VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/17/11)—The 2011 Ministers Council Senate meeting, held at the American Baptist Assembly at the Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, Wisconsin, was called to order on Saturday, August 13 by its president, Jeff Savage, pastor of First Baptist Church of Springfield, Oregon. The theme for this year’s session was Called, with scriptural emphasis on the relationship between the disciples and their Risen Lord and how those who serve in ministry receive life-sustaining nourishment.
Executive Director Joe Kutter reminded the senators of the Ministers Council’s purpose, “Community. Spirituality. Leadership. We covenant together to deepen our spirituality and to increase our effectiveness as leaders in Christ’s Church. This is the reason we exist.”
Business of the Senate included:
- The final report of the Women in Ministry Task Force was received. Rev. Patricia Hernandez was introduced as the newly hired Director of ABWIM (American Baptist Women in Ministry). ABWIM seeks to lift up the biblical and theological work supporting women in ministry and to develop strategies for advocacy of women in ministry.
- Additional progress was made on the capital fund campaign which sharpens the focus on making “Together in Ministry” an integral part of the Ministers Council identity. The senate approved a motion to empower the executive committee to employ a campaign consultant.
- The election of new officers whose terms will begin in January of 2012 include Harry Riggs, pastor of FBC, Lincoln, Nebraska as Vice President of Communications; Holly Bean, recently retired from MMBB as Vice President of Denominational Relationships; Thomas Gilmore, pastor of Fidelity Baptist Church of Cleveland, Ohio as Secretary/Treasurer; and Liliana Da Valle, interim pastor at FBC, Alameda, California as Senator-at-Large / Representative to the Executive Committee.
- Rev. Brian Dixon, pastor of FBC, Medford, Massachusetts was awarded The Ralph Garfield Schell Presidential Award as “a pastoral leader who has been extraordinarily faithful in carrying out the principles of the Ministers Council Code of Ethics, as well as unusually effective in ministry.”
- The subcommittees of the senate announced several new initiatives that will enhance the practice of ministry including working with MMBB to revise their compensation workbook, working with national leadership in the area of ordination standards, and conducting a formal review of the Covenant and Code of Ethics for Ministerial Leaders.
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.