VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/25/14)—The 2014 session of the Ministers Council Senate, the representative body of the Ministers Council of American Baptist Churches USA, was called to order by its president, Rev. Douglas Harris on Monday, August 11, 2014, at the Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, Wisconsin. The theme, “New wine into new wineskins,” was based on the parable of Jesus found in Matthew 9:17, and was chosen to reflect the main agenda item which was the discussion and eventual adoption of the reorganized structure of the Senate.
The planning of the reorganization was a year long process led by Executive Director of the Ministers Council, Rev. Dr. Debora Jackson and involved discussion and input from a number of local and regional minister’s councils and several extended conference calls with representative Senators. One of the major changes involves the establishment of an Annual Meeting of the entire Ministers Council (all the ordained, commissioned and professional lay people who have joined the council) with the work of the Senate (renamed Ministries Team) as a part of the Annual Meeting. Complete details of the reorganization will be sent to local and regional councils.
Another change involves incorporating the new Annual Meeting as part of the denomination’s biennial Mission Summit to be held in Kansas City, Kansas in June 2015. In the off year the Annual Meeting may be held in different geographic locations and/or the Green Lake Conference Center.
The keynote presenter at this year’s Senate gathering was Rev. Dr. Molly Marshall, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas. Her address outlined the process of transformation she developed to help pull the school back from the brink of financial collapse and how the strategies she used are also applicable to local church leadership issues.
At the closing session of the Senate on Thursday, August 14th, past president of the Ministers Council Rev. Dr. Darla “Dee Dee” Turlington was honored with the Ralph Garfield Schell Prize for her outstanding dedication to and work for the Ministers Council.
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.