News from American Baptist Churches USA that might be of interest to ABC Ohio.
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.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is seeking American Baptist pastors to enroll in its 2019-2020 “In Support of Excellence” (ISOE) pastors financial-empowerment cohort to begin meeting in November. The application deadline is Aug. 28, 2019.
A pastor’s ability to effectively lead a congregation to be an agent of transformation in the community is significantly diminished when he or she is saddled with education-related debt, financial trauma and undercompensation. Ministries of excellence are the desired fruit of the ISOE program.
To be eligible to participate in ISOE, a pastor must be a pastor of an American Baptist church, submit a reference from his or her regional executive minister and demonstrate key criteria, including: pastoral excellence, significant financial hardship, and potential for increased congregational generosity and stewardship as well as willingness to commit to full program participation and requirements.
Orientation and Learning Lab Retreat will take place Nov. 7–9, 2019, at ABHMS’ Leadership and Mission Building, King of Prussia, Pa. Future training sessions will be announced to cohort participants. Participant costs for onsite sessions are provided through funding from the Lilly Endowment’s “Addressing the Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders” initiative.
In a letter dated March 1, 2019 and presented in person to the ABCUSA Board of General Ministries (BGM) Executive Committee at their meetings in Orlando March 13-15, Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer announced his intention to retire from denominational leadership on December 31, 2019. Dr. Spitzer’s letter to the entire ABCUSA family was released March 14, 2019.
“It has been an honor and a joy to have served the ABC family for 4 decades, culminating in my tenure as General Secretary,” said Dr. Spitzer. “I am sharing my intention to retire 10 months ahead of time so that the denomination’s transition to new leadership can be accomplished in a deliberate and unhurried manner, and so that I can focus my energies and attention on the pastoral work that needs to be accomplished during this last phase of my journey as General Secretary. There is much to do!”
In a historic celebration before a gathering of hundreds of mission supporters, the Rev. Sharon T. Koh of Los Angeles, California, was installed as executive director elect of American Baptist International Ministries (IM). She began her service as executive director elect on July 1, 2016, and will assume the role of executive director on September 1, 2016, following the retirement of the Rev. Dr. Reid S. Trulson on August 31. READ MORE HERE!
Learn more about "Transformed by the Spirit" from ABC-USA and note that we have a congregation profiled in the video!