The latest news from many resources for American Baptist Churches.

Churches and Pastors: Important Tax Law Changes

On July 1, 2015 the Affordable Care Act rules officially change for many churches. Tax advisors are warning churches who previously provided health insurance reimbursement as part of a salary “package” that it is now against the law. Unless your church employees are on a group plan or pay only one employee, an employer is not permitted to reimburse individual health care insurance premiums on either a pre- or post-tax basis. If your church continues to do this, the church is required to pay a fine of $100 per day per employee.

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Rev. Bob Cassady Announces Retirement

Rev. Bob Cassady has announced his intention to retire as of December 31, 2015. His letter of retirement may be downloaded HERE or you may read it in full here:
 
To All ABC/Ohio Pastors, Ministry Leaders, Church Members & Friends:
 
It has truly been an honor and privilege to serve Christ through the ministries of our ABC/Ohio Region for almost 25 years. God has richly blessed me with the opportunity to establish many friendships and ministry partnerships for which I will be eternally grateful. 
 
Over the years I have experienced God doing some incredible ministry during our time together. Both our ABC/Ohio Region and many of our churches are going through significant ministry-changing transformations. God is truly in our midst and doing great things. We continue to partner to work together in ‘building healthy churches that impact the world for Christ!’

Read more: Rev. Bob Cassady Announces Retirement

Loretta Swanson Goes to be with the Lord

Loretta A. Swanson, age 78 passed away Wednesday, June 10, 2015. She worked at the American Baptist Churches of Ohio as the assistant to John Sunquist for over twenty years in Granville, Ohio. She is preceded in death by her husband, Garland Swanson for whom she was married to over 44 years. We praise God for her service for the American Baptist Churches of Ohio.
 

Mary Belle Jansen Remembered for a Life of Service

One of our own, Mary Belle (Meadows) Jansen, 93, passed away on May 17, 2015. Mary graduated from Ottawa University before leaving Kansas to achieve her Master of Religious Education at Andover Newton Theological School in Massachusetts. Following graduation, she served as Minister of Christian Education for churches in Rochester, N.Y. and Toledo, Ohio. In 1959, she joined the staff of the Department of Christian Education of the American Baptist Churches of Ohio, Granville. While there, she met the love of her life, Bob Jansen, a widower from Akron with three sons. On September 11, 1965, she and Bob married and Mary began an elegant transition to life as a wife and mother to teenaged boys.
 
Over the years, she eagerly and joyfully shared her commitment to Christian service in various leadership roles at Goodyear Heights Baptist Church while serving the larger community through her work with the Akron Area Association of American Baptist Churches as well as the Ohio region. Mary was a faithful participant in ecumenical activities of the Akron Area Association of Churches, which she served as president, the Interfaith Council and the Interfaith Council Givers Program.
 
Mary radiated a strong but soft spoken Christian witness, generously offering comfort, guidance and a helping hand wherever and whenever she was needed. She was devoted to her family - immediate, extended and adopted - and embraced her friends and neighbors equally. She relished her role as the family's news center, and woe be to those who forgot to share their news with her. 
 
Mary requested memorials be made to the Ohio Baptist Education Society Scholarships (ABC-Ohio, 136 Galway Drive North, Granville, OH 43023). With simple acts of kindness, her family will seek to honor her every day.