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ABC President’s Report March 10, 2015

March 10-13, 2015

Creating Space

This may sound too simplistic but “creating space” for people to have room at the table is divine. On New Year’s Day, I flew to Portland, Maine to spend a day with Al Fletcher and about 40 people at table conversations to explore ways to create sacred space for millennials and next generations. On Feb. 8th, I preached at Watts Street in Durham, NC to strongly convey that while we are not yet as inclusive as we may be called to be, we are definitely moving toward that reality of becoming a truly beloved community. Being on the journey with Christ is faithfulness and whenever we get to that destination, it will be divine.

Removing Barriers

One of the most strategic and perhaps significant developments to happen this year is when the 5 national organizations’ board presidents and vice-presidents met on Jan. 7th to discuss common and mutual concerns facing the vitality and future of American Baptists. As officers, we are indebted and appreciative of those who have developed through the years very resourceful and responsible mission institutions. Today in the face of the post-denominational era, we believe that an informed and active board can be instrumental to remaining faithful as well as relevant to today’s realities. After meeting with the NEC on the following day, the board presidents and vice-presidents are planning to meet in August after the Biennial Mission Summit this year and with intentions of meeting regularly in the future.

Calling the Next GS

Chairing the Search Committee for the next General Secretary occupies my time and attention. The days before the Super Bowl in Phoenix, we selected 4 persons to offer interviews scheduled for the last week of March. Being the first search committee for a member of the NEC knowing that there are others following and the general reality that we are seeing a dramatic transferring of leadership as the baby-boomer generation retires, we are both challenged and humbled to know how important our task is. Your prayers for this process are deeply requested.

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Looking Ahead

Before I get to Overland Park in June, I will celebrate the nomination of Josue Gomez as our next VP if elected at the Mission Summit in San Juan; attend Bud Carroll’s memorial service in Wayne, PA who was my mentor, colleague and good friend; attend the REMC and NLC at Green Lake; and visit Northeast India to speak at the CBC-NEI’s annual convention and to see the site of the proposed Christian university. In the midst of all of this, I pray that I will also retire well and complete my 17 years of ministry as senior pastor at First Chinese, SF on June 30th. I know that the only strength that I have is coming from the Lord!

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