VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/7/17)—A Celebration and Thanksgiving Service will be held at the American Baptist Churches Mission Center on Thursday, November 16, 2017. Invitations are being extended to current and retired national staff and American Baptist and ecumenical partners, for whom the service has been planned. The service will celebrate 55 years of ministry in the American Baptist Mission Center, and will include worship, singing and reflection, concluding with refreshments and fellowship.
“For 55 years, American Baptists have come to the present Mission Center to collaborate, create and further ministries that have blessed countless individuals, churches and communities. Baptist partners from across the globe have come here to celebrate our unity in Christ and focus on fulfilling the Great Commission,” recalls ABCUSA General Secretary Lee B. Spitzer. “Now it is time to thank God for past faithfulness, and to look to the future with renewed hope and faith. We are moving to new buildings so that our movement can cross into a brighter future.”
In 1962, the American Baptist Churches USA (known then as the American Baptist Convention) entered into covenant to pass on to future generations a legacy and vision, “…to testify in the years to come that a people inspired under God with a sense of individual worth and personal responsibility, may work out their destiny unaided and unafraid.”
The Mission Center has served since 1962 as a major site for the ongoing planning of domestic and overseas mission work, and for the production of various resources designed to help regions and local congregations and their leaders in their ministries. The land for the building was originally purchased in 1957 with a plan of unifying the publication and administrative activities of the Board of Education and Publication (later Educational Ministries). Delegates at the American Baptist Convention’s 1958 annual meeting in Cincinnati then voted to consolidate all dispersed American Baptist agencies under one roof in Valley Forge, bringing together two Philadelphia offices and five New York, NY offices, to one location in Valley Forge (MMBB maintained a satellite office in Valley Forge, but it’s main office remained in New York).
Following a four-year, collaborative process that considered location issues related to offices of American Baptist Churches’ national partners, it was announced earlier this year that the national partners would be moving to new locations in late 2017 and early 2018. Learn more here, and here.
The Celebration and Thanksgiving service will be centered around Joshua 4:5-7: “Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’, tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.” With questions about the service, please contact planning committee member Virginia Holmstrom at Virginia.Holmstrom@abc-usa.org.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.