During Biennial's openning worship on Friday Dr. Spitzer was officially introduced to our ABCUSA family as the General Secretary of the denomination.
It was a joyous moment for the search committee which recommended Dr. Spitzer for the call. They joined him on the stage as he gave his opening remarks, and then gathered around the new General Secretary for prayer before returning to their seats as worship continued.
On hand were a number of our ABCNJ family, which has one of the largest delegations at the Biennial, and a cheer went up as he took the Podium.
In his first family-wide appearance as General Secretary Dr. Spitzer quoted a recent proclamation by Oregon's Governor, declaring the weeked of the Biennial as "American Baptist Weekend,"
American Baptists support religious freedom, the separation of church and state, respect the expressions of faith of others, and acknowledge that God’s family extends beyond Baptist churches
Springing from this quote he then encouraged those gathered to recommit to these historic Baptist distinctives as we engage in conversation, join in worship, and explore both our similarities and differences.
As our ABCNJ family might expect, one of Dr. Spitzer's key refrains for the 2017 Biennial is friendship. In fact, the theme was his core point during his short remarks at the ABCUSA Orientation Thursday night.
If you all leave this place having made one new friend then, no matter what else happens here, it will have been a successful Biennial.
The number of ABCNJ representatives here in Portland show friendship has, indeed, been part of Dr. Spitzer's past ministry. As he now steps into his new role, it will be key for our whole family moving forward.