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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.
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!
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
Dear ABC Ohio;
It is with deep regret and sorrow that we announce the death of our Executive Minister Rev. Dr. Ernest H. Jones.
Please continue to keep Denise, Candace, Adam and the entire family in prayer during this difficult time.
When funeral arrangements are available we will share them with you.
Rev. James H. Willis, Sr.
President, American Baptist Churches of Ohio
Rev. Dr. Ernest H. Jones made history as the first African-American Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Ohio. He was born on October 24, 1961 in Detroit, MI.
Dr. Jones gave his life to Christ as an adolescent, and by the age of 12 was a licensed preacher. For over 40 years, he devoted his life to the Gospel ministry. His pastor, Rev. Dr. Perkins, says at the age of 16 he seemed like a 40 year old in his maturity, wisdom and faith. He was a bridge builder for God.
He earned a Master of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological Seminary in Newton, MA in 1989. In 1994, Dr. Jones became the first African American to assume an executive level position with the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport. In 1998, Dr. Jones was called to serve as the Pastor of Greenwood Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY. In 2016 he became the Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Ohio.
For those desiring to show their love for Denise not only through prayer but with a love gift please send to Leslie Hoskinson at the Regional Office.
In lieu of flowers you may give to ABC of Ohio or to the James Cancer Hospital in memory of Rev. Dr. Ernest Jones.