Matthew 25 Grant Application Process Open

A generous donor has given a sum of money through ABCUSA to be used for programs that address "housing, feeding, education and health with regard to the less fortunate." Many of our ABCCONN congregations have programs so described. ABCUSA-affiliated congregations in good standing with their Regions are invited to apply for grants of up to $5000. A panel will select recipients for these grants, emphasizing that they will be checking the United Mission giving patterns of applicant congregations.  The Matthew 25 Grant Application may be found here. (Note that grant funds may not be used to fund staff positions or regular church operating costs.)  Further information about the grants and the grant process can be found on the application.

An Interview with Lee Spitzer, New General Secretary of ABCUSA

The Rev. Dr. Lee Spitzer has begun now as the new General Secretary of the ABCUSA.  Below is an interview that was held with him in which he talks about his hopes for the ABC.

Biennial Will Focus on 7 Denominational Priorities

The Biennial Mission Summit, June 30-July 2, in Portland, Oregon, will include opportunities for conversation around the seven denominational priorities.  These conversations are opportunities for attendees to engage in meaningful dialogue about a topic of interest.  Individuals registering for the Biennial Mission Summit will be asked to also register for one of the Mission Summit Conversation topics. In order to better prepare for the conversations, delegates and participants are encouraged to review the case statement (here) for their topic in advance of the event. 

The seven denominational priorities, the result of a process of narrowing down topics from 21 different issues which had surfaced from local churches, regional events, national agencies and seminaries, as well as feedback from previous Mission Summit Conversations are:

Anti-Violence Discipleship Ending Poverty Gospel in a Rapidly Changing Society Innovative Models of Pastoral Ministry Next Generation of Leaders Women in Ministry

A new feature at the Mission Summit will be “Baptist Talk.” Baptist Talk is a new outgrowth of the Mission Summit Conversations. “While the purpose of the Mission Summit Conversations is to engage in topics that could become ministry priorities for the denomination, the purpose of Baptist Talk is to increase our understanding and respect for one another as American Baptists,” said C. Jeff Woods, associate general secretary for Regional Ministries and facilitator of the Mission Summit Conversations.

ABCUSA General Secretary Addresses Recent Attacks

Dear American Baptists,

Now is not the time to turn our backs on our Muslim neighbors. Certainly the terroristic act in San Bernardino, in the wake of the attacks elsewhere, has raised uncertainty and fear. But to generalize those acts to every Muslim is dead wrong. Sometimes it is easier to gain perspective by considering another set of circumstances. We know that right before San Bernardino there was a shooting incident at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs which resulted in the deaths of three and the wounding of another nine. The man arrested for this attack was motivated by his strong beliefs against abortion. Yet, who among us would generalize his acts to every person who holds views against abortion and suggest that every such person be put on a watch list, be forbidden to enter this country or relinquish any of their rights afforded by our constitution? Yet there are those who in effect wish to do this very thing to anyone of the Muslim faith.

Joining God in the Neighborhood

Joining God in the Neighborhood is a new initiative created by Transformed by the Spirit of ABCUSA. Joining God in the Neighborhood is a process for churches to discern the activity of God already present in our neighborhoods and communities. The process begins with scriptural study work called “Dwelling in the Word.” From there individuals walk the neighborhood to better understand the life going on outside the doors of the church. A question that is raised in this neighborhood exploration is, “Where is God already at work and what are the ways we can partner with others to strengthen ministry endeavors?” All of this is done with the assistance of an outside coach.Here you will find a brief introduction to the process. If you would like to know more about Joining God in the Neighborhood and would like to discuss this possibility for your church, please contact Rev. Dr. Judy Allbee at the ABCCONN office.

Flooding in Myanmar - Baptists Respond

Massive floods and strong winds in Myanmar (formerly Burma) have impacted more than 259,000 people across 12 of Myanmar's 14 states, according to an August 5th report of the United Nations office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.  In recent days, the death toll has climbed to 69. The massive flooding occurred in the aftermath of Cyclone Komen which made landfall on July 30th. According to the UN report, priority needs include food, water and sanitation, access to health care and shelter.

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