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ABC President’s Report November 11, 2015

November 11-14, 2015

Biennial Afterglow

Thanks to the many staff persons and volunteers who did some amazing things with limited resources to make the 2015 Biennial Mission Summit another wonderful gathering of the ABC family. Evaluative comments reveal what people want to see in 2017 as well as how to improve our sponsorship of the biennial “Baptist party” for all to come! On October 13th, I had the opportunity to thank the Valley Forge staff for their faithful work on the BMS.

Since June, we have had a one-day evaluation meeting on the BMS on August 13th and on November 3rd, there’ll be a planning team meeting to begin the design work for 2017. By the time we meet, I would have had “Dinner with ABC President” with the winners of the drawings for the Passports in the Exhibit Hall—Judy Woods of FBC of Wichita, KS and Franklin Onwubuarri of Brookfield, Wisconsin. These were remarkable opportunities to become familiar with members of our Baptist family and for them to hear more about our mission and ministry. I hope that this feature of the BMS would continue in 2017!

Fall Gatherings

In the past few months, I have had the privilege of speaking and attending a number of ABC events:

            Sept. 13          Bethlehem Baptist Church’s Anniversary Sunday, Spring House, PA

            Sept. 24-27     ABC of the Rocky Mountains’ Annual Gathering, Denver and at Solomon Temple Baptist Church, Denver

            Oct. 9-10         ABC of the Central Region’s Annual Gathering, Wichita, KS

            Oct. 16-18      MissionWorks by ABC of Massachusetts and ABC of Rhode Island, Leominster, MA; First Baptist Church in America, Providence; and All-Church Worship Event, Norwood Baptist Church, Warwick sponsored by ABCORI

Being at three regional gatherings this Fall gave me solid evidence that ABC is alive and vibrant! In Denver, American Baptists are unafraid of engaging in “Dangerous Conversations” of the day to become today’s Baptist trailblazers. In Wichita, five local leaders shared messages of faithfulness and courageous witness. In Massachusetts and Rhode Island, American Baptists continue without missing a beat to go on mission as well as to support missions at home and around the world.

Read Related Sermon  2008 Annual Report

Personally, I met some people whom I have not seen for years. In Denver, I became reacquainted with a former Budget Review Officer who believes in the ABC that she wants to serve again. In Wichita, I roomed with the former Executive Director of the Ministers Council that led to long chats into the night. In Massachusetts, I met a person who was a member of the youth group where I did my seminary field education in Framingham. And in Rhode Island, I met the 1982 regional youth representative on the Thailand Mission Encounter who continues to be a leader in the region and is now a mother of 3 young people. We are praying to sponsor a reunion of the group that was comprised of 29 youth from different ABC regions and 6 leaders that was a part of the Youth Mission Project of ABC Educational Ministries.

Look Ahead

At the end of this year, I will be completing my 2-year term as ABC President. What an honor and opportunity to have served the denomination that I have loved and that has shaped my life from the very beginning! I have been blessed beyond words by your dedicated and faithful service as we assumed the leadership for the ABC in the past few years. Everywhere that I have traveled across our Baptist family, I have seen pastors who give their best to the Master; church leaders who take their faith out in the public square; young people who put their developing faith into action; people in the pews who become the hands and feet of Christ in a world in desperate need of love and attention. Thank you for being on this journey with me!

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When I assume my next role as “Past President,” my major commitment is to support our new ABC President Judy Fackenthal and ABC VP Josue Gomez Melendez. I look forward to participating in our new ABC officers’ initiatives and plans for the ABC tomorrow.

Continuing some of my current involvements would be: ABC Representative to the BWA; ABC member of the ABA, Green Lake Board; Member of the ABC Development Team; Member on the UM Task Force; ABC Member of the 588 Associates Council; Member of the 2017 BMS Planning Team; Member of the ABC Nominating Committee; and of course, Past President on the BGM Executive Committee and the BGM Board.

In February 9-20, I’ll be visiting Northeast India to speak at the Nagaland Baptist Churches Council annual convention in Dimapur. There are plans underway for me to serve on the US Board for the proposed North East Christian University project sponsored by the Council of Baptist Churches of Northeast India.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank Cathy Brubaker for her administrative services in assisting BGM and me; for Marilyn Tyson on keeping the representative process current; Annie Marcucci and Kathy Young for making sure I have a hotel room; Bridget Lipin for publicizing our good works; and Roy Medley and his faithful staff advising us in keeping the ABC family together. I wish to also publicly thank my wife, Joy who has sacrificed a lot in order for me to live out my call to ministry!

Thank you for your trust and confidence in me, only a humble servant, a “coolie for Christ.” May we all go forward with Jesus as our Lord!

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