On Saturday, May 5, 2018, American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York (ABCMNY) held their Annual Spring Rally at Union Baptist Church in Harlem. “Our Spring Rally is the mid-year meeting for ABCMNY. In some ways it is our most dynamic or multi-lateral larger gathering as a region because we not only learn from our workshop leaders, we learn from each other. It is a kind of a “teach-in” or “learn-in” for our members and friends,” said Regional Executive Minister, Dr. Cheryl Dudley.” Over 200 clergy and laity gathered to explore the theme for 2018 Traveling Together Towards Transformation.
ABCMNY addressed topics that were challenging and relevant to conversations we are having with colleagues, friends, and family around the dinner table. “Our hope in providing the workshops of this Spring Rally was to get all participants involved in learning exercises of urgent topics that respond to core confessions of our Faith, in ways that not only heightens personal and collective consciousness, but also provides resources, connections, and networking possibilities to our member churches,” commented Rev. Dr. Isaac Castaneda, Associate Executive Minister. Workshop topics included: Countering the Forces of Displacement, Legacy Planning, Christian Supremacy, White Supremacy; and Sexuality, Power, and Boundaries in the body of Christ. As experts addressed these thought-provoking issues inside the classroom, attendees wrestled with their own views through challenging and lively conversations over lunch.
In addition to the workshops, the Spring Rally opened with words of welcome from the new board president, Mark Snyder. He challenged the region to take seriously this call to work together towards transformation. This was followed by inspirational and motivating remarks from Rev. Dr. Valerie Holly of Judson Memorial Church, New Sanctuary Coalition NYC, who have been helping churches to address the immigration issues congregations are facing in New York City, and Alison Amyx, board member of the Baptist Peace Fellowship (BPFNA).
At the afternoon worship experience, participants shared some of their reflection on the day’s activities. Many agreed that they gained some new resources to bring back to their congregations and even learned new language to help engage members of their churches in conversations on these contemporary issues. “It was insightful and stretched my thinking. It was good to hear topics of discussion that were challenging and relevant to the local church and to the larger denomination,” said Pastor Trevor Hyde, one of the participants. Associate Executive Minister, Rev. Campbell Singletary, summed up the day’s event: “Discipleship is a lifelong holistic process of learning, witness and transformation that involves confronting racism, countering gentrification, forming sexual boundaries and passing a legacy to generations. Doing something about injustices in and outside the church is the gospel.”
Following a litany of Commitment, the day came to a close with the Rev. Marsha Scipio, the Associate General Secretary for American Baptist Churches USA, delivering the commission and benediction. She reminded the gathering “to go forward with a determination to do justice, to love intentionally and serve more compassionately” as they travel together toward transformation.
Your United Mission giving provides the essential behind the scenes support to your region and the American Baptist family. It is through your United Mission support that we continue to work as the hands and feet of Christ. ABCMNY supports United Mission. To learn more about ABCMNY and/or United Missions giving please visit their website abcmny.org.