November 2019

 
ABCUSA NEWS UPDATE
A monthly newsletter to keep you informed about ABCUSA
 
An Advent Devotion by ABCUSA Acting General Secretary
Dr. C. Jeff Woods 
What if you suddenly found out that Christmas was tomorrow? Would you be ready? Most of us would probably say no. The cacophony of responses would probably include concerns about Christmas cards and letters; wreaths, bows, ribbons, and trees; ham, turkey, tofu, and sweet potatoes; trips, schedules, and maps, etc.   

It takes time to plan a celebration and Christmas celebrations tend to require the greatest planning of the entire year. Marvelous celebrations require meaningful preparation. The same is true spiritually as well as socially. When I served as a pastor, I would tell our congregation, "The greater the preparation, the greater the celebration." This is true both internally as well as externally. The greater that we prepare ourselves spiritually for the celebration of Christmas, the greater significance the day will have in our life and the lives of those around us. While social celebrations do not always live up to expectations, soul work rarely disappoints. The key to a meaningful Christmas season is to embrace Advent preparation.
 
There are two main seasons of spiritual preparation in church calendar year, namely Advent and Lent. Advent comes from the Latin, adventus, which means "coming." During the Advent season, we anticipate the incarnation of Jesus Christ that we celebrate on Christmas day. Although Advent was added to the liturgical calendar after Lent, Advent actually launches a new calendar year. This year, we begin a three-year cycle in the church calendar year with year A. Some congregations choose to follow the calendar year, which contains suggested readings for each week. Year A begins with the glorious Psalm 122, "I was glad when they said unto me, 'Let us go to the house of the Lord!'"
 
In the next few weeks, you will see some Christmas devotionals posted on our website. These will probably not be the only devotionals that come your way. Take time to read some of the devotionals that work their way into your email inbox. Take time to consider other ponderings that God puts in your path. During the next few weeks, consider doing a little more spiritual preparation for the worship services that you attend. Allow God to interrupt. Finish a conversation with God. "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
 
Dr. C. Jeff Woods
Acting General Secretary
Hopevale Commemoration Sunday

Your church is invited to recognize Hopevale Commemoration Sunday. In response to the 75th Commemoration (in 2018) of the Hopevale martyrdom in the Philippines in which missionaries of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (now International Ministries) died heroically for their faith, the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) approved a resolution to designate the Sunday nearest to December 20 (the anniversary date of their deaths) as Hopevale Commemoration Sunday. CPBC has invited American Baptist Churches USA to join them in this annual observance, which demonstrates the strong bonds of spiritual friendship between us. The ABCUSA Board of General Ministries blessed this initiative in March 2019; in commemorating this anniversary each year, ABCUSA is affirming, along with Filipino Baptists, our common missiological identity and our mutual support and solidarity in doing God's mission.

Observances of Hopevale Commemoration Sunday can be held on the Sunday closest to December 20, or a Sunday through January. Each year, your church is invited to remember the martyrdom of these missionaries close to the December 20 anniversary.

For more information about this special day of observance, click here.
Woods Elected as Acting General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA
 
At the November 2019 meeting of the Board of General Ministries, the Board voted to approve the nomination of Rev. Dr. C. Jeff Woods as Acting General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA).  

Woods has served in the role of Associate General Secretary for Regional Ministries with ABCUSA since 2003. In this role, Woods is responsible for encouraging the health and vitality of the 33 regional judicatories coast to coast throughout the United States. He previously served as Acting General Secretary from September 2018 through February 2019.
 
ABCUSA President Josué D. Gómez-Menéndez said, "It is with much rejoicing and hope that we announce the appointment of Rev. Dr. C. Jeff Woods, and we join in embracing him as a concrete expression of our commitment to walk together in solidarity in this new time. We have, in Jeff, a person of deep convictions, unquestionable talent and love for our Baptist family and the gospel." 
 
Learn more here.
ABCUSA Announces 2019 Awards for Matthew 25 Grant
 
Nine Matthew 25 Grants ranging from $1,300 to $3,500 were awarded in October to applicants who offer a variety of services to people in need across the United States.

The Matthew 25 Grant, sponsored by the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) Office of the General Secretary and the Board of General Ministries, is funded by a generous anonymous donor whose goal is to help meet the needs of "housing, feeding, education and health with regard to the less fortunate." The Matthew 25 Grant initiative began in 2013.

ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary Dedicates Robert A. Roblee Ministry Building
 
The American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) Robert A. Roblee Ministry Building was dedicated on Friday afternoon, November 8. The dedication and celebration service was preceded by an open house for attendees visiting the new home to the ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary and the American Baptist Historical Society (financial secretary's office), located at 1015 West Ninth Avenue, in King of Prussia, Pa.

Read more about the dedication and celebration service here.
"Devoted to Generosity" Complimentary Stewardship Subscription Available
 
The American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) Office of the General Secretary is pleased to offer a Year-Round Stewardship Resource theme Devoted to Generosity, published by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center.

ABCUSA has purchased a quantity of licenses for American Baptist churches who would like to use this online subscription. Interested churches should send an email request to ABCResources@abc-usa.org to receive a subscription code for your church.

Recent Highlights from the ABCUSA Website

"MBA Quick Book for Ministers" Introduces Leaders to "Pastoral MBA Competencies"


ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary Relocates to New Building - Oct. 17-18
 
ABHMS Hosts "Co-Creators Incubator Demo Day"



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