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News of the American Baptist Churches of Michigan

Issue 2017.03 - January 30, 2017

In this issue....


Comings, goings, celebrations, concerns

The Rev. Dr. Wilma R. Johnson's Legacy Lives On

Dr. Wilma Johnson

The Rev. Dr. Wilma R. Johnson's legacy and impact live on even though her life on this earth has ended. Dr. Johnson was the proud pastor of the New Prospect Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit for 17 years. On January 16, 2016 the Detroit chapter of the United Negro College Fund honored her posthumously with an award because of her excellent work in the community and her dedication to helping young people continue their education.

Her husband of 32 years, Deacon David L. Johnson, accepted the award on her behalf. A large delegation from her congregation were present to honor her life and legacy at the breakfast held at the Shriners Silver Garden Banquet Center in Southfield, Michigan, on January 16 - the national holiday in which America remembers the drum major for justice himself, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Johnson was among other trailblazers to receive an award; others included Congressman John Conyers, the longest serving congressman on capitol hill, Lisa Philips, Principal of the prestigious Cass Tech High School in Detroit, and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

2016 American Baptist Mission Support (ABMS)

East Lansing - Once again American Baptists across Michigan sacrificially supported American Baptist missions through United Mission, five major offerings, institutional support and specific gifts in 2016. Please note the following totals compared to the previous year:


There are several items of note regarding the 2016 ABMS giving by ABC-MI churches:

The auditors will audit the 2016 financials in April with the 2016 audit report completed by mid-June.

Thank you for your church’s continued support of the mission of American Baptists even in the midst of challenging economic times. Through our combined efforts we are able to do more than we could ever do by ourselves.

Pray for churches in Burma

The following letter from the Rev. Dr. Bawm Luk Lagwi of the Michigan Kachin Baptist Church in Grand Rapids describes the plight of our brothers and sisters in Christ in Kachin State of Burma. Read, pray, and pass the word.

Prayer Request

Cultivating Leaders, Equipping Disciples, Healing Communities


The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. - Luke 4:18-19

Our 2017 America for Christ Offering (AFC) theme is based on this scripture reminding us that, as American Baptists, we exemplify a vital legacy of mission and ministry dating back to 1824. Our 20th century challenges are numerous, but with your generous donations and partnership we are committed to cultivating dynamic Christian leaders who are culturally and spiritually competent, in touch with their churches and communities, and passionate about ministry and helping people.

As American Baptists plant congregations, initiate programs or engage in mission in the United States and Puerto Rico, our motivation should be Christ-centered, Biblically based and justice-minded. Our mission and vision should be inclusive of every tribe, race and people.

Love Gift

The hyperlink below will take you to 2 videos to show you how the American Home Baptist Mission Societies and you support the Edna Martin Christian Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, through the America For Christ offering. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8sUqreYqgs

As American Baptists, let us give generously to the America for Christ Offering, so we can partner together for the cause of Christ. I encourage you to give generously to this special annual offering which is normally collected during the month of February, but it can be received at any time during the year. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Debbie Hart at (800) 632.2953 or dhart@abc-mi.org. Thank you and God bless!

Winter Weekends

ABC-MI Ministers Council Membership Drive

All ABC-MI clergy are invited to become members of the ABC-MI Ministers Council for 2017. Ministers Council exists to provide encouragement for clergy while also promoting professional church leadership through advocacy of ethical standards and adequate support in ministry. Why should I join or encourage my church's pastor to join, many ask.

Did you know, it was the ABCUSA Ministers Council who prepared the Ministers Code of Ethics? This Code of Ethics reminds clergy of their responsibilities to one another and to the local church they serve.

Did you know, the Ministers Council, along with ABC-MI, sponsors events for the encouragement of clergy: both active and retired? In April, Dr. Bill Spiell, President of Northern Seminary will lead the annual clergy retreat. In the fall, retirees enjoy a luncheon together and discuss ways to continue engaging in ministry opportunities.

Did you know, the Ministers Council offers grants for continuing education?

Membership in the ABC-MI Ministers Council enables a clergy person to broaden his/her knowledge, strengthen ministry skills and continue developing to become the pastoral leader God calls him/her to be while also connecting with colleagues.

This year, ABC-MI clergy may choose to join both the ABCUSA Ministers Council and the ABC-MI Ministers Council or to join only the ABC-MI Ministers Council. Joining ABC-MI Ministers Council entitles the member to all the benefits offered each region member. In order to qualify for benefits offered by the national Ministers Council (a listing may be found at www.mnisterscouncil.com), clergy must belong to both the national and the region Ministers Councils.

To join, or for more information, contact Rev. MaryBeth Robertson, Treasurer. Contact information is: marybethrobertson1@gmail.com. As of February 4, the cell phone number is 231-944-8080.

Attention all Metro Detroit Churches:

The Annual MDA and DBU meeting will be held on March 9. Please save the date now and line up your church's meeting representatives. More details will be provided in the coming weeks.

Friendship House Thanks its Volunteers

For the third year, Friendship House partnered with Gleaners Community Food Bank in the Kroger's Bringing Hope to the Table Food Drive. We managed two stores again this year: the store at 31 E. Long Lake Rd. in Troy, and the store at 8920 8 Mile Rd. in Ferndale. And once again, we were very successful!

On Saturday, we had 10 volunteers at the Troy store, and 13 at the Ferndale store.On Sunday we had another 12 volunteers at the Troy store and 10 at the Ferndale store.

Both stores together collected 31 carts full of food!

Friendship House

What a remarkable show of generosity from Kroger;s customers! Everyone had a wonderful time and left with a warm, fuzzy appreciation for the compassion folks have for the less fortunate among us.

These partnerships are an important resource to Friendship House because they enable us to continue to meet the nutritional needs in the community for families and children.

Friendship House

A special thanks goes to First Baptist Church of Wyandotte's Youth Group, who never let a customer go by without putting a flyer in their hands!

The prayerful support of our American Baptist Churches keeps us connected to our source of strength to continue our mission and faith. Thank you for your continued support!

Annual Clergy Retreat April 23-25, 2017

Clergy Retreat

In an ever-changing world, the church of Jesus Christ must be able to change her methods without compromising her message. We know change is inevitable, but leading change can be difficult. How and where do we start?  Our guest speaker Dr. William D Shiell, President of Northern Seminary will lead five sessions guiding us not to start over, but to Start Here: Lead Your Church to Engage God's World.

At the retreat, you won't just hear from someone who has led this change and then try to figure out what that means for your congregation on your own. In addition to time for personal reflection, there will be an opportunity to hammer out what you hear in a small group setting; within a group of trusted peers who are also working through the implications of how to lead change in an established church.

To view/download/save the retreat brochure click here (pdf). To register online click here. Deadline is April 12. 2017.

The annual retreat is held at the St Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt MI. The retreat center is centrally located (directions) and provides a "place away, a place of quiet to listen for God's voice…to encounter Christ and grow." Be sure to take time to check out the beautiful gardens/grounds.

In addition to the learning, there will be good food, worship, and fellowship!

Please note:

Search for Camp Lake Louise Director continues

Good morning,

As a follow up to our last email inviting you to be in prayer for the camp and the search for a new Executive Director, we invite you to renew your prayer efforts! J

We have undergone a first round of seeking candidates primarily through the CCCA (Christian camping and conference association).  Additionally, we had a number of candidates who were referred to our process.

Unfortunately, we have not been able to identify a candidate who met the attributes and experience we have been seeking.  We are beginning to commence with round 2 of this search.  We invite your prayers in asking the Lord to raise up the woman or man whom He desires. I have attached the job description which may serve as an additional resource in knowing how to pray. Please feel free to pass this on as we are certain the Lord will, in time, reveal His good plan to us.

Tomorrow, the board will be spending time together focusing on long term vision and mission. Please pray as we seek to hear from our Heavenly father regarding His vision and His mission for us as a camp, both today and in the days to come.

We will be joined for a good portion of the day by Dr. Virgil Gulker, the founder of both Love Inc. and Kids Hope, who will be challenging us in many ways to look beyond our own ability and look to the Lord for His ability in regard to camp.

Please pray that our time will be every bit as fruitful as we can imagine.

Many blessings to each of you and thank you for your ongoing prayers. Without your prayer and our Lord Jesus’ presence, we could do nothing.

Bruce Johnson, Chairman, Camp Lake Louise Board of Directors

Click here for Camp Lake Louise Executive Director job description.

National Baptists meet

The National Baptist Convention, U.S.A. Inc., is the largest Black Baptist Convention, counting millions of members from Churches, District Associations, and State Conventions across the Continental United States and around the world.

The Convention is under the leadership of President Dr. Jerry Young, who also pastors the New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. In the Mid-Winter Board Meeting held January 9 -14, 2017, in Birmingham, Alabama, President Young made new appointments to the convention leadership.

(Note: the Rev. Wyne and Second Baptist Church of Battle Creek are dually-aligned with American Baptist Churches USA and the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A.)

The Moderator's Auxiliary of NBC seeks to serve, assist, facility settings of worship, lectures, and provide tools useful for the work of District Associations and Moderators who are members of the  Convention.

National Baptist Convention

From left to right in the picture: Dr. Matthew Canada, outgoing President of the Moderator's Auxiliary, Dr. Jerry Young, President of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., and Rev. William J. Wyne, newly appointed President of the Moderator's Auxiliary.

Central Area Annual Meeting

Bethel Baptist

The Annual Meeting of the Central Area Churches will be held on February 25, 2017, at Bethel Baptist Church, Lansing (810 Edgemont Blvd.).

Registration starts at 9:30 with music and worship together, followed by presentations from Central Area churches about their ministries to the local community.

We will close with a brief business meeting and end at noon. No pre-registration is necessary. Contact Sue Ellen Glover for more information (gloverse@hotmail.com; 734-663-9376).

Face To Face Scheduled for March

Face to Face

American Baptist Churches of Michigan will join with four other American Baptist regions to host the 2017 Face to Face event on March 24-25 at Greenwood IN First Baptist Church. Over this 2 day period, church search committees and pastors seeking to relocate will worship together and engage in a series of interviews to get better acquainted. For both search committees and pastors, this is an opportunity to meet and learn more about several churches and pastors in a short period of time.

Churches interested in participating must meet three requirements:

Pastors interested in participating must meet two requirements:

The cost for participating and additional information, including registration forms, can be found on the abc-mi.org website on the home page, in the left column below "Upcoming Events." An ABC-MI staff consultant will be attending Face-to-Face to assist ABC-MI participants and guide them through the event as needed.

Assisting church search committees to find their next called pastor and also assisting pastors seeking to relocate are ways ABC-MI serves the local church. Face to Face is a ministry to those served by the region.

If you have questions, please contact MaryBeth Robertson through the ABC-MI Region Office, 517-332-3594.

Residencies offered at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services

Pine Rest

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Grand Rapids, MI, is a faith-based psychiatric hospital offering mental health services for children, adolescents, adults, and older adults in inpatient, partial hospitalization, and residential settings. Our 3 open Residency positions begin August 28, 2017. 3 units are offered over 12 months. Tuition is $1,000 per unit, for a total of $3,000. Residents receive a stipend of $29,000 plus full-time employee benefits.

Qualifications: MDiv degree or equivalent, faith group endorsement, satisfactory completion of 1 unit of CPE. Send ACPE application and $75 application fee by March 1, 2017, to: Rev. Kathy Bird DeYoung, CPE Supervisor, Pine Rest, 300 68th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49548; (616) 281-6363 x2831; kathy.birddeyoung@pinerest.org.

Workplace chaplaincy opportunities in Lansing area

Marketplace Chaplains

Marketplace Chaplains serve in workplaces as chaplains to employees. Richard Harper is recruiting ministry persons, both male and female, who love to help others and may be interested in training to be a Corporate Chaplain to go into workplaces and minister to employees. This is a paid, part-time (2 to 4 hours per week).

Training is provided. Main qualifications are: mature Christian, gifted in helping others. It is a very delightful and rewarding ministry opportunity outside the church. Check the website (mchapusa.com) to learn more about the organization. Harper says, "I would like to speak with anyone who would be interested in pursuing these vacancies. We also have several openings in the Detroit area."

Ecumenical Center for Christian Leadership to hold workshop on vocational well-being


Ecumenical Center for Christian Leadership in DeWitt will host an all-day workshop on vocational well-being on February 23.

Details on leader, program, and registration may be found at http://www.ecclmichigan.org/upcoming-events.html. Register early and save money.

New book - Comfort for the Grieving

No More Tears

NO MORE TEARS: Comfort for the Grieving is a new book published by Dr. Samuel White III, pastor of Friendship Baptist of Detroit Michigan. NO MORE TEARS is a grief work book that will comfort you as you grieve the death of a loved one.

Moreover, it is an excellent resource providing information on how to comfort those who are grieving and how to develop a Grief Support Group, Memorial Service, and Eulogy. NO MORE TEARS is available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Everyone is welcome to the Book Signing on February 5 at 12:30pm at Friendship Baptist Church.

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.

Men's Breakfast

ABW/ABWIM Bahama Cruise in September

ABWM Cruuise

Next issue deadline

The next issue of E-Link Online will be published on February 13, 2017. Please send news items, notices, and pictures to the Editor no later than Thursday, February 9.

Editor's trips*

The Editor
  1. Fake news and the spread of misinformation (Journalist's Resource)
  2. Why Christians must stop taking fake news bait (Church and Culture)
  3. What distinguishes humans from other animals? (RJS/Jesus Creed)
  4. Is your gospel too small? (John Frye/Jesus Creed)
  5. Ohio couple endorsed to serve with International Ministries in Malaysia (International Ministries)
  6. Preaching paradox and the paradox of preaching (CT Pastors)
  7. Distracted by our own devices (Amy Frykholm, Christian Century)
  8. My encounter with Ken Ham's giant ark -"a vacation from the real world" - (Christianity Today web only)
  9. How to increase online giving (Next After)
  10. Dear fellow Christians: it's time to speak up for refugees (Ed Stetzer, The Exchange)

*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.