OVERLAND PARK, KS (ABNS 6/20/13)—The Board of General Ministries meetings of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) concluded on Thursday at the Sheraton Hotel in Overland Park, Kansas. The meeting included a joint plenary session, described by ABCUSA President Ruth Clark the first “family meeting” of the various program boards. This was a combined plenary session of the Boards of International Ministries, the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board and General Ministries.
Clark said, “When God’s people come together to worship and pray, God meets us in ways we cannot foresee. This was the first joint meeting of the boards under the new structure. Meeting together allows us to know one another, hear from one another, and pray and worship together.”
In addition to meeting with the other boards, Board of General Ministries members spent time building relationships and focusing on ABCUSA identity.
“The board had the opportunity to divide into three groups to visit three different ministry sites on Wednesday morning. Imagine the amazing interactions that members would have to forge ABCUSA identity coming from such opportunities!” said Rev. Don Ng, vice president of ABCUSA.
The board went out into the local community on ministry tours on June 19, visiting Bethel Neighborhood Center and Judson Baptist Church in Kansas City, and Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas.
“The June 2013 meeting of the Board of General Ministries is only the fourth time board members have met to address matters concerning the larger denomination,” said vice president Don Ng. “From the Transformed by the Spirit initiative and our learning about adaptive change, the BGM will actually be engaged in an experiment at these meetings to describe ABCUSA identity by striving to live out who we are as a beloved community.”
In the final board meeting on Thursday morning, June 20, the board voted to elect Mr. Louis Barbarin, executive director of MMBB, as National Secretary of ABCUSA, to serve for a term which is concurrent with his term as Executive Director.
The board recognized the previously announced nominees for ABC Officers for the 2014-2015 Biennium. They are Rev. Dr. Don Ng – ABC President; Rev. Judy Fackenthal – ABC Vice President; and Mr. Paul Higgins – ABC Budget Review Officer
“ABC is extremely fortunate to have this nominated slate of officers who will begin their service January 1, 2014. Each is a gifted leader,” said Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, general secretary of ABCUSA. “I have worked with Dr. Ng since the seventies. As a pastor in San Francisco, he has led his church in expanding their outreach and starting a new congregation. He brings years of experience in national leadership and a desire to see American Baptist Churches thrive in mission and ministry.”
“Rev. Fackenthal also brings first-hand experience as a pastor serving in Indianapolis, as well as being an active leader in her region and in the American Baptist Foundation. Paul Higgins, who will serve as Budget Review Officer, has been CFO for two of our major ABC-related institutions: Green Lake and Rainbow Acres. They will be a great team.”
The Board of General Ministries meetings began on June 18. In the first plenary session, Medley was re-elected to serve a two-year term as general secretary for the denomination.
The final plenary session of the Board of Genera Ministries meeting ended with a worship service to close the meetings preceding Mission Summit 2013: An American Baptist Biennial Gathering.
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.