The latest news from many resources for American Baptist Churches.

Sophia Stephenson Joins the Angels

The American Baptist Churches of Ohio extends Christian Sympathy to the family of Sophia Stephenson, who passed away on July 24, and to the First Baptist Church of Delaware.  Mrs. Stephenson was the wife of the late Dr. James “Steve” Stephenson, who served as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Delaware from 1947 to 1987.  A memorial service is planned for a later date, and an obituary is not yet available, but the family would like to share this sad news with the ABC Ohio community.  Please join in prayers for the Stephenson family.

Rev. Edward G. Brutto Has Passed into Heaven's Arms


Rev. Edward G. Brutto, age 77, of Sebring passed away Sunday July 12 at Crandall Medical Center in Sebring. Rev. Brutto pastored for ten years at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Bloomingdale.

He was born September 28, 1942 in Canton, to Elmer and Ardena (Heinbauch) Brutto. A 1960 graduate of Sebring High School he went on to attend Kent State University. Edward was a veteran of the US Army Reserves who went to compete on the first Army Pistol Team in which they placed 8th in the world. He worked in telecommunications, working for several companies across Ohio such as Ohio Bell Ameritech, SBC, and AT&T before his retirement. Edward was a 52 year member of Alliance First Baptist Church.

He was involved in many organizations including American Baptist Churches of Ohio, President of Telephone Pioneers of America of Youngstown, as well as being a lifetime member of the NRA. He enjoyed fishing and hunting, as well as being a chef who enjoyed delighting others with his talent for cooking and catering. 

Those left to cherish his memory are his daughter, Danielle (Ray Dyer) Brutto; son Timothy E. (Deana) Brutto; granddaughters, Rachel and Monica Brutto.

He is preceded in death by his parents; wife, Linda K. Brutto whom he married September 3, 1966 and who passed away June 12, 2010

Memorial contributions can be made in Edward’s name to Alliance First Baptist Church 1659 W. State St Alliance, Ohio 44601 or Heart Reach Ministries of Youngstown 211 Redondo Rd, Youngstown, OH 44504.

Please keep the Brutto family in your prayers.

194th Annual Gathering October 6


In light of this very unusual and challenging year of COVID-19, we have had several conversations about how the Gathering would look this year. Our ABC Ohio Board of Regional Ministries met to discuss the concern of bringing 175 people, many of them in the at-risk category, together for a two-day event. In light of the risks to participants, the Board and Staff came to the conclusion that this year’s event will be different than past Annual Gatherings.

The 2020 ABC Ohio Annual Gathering will take place on Tuesday, October 6 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel North in Columbus, the same location as past years. We will meet at 1 PM with Dr. C. Jeff Woods, Acting General Secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA as our keynote speaker.  Pastor Benjamin Payne and the praise team of the First Baptist Church of Seville will be our worship leaders. The afternoon will include a brief business meeting, which is required by our region’s constitution. We anticipate that the event will conclude by 4:30 PM. Because of the high risk of banquet-style meals, there will be no meal functions. 

We know that some of you will enjoy participating in the Gathering in person. We will practice social distancing in our room arrangement and program. Masks will be required for all who attend. The hotel has assured us that they will take an abundance of precautions to meet safety standards while we are there.  

We also know that many of you will want to be part of the day, but will not want to participate in person. We urge those who are ill, at risk, or have a desire to be cautious, to stay at home and participate with us electronically. The event will be live-streamed, so you will be able to be part of the afternoon in real time. More information about the live-streaming will be made available closer to the time of the event.

There will be no charge for this year’s Annual Gathering, but advanced registration will be required. In about a month, we will send registration information so that your church may register delegates and guests. This will assure that we are adequately prepared for the business meeting and for set-up at the hotel.

We are looking forward to 2021 as we anticipate being together for a more complete Annual Gathering next year. You and your congregations remain in our prayers as we continue to navigate the challenges of COVID.

2021 Biennial Mission Summit Planning Underway!

Planning is well underway for the American Baptist Churches USA 2021 Biennial Mission Summit to be held June 25-27, 2021, at the San Juan Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In a new video, Interim General Secretary Dr. C. Jeff Woods introduces and gives an update on planning for the event. We encourage you to watch the full video to learn more about the 2021 Biennial Mission Summit.