The latest news from many resources for American Baptist Churches.

AutumnQuest Ohio Retirement Workshop October 29-30, 2019

AutumnQuest is a workshop designed by Midwest Ministry Development and sponsored by MMBB to help you anticipate, plan and shape your retirement. AutumnQuest is being hosted in the Dayton area by the American Baptist Churches of Ohio. DOWNLOAD REGISTRATION FORM HERE!

ABC Ministerial Leaders and Spouses are invited to attend the workshop at New Season Ministry, 5711 Shull Road, Huber Heights, OH 45424. Ample parking is available, and several hotels and restaurants are located within a mile of the church. A boxed lunch will be provided each day.

Retirement is a significant transition, filled with hopes, uncertainties and some anxieties as well. For those in ministry there are added dimensions, since ministry is more than a job, it is a way of life, an identity, and a calling.

AutumnQuest will help you (and your spouse, if you are married): 

•Identify your degree of readiness for retirement

• Form your unique vision of retirement

• Explore new ways to balance work, leisure and learning

• Consider geographical options and life-style preferences

• Evaluate your financial resources and needs

• Anticipate the dynamic nature and stages of retirement living

At AutumnQuest, you will process these areas with a counselor from Midwest Ministry Development, a representative from MMBB, and your peers in the group. AutumnQuest is a time to open yourself to new ideas and possibilities!

AutumnQuest will begin at 10 a.m. on October 29th and conclude at 4 p.m. on October 30. The total registration fee is $100. There is no extra fee for a non-ordained spouse; if both spouses are ordained, the registration fee is $100 per person. (Note: If the workshop is canceled for any reason, you will be informed at the earliest possible time and your registration fee will be refunded.) 

When your registration form is received by Midwest Ministry, you will be sent more information regarding the workshop location and a questionnaire which will help you begin to think about and prepare for the workshop. Spouses are strongly encouraged to fully participate and share in this event. Each workshop is limited in size, so please send in your registration form(s) by October 18, 2019.

For more information call Midwest Ministry Development at 708.343.6268 or contact via email at mmds69go(at)

The Passing of Rev. Dr. Lawrence O. Swain

Dear Friends,

It is with profound sadness that we share with you the unexpected passing of Rev. Dr. Larry Swain last evening.  He and Linda were visiting family in Kansas City. 

Dr. Swain served as an Area Minister and later Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Ohio until his retirement in December 2015.  He returned last year to serve as ABC Ohio’s Interim Executive Minister after the death of Dr. Ernest Jones.   He was serving as Executive Staff Coach for the Region at the time of his passing.  Dr. Swain was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, outstanding leader, and man of God. 

No information is yet available about calling hours or funeral.  We will forward that information to you when it is announced.

In Christ,

Rev. Mark Click
Rev. Jane Gibbons
Executive Ministers

Collaborating to Provide Mattresses for Clients of ABHMS Partnering Organization

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.

Read more: Collaborating to Provide Mattresses for Clients of ABHMS Partnering Organization

The Collective Conscience of our Country: A Pastoral Letter from ABCUSA General Secretary Lee Spitzer

Read a pastoral letter from General Secretary Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, published August 5, 2019, below. If you would like download a printable copy, please click here.

“The Collective Conscience of our Country”
A Pastoral Update from the General Secretary
August 5, 2019

Dear ABCUSA Family,

TWENTY dead, 26 wounded.
NINE dead, 27 wounded.

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), I find myself once again writing to our churches and leaders in reaction to horrific mass shootings. El Paso, Texas. Dayton, Ohio. In just a few minutes of violence, 29 people lost their lives, and 53 others were injured.

Like Virginia Beach (where we met in June) and many other cities before this weekend, these mass shootings continue to challenge the collective conscience of our country. These outbreaks of evil are not normal, and must not become normative. Communities in every geographical sector of our country have been victimized. As a spiritual family dedicated to serving as witnesses to the peaceable kingdom of Jesus, we must not become numb to the pain of people who have suffered loss, be tempted to rationalize away the hate, racism and prejudice behind most of these attacks, or give in to a despair which prevents us from embracing solutions to the underlying challenges symbolized by these events.

We need to speak out in Jesus’ name. In June, 78 ABC national leaders, regional executive ministers and I expressed our collective solidarity with the people of Virginia Beach in a public letter published in the leading local newspaper, as approximately 1,400 American Baptists gathered in that city for the 2019 Biennial Mission Summit.

Read more: The Collective Conscience of our Country: A Pastoral Letter from ABCUSA General Secretary Lee...