VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 10/16/14)—On Saturday, October 4, 2014, during the Business Session after 108 years of American Baptist Churches of Los Angeles and the 119 years of the churches from the former ABC of the Pacific Southwest, now known as the American Baptist Congregations of the Southwest and Hawaii, delegates voted to become a new Regional reality. More than 200 delegates representing 70 Covenanting Churches voted to become the American Baptist Churches of Los Angeles, Southwest & Hawaii (ABCOFLASH).
For more than one year the Board of Directors, as well as the Bylaw Revision Committee, have worked tirelessly to arrive at this point in our history. These individuals are:
*Walter Clarke, *Gloria Marshall, *Steve Simons, *Donna Holbert, *Linda Brougher, Andy Quient, Heidi Hammer, Jai Belcher, Joyce McDougal, Lilian Rivera, Lydia Floyd, Pedro Martinez, Ricky Lai, William De Leon and additionally *Ron Banes. (* Indicates Bylaw Revision Committee)
The following letter from ABCUSA President Rev. Dr. Don Ng was read during the Business Session by Mr. Walter Clarke, President of the Board of Directors:
Whereas churches in the United States in recent years have been experiencing seismic changes in denominational affiliations and loyalties and,
Whereas one of the more significant shifting of regional bodies has occurred in the southern California area that created some churches in search of new regional connections,
The Executive Committee of the ABC Board of General Ministries on September 12, 2014 resolved the following:
1. We Congratulate the ABC/LA Board of Directors for having a heart of welcome in creating the Samaritan Response Initiative that receives and holds any churches that wish to continue their American Baptist affiliation with ABC/LA.
2. We Praise God for the ABC/LA in practicing Godly generosity by making available a significant amount of their resources to support these churches in transition.
3. We Affirm the ABC/LA Board of Directors and all member churches in sacrificially giving time and energy to amend bylaws in order to usher in the new reality in the forming of the new region.
4. We Celebrate with you on October 3-4 at this historic annual meeting when you affirm your Baptist roots of welcoming home all who believe in the “One Lord, One Faith, and One Hope” in Jesus Christ.
5. We Welcome “The American Baptist Churches of Los Angeles, Southwest and Hawaii” as one of the 33 ABC regional organizations to make up the American Baptist family!
Sam, on behalf of General Secretary Dr. A. Roy Medley, the Board of General Ministries and the 5300 churches comprising the ABCUSA, I personally thank you for your tireless leadership, progressive thinking, and prophetic vision to assist in the shaping and the forming of the new region. This new region represents one of the most exciting areas of our country if not the whole world where we see rich diversity, dynamic leadership, and courageous faith. We look forward to continuing the collaborative work and partnership in ministries and mission in the years to come.
May God bless you, the Board of Directors and all the Members of the American Baptist Churches of Los Angeles, Southwest and Hawaii to remain strong in faith and to do the work of Christ for surely the world wants to hear Good News!
Faithfully in Christ,
Dr. Samuel S. Chetti, Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Los Angeles, Southwest & Hawaii said, “Over these many years of ministry, we have evolved as a dynamic Christian ministry of the American Baptist Faith expression in the western part of the United States encompassing ministry in Southern California, Arizona, Southern Nevada and Hawaii.
This coming together is for the Glory of God; for increased impact of the mission of the Kingdom of God. AND, in the end, as our Lord taught us to say ‘Thy Kingdom (your Reign) come on Earth (in people’s lives) as it is in Heaven.’”
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.