ABCNJ Pledges Solidarity With Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Efforts

In a letter sent on August 31, 2017 to the ABC General Secretary, the Executive Directors/CEO's of the American Baptist Home Mission Society and International Ministries, Dr. Familiaran wrote:

Dear Colleagues, 

Everyday we awake, the news bring more unspeakable horror and suffering from the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Words fail to describe what we continue to see unfold.

I write to all of you for several reasons:

  1. I want to reiterate the unwavering solidarity of ABCNJ with every effort that our national denomination is making in sending aid and relief to the affected people of Texas.
  2. Many ABCNJ churches have already responded to the OGHS appeal that have been issued in the region. And many more will respond. That appeal will be sustained through every channel in our communications network.
  3. In massive tragedies like these, it is also a sad reality that many unscrupulous people exploit the chaos and the emotions of people who are eager to help. We also have had many unpleasant experiences of the toxic mix of politics and dysfunctional national relief organizations mismanaging vital relief funds that never reach their intended recipients - a breach of trust that tarnishes the profound acts of mercy of many. I will be assuring our ABCNJ churches by emphasizing in the continuing appeals to ABCNJ the historic track record of ABCUSA of being good and faithful stewards of the relief resources that we deploy here and around the world through the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering and the work of the World Relief Committee (WRC) of the Board of General Managers (BGM) in overseeing the dispatch of those vital funds.
  4. ABCNJ has forged a vital partnership with The American Baptist Home Mission Society (ABHMS) and International Ministries (IM) in disaster relief born out of our joint response to Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. That partnership has deepened through the years and remains strong, personified in the outstanding team of Vickie Goff of ABHMS and Denise Gratzel of ABCNJ.
  5. The compassion of Christ is welling up from the hearts of many in our region who yearn to be of help. But we are also aware that organizing our limited resources into a strategic response can multiply its impact manifold. And so I want to assure all of you that ABCNJ stands ready to mobilize when called upon and join our national efforts and ABC regions near Texas in the long rebuilding and rehabilitation phase of this tragedy that lies ahead.

Let us continue to lift the people of Texas in our prayers and actions.

Annual Session's Early Bird Deadline is Coming

Annual Session's Early Bird Deadline is Coming

Registration for our 2017 ABCNJ Academy and Annual Session is in full swing, and we don’t want any of our family to miss out on the special Early Bird rates! Registrations received before August 15 can save up to $20 for each attendee. To find out your specific savings, refer to flyers attached to this letter. An early head count also helps the region save money because it makes the guaranteed head count we give to the event venue as accurate as possible. Register today!

ABCUSA's Dedication to Human Rights

ABCUSA's Dedication to Human Rights

The recent terrorist attacks in England, the apparently politically motivated shooting that took place in Virginia, ongoing debates over how to treat immigrants and visitors to our country, and the struggles of another Baptist denomination to take a clear stand on issues related to white supremacy remind us all that we are living in a violent and divided world that desperately needs to overcome every form of social and political discrimination and search for more just ways to live in harmony.

A Letter from Rev. Dr. Elmo Familiaran

A Letter from Rev. Dr. Elmo Familiaran

Following the call of the Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer to the office of General Secretary of the American Baptist Churches, USA, the ABCNJ Council implemented an established succession plan and appointed me as Interim Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor effective June 1, 2017. The transition was swift by any account. Like in the story of Elijah in II Kings, God has acted in the "whirlwind" in the call of Dr. Spitzer as our denomination's General Secretary. But in that "whirlwind” - as God would normally do - God clarifies and discloses the divine will.

2017 ABCNJ Camp Lebanon Golf Classic A Success!

2017 ABCNJ Camp Lebanon Golf Classic A Success!

The morning of Saturday, June 3, 2017 started with light but steady rain, threatening to derail the tournament at Gambler Ridge Golf Course in Cream Ridge, NJ. By 11 AM, however, the rain had stopped and the clouds slowly cleared away to let the sunshine through. By the time the scheduled 12:30 shotgun start for our friendly competition arrived, the weather was fabulous. Almost no wind, low humidity, and comfortable sunshine throughout the duration!  

"New Beginnings" Essex Association's 47th Annual Business Meeting and Rally

Church dignitaries and ministry leaders will gather for the 47th Annual Business Meeting and Rally of the Essex Association of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey on Saturday, June 10, from 8 a.m. To 2 p.m. at Bethany Baptist Church, located at 275 West Market Street in Newark, NJ. 

The theme for this year's event is "New Beginnings: Growing Where God Has Planted You."   The annual program brings together Baptist churches throughout Essex County.  The keynote speaker for the occasion will be Rev. William Derek Lee, pastor of Imani Baptist Church of Christ in East Orange, NJ.  The workshop leaders include Mrs. Teresa Oniyama, Rev. Dr. Valerie Griffin and Rev. Dr. Terry L. Richardson. The event will also feature health screenings by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.

This past year we have focused on immigration, domestic violence, foster and adoption care and community outreach.  Under the leadership of Rev. Geraldine Clark, Essex Association Moderator, the association has expanded its commitment to various social issues and community outreach initiatives.

Each year, the Association strives to have new speakers and fresh topics of interest.  "The goals of our workshops are to identify potential pitfalls that hinder our spiritual growth with God, church community, family and friends, " said Rev. Clark.

Registration cost is $10 for adults, $5 for youth (ages 13-19) and free for children 12 and under, which included all conference sessions, breakfast and lunch.  The event is sponsored by the Essex Association of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey and supported by New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Razac and Stop N Shop.  To register and for more information about the event, please contact Marsha Wilkerson at jenell47@aol.com. 

A Pastoral Message to ABCNJ Family from Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer

A Pastoral Message to ABCNJ Family from Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer

It is with a mixture of profound sadness, deep appreciation for the fourteen years I have had the privilege of serving as ABCNJ's Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor, and in anticipation of God's call upon my future, that I tender my resignation, effective May 31, 2017, in order to begin my service as the General Secretary of ABCUSA on June 1, 2017. Please forgive the brief time for transition, which is necessitated by the upcoming ABCUSA Biennial Mission Summit and other factors.