E-Link Online

News of the American Baptist Churches of Michigan

Issue 2017.01 - January 2, 2017

In this issue....

Winter Weekends

Speak Truth Show Grace group starting on Facebook

Rev. Dr. David L. Nichols, ABC-MI Church Consultant and Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo, has begun a new blog and Facebook group as of January 1, 2017.

The purpose of the blog and group will be to put the truth about current issues and ideas, as far as the truth can be reasonably ascertained, into a kingdom of God perspective not easily labeled as liberal or conservative, left or right, Democrat or Republican. The blog will be a first step toward that; comments and discussion in the Facebook group will help point out the author's blind spots and sharpen the focus.

Dr. Nichols describes it like this:

My hope is that, in some small way, focusing on grace and truth will change the world. I also hope it will change me. In the midst of the controversies surrounding Donald Trump's presidency, I have struggled to be at peace with it all. I get discouraged when I hear people say discussions about politics or religion always lead to arguments. In the early church, some dared to say "Jesus is Lord" at the risk of their lives because the powers that be insisted saying anything other than "Caesar is Lord" was treason. I'm not sure about everything the Lordship of Jesus means for today, but I'm pretty sure speaking truth and showing grace is at the heart of it.

Speak Truth Show Grace is a closed Facebook group, exclusive for the purpose of shutting out social media trolls and their hate-filled comments; everyone who is willing to treat others with dignity and respect is welcome. The group is being started as a safe place for people with differing perspectives to dialogue openly without fear of reprisal. Anyone interested in becoming part of the group can do a Facebook search for Speak Truth Show Grace and ask to join.

MLG REPORT - December 2016

The Ministry Leadership Group met recently for a time of Christmas Fellowship, food, and fun. MLG Christmas MLG Christmas
MLG Christmas MLG Christmas
MLG Christmas Those present were the Rev. and Mrs. Dick Schlee, the Rev. and Mrs. Gary Schooler, Minister Roxie Perry and the Rev. James Perry, the Rev. and Mrs. Jim Bender, the Rev. and Mrs. Brian Perry, the Rev. David Laisum, and the Rev. and Mrs. William Wyne.

Those unable to attend were the Rev. David Good and Dr. Michael Scott. We dined on a fabulous meal, enjoyed wonderful fellowship and conversation. There was a time of sharing, praying, and reflection led by Rev. Dick Schlee.

The group discussed asking Kalamazoo to host the Annual Palm Sunday Worship.

Additional scholarship funds available from MBSS

Michigan Baptist Scholarship Society (MBSS) exists to raise money and provide scholarships for active members of ABC-MI churches who are preparing for professional church leadership. Most often that means becoming a pastor, missionary, or chaplain.

Because we had fewer applicants than expected for this upcoming semester or quarter, there is a possibility of awarding some additional scholarships if anyone who is interested takes action immediately (meaning within the next two weeks).

The applicants can be at the seminary or undergraduate level. Seminarians must be in a seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Seminaries, and undergraduates in a college or university approved by the North Central Association.

Support can be on a full-time or part-time basis. You can go to the ABC-MI website and download an Initial Application Form. Contact Bruce Carr, MBSS Chair, for details. HIs e-mail: hbrucecarr@aol.com and his phone is 248-474-8916.

Baptist Joint Committee Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship entries sought

Each year, the Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest engages high school students in church-state issues by directing them to express a point of view on a religious liberty topic. Essays are judged on the depth of their content, the mastery of the topic, and the skill with which they are written. Students should develop a point of view on the issue and demonstrate critical thinking, using appropriate examples, reasons and other evidence to support their position. The annual contest is sponsored by the Religious Liberty Council of the Baptist Joint Committee. The grand prize is $2,000 and a trip for two to Washington, D.C. Second prize is $1,000, and third prize is $500.

For complete details and entry forms go here. All entries must include student essay on this year's topic, student registration form and essay adviser form. Entry packets must be postmarked by March 10, 2017.

2017 Biennial Mission Summit: Register your church as a Sponsor today!

2017 ABC Biennial

The Biennial Mission Summit is just over six months away! For the June 30-July 2, 2017 event in Portland, Oregon, we are again inviting churches to register as Sponsors.

When a church registers as a Sponsor, individuals from the church are able to attend at a discounted rate, saving at least $100 off the regular rate to register for the Biennial Mission Summit. The church will also be listed on the event website at www.americanbaptists2017.com and in the event program book. Sponsoring churches will help to support the Biennial Mission Summit and make it a success.

More information, including pricing and savings, can be found here. Don't miss the deadline for Church Sponsorship: March 15, 2017! *Members of sponsoring churches can individually register at a discounted rate. If a church is not a Sponsor, church members will pay a higher individual registration fee for the event. Individual registration will open in January 2017.

Church Sponsorship for the 2017 Biennial Mission Summit will be based on average worship attendance for each church, as follows:

  • Less than 100 members - $250
  • 101-200 members - $415
  • 201-500 members - $580
  • More than 500 - $745

Click here to learn more and to register as a Church Sponsor today!

Upcoming Events: MLI - "Being Bi-Vocational"

Ministry Leadership Institute "Being Bi-Vocational"
Jan 21 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Duration: 7 Hours
This event will be held at the Region Office in East Lansing.

Commission on Ordination/Standing meets January 12

The Region Commission on Ordination and Standing is scheduled to meet on January 12 at the Region Office. Persons seeking ABC recognition of ordination who wish to meet with the Commission must notify the chairperson no later than December 19. All required documentation must be submitted by that date. More information is available by contacting the chair of the Commission, Rev. Ron Cary at rcarysr@gmail.com.  The next meeting of the Commission will be in May 18.

2017 Region Professional Registry

The 2017 professional registry questionnaire has been sent by email to Region professional church leaders. It is also available on the Region website, www.abc-mi.org. If you wish to be listed in the 2017 registry, you must return the completed form to the Region office by January 15, 2017. The annual registry helps to provide accurate information on professional standing to the denomination. Listing in the registry is often required for denominationally sponsored grants and scholarships. If you did not receive the questionnaire or you have misplaced it, (click here) to download a copy.

All professional church leaders, ordained or non-ordained, are welcome to be listed in the registry provided they:

  1. Hold membership in a Region church affiliated with the ABC-MI;
  2. Are employed for at least 20 hours each week in a professional capacity;
  3. Receive some compensation for their work.

An exception is provided for retirees, seminary students, and persons seeking placement, however they must return a completed questionnaire to be listed in the registry. If you have questions about the registry, contact Ron Cary, chair of the Commission on Ordination and Standing at rcarysr@gmail.com.

A note from the Editor

With this issue of E-Link I begin my 16th year of editing ABC-MI's chief means of keeping in touch with members and friends of the churches of the Region.

I am grateful for the help and support of the Region office staff, our Executive Minister Dr. Michael A. Williams, my colleagues who serve as contract consultants, and E-Link readers throughout the Region who send important information my way. In this new year I especially hope that readers will send me more news of your church and its work in your community. Let's get the word out. Send news, photos to me at editor@abc-mi.org.

Next issue deadline

The next issue of E-Link Online will be published on January 16, 2017. Please send news items, notices, and pictures to the Editor no later than Thursday, January 13.

Editor's trips*

The Editor
  1. Problems with top-down vision-casting - and a New Testament alternative (Christianity Today)
  2. The three-word question that's changing what charities do with their resources (The Atlantic Monthly)
  3. What is a "recombobulation" area? (Baptist News)
  4. Does empathy guide or hinder moral action? (New York Times/Room for Debate)
  5. Why are Americans less charitable than they used to be? (The Atlantic)
  6. Why you will marry the wrong person (New York Times/Opinion)
  7. How social isolation is killing us (New York Times/Human Touch)
  8. The actual war on Christians (The Atlantic Monthly)
  9. How much is too much? Book review of The Vice of Luxury by David Clouthier (Christian Century)
  10. Rejecting the Either/Or of Creation/Evolution (RJS in Jesus Creed)

*Every edition of E-Link Online features links to articles the Editor has tripped over while surfing the Web. Some links have been suggested by others. Don't expect to agree with, approve of, or enjoy them all. Neither the Editor of E-Link Online nor the American Baptist Churches of Michigan necessarily agrees with, endorses, or otherwise puts a stamp of approval on the views expressed in them. They're here to stir the pot, provoke discussion, encourage further inquiry, stimulate an opening of mind and heart, and lead to prayer and action. Readers are invited to send their own suggestions to the Editor.