VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/21/13)—”The atmosphere was like nothing that I have experienced in ABC!” said Rev. Dr. Don Ng, senior pastor of San Francisco’s First Chinese Baptist Church, on the reunion of former staff of Educational Ministries (EM). Ng, who served on the EM staff for 20 years and is now president-elect of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA), convened the gathering of more than 120 former EM employees and their spouses for dinner and a celebration of service on November 16 in King of Prussia, PA.
Attendees traveled from as far away as California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Ohio, Puerto Rico, and Wyoming, as well as from local environs. One person said, “It was like Christmas morning!” describing the hugging, picture-sharing, and the giving and receiving of blessings.
“People literally changed commitments to come,” said Ng. “I think the euphoria comes from the knowledge that American Baptist Churches has not forgotten the life-changing ministries that EM had and continues to have in the lives of people and in churches.”
Laura Alden, publisher of Judson Press and also a former EM staffer, highlighted ministries of discipleship, education, and publishing which now are part of the work of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, “the oldest of which is the American Baptist Board of Education and Publication.”
Alden, who led table groups in a time of blessing, thanked EM-ers for “giving your best for educational ministry in churches and in a denomination that may not always have recognized the strength and significance of what you were doing. Thank you for releasing your good work into the world—believing that God would move your efforts and intentions forward.”
Virginia Holmstrom, executive director of American Baptist Women’s Ministries, and Louis Barbarin, executive director of the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board, who both served on EM’s staff, brought greetings from dozens of EM colleagues who could not attend the event. Greetings and photos of the reunion are being posted on www.abc-usa.org, www.abhms.org and www.judsonpress.com and related social media sites.
The EM Staff Reunion was sponsored by American Baptist Churches USA and American Baptist Home Mission Societies. Participants were presented with a glass paperweight emblazoned with the historic logo of American Baptist Board of Education and Publication, founded in 1824 as the Baptist General Tract Society.
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.