VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/25/11)—On Friday, June 24, groups and individuals attending the Biennial meetings came together for worship, a welcome to “Celebrate! 2011.” The Biennial, taking place in San Juan, Puerto Rico, runs from June 24-26, 2011.
Rev. Dr. Neville Callam, general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance, greeted Biennial attendees. The main worship leader, Rev. Dr. Gary Nelson, president/CEO of Tyndale University College and Seminary, spoke about the missional church experience. Nelson asked the question, “What does it mean for you to be the church in the 21st century? It means be more like Jesus.”
In the Friday evening worship, attendees were invited to Celebrate God’s Glory. Rev. Dr. Carolyn Gordon, associate professor of Communication at Fuller Theological Seminary, delivered the message.
“What is it really to Celebrate God’s Glory?” Gordon asked. “We put God in a box. We think we can celebrate God’s glory simply by saying ‘Praise the Lord!,’ simply by saying ‘Halleluja,’ simply by doing those things we’ve been taught to do. But in understanding God’s glory, we’ve got to understand that God is bigger, and wider, and deeper, than anything we can imagine.”
At the Christian Unity dinner on Friday evening, Rev. George J. Reed, executive director of the North Carolina Council of Churches, received the Luke Mowbray Ecumenical Award. Yosh Nakagawa was awarded the Sparrowk President’s Award by ABCUSA President Frank Christine, Jr., president of American Baptist Churches USA, in the Friday evening service.
“These Biennial meetings provide an opportunity for brothers and sisters in the faith, from very diverse backgrounds, to come together as one family in Christ to fellowship with one another in a familial setting,” said Christine. “Yes, we will engage in business during this biennial meeting but our most joyful time while we are together will be as we celebrate and rejoice in our common bond as American Baptists. Glory to God!”
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.