VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/27/13)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) Board of Directors unanimously affirmed two candidates as commissioned home missionaries at its meeting in Kansas City/Overland Park, Kan., last week.
The missionaries—Pastor Ronald Charles Nunuk, founding senior pastor of Carson Chin Baptist Church, West Allis, Wis., and trustee of Chin Baptist Churches of USA, along with the Rev. Saw Ler Htoo, pastor of Calvary Burmese Church, Washington, D.C., and executive secretary of Karen Baptist Churches USA—will minister to Burmese refugees who have resettled their lives and families in the United States. Both missionaries were commissioned on June 23 at American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) Mission Summit.
The commissioning is especially notable, said ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III, because it brings American Baptist mission in Burma full circle, as the denomination celebrates the 200th anniversary of the journey to Burma by missionaries Adoniram and Ann Judson. Nunuk and Htoo are the first home missionaries commissioned to minister to Burmese in the United States.
“This is another historic moment we have participated in,” said board Vice President Lois Chiles.
Board members also voted unanimously to affirm support for U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), “a champion of peace,” as proposed by Wright-Riggins. In January, Lee sponsored H.R. 198, “Repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force,” which rescinds the authority given to the president of the United States to use military force following the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
A letter to Lee from Wright-Riggins and board President Dr. Clifford I. Johnson will express support for H.R. 198 and include the following:
“The Board of Directors of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies set aside time [at its June meeting] to consecrate your public witness and pray for your strength as you live out the courage of your commitments. We realize how seriously you take Jesus’ charge to each of us to be ambassadors for peace and the price you have paid in being a champion for it. We know that you have often been a solo and solitary voice for peace in the halls of Congress.”
Calling Lee—an American Baptist—a courageous woman who needs the support of her brothers and sisters in Christ, Wright-Riggins said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
During his report to the board, Wright-Riggins reviewed ABHMS’ strategic plan and its initiatives, which include outreach to youth and young adults. “It is really, really important that we, as a church of Jesus Christ, focus on those under the age of 35,” he said, citing as an example ABHMS’ Mission Summit young adult event “Reconnect, Renew, Re-envision.” Before and during the Mission Summit, young adults at least aged 16 were invited to participate in conversation cafes, an emerging leaders panel, mission activities and more.
ABHMS Associate Executive Director for Development the Rev. Eddie Cruz presented certificates to three board members for churches’ America for Christ Offering 2012 contributions. The Rev. Lauren Ng received a certificate for San Francisco’s First Chinese Baptist Church, where she is a member, as the highest giving church among board members. Wendy Hagn accepted a certificate for First Baptist Church of Franklin, Ind., for having achieved the largest increase in giving among board member congregations. A certificate recognizing the highest per-capita giving of board member churches was presented to the Rev. David Gregg of Grace Baptist Church, Chicago.
“The America for Christ Offering is an opportunity to support the mission and ministries of America Baptist Home Mission Societies that impact churches, communities and individuals across the United States and Puerto Rico,” said Cruz. “The generosity of the ABHMS board clearly sets a wonderful example for our entire American Baptist family.”
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 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.