In response to the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that shook Puerto Rico January 7, 2020 American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), on behalf of American Baptist Churches USA, has released $15,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) funds to partners in Puerto Rico, including $10,000 for Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico. However, additional help is needed.
What You and Your Church Can Do
Pray, pray, pray! Pray for our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico daily at 20:20 hours. Part of the concern is that the lack of electricity, water and gasoline will trigger widespread panic in addition to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder initiated by Hurricane Maria.
Donations can be made online designated to “OGHS-Puerto Rico Earthquake” or via your church or check with the same designation and mailed to the attention of Leda Carter at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, 1075 First Ave., King of Prussia, PA 19406.
One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. To ensure that your church receives credit for your gift, write the church name on your check.
National personnel have been in touch with key partners in Puerto Rico, including the Rev. Edgardo Caraballo, executive minister of Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico. The island found itself without electricity immediately following the earthquake. The southwestern area continues without electricity and water. Long lines have formed at gasoline stations, which are running out of gasoline.
Primera Iglesia Bautista de Yauco received significant damage, according to Caraballo. Two pastors had to evacuate their homes, which were deemed unsafe. Damage assessment will continue on the island. Primera Iglesia Bautista de Guayanilla, according to its pastor, Carlos A. Padilla, has become a shelter for the community; more than 60 individuals are eating and living at the church’s facilities.
In Guánica, 28 homes were destroyed, 99 received damage and 21 are near collapse, according to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, which happened to be on the island at the time of the earthquake. In addition, two schools have been destroyed and one received damage. Two public buildings in Guánica have been decimated and another is close to collapse, while one bridge and one road received damage. Thirteen shelters, according to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, are housing 746 individuals and are in great need of supplies. More details and updates can be found at abc-usa.org.
International Ministries is sad to announce the passing of Rev. Orville R. Chapman on January 2, 2020. Rev. Chapman and his wife, Virginia (Becker) Chapman, were IM missionaries for almost four decades in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire).
Commissioned in 1955, the Chapmans began their ministry in Sona Bata, training pastors in rural villages and teaching science and theology at the local secondary school. In 1960, due to political turmoil, the Chapmans were evacuated. They returned to Sona Bata in 1961. In 1963, they spent three months by the Angolan border working with refugees. In subsequent terms of service, they lived in Moanza, Kinshasa, and Kikongo where they did administrative work and taught theology at the ISTK (Institute of Theology in Kinshasa) and also at the Kikongo Pastors’ School (now the Baptist University of Kikongo/UNIBAC).
Rev. Chapman received his B.A. from Ottawa University (Ottawa, Kansas), his B.D. from the Berkeley Baptist Divinity School (Berkeley, CA.), and his D. Min from the American Baptist Seminary of the West. He once described his passion for life-long ministry with the Congolese as “an opportunity to help bring about a more abundant life” to people in rural village areas.
Glen Chapman, the oldest of Rev. Orville and Virginia’s four children, carries on the legacy of his parents’ missionary service. He and his wife, Rita (Brown) Chapman, are also long-term missionaries with International Ministries and have served in the DR Congo since 1987.
Please keep the Chapman family in your prayers.
The Reverend Doctor Langston Clinton Bannister, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, mentor, teacher, pastor, colleague, neighbor and friend passed from this earthly life on Friday, November 22, 2019. Langston was born on December 8, 1933, in Wake Forest, Virginia, to Frank Bannister, Sr. and Revella Harrison Bannister.
Langston began his lifelong education in a one room schoolhouse. He pursued intellectual excellence as he completed degree programs at Tuskegee University, and next serving his country in the U.S. Air Force. A Master's degree from San Francisco State University and a Doctorate from the University of Massachusetts followed.
Langston served students of The University of Toledo as a professor for 30 years and was instrumental in the expansion of the Education Sociology Department. It was during this time that Langston spent a year with his family on sabbatical in Oslo, Norway working in an International Management Program for Educational Change. He also conducted workshops in Indonesia.
While at UT he served as Senior Pastor of Third Baptist Church for 18 years. In retirement, Langston completed a three year Spiritual Formation program which enhanced his work as a mentor, lecturer and community leader.
Langston was particularly sought out by pastors as a mentor. He was passionate about helping others, and was observant in knowing who was in need of assistance. He shared his gifts and his love generously, welcoming many young people into his own sphere to help them reach their goals and use their talents. He inspired his own family to seek higher levels of achievement through education.
The importance of sleep is indisputable—especially as it relates to the developing minds and bodies of children and teens. That’s the reason that Mahoning Valley Baptist Association (MVBA), Youngstown, Ohio, partnered with the Campbell, Ohio-headquartered Heart Reach Neighborhood Ministries to provide mattresses to families in the low-income Youngstown metropolitan area. Heart Reach Neighborhood Ministries is a partner of American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ (ABHMS) Community Outreach Ministries.
The organizations had learned from a Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority survey that only 40 percent of apartments in the Kirwan Homes development, Campbell, had enough beds for the number of occupants.
“Children are sleeping on couches, chairs and, in some cases, extra clothing piles on the floor,” wrote Dr. Rudy Braydich, MVBA president, in a report to ABHMS. “Proper sleep translates into better attention in school and reduced health issues.”
MVBA churches raised money to purchase mattresses. Clients from Heart Reach Neighborhood Ministries’ three community centers—Kirwan Homes Community Center; Rockford Village Community Center, Youngstown; and Youngstown West Side Community Center—were invited to apply to receive mattresses. Volunteers from MVBA churches delivered 104 mattresses to residents’ doors.
“We Are American Baptist Churches of Ohio – Our Heritage & Mission,” was produced to provide a reminder of our rich heritage, mission, and covenant. The question for our congregations, leaders and pastors is: “What does it mean for you and your congregation to be a member of the American Baptist Churches of Ohio?”