SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO (ABNS 6/29/11)—The General Board meetings of American Baptist Churches USA began in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Monday, June 27, at the Sheraton Hotel following the American Baptist Biennial, Celebrate! 2011.
The first plenary session was called to order by Frank Christine, who is presiding over his last General Board meeting as president of ABCUSA. General Secretary A. Roy Medley gave his report and thanked all staff, volunteers, board members and others who labored during the two years preceding the Biennial to make all aspects of the event a success.
Medley spoke about his excitement for the new initiative introduced during the worship service on Friday evening, June 24, during the Biennial. “God has been doing a tremendous thing in our midst that led to the announcement of the Transformed by the Spirit initiative,” said Medley.
American Baptist churches are in the midst of a significant change. Demographic shifts, declining revenues, newly arriving immigrant communities, and proliferating communications have impacted mission and ministry. God’s spirit is at work among us in the midst of these changes. Transformed by the Spirit will invite American Baptists to name and address adaptive challenges in changing environments. “What issues are we presently facing, for which we do not presently have an answer, but which must be addressed if we are to live into the future God has for us?”
“The National Executive Council is energized about the vision that is coming forth from this two-year process,” said Medley. “It has brought not only energy to us on the NEC, but new focus as well. We believe that it holds great promise; in fact it has already begun to shape us in new ways.” The NEC is comprised of Medley; Aidsand Wright-Riggins III, executive director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies; Reid Trulson, executive director of International Ministries; Virginia Holmstrom, executive director of American Baptist Women’s Ministries; and Sumner Grant, executive director of the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board.
Following Medley’s report, the ABCUSA General Board voted to accept the Independent Auditor’s Report on the 2010 ABCUSA Audited Financial Statements for year end December 31, 2010 presented by budget review officer James R. Ratliff.
Ratliff also explained the 2012 Budget Process, which will be taking place later in the 2011 calendar year. Included in the adoption process are the budgets for the Office of the General Secretary, the Representative Process, and Mission Resource Development.
The board meetings conclude following the final plenary sessions on Wednesday, June 29.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.