VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/19/20)—The American Baptist Churches USA Board of General Ministries met November 13-14, 2020, in what was its first online board meeting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ABCUSA President Karen Podsiadly said, “I am forever indebted to the committed members of our ABC family who participated in and helped to make our November Board of General Ministries Meeting efficient and productive. I am encouraged to see the many ways in which we continue to work on behalf of our entire American Baptist family.”
Interim General Secretary C. Jeff Woods noted, “It is always beneficial to gather, discuss, and help to advance the ministries that God has given us, no matter the format. Technology allowed our fall meetings to take place in phases as our Action groups, committees, and task forces met in the weeks leading up to our Board of General Ministries online meeting. I appreciate the many hours of preparation from our board leadership and our office staff who helped these meetings to run smoothly.”
At the start of the meeting, the board heard a report of the Interim General Secretary, who asked directors to hold in prayer those affected by the coronavirus and discussed the overall mission of the Office of the General Secretary and our American Baptist partner ministries. He noted that the Board of General Ministries is tasked to serve the whole of the denomination, which is why the board has representation from every region of American Baptist Churches USA. Woods reflected on the unity of the whole of American Baptist Churches and the work that has been done to date during the COVID-19 pandemic across the denomination.
In the Friday board session, Josué Gómez-Menéndez, Chair of the Credentials and Caucus Committee and Past President of ABCUSA, gave the report of Changed Relationships, noting that there are currently 5,003 American Baptist churches across the United States and Puerto Rico. This information comes from church information in the American Baptist Churches Information System, which is administered by the ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary.
Woods reported on the recent convening of the reconstituted Task Force on Anti-Racism, noting that there are already many regions and churches that are doing work in this area.
“As we ask this Task Force to begin identifying resources that can be used, they are already beginning with a full two page document of resources that have been identified in this area,” said Woods. “They are developing [resources] or identifying them primarily for all the people at all the starting points on this critical issue in our midst.”
The board voted to adopt the 2021 budget presented by budget review officer Paul Higgins. A special offering for the COVID Relief Fund for One Great Hour of Sharing was taken by the board, which will go toward work being done in COVID emergency support by both the American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) and International Ministries (IM) to help families, churches and communities find relief and recovery across the United States, Puerto Rico and countries around the world served by IM. Click here to read more about this fund.
The board recognized the following retiring Board of General Ministries Directors (years served in parentheses):
Joyce K. Blandon (6 years)
Cecelia Dachtler (6 years)
Kelly D. Legg (7.5 years)
Jose Manuel Magana (7 years)
The Board of General Ministries meeting concluded on Saturday morning, November 14.
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.