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2019 Year in Review: Sowing Seeds Now and for the Future

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Seed sowing. That’s a good description of EthicsDaily.com’s work in 2019.

Our initiatives in the past 12 months have both resulted in immediate fruit via the publication of daily articles, video interviews, short documentaries and more, and planted seeds whose “fruit” we might not see for some time.

Mitch Randall continued to build on the foundations he laid in 2018 during his first year as executive director, visiting 11 U.S. states (including Washington, D.C.), conducting video interviews on most trips and always exploring collaborative opportunities with both current and potential partner organizations.

Randall attended the annual gatherings of several partner organizations, including the Baptist General Association of Virginia, Baptist World Alliance, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina.

He preached at several local churches this year, including Highland Park Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, Metro Baptist Church in New York City and Old Cambridge Baptist Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In 2019, we published 509 columns, 53 editorials and 150 news articles written by 216 unique contributors from 26 U.S. states (including Washington, D.C.) and 15 nations, as well as 45 #ProfilesInGoodwill.

Included in these numbers are 15 series focused on annual observances (such as World Day of Social Justice and World Day of the Poor) and church trends (such as LGBTQI+ inclusion and manifestations of Christian nationalism), as well as issue-based series (including creation care and public education).

Launched in 2018, we continued seeking to publish writers from the emerging generation of leaders through our U:21 and Emerging Voices series.

I would continue to urge pastors, professors and other readers to share this opportunity with youth, college students and others whom they know, encouraging them to consider submitting columns to EthicsDaily.com for publication in 2020.

We want to hear the perspectives of our younger generations and to help them hone their writing skills as they engage the pressing issues of the day.

We also launched in January 2019 a series called “Look Back” to highlight content from our archives that remained relevant or historically interesting, publishing 46 articles this year as part of the series.

Media producer Cliff Vaughn published 76 new videos to EthicsDaily.com’s Vimeo channel this year, many of which were filmed on location by Randall during his travels.

Vaughn also began work on a first for EthicsDaily.com – a narrative podcast that will focus on the life and ministry of Molly T. Marshall, president of Central Seminary, who is planning to retire at the end of this school year.

The podcast is on track for a March 2020 release, and details are available here.

Event coverage via news articles and video interviews was also a significant part of EthicsDaily.com’s work this past year.

Such coverage included Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Advocacy in Action 2019, Nevertheless She Preached 2019, a public education rally in Austin supported by Pastors for Texas Children, an anti-human trafficking rally at the Texas capitol sponsored by the Texas Baptists’ Christian Life Commission and the T.B. Maston Foundation’s 2019 gathering.

Video interviews were also conducted at the annual gatherings of American Baptist Churches-USA, Baptist General Association of Virginia, Baptist World Alliance and North American Baptist Fellowship.

No. 2: Tonya was released in November, joining our previous short documentaries – Mercy and No. 1: Mary Alice.

The film features Tonya Vickery, co-pastor of Cullowhee Baptist Church in North Carolina, and is the second in a series produced jointly with Baptist Women in Ministry.

For EthicsDaily.com’s announcement last week of Amanda Tyler and Jorge Zapata as Baptists of the Year for 2019, Vaughn produced two videos to accompany Randall’s articles about the recognition.

You can view the Tyler recognition video here and the Zapata video here.

Building on the 2018 emphasis placed on partnership and collaboration, we have promoted the work of our partners by featuring them on our site home page and weekday e-newsletter, attending partner gatherings and conducting video interviews with participants, and publishing video productions to highlight a few partners’ work.

Vaughn produced promotional videos for Baptist Women in Ministry’s 2019 awards, BJC’s advocacy training, BWA Women, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Advocacy in Action, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas, Fellowship Southwest’s border ministry and Metro Baptist Church in New York City.

He also provided video coverage of New Baptist Covenant’s 2019 luncheon at CBF’s general assembly.

In addition to these efforts, we established a partnership with Good God, a video podcast produced by George Mason, and Three Minute Ministry Mentor, a video podcast produced by Eileen Campbell-Reed, providing space to feature some of their interviews on our home page.

We also added in November a section in our weekday e-newsletter where we feature resources published by our partners.

Finally, we were able to help promote and support a BJC-led initiative, Christians Against Christian Nationalism, by publishing a news story on the morning the grassroots movement launched, as well as publishing an article series and producing several videos for distribution on social media to support the efforts.

Several of our staff members also signed on to a statement opposing Christian nationalism that, to date, has more than 15,000 signatories.

Offering a few data points is but one means of reflecting on EthicsDaily.com’s work in 2019, which continues to focus on educating, engaging and empowering people of faith to engage the most critical issues facing the church and the world.

While many of these initiatives offer tangible “fruit” in the here and now, we trust that other such fruit will grow from the seeds of partnership, collaboration, writing opportunities, goodwill, friendship, advocacy and connectivity that have been broadcast this year through EthicsDaily.com’s various initiatives.

We need continued support from you, our faithful readers, to continue our work in 2020, so I hope you’ll consider making a year-end donation at EthicsDaily.com/Donate.

Your support will help us end 2019 on a high note, ready for a strong launch into our work for justice in 2020.

We’re currently lining up 2020 preaching and speaking opportunities for Randall at local churches, universities and seminaries, as well as at denominational gatherings and events.

So, if you’d like to discuss Randall or another EthicsDaily.com staff member visiting your church or organization, please contact us at info@ethicsdaily.com.

Thanks, again, for your faithful support of our work. Happy New Year!

Zach Dawes

Zach Dawes is managing editor at EthicsDaily.com.