We are always grateful for those who serve on the team of ABCNJ. Penny Kenyon (15 years) Peter Ely (5 years) and Bridge Pastor Bob Santilli (5 years) were recognized for their years of faithful service in the region. And for the first time in the life of ABCNJ we presented the Lifetime Achievement Awards to the Rev. Dr. Edgard Nicolas and Rev. Dr. Lemaire Alerte. For over 40 years Rev. Nicolas and Rev. Alerte have served on the ABCNJ team providing excellent leadership and guidance to our Haitian churches and pastors. Rev. Nicolas has been instrumental in having 10 Haitian churches from Florida join the ABCNJ family. We pray for these two servants as they mentor and pass on the mantle to the next generation of leaders. Friends, family and colleagues were proud to recognize and announce that our Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor, Dr. Lee Spitzer completed and graduated with his Ph.D. from the Free University of Amsterdam. On September 6th he successfully defended his dissertation entitled, “The Hand of Sincere Friendship: The Responses of Baptists in the United States to Nazi Anti-Semitism and the Persecution of the Jewish People, 1933-1948.” Congratulations, Rev. Dr. Dr. Spitzer for this great accomplishment! Well done, good and faithful servant!
The culmination of our Annual Session was the baptism service. We first listened to powerful testimonies from Sharon Yu and Rev. Dr. Mia Chang.
Sharon, a 12 year old who was recently baptized at the FBC of Haddonfield shared that her desired to be a disciple of Jesus, to have a new life and follow God’s path and to be fully connected with God were all part of her journey to the baptismal waters.
The Rev. Dr. Mia Chang was baptized at the 2015 ABCNJ Annual Session and she shared that being baptized in the aspersion tradition and after becoming a Baptist pastor and having led may people to the waters of baptism, she also felt the need to experience baptism - by immersion for herself. Her experience was more profound and powerful than she had ever experienced.
This year it was a thrill to give witness to seven baptismal candidates from three ABCNJ churches take their first public steps of faith in front of their ABCNJ family! Anthony Jones and Maureen Jones of Penns Neck Baptist Church, Princeton; Christine Marshall, Jill Burgy of FBC, Manasquan; Ed Borkowski, Karen Borkowski and Kyra Blewett of Ledgewood Baptist Church all said “Yes to opening their hearts and following Jesus Christ!”
As we processed to the beach to witness the baptisms, on our left was a celebration of a wedding taking place on the sands of the beach and on our right was a balcony filled with ABCNJ friends cheering on the baptism procession. What a glorious sight!