2013 Baltimore Annual Meeting Summary
November 22 & 23, 2013
Baltimore Convention Center & Hilton Hotel
The CCSC’s 2013 Annual Meeting was held on November 22 & 23 at the Baltimore Convention Center and Hilton Hotel. The largest in attendance yet, the meeting began with an introduction by CCSC Executive Director Drew Trotter, who reported on the Consortium’s growth and successful programs in the previous year. Ben Sanders, Co-Director of the Arizona Center for Christian Studies, spoke on “President Obama’s Campus Challenge” and how Member and Partner Organizations can engage in interfaith dialogue and community service. Cherie Harder concluded the first session by sharing with the attendees how to moderate reading groups and discussions effectively.
For the second session the following morning, Steve King and Rhett Butler from Gammon & Grange, P.C. discussed the current state of, and challenges for, tax-exempt organizations as they relate to government. Drew Trotter concluded the meeting by discussing the Consortium’s planned new prayer initiative, events database, new News & Events email and efforts to foster the growth of new Study Centers through a pilot project in Orlando, Florida at the University of Central Florida.
Longer descriptions of the speakers and their presentations are below.
Ben Sanders is Co-Director of the Arizona Center for Christian Studies and the Norton-Ramsey Center for Social and Environmental Justice at the Campus Christian Center (C3) next to the Tempe campus of Arizona State University. He has a B.S. in Accounting (1980) and an M.A. in History (1987) from Arizona State University. Ben did additional graduate study in political philosophy and history at the University of Chicago. He worked as an investment portfolio manager, corporate accountant, and financial analyst before becoming a campus minster at ASU in 1997 through Community Ministries International. He has been married for thirty years to his college sweetheart, Sarah Jane, and they have one daughter, Rebekah.
“Presidents Obama’s Campus Challenge”
In April 2011, President Barack Obama challenged colleges, universities, and seminaries to be engaged in interfaith dialogue and community service. Ben Sanders and the Arizona Center for Christian Studies made use of this opportunity in their work at Arizona State University. In his presentation, Ben shared about his experiences and how other Study Centers can take part in the President’s “Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge”.
Cherie Harder serves as President of The Trinity Forum. Prior to joining the Trinity Forum in 2008, Ms. Harder served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Director of Policy and Projects for First Lady Laura Bush. Ms. Harder has contributed articles to publications including Policy Review, Human Events, the Harvard Political Review, and various newspapers, as well as a chapter on fashion to the volume Building a Healthy Culture (Eerdmans 2001). She holds an Honors B.A. in government from Harvard University and a post-graduate diploma in literature from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Ms. Harder was raised in New Mexico and currently lives in Northern Virginia.
“Moderating Reading Groups & Discussions”
Reading and discussion groups offer the promise of engaging with classic texts in new and profound ways, deepening one’s understanding and intellectual development, cultivating friendships, even (according to one study) boosting one’s happiness to the same extent as a doubling of one’s salary! But moderating such a discussion can be an intimidating prospect even for avid readers. In this session, Cherie Harder discussed the benefits of starting reading groups, the principles of successful facilitation, and ideas to ensure that reading groups are intellectually challenging, relationally rich, and thoroughly enjoyable.
Steve King is an attorney at Gammon & Grange, P.C. and specializes in nonprofit and exempt organizations, preventive law, and general corporate. He was educated at Georgetown University Law Center, Northeastern University School of Law, and Wheaton College and has been twice published in the Journal of Taxation of Exempt Organizations: “Political Correctness for Section 501(c)(3) Organizations” (2006) and “Getting to the Heart of IRS Concerns with Donor-Designated Giving” (1998). Steve is the editor of the G&G Law Alert and is a Board Member at Cherrydale Baptist Church.
Rhett Butler is director of government relations at Gammon & Grange P.C. He devotes his 17 years of government relations and policymaking experience to helping the firm’s clients achieve their public policy goals. In his role Mr. Butler also serves as government liaison for the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions and is a co-founder of the Faith & Giving Coalition. Before starting his consulting business, Mr. Butler worked in the Executive Branch for five and a half years. He led multi-agency projects at the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiative and was appointed to the Senior Executive Service by the Secretary of Labor to direct the department’s Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Mr. Butler, his wife, and their three children live in Northern Virginia.
“From the Courts and the Halls of Government”
Stephen King and Rhett Butler discussed the current public policy and legal issues, which religious organizations and other tax-exempt entities are advocating for, reacting to, and being impacted by in Washington, DC and in courts around the country. Mr. Butler provided an overview of the Legislative and Executive Branch activities that are animating responses from the faith community, with an emphasis on immigration, taxes, health care, employment, the postal service, and research. Mr. King covered current legal developments affecting tax-exempt organizations at both the federal and state levels.