VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 10/23/12)—The delegates to the 2012 Annual Gathering of the American Baptist Churches of Oregon approved a proposal from their Board of Ministries to change the name of their region to the American Baptist Churches of the Central Pacific Coast (ABCCPC). The Annual Gathering, the first in the 140 year history of the Oregon Baptist Convention to be held outside of the state of Oregon, met from October 19-21 and was hosted by the First Baptist Church of Alameda, California, one of the more than twenty congregations from northern California to join the region over the past three years.
Rev. Don Ng, Vice President of American Baptist Churches USA, was present during the vote. Ng sent the following message to General Secretary A. Roy Medley and ABCUSA President Ruth Clark, “At about 8:45 this morning, the gathering at Alameda, CA voted to form the ‘American Baptist Churches of the Central Pacific Coast!’ The new name represents both Oregon churches and those in Northern CA to become one ABC group to do mission together.”
“The name is more descriptive of who we have become, and is also historically significant,” explained ABCCPC Executive Minister Steve Bils. “Long before Oregon or California became states, the original Baptist witness in this area was based in Portland and stretched from the San Francisco Bay area to Vancouver, British Columbia. The name then was the Baptist Association of the Northern Pacific Coast.”
In the closing worship celebration of the Annual Gathering on Sunday morning, Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr., pastor emeritus of Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, used Isaiah 41:17-20 as a reference, observing, ‘The hand of the Lord has done this.’ He continued, “No man could have orchestrated this. God alone could have Oregon Baptists meeting in California at the First Baptist Church of Alameda!”
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.