As a representative of ABCNJ for Asian Ministries and Pastor of First Asian Baptist Church of Haddonfield and First Baptist Church of Trenton, Pastor Elizabeth Congdon, Rev. Mary Mild and I attended the conference of “Together in Ministry Retreat for Pastors ministering to the Burma Diaspora Community.”
What a special retreat with pastors from Karen and Chin communities from all over the United States as well as pastors of host churches to the Burmese. There were about 40 pastors and lay leaders in attendance at the National Conference Center in Valley Forge.
Dr. Joe Kutter, Executive Director of the ministers council welcomed us. Then we had introductions, fellowship and panel discussions. Rev. Dr. Brenda Halliburton, ABHMS, Coordinator for inter-cultural ministries spoke on Building Inclusive Communities using case studies from both a Karen church (Rev. Saw Ler Htoo) and a Chin Church (Rev. Rollin Van Bik). Opportunities were given by ABHMS office of immigration and Refugee Services, National Coordinator, Rev. Aundreia Alexander, for identifying ministry issues in Congregations followed by small group discussions led by Dr. Kutter.
An update of the Burma Refugee task force was given by Rev. Florence Li, National Coordinator, and Asian Churches Strategist. There was also an in depth discussion of ministry issues and the formation of TIM groups with Dr. Kutter facilitating. TIM groups were formulated and evaluated.
We learned a lot about culture, history, and political situation knowing that we are all brought together through Christ and how to work together through Christ in our own ministries.