Guest lecturer Dr. Craig Van Gelder, a missiologist, retired professor and author of many books, including “Participating in God’s Mission: A Theological Missiology for the Church in America,” addressed today’s changing landscape of churches and denominations. Additional participants included Dr. Jeff Woods, ABCUSA acting general secretary; the Rev. Dr. Patricia Hernandez, ABCUSA associate general secretary for Women in Ministry and Transition Ministries; the Rev. Gina Jacobs-Strain, executive director of American Baptist Women’s Ministries; Valoria Cheek, Esq., president and CEO of The American Baptist Extension Corporation; the Rev. Jamie Washam, president of ABHMS’ board of directors; and the Rev. Dr. Corey Fields, a member of ABHMS’ board of directors.
The two-day event sought to inspire an uncommon discussion of mission in America among ABHMS executive and program staff and valued partners representing regions and national offices of ABCUSA, according to ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray.
In addition, ABHMS shared its missional priorities: Leadership Empowerment; Discipleship; Healing and Transforming Communities; Intercultural Ministries; Public Witness and Advocacy; and Mission Engagement. “We’re not unrolling a program,” said Haggray. “The idea is to share with you [the REMC] the underlying mission principles that frame and guide our work.”
“I deeply appreciate the hospitality and warm welcome extended to me and my colleagues at the ABHMS Mission Consultation,” said the Rev. Soozi Whitten Ford, executive minister of American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky. “I know the effort necessary to provide such a gathering happens only with great intentionality and planning at all levels, and that was obvious throughout our time together.”
“It’s been helpful to have the emphasis that people in leadership roles need to be listening to where God is at work in the community,” said the Rev Dr. Al Fletcher, executive minister of American Baptist Churches of Maine. “I appreciate the listening conversations with ABHMS and the promise that they’ll be listening to [other] partners as well.”
“Meaningful worship, intentional conversations, and the opportunity to reflect upon and speak into our shared missiological pathways combined together for a very worthwhile event,” added Whitten Ford. “I am grateful to Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Haggray and to the entire ABHMS staff for the invitation to participate.”
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.