Back in the early spring of 2002, I received an email from Buddy Shurden asking if I'd like to participate in a seminar with approximately 15-20 other "younger" Baptist historians. If I said "yes," I committed myself to read several hundred pages of primary source documents from the Baptist tradition in preparation for the seminar which would convene at Mercer University in September of that year.
Although I was busy with many things at the time, I agreed to participate. We just completed our 9th seminar last weekend in Atlanta. Buddy is now retired and no longer meets with us. Our group still meets though. We have added a few other names as some of the original members have had to drop out. But, in all honesty, this has been and continues to be one of the most helpful continuing education experiences of my professional life. We have read and discussed literally thousands of pages of primary source materials from 400 years of the Baptist tradition from both England and America.
We just completed our 9th seminar last weekend in Atlanta. This year we decided as a group to release a document which we hope will inform the public about some of the things we have learned through our reading of these primary sources. Here is the link to the document:
I am so proud to be associated with these historians. They are professional colleagues and I value their individual as well as collective expertise as historians. But the best thing that has happened through these 8 years of working together in this seminar is that we have all become close friends. A sense of community has developed between us. That has made this experience even more beneficial.