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To the pulpit

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Wendell Griffen, the former state Court of Appeals judge, is to be the charter pastor of the New Millennium Church. It's a Baptist congregation that will share facilities of the Lakeshore Drive Baptist Church.

NEWS RELEASE

NEW MILLENNIUM CHURCH OF LITTLE ROCK, led by REV. WENDELL GRIFFEN, to hold first public worship May 31 at LAKESHORE DRIVE BAPTIST CHURCH  
 
            MAY 29, 2009, LITTLE ROCK--- New Millennium Church of Little Rock, led by Rev. Wendell Griffen, will hold its first Sunday worship service at 9 a.m. on May 31, 2009, at Lakeshore Drive Baptist Church, 21 Lakeshore Drive, in Little Rock.  Rev. Griffen is parliamentarian of the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc. (NBCUSA), the nation's largest and oldest black Baptist denomination.  He has been elected charter pastor of New Millennium, and will deliver the sermon—"Give Me This Water"—during the inaugural worship service.  Afterwards, New Millennium members will greet visitors over coffee and homemade cookies.  Sunday School will begin at 11 o'clock. 
 
            According to Rev. Griffen,"At New Millennium following Jesus means being agents of God's boundless love, hope, joy, justice, and peace to every person and the rest of creation. Just as God's love is boundless, membership in New Millennium is open to any follower of Jesus who is committed to being part of an inclusive, progressive, and service-focused community dedicated to loving and serving like Jesus.  We are encouraged by the loving welcome from Lakeshore Drive Church, and are excited about sharing ministry opportunities, challenges, and celebrations of God's passionate love for the world from our Lakeshore Drive base."
 
            New Millennium Church had been meeting in the Griffen home in west Little Rock for midweek prayer and study.  Several weeks ago, Dr. Ray Higgins of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas spoke with Griffen about the possibility of New Millennium sharing the worship and other facilities of Lakeshore Drive Church.  Dr. Higgins then helped representatives of both congregations meet.  The meeting resulted in an agreement about how the established congregation and the new church could work together for God in the same space. 
 
            "We at New Millennium are really excited about the May 31 worship service," Griffen said.  We have met at Lakeshore Drive for midweek Bible study, and have worshipped with Lakeshore Drive.  But this marks our first Sunday service as New Millennium.  We are excited about it and so are the people of Lakeshore Drive.  Our congregations have tremendous potential for working together in worship, missional efforts in the Broadmoor/UALR neighborhood, and in other ways."
 
            Previously, Rev. Griffen served as Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church (May 1988 until May 2001) and as Coordinator of Ministries at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church (from 2002 until earlier this year).  He holds degrees in political science (1973) and law (1979) from the University of Arkansas, and is a U.S. Army veteran.  After law school, he also engaged in seminary extension studies through Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary while maintaining his law practice with a leading Little Rock law firm.  He was principal drafter of the strategic management plan adopted by the NBCUSA in 2002, and led the revision of the constitution and bylaws for the denomination in 2003.  A Trustee of Arkansas Baptist College since August 2004, Griffen was Chair of the Board of Trustees from March 2005 to July 2007.
 
            Rev. Griffen is married to Dr. Patricia Griffen, a clinical psychologist, and they are parents of two adult sons.  In addition to his pastoral responsibilities with New Millennium, Griffen will continue teaching law as a visiting professor of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.  He has published articles and often speaks to lawyers and other groups about law, religion, cultural competency, social justice, and professionalism.  Griffen is also a contributing columnist to EthicsDaily.com, a division of the Baptist Center for Ethics (www.ethicsdaily.com). 
 
            New Millennium Church will be dually aligned with the National Baptist Convention U.S.A., Inc. and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.  New Millennium will worship in the Lakeshore Drive sanctuary at 9 a.m. each Sunday, while Lakeshore Drive is in Sunday School.  The congregations will then reverse places, with Lakeshore Drive worship beginning at 11 a.m., while New Millennium conducts Sunday School.
 
            For further information about New Millennium Church, contact LaShonda Wilbon at (501) 413-6335 or lxwilbon@hotmail.com.  Rev. Griffen can be reached at (501) 416-1917 or judggriff@aol.com.

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