Proud to be an American Baptist

American Baptists Churches USA has a rich history, full of many influential American Baptists who touched the lives of others through many important movements and issues. Human rights, immigration, autonomy, Women in Ministry, the Baptist Muslim dialog , Transformed by the Spirit, International and home missions, other ecumenical work – the list goes on and on.

What excites you about ABCUSA and being an American Baptist?  Why do you choose to be an American Baptist?  Tell us here!

On this website, we will archive  a new ABCUSA feature series, ” Proud to be an American Baptist.”

Reaching into the Archives
In 2007, many American Baptists told us why they are proud to be be American Baptists!  See some of the responses given, below:

Religious Liberty tops the list of why I’m proud to be an American Baptist; add to that the fact that American Baptists have “been on the front line” for issues of justice and freedom from the very beginning. For many years we have also helped to resettle more refugees than any other denomination. 
Irene Jennings, Oakland, CA

The American Baptist tradition is a vital part of a third force in the American church—passionately evangelical and passionately committed to justice, all because of our passionate commitment to Jesus Christ. It is my distinct privilege to be a pastor and advocate for this great denomination.
Rev. William Steger, Berwyn, IL

Although I was born, bred, and buttered Southern Baptist, I came home to “my mother” after the Southern Baptist takeover and never looked back. I have an appreciation for the wisdom of establishing a denominational structure that doesn’t allow for quick hijackings. Being the 36th pastor of The First Baptist Church in America, I feel a kinship to Roger Williams, with some in-built Baptist in my DNA to resist authoritarianism.
Rev. Dan Ivins, Providence, RI

Through the years and in our present climate of pluralism, American Baptists have remained sound in biblical theology, but do not use theological vocabulary to justify partisan opinions on controversial issues. At the same time American Baptists have maintained their faith in a God of Grace and Hope for the individual and all humanity. These have resulted in understanding the intent of God’s creative ability that all are created equal with the gift of freedom.
Loris Coletta, Ph.D., Apto, CA

To be an American Baptist means we still encourage one another to be Christ-like, to share the Good News and to support those who do on so our behalf. 
Rev. Victor Shields, Fairmont, WV

I’m proud to be an American Baptist because of the intentional work being done in our Evergreen American Baptist region to create a diverse American Baptist family, committed to common witness and mission, which has flourished into some amazing realities.
Rev. Tim Phillips, Seattle, WA

Being an American Baptist is an exciting and fulfilling way to serve my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It affords me the opportunity to converse with other Christians who believe and think about God in the same turns that I do. I get to speak to many different people who have varying experiences in working for the Lord and it gives me courage to continue the little that I do. Most importantly, I get to see and learn first hand that there are many members all working together to spread the Good News. 
Helma German, Stafford, VA

I’m proud to be an American Baptist because of those people whose faith and witness have had a powerful influence on my personal life and ministry. There are too many to list who are making a wonderful difference in my life today, but I want to lift up a few of finest American Baptist leaders (who are now deceased) but continue to inspire me and others. They are Ray Jennings, Annie Jo Dawson, Dean Wright, Miriam Corbett, Richard Arnesman, and Ralph Beaty.
Dr Sarah L Hallstrand, Chicago, IL

What’s great about American Baptists is that not one of our 1.5 million stories is the same, but they all contain one element that never changes—Jesus’ impact in our lives. Often too, our witnesses join together to impact our churches, communities, nation and world. What could be more exciting?
Rev. Kevin A. Walden, Omaha, NE

American Baptists have been prominent in Baptist traditions to unreservedly allow women to answer the call of God with the liberty given by the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Joan Cooper Burnett, Middletown, CT

I see a direct comparison between our denomination and the early church as outlined in the book of the Acts. We are a people who have heard the mission call to go into all the world and preach the gospel. We are a denomination that holds to the principle of a representative process where the voice of the people is heard and respected. We do not have a Bishop or a Pope, but look to Christ alone as that one who, through the Holy Spirit gives us direction to live out our faith as well as our God-given mission. We are a people of the Bible, and through His word, God continues to speak to us and continues to challenge us to life in the way of Christ.
Charles Case, Erie, PA

I am proud to be an American Baptist because we are a “no questions asked” group! When you walk through our doors you are shown love, kindness, understanding, and are embraced with a real sense of mission…we are a sharing community, and when times are tough there are helping hands and hearts gently waiting to meet our needs. Our minds and bodies are nourished, but most importantly, our souls.
Shirlee Mangan, Lakewood, OH

ABC is a denomination that gives us Soul Freedom, with no hierarchy dictating what we should believe. We each decide for ourselves what we believe. This requires work on our part, but the final result is more personal to us and to our own faith.
Patricia Ransom, Wauwatosa, WI

My experiences have been varied as a result of being an American Baptist woman. This organization has afforded me travels to numerous cities in this country and places abroad that I never thought that I would ever see, which has included San Juan, Puerto Rico and Melbourne, Australia. My knowledge has been enhanced as a result of being a part of this great denomination. American Baptist has earned a special place in my heart.
Mary Jackson, Richmond, VA

I like the fact that, our church, and ABC churches in general, can be autonomous to make decisions but still call on the association, region, and national for help. I appreciate ABC because they are so mission minded and I am as well. We make a good match. I have been on three mission trips over the years and know what dedication it takes to be a missionary.
Rev. Lynda K. Hosek, Denham, IN

I am proud to an American Baptist because a group of dedicated Christians committed themselves to the mission of establishing black colleges and seminaries to develop a new and diverse generation of church leaders, both men and women. I am especially thankful for the courage, determination, and liberating spirits of such trailblazers as Martin Luther King, Jr., Joanna P. Moore and Helen Barrett Montgomery.
Rev. Dr. LaVerne Briggs, Richmond, VA

As you enter into church you are among friends, family and as we would say in Jamaica “combolo.” There are all sorts of characters in church, but we are there for one thing only and that is to learn and to understand love—the love of God, even as we experience it through each other. 
Leighton Johnson, Bryn Mawr, PA

I’m proud to be an American Baptist because of the freedom afforded to both individuals and congregations; the shining examples of so many in past and present generations; the adherence to the New Testament view of baptism; the well-balanced emphasis on both evangelism and social action; and the diversity, which surely previews the constituency of heaven.
John Smith, Reading, PA


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