Arrivals, Departures, Celebrations, Concerns
§ The Rev. John Paschen is scheduled for surgery to remove a non-malignant tumor on May 23 at Children's Hospital in Toledo. Notes may be sent to John at: 2531 Hasen Dr., Lambertville, MI 48114.
§ Peggy Ramsey, wife of John Ramsey, president of American Baptist Men USA, died on May 12, 2008, in Indianapolis, IN. Her funeral was held on May 16.
Region offering: sowing seeds of ministry
ABC-MI is currently conducting its first ever Region offering, sowing seeds of ministry. This offering will support the many ongoing ministries of ABC-MI as well as support new initiatives. One of the effective ongoing ministries has been in the area of church health. To assist churches in the movement toward greater health, ABC-MI offers a number of church health enrichment/assessment resources and workshops to help church leaders determine a plan for the movement toward greater health that best matches their need. A growing number of ABC-MI churches have engaged in an enrichment/assessment process, many with positive and significant results.
One such church is Renaissance Baptist Church in Detroit. The Rev. Edwin Holmes shares the difference that such resources have made in the life of his congregation:
Last year a church health assessment workshop was done at Renaissance Baptist Church. About 50 of our ministry leaders participated and they found the workshop to be very helpful. For example, in small groups we were able to identify some of our strengths and weaknesses in areas such as leadership, relationships, communication, conflict management, mission, and vision, to name a few. In many of the categories I marveled to see that the leadership saw things one way, while I saw them in a completely different way! What I found most helpful about the workshop was that the workshop leader started us out in the Word of God in the book of Acts. We could then measure our "health" against the healthy attributes of the first century church.
For the leaders of the congregation, one of the most helpful aspects of the workshop was coming together in conversation around sensitive issues. We had a list of about ten challenges to start working on, but through dialogue together we discovered that we needed to take them one at a time. One of the first topics we addressed was, "Do you know the mission or vision statement of the church?" This set the tone for eventually address ing other important issues in our church life. After the workshop, many of the leaders told me how important this was and how much they had learned about themselves and our church.
As a result of the workshop, we discovered that the key to a healthy church is not to wait until conflict arises, but to teach the congregation how to respond to conflict in a favorable manner. I am glad to say that we will soon be doing a workshop on conflict resolution, a continuation of what we learned in our health assessment.
I highly recommend this workshop. Having this resource through ABC-MI has truly made a difference in the life of our church!
-- Rev. Dr. Edwin H. Holmes, Pastor
Renaissance Baptist Church, Detroit
MDA Annual MeetingOn Sunday afternoon, May 4, Chairman Rev. Ronald Burks called to order the annual meeting of the Metropolitan Detroit Association of Churches. Delegates from an association that comprises 47 congregations gathered under the theme "Make A Difference." Reports were received, with special presentations by Friendship House, Camp Lael, and the Children in Poverty Initiative. The Association also welcomed a new church, St. Luke Tabernacle Community Church of Detroit. The meeting was hosted by the First Baptist Church of Wyandotte. The church's praise band provided music, and Dr. Kevin Turman, Region president and pastor of Second Baptist Church of Detroit, brought the message. Delegates to the gathering brought canned goods that were offered as a gift to the food pantries of First, Wyandotte, and the Bethel Baptist Church of Southgate. Following the meeting a dinner was held in the fellowship hall.
"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have." -- Hebrews 13:16a
Over time we come to realize that all of our gifts come from God, and that sharing actually enriches us. In blessing others with our gifts, goodness and love flow from our hearts. The blessing returns to us, changing us and building that desire to respond even more generously to God's call to do good and to share what we have.
One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offers an opportunity for each of us to share with people in need around the world – giving them much more than a handout. When we share our resources, we help to ensure that children suffering from disease not only receive treatment, but enjoy the benefits of a community made safer with proper sanitation and clean sources of water. We partner with a family living in hunger, offering them not just food, but the tools and training to build a sustainable source of income for ourselves – improving their world and ours.
Many American Baptists understand the OGHS offering to be the "disaster relief offering." That's true, but OGHS provides for much more. Funding for development projects and refugee ministries to national, international and ecumenical partners totaling over $1,000,000 is made possible each year because of your generosity. Commitments to our partners for the funding of these projects and ministries are made in faith that your undesignated gifts to the offering will provide the resources necessary to support them. A sampling of some of the projects is listed below:
† Across the United States – Resettlement of Refugees
† Burundi – Construction of a Health Center
† Salvador – Food Security for 100 Families
† Dormitory and Training Center for Freed Slaves
† Trenton, NJ – Legal Services for Immigrants
† Palestine – Support for the People of the Gaza Strip
† Thailand – Integrated Tribal Development Program
When we share our resources through OGHS, we make a difference in the lives of others. We reach around the world, giving shape to the heart of Christ. When we understand how the blessing of sharing changes lives, our own lives are never the same again. If you have any questions, please contact Debbie Hart at the Region Office by calling 800.632.2953 ext. 221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anniversary Celebration for the Rev. William Wyne
On Sunday, April 27, Second Missionary Baptist Church of Battle Creek celebrated the ninth anniversary of their pastor, the Rev. William Wyne and first lady, Josie Wyne. As the twenty-first pastor of Second Missionary Baptist, Rev. Wyne has had a positive impact on the church itself as well as the community of Battle Creek.
Under his leadership, both the church and the community have grown in many ways. Some of his many notable accomplishments are:
† Rev. Wyne was actively involved in creating the annual community wide MLK celebration in Battle Creek and later implemented the Annual Pulpit Exchange among black and white ministers as part of the MLK celebration.
† He was instrumental in expanding the Mission Ministry Thanksgiving and Christmas Basket giving by partnering with Ann J. Kellogg and Coburn Elementary Schools.
† He established Second's New Vision and Outreach Ministries (SNVOM), the mission of which is to enhance and nurture the economic, spiritual, cultural, and social development of the greater Battle Creek Area.
† Through SNVOM, Rev. Wyne was instrumental in beginning a GED program and an after-school Reading Incentive Program (RIP) both in collaboration with the Battle Creek Public Schools. He implemented A Second Chance Transitional House, collaborating with The Haven of Rest's Life Recovery Program. He also established the Annual Historical Black College & University Choir Concerts, resulting in the hosting of choirs from Howard, Spellman, Morehouse and many other great historical black colleges and universities.
† Under his leadership, three ministers have been licensed and ordained. This includes SMBC's first woman minister.
† Rev. Wyne led the congregation in the construction of the Annex Building, new addition which includes among other things, a computer room, a youth room, classrooms and an elevator making both the Annex and the original church building fully handicapped accessible.
† He has served as Vice Moderator of the Chain Lake District Missionary Baptist Association, and is currently Moderator. He has also served as President of the United Community Ministerial Alliance.
Six years ago, Rev. Wyne led his church to become part of the American Baptist Churches of Michigan. He has become very active in the Region and currently serves as a Peer Leader of one of the Region's Ministry Leadership Groups. He shares his story and the ways in which he and his congregation have benefitted from the relationship with ABC-MI in the booklet "sowing seeds of ministry," available online (www.abc-mi.org) or by calling the Region office. (800.632.2953). His story is also featured below in this issue of E-Link Online.
Sowing Seeds of Ministry -- The Rev. William Wyne
Since becoming part of ABC-MI, I have been tremendously blessed and even surprised. My initial experience with a Baptist faith outside of my own culture was with a Southern Baptist church in Columbus, Mississippi where I was pastoring Missionary Union Baptist Church. The pastor and I had become close friends. I extended an invitation for him to preach to my congregation and he did. However, when he attempted to reciprocate, I was not allowed to preach at his church – and this was in the mid-80's! So when I encountered Kalamazoo First Baptist, I did so with reservations and a history that was not positive. It was not long before the First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo demonstrated the spirit of God's church and helped me put in the past my negative experience with a "First Baptist Church."
As part of the ABC-MI fellowship, I have benefited from relationships and opportunities that have affirmed my faith and enhanced my own ministerial walk. Most recently our church ordained our first woman minister with the approval and blessing of the Commission on Ordination.
While serving as an MLG Peer Leader, I have found myself more often being the recipient of blessings from the group, rather than the leader giving blessings to the group. I have ultimately found a genuine spirit of fellowship and collegial respect from my peers in ABC. My walk in this denomination especially in the West area has truly been God-ordained.
I have been enriched far more that I could ever enrich those whom I have been blessed to know and I am thankful for this fruitful fellowship.
-- Rev. William J. Wyne, Pastor, Second Missionary Baptist Church Battle Creek
The Region is sponsoring a Future Search Conference, June 2-4 at the St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt. Future Search is an innovative method of strategic planning that brings a diverse group of constituents together in order to explore the past and the present as a prelude to future direction and action planning. In the case of our conference, we are seeking to mature the Growing Healthy Churches initiative by focusing on the conference theme "Nurturing Healthy Churches That Impact Our World." A conference steering committee has been hard at work inviting 64 persons, who represent an amazing diversity of our ABC-MI family, to participate. This is likely one of the first times so large and so diverse a group has gathered to think and pray and plan for the future of our Region ministries. It is our belief and our hope that the resulting plans will guide our Region ministries for many years to come and will help us grow healthy churches that will effectively proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed. For more information about the conference, contact Ron Cary, Region Consultant for Church Health, at email@example.com.
The May newsletter of ABCUSA Ministers Council is available at http://tinyurl.com/4qg6xk.
The current issue of Prayer Call for ABC International Ministries is online at http://abc-mi.org/elink/prayer-call.pdf.
The Friendship House Newsletter is now provided in both PDF and DOC formats. The DOC format is a much smaller file and will take much less time to acquire on slow dialup connections. Read it in PDF at http://abc-mi.org/elink/fh.pdf or in DOC format at http:abc-mi.org/fh.doc.
The next issue of E-Link Online will be published on June 2, 2008. Please send news items and notices to the Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) by May 29.
Disclaimer: listing of these references does not imply endorsement of positions or policies advocated in them by either the American Baptist Churches of Michigan or the editor of E-Link Online. They are provided here for further thought, discussion, and inquiry. Caveat lector.
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