The latest news from many resources for American Baptist Churches.

ABC Ohio Introduces Regional Ministers

It is a joy to share our four Regional Ministers for ABC-Ohio. Each will begin their service on October 1, 2022. October through December 2022 will serve as a time of orientation and staff development for our new team. Rev. Jane Gibbons will retire and conclude her ministry, after serving 23 years with ABC Ohio on December 31, 2022.


Rev. Dr. James Willis

The Region Board has asked that Rev. Mark Click focus his ministry on the role of the Executive Minister for ABC Ohio. He will no longer be serving in a dual capacity as Executive Minister for Administration & Denominational Relations and Regional Minister for southern Ohio.

Welcome our ABC Ohio Regional Ministers:

Rev. Dr. James Willis – Northwest Regional Minister. Dr. Willis serves as the Senior Pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church of Toledo and has served in the Toledo Area Baptist Association and for several years on the Region Board as Vice-President, President and Past-President.


Rev. Kevin Thomas

Rev. Kevin Thomas – Northeast Regional Minister. Rev. Thomas serves as the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Canton and has served in the Akron Baptist Association and Ohio Baptist Education Society.

Rev. Dr. Kevin Hairston – Southwest Regional Minister. Dr. Hairston serves as the Senior Pastor of the Living Word Bible Fellowship of Columbus and has served in the Columbus Baptist Association and as Dean of the Ohio Leadership Academy. 


Rev. Dr. Kevin Hairston

Rev. Mark Eaton – Southeast Regional Minister. Rev. Eaton serves as the Senior Pastor of the Porterfield Baptist Church of Little Hocking and serves as the Associate Regional Minister (ARM) for the Marietta Baptist Association.


Rev. Mark Eaton

The Region was blessed to have sixteen excellent ministers apply for the position(s) of Regional Minister. Each candidate was uniquely gifted and qualified to serve, ranging in education and experience. After much thought, consultation and prayer our candidates were selected to serve as Regional Ministers. 

Please pray for Rev. Gibbons as she prepares for the next chapter of life and ministry, the new Regional Ministers, the continued ministry of the Associate Regional Ministers (ARMs), and Rev. Click as everyone transitions in our ministries – Equipping the People of God to Impact the World for Christ.

Thank you for your prayers, support and partnership in ministry, as we work together to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, make disciples and impact our world for Christ.

Rev. Alvin R. Lee Passes Peacefully


Rev. Alvin R. Lee, age 92, of Germantown passed away peacefully on August 26, 2022. He was born in Frugality, PA, to the late Shelton and Ida (Read) Lee. Alvin earned his Bachelor's degree from Eastern Baptist College, and his MDiv from Eastern Baptist Seminary. 

Alvin served as the pastor of churches in Delaware and New Jersey before transitioning to an area minister for the American Baptist denomination in New Jersey and Ohio. Alvin was preceded in death in 2008 by his wife of 58 years, Rachel (Gillespie) Lee, his brother Vernon Lee and sister Ina Comeau. 

Alvin is survived by one daughter, Catherine (Willard A., III) Whitaker of Germantown, TN; one son, Daniel (Rebecca) Lee of Germantown, OH; four grandchildren, Jennifer Whitaker, Matthew (Amanda) Whitaker, Nathan Lee (Bridget Ratcliffe) and Jacob Lee; one great grandson, Wesley Whitaker; one brother, Donald Lee, and numerous extended family members and dear friends. Please keep the Lee family in your prayers.

Rev. Jane Gibbons Retirement Celebration November 5, 2022


Rev. Jane Gibbons, Executive Minister for Program & Ministry Development of the American Baptist Churches of Ohio has announced her retirement effective January 1, 2023.

Rev. Gibbons has faithfully served our region as a Regional and Executive Minister for 23 years. To recognize her ministry and accomplishments during this time, American Baptist Churches of Ohio is hosting a Celebration Luncheon event on Saturday, November 05, 2022 from 12 PM to 3 PM at Kingwood Center Gardens, 50 N. Trimble Rd., Mansfield, Ohio 44906.

We would like to extend a cordial invitation to you and your spouse to attend this celebration. The cost of the celebration will be $30.00 per person.  Reservations must be received by Friday, October 7, 2022. Space is limited so plan on registering early. Unfortunately, we may not be able to receive reservations after this date. If you are planning on attending the event you must register. You may email or call your reservation into Leslie Hoskinson or 740.587.0804.

During the celebration there will be a time of reflection and congratulatory remarks. If you are unable to attend we encourage you to provide us with a congratulatory letter which will be placed with other letters in a Celebration Scrapbook. Please send your letter by Saturday, October 1, 2022 in order for us to prepare the Scrapbook. Please send letters to: Leslie Hoskinson, American Baptist Churches of Ohio, 136 N. Galway Drive, Granville, Ohio   43023.

If you are planning on attending and would like information on area hotels please contact Leslie Hoskinson at 740.587.0804. Download a map to Kingwood Center HERE.

We look forward to having you join us as we come together and celebrate Rev. Jane Gibbons’ ministry with the American Baptist Churches of Ohio.

The Rev. James Earnest Celebrates 100th Birthday


On Wednesday, August 10, 2022, the Rev. James Earnest celebrated his 100th birthday. Family, friends, and members of the First Baptist Church of Dayton organized a drive-by birthday parade, and then came together to sing and share in cake and “church punch.” Rev. Earnest was also honored all day on 88.1 WDPR, and a playing of the Old One Hundredth by Ralph Vaughn Williams was dedicated to him.

An ordained American Baptist pastor, Jim served for many years in the Dayton Area Baptist Association, ministering at Memorial Baptist Church and leading the association’s Pastoral Relations Committee for Ordination.

Rev. Earnest is also a WWII Veteran and was a part of the G.I. Gospel Hour ministry until it disbanded a few years ago. He continues to be an avid reader of Scripture, books, etc. and his mind is sharp as a tack. Best of all, he is a caring father, grandfather, and friend.

Words truly fail to describe Jim’s faithfulness and perseverance over such a lifetime, but we give thanks to God for him!