VALLEY FORGE, PA (11/29/23)—American Baptist Home Missions Societies is able to realize its missional priorities thanks to the donors who make its many programs, scholarships, and grants possible. In order to celebrate and cherish them, ABHMS hosted the Inaugural Donor Appreciation Gala at its Leadership and Mission Building in late September of 2023.
The event was inspired and guided by Romans 15:7 “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” [ESV] The attendees enjoyed fellowship, presentations by ABHMS staff and guest presenters, and a celebratory dinner in a festive atmosphere enhanced by beautiful decorations and moving music. The high energy of the Gala was palpable throughout.
Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, executive director of ABHMS, spoke of the importance of ABHMS’ relationship with the donors in his welcoming speech: “We endeavor to identify resources and share these resources with countless others who are in need. We endeavor to demonstrate in real time that our loving God is alive and active in the lives of faithful Christians all across the nation.”
The event itself was sponsored by the Rev. Dr. Clifford I. Johnson who currently serves on the MMBB Pension Board as a director. Clifford is the stewardship coordinator with the ABHMS Office of Development following his service on the ABHMS Board of Directors.
While it was a celebration of the donors, the Gala was also a unique opportunity to connect the donors directly with some of the beneficiaries of their generosity – ABHMS scholarship recipients and Co-Creators who received seed grants for their innovative ministry projects. ABHMS has historically helped to support American Baptist students through its scholarship program.
Hailey Timmons, a student at Temple University who plans to become an education lawyer one day, and who was present at the Gala, said: “The scholarship has lessened the burdens on cost of textbooks, supplies, and overall tuition! It has aided my mental and spiritual health. The donors’ kindness and generosity allow me to continue in my educational journey, and for that I am immensely grateful.”
“In a world where we constantly hear about the demise of the church, we know at ABHMS that the church is alive and God is still working through the churches, through his people,” said Vincent Dent, ABHMS’ chief development officer. “Our donors are primarily church people, and their enthusiasm translates to me, a still vibrant church; a church that is obviously nurturing its congregation.”
The 2023 Inaugural Gala will be followed by an event for Bay Area donors in 2024 and a second regional donor appreciation event in 2025.
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.