VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/24/16)—American Baptist Women’s Ministries national board met July 19-21, 2016, in Washington, D.C., immediately preceding the national event for women and girls, “3D: Dwelling, Discovering, Discipling/Dedicando, Descubriendo, Discipulando.” Finishing the second year of a three-year initiative originally entitled “Living Out Our Cultural Reality into God’s Intentional Desire,” now re-named “Beloved Community Initiative,” the Rev. Dr. Trinette McCray of McCray Consulting presented a cultural competency training and, additionally, shared the results of the previous two years of work to the board. Out of extensive surveys, interviews, and small group discussions, the initiative has lifted up four strategic themes around which the national board is now be engaged: strengthened relationships, inclusive leadership, relevant and vital programming and missions, and competent and responsive governance.
Intending that the initiative themes should begin with the national board itself, board meetings were restructured from former traditional team divisions and parliamentary procedure to include, instead, round table conversations and discussion processes that leveraged the diversity of perspectives represented by the members of the board. Utilizing learning from adaptive and relational leadership models, board members were encouraged to build stronger relationships with one another throughout the meeting, thereby building trust for sharing deeper thoughts on critical issues. A desire for more inclusive leadership, relevant and vital programming and missions, and competent, responsive governance provided the foundation for the way the board approached its work together. Topics were addressed through a variety of conversational models to increase the volume of ideas generated and the ability to select together which ideas would be carried forward. Finally, rather than being assigned to standing teams, board members were each given the opportunity to choose what project they would focus on through working groups during the year through conference call and email.
“This atmosphere at this board meeting was electrifying! Board members affirmed through their evaluations of the meeting that the conversational work done in table groups was highly relevant and worthwhile,” noted Virginia Holmstrom, ABWM’s executive director. “Within the context of our meeting, members caught a vivid glimpse of the Beloved Community that we desire for the entire organization to experience and embrace.”
American Baptist Women’s Ministries is a Christ-centered ministry with a commitment to encourage and empower women and girls to serve God. For more information about American Baptist Women’s Ministries, visit www.abwministries.org.
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.