The Council of the American Baptist Churches held its fall meeting at the Atrium in Red Bank on Saturday morning, November 9, 2013. It was a memorable morning - and not just because of the awesome hospitality and breakfast provided by Springpoint Senior Living. We celebrated God's blessings, planned for the future and focused on world-wide mission.
The Council heard from Mr. Gary Puma, CEO of Springpoint, who shared the story of how the Atrium was saved and re-established as a first rate Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). He presented two full color drawings of the original Navesink House to our Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor, Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, as a symbol of the partnership we share.
The Council also celebrated the successful launching of the Cedars of Lebanon 2020 campaign, which has now surpassed the $183,000 mark! And it voted to accept the application for full ABCNJ membership from NextGen Church, as it graduates from our New Church Development program. Rev. Dr. Mia Chang is the Lead Pastor, and she now represents NCD on the Council.
Planning for the Future
Annual Session 2014 is just around the corner (!) - September 27, 2014. The Council engaged in small group discussions concerning themes for presentations, which will be added to the ABCNJ Ministry Team's deliberations and given to the 2014 Annual Session Planning Committee. It is going to be a fantastic Annual Session!
How does the region come alongside struggling churches? Council approved a new policy statement which outlines how the Regional Ministry Team will partner with Council and our Associations to assist churches that have come to the end of their journey, that which to invite the region to re-start their ministry, or that request counsel regarding healthy ministry decisions.
ABCNJ churches and members are ministering all around the globe! This past summer, young adults from several of our Latino churches engaged in an Extreme Team mission trip to the Czech Republic. Four members of the team shared with Council details of their mission experience.
Dr. Spitzer noted that two other young adults have just returned this week from Brazil, where they represented ABCNJ at a Baptist Youth Gathering that attracted 1000 people from all across that country. Special thanks to IM missionaries Ann and Bruce Borquist, for guiding our representatives through the week!
The Council also approved responding to the disaster in the Philippines by creating a designated fund for Philippine Disaster Response (like we did for Katrina in 2005 and Haiti in 2010). An appeal will go out to our churches. ABCNJ has a special direct relationship with the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches.