“Reaching across cultural boundaries is a ministry to pursue with our hearts...”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Daynette Snead Perez was born in Richmond, Virginia, and earned graduate degrees from both Regent (M.Div.) and Gardner- Webb (D.Min.) Universities. Equipping the church for unity in faith, she is a successful business owner, entrepreneur, author, and ordained minister.
During her years as a missionary pastor for First Chin Baptist Church, a Burmese refugee congregation in Eastern North Carolina, she learned a new language and reached across cultural boundaries like never before. The congregation also took her into their hearts and gave her the name Dawtchin, which translates to “love the Chin people.”
After navigating waist high flood damage to her own home and, years later, severe area flooding from Hurricane Florence, her ministry shifted to coordinating long-term disaster recovery efforts with un- derserved communities in Eastern North Carolina.
Now, she is the Domestic Disaster Response Manager for Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Decatur, Georgia. Her life’s story makes great strides in areas that often present as barriers, even for churches.
Daynette and her husband live in Charlotte, North Carolina and — when she’s not preparing for gray skies — she spends blue sky days cycling and running through gospel jazz tunes. She also writes a blog and guides ministries, places of worship, and seminary groups towards inclusive discipleship outreach and church growth through her ministry, DIASPRA.
N.C. minister Dr. Daynette Snead Perez named as CBF Disaster Response leader
Published in CBF Blog on May 3, 2021. An online publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
By Carrie Harris
DECATUR, Ga. — An innovative pastor, intercultural ministry entrepreneur and experienced disaster recovery specialist from North Carolina has been selected to provide leadership to the long-term domestic disaster relief and recovery work of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Daynette Snead Perez
Rev. Dr. Daynette Snead will serve as the manager of CBF Disaster Response in the United States, succeeding Rick Burnette. Burnette, who serves as a CBF field personnel in Fort Myers, Fla., has led the domestic disaster mitigation and response efforts of the Fellowship in collaboration with CBF state/regional organizations since June 2018. After three extremely busy years in the position, Burnette will focus full-time on engaging in the community-level food security efforts of Cultivate Abundance, a ministry he and his wife, Ellen, founded in 2017 to serve farmworker families in Immokalee, Fla.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in September 2018, Snead Perez joined the CBF Disaster Response team as a local response coordinator, mobilizing congregations and resources across the country to help the people of Trenton, N.C., rebuild their community.
She has held multiple ministry roles including associate pastor of First Chin Baptist Church in New Bern, N.C., a Burmese refugee congregation and leads an intercultural-focused ministry she founded called DIASPRA, LLC which equips pastors and congregations for community discipleship outreach and missional success through diversity and inclusion awareness and skills. Snead Perez is a Gardner-Webb University graduate, where she received her Doctor of Ministry degree in 2019. She also serves as past-chair of the Racial Justice and Equity ministry team for CBF of North Carolina and is a board member of Baptist Women in Ministry of North Carolina.
Burnette noted Snead Perez’s qualifications and preparedness for this new role managing the Fellowship’s disaster response work.
“Daynette brings so much to CBF Disaster Response with her practical experience as a local response coordinator for Hurricane Florence recovery efforts from 2018-2020 and her involvement with the emerging post-disaster spiritual care initiative,” he said. “She also brings a pastor’s heart and has had considerable intercultural ministry experience.”
Javier Perez, CBF director of Global Missions programs and impact, also highlighted Snead Perez’s expertise and praised Burnette for his leadership.
“We are blessed to have the Rev. Dr. Daynette Snead Perez step into this crucial role, as she will bring an innovative approach and expertise to disaster response,” Snead Perez said. “Rick’s leadership has been transformative, and we look forward to building on the foundation and networks he formed.”
CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter expressed his gratitude for the leadership of Burnette over the past three years crediting him with rebuilding CBF’s disaster response infrastructure.
“With the leadership of a seasoned field personnel in Rick Burnette and the expert help of several CBF state and regional leaders, and a lot of hard work, we now have a clear philosophy, a tested model, and a great team of volunteer state/regional disaster response leaders, contractors and other partners,” Porter said. “As Rick now senses a call to focus more narrowly on the sustainable agriculture portion of his global missions field assignment, I can think of no one better suits to succeed him than Daynette. Through her background in business, real estate, pastoral care, intercultural ministry, diversity training and disaster response, the Holy Spirit has equipped her with uncommon gifts to lead CBF Disaster Response alongside our churches.”
“Multiple years of record-breaking storms have depleted our disaster response reserves. As a Fellowship, we need to give now and to give generously, so we can respond quickly when it matters most,” Porter added.
To support the ministry of CBF Disaster Response, visit www.cbf.net/dr.
Read a recent profile of Rev. Dr. Daynette Snead Perez here.
CBF’s new disaster response coordinator brings diversity of experiences to the job
Published in Baptist News Global on May 10, 2021
By Jeff Brumley
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s new domestic disaster response manager sees a direct correlation between helping communities recover from catastrophes and helping society recover from systemic injustice.
Both missions require clergy, church leaders and congregations to build relationships that transform strangers into neighbors through dialogue and service, said Daynette Snead Perez, a Baptist minister and Charlotte, N.C., resident who replaced Rick Burnette in the CBF position May 1.
Connecting the dots between disaster response and intercultural ministry is no mere academic exercise but a lived experience for Snead Perez, a diversity consultant and author, past chair of the Racial Justice and Equity ministry for CBF North Carolina and former associate pastor at First Chin Baptist Church, a congregation of Burmese refugees in New Bern, N.C. She earned her chops in disaster relief work serving as a local CBF response coordinator after Hurricane Florence in 2018, a function that segued into a disaster relief specialist role with the Fellowship before beginning her current position. She also is a construction and real estate entrepreneur.
“Disaster response and intercultural ministry are opportunities to provide transformational change within the body of Christ.”
“For me, disaster response and intercultural ministry are opportunities to provide transformational change within the body of Christ,” she explained.
With the 2021 hurricane season fast approaching, Snead Perez said she has hit the ground running by meeting with CBF state and regional coordinators about disaster preparedness in their regions. She seeks to connect them with existing preparedness resources online, assessing needs and identifying congregations capable of being host churches for relief groups in future disasters.
Another immediate task has been jumpstarting the flow of church-based volunteer teams available not only for the upcoming season but currently in Lake Charles, La., which was hit by two hurricanes in 2020 and remains an active recovery zone. Teams were unable to visit last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A team from Kentucky recently worked in the city.
“We are working on getting teams to step up, and we are finding churches are inquiring more about how they can get involved,” she said.
Church-based volunteer groups provide vital functions in CBF’s long-term approach to disaster recovery. Depending on the skillsets of individual members, the teams may conduct cleanup and home and church repairs.
“Disaster response is not the transactional relationship of providing a service, then leaving town.”
But response goes beyond physical reconstruction to include post-event spiritual care to help disaster victims recover emotionally and spiritually, Snead Perez said. Visiting teams also are encouraged to engage with the community through worship when possible.
“Disaster response is not the transactional relationship of providing a service, then leaving town. It is a transformational ministry experience for everyone involved, where there is this reciprocal sharing of culture and ministry,” she said. “As we do that, resilience is built within the community and there are lasting relationships as a result of those visits.”
Those encounters can be powerful catalysts for sparking cross-cultural connections, Snead Perez said. “Intercultural ministry — that is what’s happening in disaster response. It’s how we can reach across cultural boundaries, social boundaries, class and ethnic boundaries for Christ.”
This is a topic she tackles in depth in her book, Church: What to Do When Everyone Is Like You, which is due for release this summer.
The volume draws on her disaster response experience, from her time as an African American minister in a Burmese congregation, and from her work through DIASPRA, the consulting ministry she founded to guide clergy, lay leaders and congregations through cross-cultural encounters.
“I wrote this book to show churches how to build relationships with people who are different than they are and to equip congregations to achieve unity in faith,” she said.
Snead Perez said she will employ the principles of intercultural ministry in her new role with CBF. Chief among those: Being the hands and feet of Christ. “In the ministry of disaster response, we are the body of Christ as we show up. Our image of God shows up in our actions and so God shows up when we show up.”
Snead Perez’ combination of skills was a powerful draw in her selection, CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter said in the announcement of her appointment.
“Through her background in business, real estate, pastoral care, intercultural ministry, diversity training and disaster response, the Holy Spirit has equipped her with uncommon gifts to lead CBF Disaster Response alongside our churches,” Porter said
Burnette, who held the position three years, said in the announcement that Snead Perez is beyond capable of handling the task ahead.
“Daynette brings so much to CBF Disaster Response with her practical experience as a local response coordinator … and her involvement with the emerging post-disaster spiritual care initiative. She also brings a pastor’s heart and has had considerable intercultural ministry experience,” said Burnette, who stepped down in order to focus his attention on Cultivate Abundance, a ministry he and his wife, Ellen, founded to serve farmworkers in Immokallee, Fla.
Caring for People at their Most Vulnerable
In aftermath of Hurricane Florence, Rev. Daynette Snead leads CBF Disaster Response in Trenton, N.C.
Published in Fellowship! Magazine: A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Spring 2019
BY BLAKE TOMMEY
As Hurricane Florence stalled over Eastern North Carolina in September 2018, the Trent River swelled to a record level-an entire foot higher than during Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Residents of the quaint town of Trenton had little warning of impending flooding until the U.S. Coast Guard began banging on doors in the middle of the night, imploring people to evacuate. For days, the majority of Trenton’s homes and businesses sat underwater, soaking up irrevocable damage.
More than a week later the town’s residents, many of whom had lived in Trenton for more than 70 years, returned to their homes and the sopping wreckage inside to begin the slow work of rebuilding. That’s when the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship deployed Daynette Snead, associate pastor of First Chin Baptist Church in Ne Bern, NC., to mobilize congregations across the country to help the people of Trenton rebuild their community. Sead, who continues to coordinate CBF’s disaster response in Trenton, said she and her team quickly converged on the Haiti neighborhood (pronounced HEY-tie) where the town’s most vulnerable resided.
“Many of the flooded homes in Trenton were located in lesser-resourced areas, close to the river at lower elevations,” Snead explained.
“We identified one of those areas, Haiti, which has about 20 homes in a very small area. These properties had no experienced flooding since Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Flood insurance was an additional cost that most could not readily afford. However, we have been able to touch many, if not most of the homeowners in the Haiti area.”
First, Snead and her team had to locate Haiti’s families, many of whom had moved in with extended family in other parts of the state. Once they made contact, Snead met with residents and town officials to listen carefully to their needs and off CBF assistance as part of the solution in recovery, she said. The vast majority needed help clearing out damaged furniture, drywall, insulation and debris of their homes. That’s where more than 176 volunteers from congregations across North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky come in. Together, they logged nearly 2,000 hours over two months, clearing damaged property and prepping homes for repair.
One team from Zebulon Baptist Church even cleaned up and manicured Trenton’s community cemetery, complete with new flowers. Afterward, CBF hosted a Veteran’s Day BBQ lunch for the community to celebrate the newly reconditioned plot. Disaster response isn’t only about clearing wreckage, Snead said, It’s about caring for people at their most vulnerable.
“Yes, we’re completing disaster work. However, we’re ministering to people and we’re here to serve,” she said.
“We’re sharing conversations and letting the residents know we’re here to assist. I say to our volunteers, “You’ve heard the call and here you are. I know this is different, but this is ministry too. Even though we’re raking debris and ripping out drywall, we also have opportunities to sit down with someone whose life was disrupted and build relationships with each other.”
As of Thanksgiving, Snead and DBF had almost completed demolition and cleanup. Going forward, Snead explained, CBF is evaluating first needs for hom repair and organizing volunteer groups to install new drywall and insulation, supplies for which CBF and partner congregations are sharing the cost. Though most households in Haiti did not have flood insurance, CBF is also helping residents apply their disaster compensation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) toward repairing or replacing their HVAC systems, electrical systems or appliances. At that point, she said, homes will once again be livable.
No Matter where Trenton’s families are in the process of rebuilding. Snead said, CBF will be there to listen and to partner, even long after first responders have left, “It was a blessing when CBF came in, because people truly felt lost,” she explained. “Many didn’t know where to go, or what to do. Other organizations came in and helped as well, but we were the first ones to arrive, welcoming others and partnering with anyone who joined.”
In November, one Haiti woman reflected with Snead, commending the volunteers who helped her clear debris and clean up her home. “You’re the only one who’s coming back.” she said, “Everyone else is gone now. So we just thank God for you.”
That says everything about CBF’s presence, Snead explained - not only with disaster response, but in every way that we partner in ministry.
Oneness in Christ
Daynette Snead helps churches cross cultural boundaries faithfully
Published in the Nurturing Faith Journal and Bible Studies July - August 2019
BY RICK JORDAN
Daynette Snead is a force! Her call, character, and confidence exude from her when she enters a room. Daynette serves in multiple ministry roles including Pastor of Community Outreach with First Chin Baptist Church of New Bern, NC and directing Diaspra, that serves churches “to develop, embrace, and execute platforms for community outreach and missional success towards diversity / inclusion.”
Also, she is a local disaster response coordinator for Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) and serves on the racial reconciliation ministry team for CBF of North Carolina. Rick Jordan, church resources for CBFNC, asked Daynette about her varied ministry engagements.
RJ: How has God called and equipped you for your ministry?
DS: In 2011, God called me to ministry. As an entrepreneurial businesswoman, I felt inadequate to fill this calling. In obedience to God, I understand my call to reach others for Christ and completed a Master of Divinity at Regent University in May 2015. I will graduate in May with a Doctor of Ministry from Gardner-Webb University this year.
The heart of my ministry is helping churches and church leadership embrace diversity and inclusion. Solutions to oneness in Christ begin first by understanding that cultural boundaries are man-made creations. While preserving our traditions, they also limit our oneness in Christ.
RJ: Most churches remain homogeneous, regardless of their ethnic background. You want to address that?
DS: The division is not in our genes but in the systems we embrace within our individual cultures: family traditions, social expectations, and even worship and preaching styles are all examples of cultural divides to explore.
Crossing boundaries is how God uniquely designed my purpose and ministry. God is providing me opportunities to serve people in many cultures. Through my ministry, God helps churches faced with opportunities for outreach, including growing immigrant populations, extended lifetimes, diverse ethnicities, and widening societal gaps.
RJ: I sense there is a mission statement coming.
DS: Yes! My personal ministry mission is to serve communities seeking to make Christ known through belongingness, intercultural ministry, Christ-centered solutions, and intentional discipleship outreach across cultural boundaries of ethnicity, gender, generation, and class.
RJ: How did God prepare you for your ministry?
DS: Navigating culture and ethnicity became foundational building blocks in God’s plan to prepare me for this calling; to grow His kingdom beyond human boundaries. My original “ideal” in ministry was - and is - to serve a variety of churches seeking oneness and discipleship in community across cultural boundaries. My training for ministry was planted during my years as an entrepreneurial, businesswomen.
RJ: You are an African-American woman serving a church of refugees from Myanmar. How did that happen?
DS: I was a member of First Baptist, New Bern where we enjoyed a faith partnership with a refugee congregation, First Chin Baptist Church. When God led the refugee congregation into their own church facility, I was called to join them, actualizing both my mission and calling in intercultural ministry.
God led me to navigate another culture without knowledge of the language or culture. The refugee community accepted me to serve as the Associate Pastor. Reverend Vanbawi Ven’s willingness to honor Christ and embrace me as Pastor of Community Outreach speaks to the readiness of this leader and a congregation in understanding inclusion is about change.
Each week my Hakha Chin vocabulary and cultural understanding is growing, and the obstacles I questioned are calmed by a loving congregation
RJ: Were you ordained?
DS: Yes, I was the first woman of color to be ordained at FBC New Bern. The ordination was a multi-cultural worship celebration honoring both cultures and sealed my call to intercultural ministry.
RJ: What are your roles at First Chin?
DS: In addition to my pastoral duties as Associate Pastor (preaching and teaching, etc.), I also help the congregation access help for legal, domestic, and social issues and concerns.
RJ: How did you become connected with the disaster relief ministry?
DS: I was contacted by CBF Disaster Coordinators, Alan Williams and Rick Burnette, who learned I was a pastor at First Chin Baptist Church. It was shortly after their visit to New Bern that I accepted the position to serve as a Local Disaster Response Coordinator for the New Bern/Trenton area.
RJ: What did you do after the hurricanes and what is happening now?
DS: To date, I have managed over 3,062 volunteer hours with 239 Disaster Response Volunteers from CBF member churches from Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Before teams arrive, I try to match skill levels to ministry sites, coordinate the ministry sites for teams, determine construction materials needed to complete the service time, ensure materials are paid for, and coordinate delivery of the materials to the home being served.
I am very grateful for the many persons who have generously volunteered construction expertise which have made our efforts successful. The teams have completed tasks from cleaning up flooded yards, new construction repairs, and offering meals.
CBF Disaster Response efforts have been successful in helping families move towards recovery since September. In addition, CBF received an $80,000 World Relief Grant for refugees in the New Bern area. I coordinate distribution of the funds through seven Myanmar congregations in New Bern. This grant provided funds to refugees for post-hurricane emergencies, auto and housing repairs, and counseling.
Lastly, I coordinate a Pastor Peer Group in the Trenton, NC area to serve pastors with congregational trauma induced care. The group meets every 6 weeks. As a response to Hurricane Florence, the pastor peer group has provided a supportive community with ministry leaders.
RJ: You are on the CBFNC Racial Reconciliation Ministry Team. What are your hopes for that team's work?
DS: Currently, we are engaged with the Racial Equity Institute which educates leaders on systematic inequities in American society dating back to the 1700’s. Our current goal is the completion of this training by 100 CBFNC leaders before the 2020 Annual Gathering.
We are well on the way. If churches are to embrace the whole body of Christ across ethnic boundaries, we must first understand privilege and systematic inequities before we can resolve issues of injustice in society today.
RJ: What is most challenging in ministry for you?
DS: The most challenging thing in ministry is often convincing church leadership in homogeneous Christian communities to mentally and physically open doors with intentional actions actualizing diversity, inclusion, and intercultural ministry. While the path is different for each community of Christ, we always begin with biblical understanding.
RJ: What advice would you give to a person considering ministry as a vocation?
DS: We can become too comfortable in the pews on Sunday morning. I would encourage anyone who is considering ministry as a vocation to seek discomfort in your ministry, reach outside your comfort zone, and intentionally embrace the wideness of God. Then, lead with the strengths you have received from God.
Become Like Rivers
Published in the Gathering Magazine, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship North Carolina - Nov/Dec 2015 Issue
BY DAYNETTE SNEAD PEREZ
Preparation for my ministry started early. At age six, I tightly held my mother’s hand as I walked into a school where no one looked like me. New to the suburbs, I had the nervousness of any first grader, but soon learned these children were like me in many ways. And they learned I was not so strange either.
This is the heart of my ministry, helping churches and church leadership embrace diversity and inclusion. Solutions to oneness in Christ begins first by understanding cultural boundaries are man-made creations. While preserving our traditions, they also limit our oneness in Christ. Just like the dams on a river, they slow the flow.
Imagine: new research shows that, genetically, we are all 99% the same, and our differences are estimated to be less than 1%. Should these create boundaries which continue to separate the body of Christ in churches across the nation?
In reality, the division is not in our genes, but in the systems we embrace within our individual cultures: family traditions, social expectations, and even worship and preaching styles are all examples of cultural divides to explore.
Expanding our experiences in other cultures increases our knowledge like water flowing over river banks, intentionally creating new streams of understanding.
Crossing boundaries like a river is how God uniquely designed my purpose and ministry. He is providing me opportunities to serve people in many cultures, including last year as an interim pastor in Westray, Scotland.
After graduating seminary this past spring, God provided an opportunity to serve a church where the language, culture, and worship were different from any in my past. The experience brought me closer to this confirmation: God’s hand has been holding mine through it all.
Feeling like a stuttering Moses going before the Israelites, I questioned how God would resolve the boundaries that existed between me and this church community. My questions were answered — I flowed into the Spirit, and we shared God’s love.
In 2002, the Burmese Christian Fellowship, renamed the Chin Christian Fellowship in 2004, was planted by Burmese refugees who struggled and risked everything to begin life new in America. Six years later, First Baptist Church of New Bern partnered in their faith walk by providing meeting space, pastor ordination, tutoring, school supplies, and English as a Second Language classes for this faithful home-grown congregation, now identified as First Chin Baptist Church of New Bern.
Reverend Vanbawi Ven’s willingness to honor Christ and embrace me as Pastor of Community Outreach speaks to the readiness of this leader and a congregation in understanding inclusion is about change. This partnership deepens their acceptance of the American culture.
The language constraints are awkward, but I am intentionally learning, teaching, and expressing a love of God through a new culture. Each week my Hakha Chin vocabulary and cultural understanding is growing, and the obstacles I questioned are calmed by a loving congregation.
The body of Christ is diverse and crossing cultural boundaries is an intentional ministry to be pursued with our hearts. We must purposely face outwards, engage and develop opportunities for outreach, understand the value systems of others, and fulfill the Great Commission. Jesus crossed many boundaries and lived a life where everyone mattered. In the same love, Christians are called to become like rivers and flow into God’s estuary of diversity and inclusion.
“Rev. Dr. Daynette Snead-Perez is a real asset to those seeking consultation on strategic missions and ministry. I have invited her several times now to share with the Capstone Seminar at Gardner-Webb University’s School of Divinity. Daynette effectively prompts thought and discussion through direct feedback to student surveys, a nonjudgmental presence, and creative engagement with the issues. I sure hope she will be available the next time I facilitate this course that seeks to aid graduating students with ongoing and anticipated ministries. I highly recommend Rev. Dr. Daynette Snead-Perez and Diaspra!”
“Dr. Cal Robertson
Associate professor of biblical studies Gardner-Webb University.”
Daynette is one of the most incredibly engaging and thoughtful ministers I have ever encountered. She is a gifted preacher and teacher who parses the life of the text alongside the life of the listener. She is passionate about her calling and has thoughtfully incorporated all of her previous life experiences into her intent for crossing all boundaries and borders in order to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Perhaps her greatest Kingdom gift is her innate ability to offer full and meaningful presence to all she serves. When you are with her, she gives you her full and undivided care and attention. I am honored to call her my student, colleague, and friend.
Danny M. West, Ph.D.
School of Divinity, Gardner-Webb University
Professor of Preaching and Pastoral Studies
Director, Doctor of Ministry program
East Belmont Baptist was blessed to have Daynette come and minister through the preaching of God’s word. She drove many miles to be with us and that alone shows her servant heart. Her message was engaging and personal and spoke to the head as well as the heart. Daynette is a delightful minister of the gospel whose love for God is evident in her love for others.
Pastor Jeff Taylor
East Belmont Baptist Church
Rev. Snead is a dynamic preacher, teacher, cultural critic, and expert in the intersection of Christian discourse woven in social relevance. I have witnessed her preach and teach in several contexts and her gifts place her in a realm that few realize. Her work in communal inclusion crosses every barrier imaginable. In so doing, she bridges the divide within the human condition in her ministry work and God is glorified. I stand in awe at her ministry gifts and her cultural sensitivity to build humankind.
Rev. Thomas L. Barksdale II
Daynette Snead captivated the roomful of 70 business women and community leaders of the Coastal Women’s Forum for our January luncheon. Daynette explained that by keeping an open mind and a welcoming heart you will build a better life for yourself and others. She energized the room, provided thoughtful examples, and compelled us to start the New Year with a fresh attitude ready to see the opportunity in the new people and situations we encounter.
Jane H. Maulucci, President 2016-2017
Coastal Women’s Forum