VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 12/21/18)—This Christmas season, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) reflects with gratitude on the generosity of donors who have facilitated its awarding of $723,111 total in grants to 129 partners in 2018. Representing the ministry of ABHMS since its inception in 1832, grants were awarded to congregations, communities and institutions that are cultivating leaders, equipping disciples and healing and transforming communities throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
“ABHMS awarded grants throughout the year from January to December. As we reviewed the disbursement of grant dollars, we realized that we achieved our goal of awarding coast to coast, including 19 new partners receiving an ABHMS grant for the first time,” says ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray. “At least one grant was awarded to support ministry in 41 states; Washington, D.C.; and Puerto Rico.
“We are intentional in awarding grants to partners who have demonstrated an eagerness to partner in ABHMS vision beyond receipt of mission dollars,” he continues. “Comprehensive reports from grant recipients provide a panoramic view of ministry impact. We are committed to evaluating and sharing updates on the difference your generosity makes.”
Throughout 2018, ABHMS provided Salary Support Grants to several American Baptist Churches USA regions—including American Baptist Churches (ABC) of New Jersey, ABC of Metro Chicago, ABC of the Dakotas, ABC of Greater Indianapolis [ABCGI], ABC of Nebraska and ABC of Wisconsin—for leadership development, congregational care, volunteer support and outreach, primarily to Latino, Asian and Haitian ministries and natural disaster response.
“Providing a resource like the Rev. Jaime Flores to our Spanish-speaking community has been an amazing gift of seeing God expand our capacity,” says the Rev. Joan Friesen, executive minister of ABCGI. “The extra funding provided to us by ABHMS gives Jaime the extra time and resources to work with the growing network of Spanish-speaking congregations, including planning for additional new churches. We are so grateful for this funding.”
Thirty-eight ministry partners received grant awards through the America for Christ Offering, Community Outreach Ministries and Rizpah’s Children partner grants. One of these grants helped Exton (Pa.) Community Baptist Church to fund its English as a Second Language (ESL) program. “All of the students who have gone through our ESL program have gone on to get better paying jobs,” says a church spokesperson.
As part of the overall $723,111 in grants, $30,000 was provided to various partners across the United States and Puerto Rico for emergency food and shelter, while $22,593 for refugee and immigration ministries was provided to such organizations as Massachusetts Baptist Multicultural Ministries; Stelton Baptist Church, Edison, N.J.; First Baptist Church of Maywood, Calif.; Iglesia Bautista Betesda, Indianapolis; Judson Memorial Church/New Sanctuary Coalition, New York City; and Esperanza and the New Sanctuary Movement, both Philadelphia.
In addition to the $723,111 in grants, $538,889 from the Virginia and Gordon Palmer Jr. Trust was awarded by American Baptist Foundation during ABHMS’ 2018 grant cycle. A total of $275,757 in One Great Hour of Sharing and other ABHMS grants was awarded in 2018 for such natural disasters as hurricanes Florence, Michael and Harvey as well as tornadoes, floods and the California wildfires. Funds continue to be distributed, as the year ends.
More than half of the funds received for Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico have been utilized toward rebuilding efforts with the remaining designated for continuing efforts to be announced in 2019. Since September 2017, when hurricanes Maria and Irma wrought havoc on Puerto Rico, 48 American Baptist churches, schools and other entities on the island have been restored or are undergoing restoration via ABHMS’ ongoing “Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico” initiative. ABHMS will continue to support Puerto Rico in the same way that it continues to rebuild New Orleans since hurricanes Katrina and Rita made landfall 13 years ago.
Beyond the grants mentioned above, ABHMS continues its commitment to ongoing education through the awarding of scholarships and continuing education grants.
ABHMS is realizing the vision of its grant-redevelopment process, as announced in 2017, to better align with its mission priorities as well as with realities across the United States and Puerto Rico. ABHMS is grateful for the generosity of both previous and current donors, who give sacrificially and generously so that ABHMS can effectively partner with American Baptists to share Christ’s enduring love.
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.