VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 5/14/12)—Sponsored by American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) and the Ministers Council, and supported by the Burma Refugees Task Force, the “Together in Ministry [TIM] Retreat for American Baptist Churches USA Pastors Ministering to the Burma Diaspora Community” was held April 23-25 at the National Christian Conference Center.
“The purpose of the retreat is to help pastors build inclusive communities as they minister together among the immigrant, diaspora community from Burma,” says the Rev. Rothang Chhangte, ABHMS liaison for Burma refugees.
The event included a panel presentation about the Burma refugees’ journey to America. Presentations included a case study focused on the value differences in a cross-cultural marriage; another focused on a neighborhood that absorbed a new ethnic community exercising its cultural rites. In addition, conversations among pastors of host churches and Karen and Chin pastors addressed confusing ministry issues.
Dr. Joe Kutter, executive director of the Ministers Council, revealed that the grant awarded by Lilly Foundation for the TIM retreats is in its final year. All pastors agreed to work on future funding to sustain such a valuable annual gathering.
This event was the second TIM retreat for pastors with Burma ministries. The first retreat was held at the Mission Center in March 2011, when six learning groups were formed. At least four groups continued mutual learning throughout the year via conference calls and face-to-face gatherings.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA (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.