pastor’s wife, will both challenge her audience and make them smile as she answers the eternal question, “Are we there yet?” Best selling author, Debra White Smith, invites women to pursue better marriages as she explores the topic, “Romancing Your Husband.”Convention business will begin at 8:30 on Tuesday morning, followed by a missionary service featuring keynote speakers, Anthony and Lea Edgmon (missionaries to Spain).The WNAC Fellowship Luncheon will add a humorous touch to the convention as Teri Peacock returns with the hilarious antics of Viney Mae, Part 2.


Director Dean Jones expects more than 1,500 to attend the 38th annual National Youth Conference. Speakers Brian Tippett and Curt Gwartney will address the conference theme, “Yes, Your Majesty” (Psalm 145:5). Conference highlights include Reach That Guy community service opportunities, the annual Music and Arts Festival, national Bible competition, and a concert of prayer.The “Amazing Mark Lippard” will speak at the Youth Banquet on Tuesday night following the evening worship service. Reserve your seats today:


Time is running out to make your preparations for this summer’s convention. Don’t miss the opportunity to gather with the group by the river for what promises to be an exciting convention!


In response to several seasons of frequent hurricanes and other natural disasters, Master’s Men has organized a disaster response team. Volunteers in this group will aid Free Will Baptist churches damaged by natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding, or tornados.

Master’s Men has purchased a Ford Super Duty truck equipped with a fully enclosed work bed to pull a commercial trailer. That is where YOU come in!

We Need Your Help! The truck needs to be equipped with hammers, saws, large push brooms, shovels, and other small hand tools as well as larger items like chain saws, generators, power washers, and ladders (step and extension). Master's Men will park the truck just outside of this year's convention, and they are challenging Master's Men chapters and churches across the nation to bring the needed items to Louisville and fill up the truck!

You can also join the team of volunteers at the convention or simply make a donation to the Emergency Relief Fund established to cover the costs of fuel, insurance, and other expenses. For more information, contact Ken Akers at (877) 767-8039 or email him





©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists