VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/27/13)—At the board of directors meeting of American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) November 18-20, members unanimously re-elected officers Dr. Clifford Johnson, president; Lois Chiles, vice president, and Wendy Hagn, secretary.
The board also unanimously affirmed calling the Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Washington, D.C., as a director to fill a 2014 term. Prior to her call to Calvary in 2003, Butler worked with the homeless community in New Orleans.
In other business, four directors’ churches were recognized for exemplary support of the 2013 America for Christ Offering.
The Rev. Lauren Ng accepted a certificate of thanks on behalf of First Chinese Baptist Church of San Francisco, Calif., the highest AFC-giving church represented by board members.
First Baptist Church of Leavenworth, Kan., represented by Vice President Lois Chiles, and Lake Avenue Baptist Church, Rochester, N.Y., represented by the Rev. Garth Brokaw, were recognized among the top 250 AFC-giving churches across the country. Mill Creek Baptist Church, Mill Creek, Ind., was also recognized in this category; pastor Kevin Robertson was not in attendance to accept the certificate.
The Rev. Eddie Cruz, ABHMS associate executive director, announced the upcoming America for Christ Offering 2014 theme, “Seeking Justice,” rooted in Isaiah 1:17 (“Learn to do good; seek justice; rescue the oppressed; defend the orphan; plead for the widow”). Directors also previewed one of two videos produced in conjunction with the offering—“Seeking Justice For the Least of These” —which tells the story of ABHMS prisoner re-entry ministries.
ABHMS Associate Executive Director the Rev. Dr. Marilyn Turner updated the board about ministry and mission, focusing on Corporacion Milagros del Amor, a Neighborhood Action Program Christian center in Caguas, Puerto Rico, that is developing ministries to the chronically homeless and those aged 60-plus. Turner spoke about ABHMS support of Christian center directors through monthly phone conferences and an annual meeting; she also lifted up ABHMS advocacy related to disability ministry.
Addressing immigration reform, the Rev. Aundreia Alexander, Esq., who leads ABHMS immigration advocacy efforts, reported there is currently no legislation pending in the U.S. Congress to deal with fixing the country’s broken immigration system. Alexander asked board members to help get the message out that the 10-12 million undocumented persons in the United States desperately need immigration reform now.
ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III reminded directors in his report that “God is always with us, and radically present, but God is also the God who is for us. God loves us in our ‘not-togetherness’; God loves us and is for us when we can’t even love ourselves.” Wright-Riggins said that ABHMS is guided by this loving spirit, measuring ministry by “the extent to which we have stood for the least of these and those who cannot speak for themselves.”
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.