Churches in the mainland are invited to complete an online registration form to express their interest and sign-up to take part in the initiative.
The participation of Puerto Rican congregations is being coordinated by the region; interested churches are now able to sign-up by contacting the region directly.
The original invitation came on February 22, 2018, from Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico Executive Minister Rev. Edgardo M. Caraballo Marín and American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) General Secretary Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer. Through the initiative, up to three sister congregations from U.S. mainland churches—ideally hailing from different ABC regions—will be secured for each participating Puerto Rican congregation. Congregations will be matched primarily by congregation size (up to 100, between 101-200, and over 200).
The churches will be invited to join in friendship-building through prayer support, moral support and encouragement through written communications among pastoral leaders, church members and children, leading up to opportunities for common worship experiences during the 2021 Biennial Mission Summit in Puerto Rico.
The Sister Churches Initiative is being facilitated by Rev. Dr. Kevin Walden, ABCUSA Associate General Secretary for Congregational and Pastoral Effectiveness (Kevin.Walden@abc-usa.org).
The Sister Churches covenant begins: “Guided by the Holy Spirit and moved by the love of Christ, we journey in covenant with one another as American Baptist brothers and sisters. Given the needs and challenges experienced by our churches in Puerto Rico due to recent hurricanes, and the incredible strength they have expressed through faith in Christ, we endeavor to encourage each other as a denominational family.” Find the full covenant here.
Sister churches are not expected to provide direct financial support. All funds for Puerto Rican relief are encouraged to flow through One Great Hour of Sharing. If a Puerto Rican sister church has reconstruction needs, we encourage volunteer relief mission projects to be coordinated through the Disaster Response ministry of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies and the Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico region.