January 2021

A monthly newsletter to keep you informed about ABCUSA

Prayer for Truth and Action from the ABC
Anti-Racism Task Force 
"[The one] who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as [the one] who helps to perpetrate it. [The one] who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it." - Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Stride Toward Freedom
MLKjr In this season of unrest and turmoil, we gather today to remember the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As American Baptists we like to claim him as our brother, but far too often we have fallen short of the scope of his dream. In our clamor to show how we are different from other Baptists we neglect to recognize our own complicity in the systems and struggles happening right now in our nation. We, the Anti-Racism Task Force, say the time is now for us to claim the mantle left for us on the mountain top by Dr. King. It is time we confront the inherent white supremacy and privilege that have for too long been the foundation upon which our denomination is built even as we claim to be the most diverse denomination in the United States. Over the next months and longer you will hear from us regularly as we begin to help our beloved denomination become a true embodiment of Dr. King's Dream. 
Let us pray:
You who with a breath fills us with your Spirit, we thank you for the prophetic life and witness of Dr. King who reminds us that "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
Silence is betrayal and we confess that we have allowed fear to silence us for too long. We have allowed fear to let us wait for a "more convenient season" and not name the sins of our nation, our denomination, and especially our own faith tradition. We have been silent as white supremacy and power; Christian nationalism and jingoistic idolatry have been given the place of honor at the table.
We know that "change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle," and so we, in our confession, ask also for the strength and the courage to straighten our backs as we work for justice. Give us the boldness to take the risks necessary to become the people you are calling us to be; to be the churches you are calling us to be; and to be the denomination you are calling us to be. Give us the drum major instinct. 
This we pray in the name of the crucified, risen, and ascended Christ.
Rev. Dr. Natalie C. Wimberly, co-chair
Rev. Justin Thornburgh, co-chair
Rev. Dr. Eugene Downing
Rev. Joan C. Friesen
Ms. Sandra Lee
Rev. Dr. Dan Brockway
Ms. Stephanie Commandest
Rev. Abner Cotto-Bonilla
Rev. Rodney Lynch
Rev. Dr. Don Ng
Mr. Ethan Medley

2021 Online Biennial Mission Summit Speakers Announced
We are excited to announce the keynote speakers for the 2021 Biennial Mission Summit. Rev. Dr. Winterbourne LaPucelle Harrison Jones will address attendees on Friday Evening, June 25,  and Rev. Dr. Brianna Parker on Saturday Evening, June 26. The 2021 Biennial Mission Summit: An Online Experience will meet June 24-26, 2021, with access to pre-recorded sessions, resources and the virtual exhibit hall.  The event opens with a Welcome Session on June 24  followed by meetings of the various American Baptist Caucuses, and the first of three worship services which will feature a communion service lifting up our American Baptist family and reflections by members of the National Executive Council on "Silver Linings During the Pandemic."

"As we know, the past year has been nothing less than 'different'. It has been a great honor to sit with other members of the planning team to Imagine the ways in which we can bring the family together online. I am beyond excited for what is in store for us as a family. I am confident that you will be pleased with the ways in which the format of the Biennial Mission Summit will provide a much broader cross-section of our family access to this gathering time. Can't wait to experience it with each of you," said ABCUSA President Karen Podsiadly.

Nominated ABCUSA Officers Announced for 2022-2023 Biennium
The American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) Nominating Committee has nominated the following persons to serve as Officers for the term running from January 1, 2022-December 31, 2023. The nominees are ABCUSA President, James O. Wolfe III; ABCUSA Vice President, Michelle Nickens; and ABCUSA Budget Review Officer, Paul Higgins. Officers will be elected during the 2021 online Biennial Mission Summit, June 24-26, 2021.

Welcoming a New Associate General Secretary
This month the ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary welcomes the Rev. Dr. Marie Onwubuariri, who began in her role as Associate General Secretary for Mission Resource Development on January 1, 2021. Prior to joining the Office of the General Secretary, she served as Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin. We are excited for Dr. Onwubuariri's ministry in this new role!

Learn more about Dr. Onwuburariri in a previous press release, here

Virtual Ecumenical Christian Prayer Vigil - Tuesday, January 19
American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) will cosponsor and participate in Sojourners' virtual ecumenical Christian prayer vigil on Tuesday, Jan. 19, the day before the presidential inauguration. ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray will be among other faith leaders offering one-minute prayers from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Please check Sojourners website at sojo.net on Tuesday for the link to the virtual prayer vigil.

Recent Articles in The Christian Citizen
Where Do We Go From Here? A Response to the Attack on the Capitol
This article, written by Curtis Ramsey-Lucas, was originally published by the Christian Citizen on January 11, 2021, and is posted here with permission. Click here to view the original article.

First thoughts on last week's attack on the Capitol
Short Essay Series by writers for The Christian Citizen, published on Wednesday afternoon, January 13, roughly one week to the moment the Capitol was breached.

ABCUSA President and Interim General Secretary Release Statement Following Unrest
Interim General Secretary Dr. C. Jeff Woods and ABCUSA President Karen Podsiadly released a statement to American Baptists on January 7, following a day of unrest in Washington, D.C. at the United States Capitol building. Read the statement below.

The events of yesterday will live with us for many years. Scenes of persons storming the Capitol cannot be unseen. The events serve as a piercing remembrance that there are deep-seated differences among us. There are issues that we must address and are addressing including racism, poverty, and a global pandemic.

We do have a choice, however, in how we respond. These events remind us of our country's division on many issues. The depths of the division have become increasingly evident and have stalled our ability to make the world a better place for all. As we have found during the COVID-19 crisis, opportunities can outweigh challenges even in the bleakest of moments. As recent as the past two days, we have heard inspiring stories of ministry overcoming circumstances throughout 2020.

Grow Your Faith in 2021
The Grow Center for Church and Mission, a division of Northern Seminary, invites you the week of January 18th to take a deep dive into Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech. Each evening from January 18 - 22, bible expositors and Christian ministry and marketplace leaders from around the country will gather virtually to look at sections of his speech, the scriptures that run as an undercurrent, and what those truths mean in the context of a world fraught with pain, suffering, isolation and loss. You're invited to take this unique opportunity to humbly listen and learn from the beautiful and diverse body of Christ.  

Visit the New MMBB Website

2021-2022 ABC Directory/Planning Calendar; PDF and Downloadable Calendar Files Available
The 2021-2022 ABC Directory/Planning Calendar is now available for download. We invite you to print this calendar as a reference tool for use in weekly planning throughout the calendar year and into 2022. Or, you may download the .ics file and add the calendar dates to your own calendar to keep you up to date throughout 2021 and 2022.

Click here to download a PDF file (.pdf) of the 2021-2022 American Baptist Churches Directory/Planning Calendar.

Click here to download a calendar file (.ics) of the 2021-2022 American Baptist Churches Directory/Planning Calendar. This file can be uploaded and saved in Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, and Apple Calendar.

Nominations Invited for Mowbray Ecumenical Award; Deadline is January 31
American Baptist Churches USA seeks nominations for the Luke Mowbray Ecumenical Award, which recognizes an individual for outstanding ecumenical work at the local, state, national or international level, either as a volunteer or paid professional. This award will be presented at the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) 2021 Online Biennial Mission Summit, June 24-26, 2021. The award winner will be selected by the ABCUSA Committee on Christian Unity and Interfaith Relations. The deadline for nominations January 31, 2021.

Click here to learn more or to make a nomination.

ABCUSA Together: We are American Baptists

ABCUSA Together


American Baptist Churches USA
PO Box 851  Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851  

American Baptists serving as the hands and feet of Christ.