Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray reminded the board in his report that 2018 marks the 186th anniversary of The American Baptist Home Mission Society and the 194th anniversary of the Baptist General Tract Society, which became the American Baptist Publication Society and was later absorbed in ABHMS.
“The impact of ABHMS on American society has been huge,” Haggray said, “and we seek to continue making this kind of impact. ABHMS serves at the forefront of the Holy Spirit’s activity in the United States, Puerto Rico and the world. I rejoice that so much good is transpiring for so many people through our worship, work and witness.”
Board President the Rev. Dr. Clifford I. Johnson, in his opening devotional message, affirmed the Home Mission Society’s vision: “We pray that in the way God has brought us so many blessings, we bring as many blessings to others.”
Board members unanimously elected four new directors: the Rev. Yamina Apolinaris, interim general pastor, Primera Iglesia Bautista de Caguas, Puerto Rico; the Rev. Dr. Mia Chang, pastor, NextGen Church, West Windsor, N.J.; the Rev. Corey Fields, pastor, Calvary Baptist Church Newark, Del.; and Quinton Roman Nose, lay leader and member of Watonga (Okla.) Indian Baptist Church.
The Rev. Salvador Orellana, ABHMS director of the Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico initiative, reported that more than $1.3 million has been raised through One Great Hour Sharing for the island’s recovery following Hurricane Maria. Forty teams with close to 500 volunteers have impacted 20 churches, and the 30 teams already booked to volunteer in 2019 will impact even more. To continue the recovery momentum, ABHMS has set a second goal of $3.7 million to be raised by 2022, bringing the total recovery commitment to $5 million.
Orellana asked board members to continue supporting this healing ministry by giving to One Great Hour of Sharing; signing up to volunteer; encouraging others to donate and volunteer; and praying.
Retiring board members—the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Board, the Rev. Dr. Laura Sinclair, the Rev. Kevin “Scotty” Robinson, the Rev. Jay Rambo and the Rev. Dr. Robert Scott—were recognized for their steadfast service.
“Thank you for serving with dedication, distinction and a noble sense of duty,” said Haggray.
Johnson added, “You have made an impact in all the lives of those we serve.”
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
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.