BLUE BELL, PA (ABNS 6/17/14)—During the American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) board of directors meeting Wednesday through Friday, Executive Director Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III announced a $40,000 gift to Rainbow Acres in honor of the 40th anniversary of the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA)-affiliated Camp Verde, Ariz., ranch-style community for differently-abled adults.
The announcement followed a PowerPoint update about Rainbow Acres by its president and CEO, the Rev. Gary Wagner, on the second day of the three-day board meeting at Normandy Farm Hotel & Conference Center.
“For many, living at Rainbow Acres is the first time they’re told, ‘You can’—instead of ‘You can’t.’ That’s transformative,” said Wright-Riggins.
“Rainbow Acres is one of the last few ministries in the field of disabilities that is strongly aligned with ABHMS and American Baptist churches,” said Wagner, an ABCUSA-ordained minister and ABHMS-commissioned home missionary.
Wright-Riggins also announced that ABHMS has launched “Seek Justice: Living and Leaning into Isaiah 1:17,” the 2014 cycle of American Baptist Foundation-administered grants from the Virginia and Gordon Palmer Jr. Trust. July 15 is the application deadline for grants totaling $300,000 that will be awarded in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $15,000.
Pointing out that 2015 is the 60th anniversary of the joining of ABHMS and the Woman’s American Baptist Home Mission Society, Wright-Riggins asked the board for feedback regarding ABHMS’ intention to host a national conference in November 2015 with a “Making a Space for Grace” theme. Wright-Riggins said the American Baptist focus on diversity begs the questions: “What does it mean to ‘make space for grace’? What does it mean for our churches? Diversity is much more easily talked about than it is lived into.”
Cake was served to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Secret Place devotional magazine, which new subscribers can order at a 20% discount until the end of August.
“The Secret Place was begun by American Baptist women. Today it is the most profitable product offered by Judson Press, accounting for 22 percent of total sales,” said the Rev. Dr. Clifford Johnson, board president. “In addition to single subscribers, many orders are for bulk or multiple copies. Issues are shared in families, care facilities, prisons and shelters. We estimate U.S. readership to be approximately 150,000. Worldwide estimates go up to 250,000.”
In addition, Marcia Jessen, Judson Press curriculum and production editor, noted that the quarterly publication “Judson Bible JOURNEYS for Adults” is celebrating a 25th anniversary. “‘JOURNEYS’ is distinctly American Baptist,” Jessen said. “It’s written by American Baptists for American Baptists.”
Board members the Rev. Miriam Mendez, the Rev. Kenneth Board and the Rev. Kevin “Scotty” Robertson led the board in Bible study of 2 Corinthians, as presented in “Treasure in Clay Jars,” Session 12 of the summer 2014 issue of “JOURNEYS.”
American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—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 USA 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.