“There is no debate that our economy is broken,” said Anderson, who travels and speaks throughout the United States to encourage church involvement in economic issues. The church, because of its “theological imagination, can see [the economy] through the eyes of those who are the have-nots.” This perspective, she added, is an important contribution to the conversation about how to fix it.
Noting “there is more to a bottom line than a dollar,” Finance Committee chair Brazilian Thurman, with board vice president Lois Chiles, presented “Faithful Steward” awards to ABHMS’ investment managers—Colonial Consultants—and socially responsible investing consultants—Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment—along with volunteer members of the Investment Advisory Council.
In other business, the Rev. Eddie Cruz, ABHMS associate executive director for Mission Advancement, introduced the America for Christ Offering 2015 theme—“Discipleship: A Journey of Grace”—and recognized board members whose churches shared significant gifts during the 2014 offering.
Cruz presented certificates of appreciation to the following:
• The Rev. Dr. James Wolfe III, pastor, First Baptist Church, Pontiac, Ill., a top-250 giving church;
• The Rev. Kevin (“Scotty”) Robinson, pastor, Millcreek Baptist Church, La Porte, Ind., highest giving church;
• The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Board, senior pastor, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Rockford, Ill., church with largest increase in giving; and
• The Rev. Garth Brokaw, member, Lake Avenue Baptist Church, Rochester, N.Y., highest per-capita giving church.
The board unanimously elected The Rev. Dr. Amy Butler to a 2013-2015 term, and these members to the 2015-2017 director class: Chiles, Thurman, Antonio Lombardi, the Rev. David Gregg, the Rev. Miriam Mendez and the Rev. Lauren Ng.
In light of Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III’s plan to retire in October 2015, board members addressed the search procedure to name a new ABHMS executive director. Search committee members include: the Rev. Dr. Clifford Johnson, chair; Butler; Mendez; the Rev. Dr. Wallace C. Smith; and the Rev. Jay Rambo. The Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, general secretary, American Baptist Churches USA, is an ex-officio member of the committee.
Addressing the meeting’s theme, “Community Called Church,” in his report to the board, Wright-Riggins said, “As long as we are a community called church, and a church called to be community, God has wonderful things in store for our future.”
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 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.