The latest news specifically for American Baptist Churches of Ohio.

ABC Ohio Calls Co-Executive Ministers Rev. Mark Click and Rev. Jane Gibbons

 VALLEY FORGE, PA (courtesy of the American Baptist News Service 12/12/18)

At the November 3 meeting of the American Baptist Churches of Ohio Board of Region Ministries, the Board voted to call Rev. Mark Click and Rev. Jane Gibbons as Co-Executive Ministers for the region beginning January 1, 2019.  Rev. Click will serve as Executive Minister for Administration and Denominational Relations, and Rev. Gibbons will serve as Executive Minister for Program and Ministry Development.

Both Rev. Click and Rev. Gibbons have served ABC of Ohio as Region Ministers, Click since 2008 and Gibbons since 2000.  As American Baptist Clergy, both bring extensive years of ministry experience in ABC congregations and have gifts tailored toward the respective roles to which they have been called.

Rev. Mark Click was ordained as an American Baptist Minister in 2000. He served as the pastor of two ABC of Ohio churches and brings a passion for growing the local church. He received his MDiv from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio in 1994. He brings many administrative gifts, along with vision casting, to his new position as Executive Minister of Administration and Denominational Relations.  In his new role, Click will attend the Regional Executive Ministers Council, National Leadership Council, Multi-Region Corporation, and other traditional ABC Executive Minister related entities.

Rev. Jane Gibbons was ordained as an American Baptist Minister in 1994. She brings a specialty of gifts in Christian Education and coaching, and has a deep passion for pastors and the ministry of the local church. She served two ABC churches in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Charleston, W.Va. as Associate Pastor of Christian Education and other ministries.  Her many gifts in program development and grant writing make her a perfect fit for her new ministry in ABC of Ohio.  Jane holds a MDiv from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Rev. Click and Rev. Gibbons are breaking new ground as they begin their ministries as Co-Executive Ministers for ABC of Ohio, and they have worked well as a team in partnership in Region ministry for 10 years. Rev. Dr. Larry Swain, current Interim Executive Minister for the region, will transition to serving as Executive Staff Coach for 6 months in 2019.

Osterbrocks Commissioned as International Missionaries


It is a blessing to announce the commissioning of Rev. Aaron and Valerie Osterbrock. The International Ministries' Commissioning Service for the Osterbrocks was held at First Baptist Church of Hamilton on July 29, 2018.

Pictured: Rev. James Bell (Associate Executive Director for Global Mission), Rev. Ray Schooler (Senior Director of Development), Rev. Aaron & Valerie Osterbrock (Global Servants), and Leslie Turley (Area Director for Southeast Asia & Japan).

Please pray for and support the Osterbrocks as they begin this new journey in their lives to spread the Gospel of Christ to the world!

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