ORLANDO, FL (ABNS 1/21/12)—The Board of General Ministries for American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) began its meetings on Friday, January 20, 2012, at the DoubleTree in Orlando, Florida. The Board of General Ministries is meeting for the first time since the new ABCUSA Bylaws, passed in June 2011 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, went into effect on January 1, 2012.
ABCUSA President Ruth Clark called the session to order as the Board of General Ministries convened for the first time, opening in prayer. Clark is serving as president for the current Biennium, January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2013. Along with Clark, Rev. Don Ng is serving as vice president and James R. Ratliff continues to serve as budget review officer.
“To gather with the Board of General Ministries, leaders from across our denomination, is both the end of a process of transition and the beginning of a new structure. We are launching a new way of doing business, trusting God to provide wisdom, insight and discernment as we undertake this role,” said Clark.
Rev. A. Roy Medley, general secretary of ABCUSA, said, “This is a new beginning for the board. We wanted this orientation to focus on our tasks, refresh us in our understanding of our American Baptist DNA, and form us into a team.
Following a board dinner, Medley introduced the speaker for the evening, historian and American Baptist pastor Rev. Everett C. Goodwin.
“I’m here first to urge you to remember where we’ve come from, then to challenge you to ponder how our American Baptist past and identity might shape your emerging roles of leadership and service in ABC. And then, I want to invite you to consider the things of importance that we may and must keep with us, as cherished traditions, because tradition is good, or as critical principles, because they are important, wherever and however we are going,” said Goodwin.
Nancy James, senior director of learning experiences & constituency development at Duke University, led the new Board members in a Board Development Seminar on Saturday, January 21. The board meetings will conclude following the final business session on Monday morning, January 23.
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.