“CBF and ABC have great affinities,” said Pat Anderson, the Fellowship’s executive coordinator. “We share a Baptist history and heritage which blesses our work, and we share a Baptist view of congregational life, missions and social justice. Our paths intersect in so many ways that it is quite natural for us to want to work together intentionally in common tasks, as we do in significant ways, while also maintaining our unique identities. Roy Medley and I thought it would be useful for our leadership staffs to have a time of dialogue.”
Discussion among staff from the two organizations focused on challenges and successes in Baptist life, including partnerships, organizational structures and programs designed to serve Christians and churches. The collegial gathering gave staff members opportunities to learn about the workings of the two organizations and share ideas and resources for ministry.
“For me, on a larger scale, I want to know how we can strengthen the moderate voice in Baptist life,” said Roy Medley, ABCUSA general secretary and ecumenical officer. “Are there things we can do together that would strengthen each other … whether it’s the co-appointment of missionaries or doing a conference together. Are there points where we can intersect with each other and benefit each other? I hope these are some initial steps we have taken today as we have gotten to know each other.”
In 2007, CBF and ABCUSA met together in Washington, D.C., for the Fellowship’s annual General Assembly and ABCUSA’s biennial meeting. At that gathering, the two organizations jointly commissioned four field personnel to missions service – Nancy and Steve James serving in Haiti and Duane and Marcia Binkley serving among Karen refugees.
In the past, CBF and ABCUSA have partnered together in disaster response efforts, including the earthquake in Haiti, Hurricane Katrina and recently, Hurricane Sandy. The two organizations also have common partners in ministry, such as the Baptist World Alliance, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Baptist Center for Ethics and Baptists Today.
Staff from ABCUSA, which is based in Valley Forge, Pa., included Roy Medley, general secretary and ecumenical officer; Leo Thorne, associate general secretary for mission resource development; Jeff Woods, associate general secretary for regional ministries; Alan Musoke, treasurer and associate general secretary for finances; Pat Hernandez, national director of women in ministry and transition ministry; Annie Marcucci, director for travel and conference planning and Johnson Eapen, director of human resource development. Staff from the Fellowship included Pat Anderson, interim executive coordinator; Connie McNeill, coordinator of administration; Bo Prosser, coordinator of missional congregations and Jim Smith, interim coordinator of global missions.
CBF is a fellowship of Baptist Christians and churches who share a passion for the Great Commission and a commitment to Baptist principles of faith and practice. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.