News from American Baptist Churches USA that might be of interest to ABC Ohio.
International Ministries is sad to announce the passing of Rev. Orville R. Chapman on January 2, 2020. Rev. Chapman and his wife, Virginia (Becker) Chapman, were IM missionaries for almost four decades in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire).
Commissioned in 1955, the Chapmans began their ministry in Sona Bata, training pastors in rural villages and teaching science and theology at the local secondary school. In 1960, due to political turmoil, the Chapmans were evacuated. They returned to Sona Bata in 1961. In 1963, they spent three months by the Angolan border working with refugees. In subsequent terms of service, they lived in Moanza, Kinshasa, and Kikongo where they did administrative work and taught theology at the ISTK (Institute of Theology in Kinshasa) and also at the Kikongo Pastors’ School (now the Baptist University of Kikongo/UNIBAC).
Rev. Chapman received his B.A. from Ottawa University (Ottawa, Kansas), his B.D. from the Berkeley Baptist Divinity School (Berkeley, CA.), and his D. Min from the American Baptist Seminary of the West. He once described his passion for life-long ministry with the Congolese as “an opportunity to help bring about a more abundant life” to people in rural village areas.
Glen Chapman, the oldest of Rev. Orville and Virginia’s four children, carries on the legacy of his parents’ missionary service. He and his wife, Rita (Brown) Chapman, are also long-term missionaries with International Ministries and have served in the DR Congo since 1987.
Please keep the Chapman family in your prayers.
In response to the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that shook Puerto Rico January 7, 2020 American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), on behalf of American Baptist Churches USA, has released $15,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) funds to partners in Puerto Rico, including $10,000 for Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico. However, additional help is needed.
What You and Your Church Can Do
Pray, pray, pray! Pray for our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico daily at 20:20 hours. Part of the concern is that the lack of electricity, water and gasoline will trigger widespread panic in addition to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder initiated by Hurricane Maria.
Donations can be made online designated to “OGHS-Puerto Rico Earthquake” or via your church or check with the same designation and mailed to the attention of Leda Carter at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, 1075 First Ave., King of Prussia, PA 19406.
One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. To ensure that your church receives credit for your gift, write the church name on your check.
National personnel have been in touch with key partners in Puerto Rico, including the Rev. Edgardo Caraballo, executive minister of Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico. The island found itself without electricity immediately following the earthquake. The southwestern area continues without electricity and water. Long lines have formed at gasoline stations, which are running out of gasoline.
Primera Iglesia Bautista de Yauco received significant damage, according to Caraballo. Two pastors had to evacuate their homes, which were deemed unsafe. Damage assessment will continue on the island. Primera Iglesia Bautista de Guayanilla, according to its pastor, Carlos A. Padilla, has become a shelter for the community; more than 60 individuals are eating and living at the church’s facilities.
In Guánica, 28 homes were destroyed, 99 received damage and 21 are near collapse, according to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, which happened to be on the island at the time of the earthquake. In addition, two schools have been destroyed and one received damage. Two public buildings in Guánica have been decimated and another is close to collapse, while one bridge and one road received damage. Thirteen shelters, according to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, are housing 746 individuals and are in great need of supplies. More details and updates can be found at abc-usa.org.
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.
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!