“It’s a good day to be an American Baptist.” That’s what Judy Fackenthal, current president of our denomination, said to a small group of clergy women who gathered in Santa Fe, New Mexico a few weeks ago too. It was near the end of our week – we’d spent time in prayer and study and lots of sharing – and as we were wrapping up, we moved into more practical reports from representa- tives of the larger body we all belong to. Judy, who’d been part of our fellowship all week because of her role as a pastor in Indianapolis, now transitioned to her role as ABC- USA president. And she grinned as she repeated, “It’s a really good day to be an American Baptist.”
She referenced the seven focus areas that the denomination is committed to doing deep explora- tion of: Next Generation of Leaders; Violence; Discipleship; Poverty; the Gospel in a Rapidly Changing Society; Women in Ministry; and Alternative Models for Pastoral Ministry.
She told us that for the last two biennial meetings, structured conversations have been held about these topics. They are clearly on people’s minds, and they are informing the work that we do as churches.
Do you have ideas, concerns, of questions related to those topics? What are some ways FBC Mac is participating in ministry that addresses them? What are some ways we might join our denomi- nation in forefronting those topics?
The next time we gather as a denomination, Judy said, we’ll not only make time to share our thoughts on these issues, but to hear presentations, gain tools for ministry, and listen to stories of how our brothers and sisters are doing this important work related to these issues in their churches all over this country and beyond.
That “next time,” by the way, is the summer of 2017 – and it is so close to us! The ABC-USA biennial meeting is coming to Portland! The planning team has decided to call it “Connecting through Christ”
A theme inspired by the bridges of Portland. We’ll publicize more details as they’re released – I hope you’re able to attend for some part of this event and connect with those who share our faith and commitments from around the world. And I hope you’ll share our president’s sentiment about what a hopeful season this is to be doing God’s work as part of this larger community.
Peace to you, Erika