The latest news specifically for American Baptist Churches of Ohio.

ABC Ohio Mourns the Passing of Rev. Dr. Robert E. Ernst


Rev. Dr. Robert (Bob) E. Ernst, age 98, passed away on July 1, 2018. He was born on August 26, 1919 in Madison, Ohio. After receiving his diploma in 1941 from Practical Bible Training School (now Davis College), he started his ministerial career in Chillicothe, Ohio as a missionary with the American Sunday School Union. Subsequently, he received a BA in 1948 from Houghton College, a Bachelor of Divinity and Master of Divinity in 1958 and 1973, respectively, from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1981 Florida Bible College awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Divinity. After serving at two churches in New York, he returned to his native Ohio. There he commenced a 31 year career as a minister serving at First Baptist Churches in Kingsville and Zanesville and Union Baptist Church in Troy.

He retired in 1984 from full-time ministry but shortly thereafter accepted an invitation for interim work at First Baptist Church in Grove City. After finishing his work in Grove City, he continued working on and off in an interim capacity for the next 16 years serving in a total of 10 different placements. When Rev. Ernst finally retired in 2001, his ministry spanned 60 years and encompassed over 50 different churches as missionary, minister, revival evangelist or guest pastor.

In addition to his ministerial service, Rev. Ernst held a variety of positions with The American Baptist Churches of Ohio organization, from local and regional associations to the state level. He also found time to contribute in many ways to the communities in which he lived. He was involved in the Boy Scouts of American for three decades during which time he served as Chaplain and Counselor at two national Jamborees. He also was Chaplain of the Ohio Defense Corps for several years and participated in various local public education and hospital organizations. He traveled with his wife Gladys on missionary work tours to Haiti, Puerto Rico and Alaska, and toured Egypt and the Holy Land.

In 2007, family and friends established the Reverend Robert E. and Gladys G. Ernst Scholarship ("Ernst Scholarship") with the Ohio Baptist Educational Society. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Ernst Scholarship. 

Region Update ~ Rev. Dr. Lawrence O. Swain


Dear ABC/Ohio Pastors, ARMS, and Member Congregations:

(June 2018)  When I became your Interim Executive Minister I made a commitment to communicate with you on a regular basis.  I believe that communication from me throughout this transition season is important because keeping the ABC/Ohio family connected is essential to the spiritual vitality and health of the Region.  I hope that you agree!  In this communication I will share a few thoughts about transitions.  I apologize in advance for the length of this communication, but ask that you give it your time and attention.

Transitions are a normal and expected dynamic in all organizations, including the church, and in this case ABC/Ohio.  A transition is a movement, passage, or change from one stage in life to another.  A simple example at this time of year is when students graduate from high school or college.  Graduation is a transition from the years of high school education to the next chapter of life that might include a college education, employment, or whatever lies ahead for the graduating student.  Graduation, while expected, marks the beginning of a journey to something new, and yet to be discovered.  Such is the case whenever the People of God begin a transition.

Read more: Region Update ~ Rev. Dr. Lawrence O. Swain

A Letter from Dr. Lawrence O. Swain, Interim Executive Minister


Dear ABC/Ohio Pastors, ARMS, and Member Congregations:

(March 2018) I am writing a letter I never imagined I would be writing, yet the premature passing of our Executive Minister, Rev. Dr. Ernest H. Jones, has left the Region without an Executive Minister.  It was truly a blessing to know Dr. Jones as both a colleague and friend.  I, along with the entire ABC/Ohio family grieve this loss, and will pray for Denise and the entire Jones family in their grief.  We pray for God’s comfort and strength as they discover what lies ahead in their new chapter of life.  Dr. Jones and Denise will always be a part of the ABC/Ohio family. 

As I begin this ministry as your Interim Executive Minister, I want you to know that I do so knowing that the Region is in a season of transition, and my role as an Interim is to guide the Region through the transition as you seek God’s direction towards calling a new Executive Minister.  While the position of Interim Executive Minister is temporary, there are specific things that I plan to focus on.

Read more: A Letter from Dr. Lawrence O. Swain, Interim Executive Minister

Rev. C. Roland Marcus Enters the Life Eternal

Reverend C. Roland Marcus entered the Life Eternal on February 19, 2018.  Rev. Marcus was a devoted servant of God. He began his ministry at Columbia Baptist church in Cincinnati. He also served Dorothy Lane American Baptist Church for 31 years, First Baptist Church in Middletown for six years and other congregations in an interim capacity for many years.  
 
Rev. Marcus was an avid lover of music, drama and literature. He was a talented singer, pianist and writer and he employed all these gifts in his ministry. He published articles on the faith, directed and performed music for worship, and wrote and directed dramas. 
 
Rev. Marcus loved his grandchildren passionately and was intensely proud of the three of them. Even as his body failed him, he made every effort to support their activities and did so with enthusiasm. Roland lived his life with a strong desire to have a purpose. He considered his purpose to be service to others. Even as he was dying, this was his concern. It is devoutly hoped that he was aware that his life’s example fulfilled this purpose. Please keep the family of Rev. C. Roland Marcus in your prayers!

Dr. Lawrence O. Swain Named Interim Executive Minister for ABC Ohio


Greetings American Baptist Churches of Ohio,

We pray that all is well with each of you and your families.  We have just finished a two-day ABC/OHIO Board Retreat, which was held in Dublin Ohio on February 9th and 10th, 2018.  This was a first-time experience for the Region, as we just finished celebrating the life of our Executive Minister, Rev. Dr. Ernest H. Jones on February 3rd, 2018. Though untimely, God, in His Infinite Wisdom called Dr. Jones from labor to reward. With heavy hearts we were still able to meet as a Region and make future plans for the Region to go forward. We are still requesting your continued prayers for Denise and the children as they begin the healing process.

In the passing of Dr. Jones, it is important that we as a Region continue to move forward with the progress and ground work that has been laid before us.  The Theme that Dr. Jones presented to us in 2017 was “Transformed by The Journey,” from Luke 24:32, and the new theme for this year is “Discovering God's Plan,” from Jeremiah 29:11-13, which our Regional Ministers placed before us.

With all of that information at hand, in order for the Region to continue in the direction that's needed, we are pleased to announce that retired Executive Minister Rev. Dr. Lawrence O. Swain, will serve as Interim Executive Minister, effective immediately.  Dr. Swain will be present at the office 2 days a week through April of 2018, after which the  time may increase at the Board's request.

We are Blessed to have Dr. Swain agree to come back on board, in as much as he already has the experience. We ask that you continue in the spirit of love and cooperation, which you have shown over the years.  We thank you in advance for the love you have shown in making progress in the Region, and your continued dedication, as we continue  “Building Healthy Churches that Impact the World for Christ.”

Yours in Christ,
Rev. James H. Willis, Sr
American Baptist Churches of Ohio Region Board President