The ABCNJ Council endorsed three new regional initiatives at its first meeting of 2013 on Saturday, January 26. The Council:
- Endorsed the region's Sacred Safe Spaces ministry, which addresses the need for our congregations to serve as safe spaces for women, children and others who have suffered physical, sexual and other forms of abuse. Rev. Tamara Davis has been called to serve as Coordinator for this initiative. Churches will receive a full announcement later this week.
- Approved a resolution from the Public Mission Committee on Human Trafficking. This resolution will be published on ABCNJ.net and sent by mail to all of our churches.
- Agreed that ABCNJ should move ahead with plans to create a Disaster Relief ministry team, in coordination with the DC Baptist Convention (which ha strong ties to FEMA) and the American Baptist Home Mission Societies. We have learned a great deal from the Hurricane Sandy experience, which will help both the region and its churches prepare for another future state-wide calamity.
The Council also welcomed Rev. Erin Phillips as the newest half-time member of the ABCNJ Regional Ministry Team, approved the final working 2013 regional budget, and approved several special loans to churches. We heard glowing reports about Fresh Expressions 2013, in which some 30 ABCNJ members are involved, Fanning the Flame 2013 (our next Pastors Conference, hosted with ABCOPAD), and the recently concluded Philippines Mission trip conducted by Drs. Spitzer and Familiaran. They spoke to 700 Philippine Baptist Ministers and helped kick off this semesters Christ Emphasis Week at Central Philippine University. Baptist camp Lebanon Director, Don Smith, shared that there will be an alumni weekend in May and announced an exciting new camp beautification and fundraising project - a brick walkway.
Special thanks to Rev. Curtis Haynes and the members of Second Baptist Church in Moorestown for hosting us in such a gracious and hospitable manner!