The latest news from many resources for American Baptist Churches.

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

Rev. Charles Spier Goes Home to be with the Lord


Rev. Charles E. Spier, 90, of Logan, left this earthly life to go home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Saturday, June 2, 2018. He was born June 27, 1927 in Plainfield, New Jersey, son of the late Edward and Anna Teresa Chrest Spier. Rev. Spier was married to Virginia Bauman Spier, who survives. 

He was a retired Baptist Minister and was a member and past Pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church as well as an Army Veteran.

Rev. Spier is survived by his sons, Larry (Nancy) Spier of Akron and David (Edith) Spier of Logan; grandchildren, Steven (Katey), Mark (Anna), Kathy (J R), Tangie (Jeff) and Bryan; and several great-grandchildren.

Reverend William Chappell Goes to be with the Lord

Reverend William Chappell Brantingham went to be with his Lord and Savior, whom he greatly loved, May 2, 2018. Bill was born to Cyrus and Abby Brantingham in West Pittston, Pennsylvania March 8, 1927. Bill served as Pastor of: First Baptist Church, Cranbrook, British Columbia, Oakview First Baptist Church, Winnipeg, Manitoba, First Baptist Church, Atwood, Illinois, Grand Prairie Baptist Church, Marion, Ohio, First Baptist Church, Conneaut, Ohio, and as Pastor of Visitation at First Baptist Church in Hamilton, Ohio.

Bill was drafted in to the United States Army Air Force in 1945 where he proudly served his country. His father, who was opposed to war, was very proud when his son showed up at his workplace wearing his dress uniform. Following his honorable discharge, he began working in the insurance industry in the Wrigley Building in Chicago.

This is where Bill met the love of his life, Bertha Mae Jingst in 1948 while both were attending Kostner Avenue Baptist Church. They met on a double date and went bowling each with a different partner. The next date was together and they were married on June 16, 1951. Shortly thereafter Bill and Bert answered the Lord’s calling into full time ministry. As a result, he continued his education where he earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Judson University and a B.A. in Theology from Northern Seminary. He was ordained on March 8, 1957, his 30th birthday.

Following Bill’s ordination, they adopted two sons. Stephen born in Chicago, Illinois; and while they were serving their first pastorate in Cranbrook, British Columbia, they adopted Daniel who was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

Bill and Bert raised their sons and created a home centered on lives led by example, a deep faith in Jesus Christ and a lifetime of serving and ministering to others until his death. They touched thousands of lives over 55 years of ministry. Following his retirement from in December 2012, Bill continued to faithfully serve the Lord when he was called upon for visitations, weddings and funerals.

He and Bert have resided in Hamilton Ohio since 1990 and moved to Berkley Square Retirement Center for the final eleven years of his life. He and Bert are cherished and they have enjoyed deep and lasting friendships formed over many years with neighbors and current and former church members they have met along the way. Bill never lacking for something to say would stop and take time to visit with anyone willing to listen to his stories.

He is survived by his wife Bertha Mae, children: Stephen Paul (Penni) and Daniel Harlan (Elma); grandchildren: Tiffany Brantingham, Bobbie Jo (Wes) White, Matthew Harlan (Nicole) Brantingham, and Elyse Mae (Brett) Diehl and by six great grandchildren: Stephen Bradley (U.S. Army), Jerry Bradley, Isaac Griffin, Isabelle White, Jackson Harlan Brantingham and Hartmann Brantingham, his brother David Brantingham and numerous nieces and nephews. Please keep the Brantingham family in your prayers.

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