The latest news from many resources for American Baptist Churches.

196th Annual Gathering October 11 & 12

We are pleased to share the news that we anticipate gathering in person with you again this year for the 2022 American Baptist Churches of Ohio Annual Gathering. The Gathering will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 11 & 12, 2022 at the Crowne Plaza Columbus North (6500 Doubletree Avenue, Columbus, OH 43229).

We are excited to have a full schedule of program events along with exhibits, personnel from various ABC Ohio-related organizations and of course, meals together around the table! Everything will also be available via livestream for those unable to travel or not prepared to join a large group.

Our 2022 theme is "Creating Community in a Polarized World". This year's keynote speaker will be Rev. Sharon Koh, CEO/Executive Director of International Ministries with ABC-USA.

We will spend time together each day in worship led by Pastor Benjamin Payne and the Praise Team of First Baptist Church of Seville. Our Bible studies will be led by ABC Ohio pastors from around the state. 

Tuesday night will include the graduation ceremony for the Ohio Leadership Academy. We will also hear from American Baptist missionaries serving through the Board of International Ministries. In addition, we will hear ministry updates from those serving here at home in Ohio. 

Please mark the date on your calendar. Registration materials and more details will be available soon!

American Baptist Churches General Secretary Releases Statement on Clergy Abuse

The American Baptist Churches General Secretary released a statement today (June 10, 2022) in response to recent public awareness of allegations of sexual abuse in other Baptist traditions:

American Baptist Churches USA acknowledges and recognizes the great harm clergy abuse wreaks within victims, families, and congregations. This experienced harm unfolds for generations and can become a part of the silent or spoken legacy of any church related to it.

While all American Baptist congregations, regions, and national organizations are autonomous, regional organizations are encouraged to maintain a process for review of allegations of clergy misconduct and decisions made from such reviews are housed in a national database for regional access. American Baptist congregations are encouraged to adopt practices that seek to reduce clergy abuse; that deal with it justly and sensitively when it occurs, and to pray for the healing of those who have suffered harm.

Since their original conversations in 1991 with Marie Fortune (author of “Is Nothing Sacred”), American Baptist regional offices as well as other American Baptist entities have explored, developed, recommended, and adopted resources designed to prevent and process allegations of clergy misconduct. Such resources include a sample process for review of recognition of ordination, an American Baptist Ministers Council Code of Ethics, ethics and boundary training for clergy administered by regional offices, a database of clergy abuse decisions by regional offices nationwide, and a system for flagging the profiles of clergy persons subject to those decisions.

This database of clergy abuse decisions and the flagging of profiles of clergy persons is intended to prevent the unwitting relocation of persons found to have engaged in abusive conduct to other ministry settings.

In addition to the detriments that clergy abuse creates for victims, it violates the sacred trust held by clergy. The responsibility to maintain healthy boundaries always resides with the clergy person.

“I will strive for a disciplined life by tending to my mental, physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing in such ways as keeping hours of prayers, devotion and rest, endeavoring to maintain wholesome family relationships, sexual integrity, financial responsibility, constructive use of social media, and regularly engaging in educational and leisure activities for ministerial and personal development.” (American Baptist Ministers Council Covenant and Code of Ethics)

Dr. C. Jeff Woods
General Secretary
American Baptist Churches USA 
Valley Forge, PA (06/10/22)

Further information can be found here:

We Remember Rev. Kenneth Lew Damon

Rev. Kenneth Lew Damon, born June 4th, 1957, to Sara Crabb Damon and Jack Almon Damon, passed away on Good Friday, April 15, 2022. He was a pastor at First Baptist Church of Bucyrus, Ohio for 10 years and the pastor of Shroyer Road Baptist Church for 25 years before retiring in January of 2020.

Ken received his Bachelor of Science in psychology and religion from Mount Union University (13 time football national champions!) and his Master of Divinity from Gordon Conwell Seminary.  

He was winner of the Harry Manning award from American Baptist Churches for distinguished service. He was a lifelong learner and an avid reader. He had a perfectly-timed sense of humor. He had a zest for life, playing with electronic helicopters and nerf guns up until the day he passed. He LOVED food. He maintained a beautiful garden with his wife and kept a yard full of beautiful birds. He was a music buff, with an eclectic playlist for every occasion. He had a passion for social justice and fighting for those whose voices are often unheard. His empathy was palpable in every interaction. 

Most of all, he was devoted to serving God through loving every person he came across. He was a man of patience and authenticity, loving his family and humanity without limitations or judgment. Humility and humor remain his legacy through the thousands of souls he impacted. To have known him was to have glimpsed God’s love. He will be deeply missed and remembered with the purest gratitude.

Ken is survived by his wife of 41 years, Jennifer, his sisters Amy and Janice, his daughter Julia, his sons Kyle and Joel, his daughter-in-law Nicole, his grandchildren, Jack, Skyler, Anemone, and his granddog Molly. Please keep the Damon family in your prayers.

Celebrating the life and ministry of Kenneth Edsel Peterson

Kenneth Edsel Peterson, 96 of Delaware entered Eternal Life early Monday morning, March 14, 2022 at his residence. Kenneth had a long history of work in American Baptist Churches both here in Ohio and across the country.

Born May 30, 1925 to his parents Ebert Russell & Jessie Hazel (Simmon) Peterson on their farm in Rock Island County, Il. Ken graduated from High School in Rock Island, Il in1943. Called to the Army Air Corp during WWII, he became a tail gunner on a B17 stationed in England flying 20 missions over Europe, and discharged in 1945.

After returning home he attended Augustana College in Rock Island, where he graduated in 1949. He married Genevieve E. Mac Neill on August 21, 1949 and they located in Rochester NY where he graduated from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in 1952.

Ken’s pastoral duties were with the First Baptist Church in Morris Illinois, a period of time as a staff member in the Youth Department of American Baptist Churches USA encouraging young people all over the country to develop their leadership skills in service to others, Memorial Baptist Church in Dayton Ohio, First Baptist Church Lexington, Massachusetts, and Cherry Hill Baptist Church Dearborn Heights, Michigan. 

Read more: Celebrating the life and ministry of Kenneth Edsel Peterson