In 2012, ABCNJ introduced Sacred Safe Spaces, a pioneering ministry focusing on the ministry churches could offer to women and children who were victims of domestic violence. Created by Rev. Tamara R. Jackson, and initially funded by a generous grant from the American Baptist Women’s Ministries, Sacred Safe Spaces provides educational workshops and encourages churches to adopt the ABCNJ Congregation Covenant of Nonviolence. To date, some 20 churches have approved the covenant – and these churches will be recognized at a special ceremony at the 2016 Annual Session on Saturday, September 24, 2016. Rev. Jackson has served the region faithfully since the inception of Sacred Safe Spaces and our churches have been blessed by her inspirational leadership and creative advocacy on behalf of women and children. However, she has accepted the call as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Syracuse in New York. Of course, we all wish her well in her new ministry! She says, “Over the last three years it has been my pleasure serving as the Coordinator for ABCNJ’s Sacred Safe Spaces Initiative. Violence remains pervasive in our world, society and places of worship. Indeed there is still much work to be done.”
We agree, and therefore we are pleased to announce that at its May 14, 2016 meeting, the ABCNJ Council affirmed the appointment of Rev. Estelle V. David as the new ABCNJ OPEN Pastor for the Sacred Safe Spaces ministry.
Rev. David proclaims, “I am a friend of God.” She is an advocate of building the Beloved Community which is characterized by people who have mutual respect, truth, justice and harmony embracing their diversity for the greater good. The needs of the community have always been a passion of hers and she has worked as a community builder in many sectors - grassroots, public, private and faith-based community corporations. After 14 years as Prison Chaplain at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women (EMCFW), December 31, 2015, she retired. Rev. David believes that the role of the church is to honor each of God’s creations so that we can use our gifts, strengths, perceptions and complexities to be our best, growing in peace and glorifying God!
Has your congregation endorsed the ABCNJ Congregation Covenant of Nonviolence? You can copy and personalize the covenant from our web-site. If your church endorses, this covenant, please send the region office a signed copy!