VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/21/11)—In a historic American Baptist moment in time, the Board of National Ministries met for the last time in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 16-18, in accordance with American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) bylaw changes passed in June at Biennial meetings in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The current 35-member board will be reorganized with 16 members as the Board of Directors of American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), as of Jan. 1, 2012.
Members of the Board of National Ministries voted unanimously to elect directors and officers of ABHMS, recommended by the Governance Committee as follows:
Class A Directors (one year): the Rev. James H. Callaway Jr., First Baptist Church (FBC), Junction City, Kan.; the Rev. Dr. Sherman L. Lambert, Purity Baptist Church, Washington, W.Va.; the Rev. Kevin “Scotty” Robertson, FBC, Grantsville, W.Va.; Eleanor Siegrist, FBC, Hollidaysburg, Pa.; the Rev. Dr. Laura Sinclair, Parkchester Baptist Church, Bronx, N.Y.; and the Rev. Dr. Wallace C. Smith, Shiloh Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.;
Class B Directors (two years): the Rev. Dr. Kenneth R. Board, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Rockford, Ill.; the Rev. Garth E. Brokaw, Lake Avenue Baptist Church, Rochester, N.Y.; Wendy J. Hagn (secretary 2012-2014), Franklin (Ind.) FBC; the Rev. Dr. Clifford I. Johnson (president 2012-2014), Shiloh Baptist Church, Wilmington, Del.; the Rev. Jay Rambo, FBC, Bordentown, N.J.; the Rev. Dr. Robert C. Scott, Central Baptist Church, St. Louis, Mo.; and
Class C Directors (three years): Lois M. Chiles (vice president 2012-2014), FBC, Leavenworth, Kan.; the Rev. David C. Gregg, Grace Baptist Church, Chicago; Antonio L. Lombardi, Church of the Master, Providence, R.I.; and Brazilian Thurman (Finance Committee chair 2012), Calvary Baptist Church, Milwaukee, Wis.
Also, board members voted unanimously to accept ABHMS’ 2012 budget and to affirm an amendment removing the Flexible Stewardship Plan from the ABCUSA Common Budget Covenant.
In his report, Executive Director the Rev. Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III pointed out that the theme of the meeting—“Engaging Discipleship: Open Eyes, Hearts and Hands” (Mark 10:46-52), inspired by the upcoming America for Christ (AFC) Offering theme—lifts up the ABHMS mission of helping people equip themselves to live as disciples in their daily lives. “We really do need to be engaged in partnership with churches to call forth missionaries in local churches, who do mission in their communities,” he said.
Wright-Riggins and Johnson recognized board members’ churches for distinctive AFC giving. Gregg accepted a certificate on behalf of Grace Baptist Church, Chicago, for highest per capita giving; Beryl Hornberger accepted the highest giving church certificate for FBC, Freemont, Neb.; the largest year-to-year increased giving certificate was presented to Callaway for FBC, Junction City.
In a closing worship service of thanksgiving and commissioning, board members—as passionaries for Christ and ambassadors for ABHMS—were invited to celebrate and affirm three intentions: to follow Christ more nearly, love Christ more dearly and incarnate Christ more clearly. They were also invited to ask three daily questions: How shall I follow Christ today? How can I demonstrate compassion to people and creation today? How can I practice the presence of Christ right here and right now?
ABHMS—the domestic mission arm of ABCUSA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.
American Baptist Churches USA 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.