ABC Biennial Mission Summit—A Brief Reflection
Marie Onwubuariri, Regional Executive Minister
The last week of June leading up to July 2, American Baptists from across the country, Puerto Rico, and global servants from around the world converged in Portland, OR for our denomination’s biennial gathering. Amidst close to 1000 participants and dozens of potential workshops, bible studies, activities, sessions, and impromptu conversations, I could not possibly provide an adequate summary of the event that would include a complete listing of highlights. Bring a diverse group of Baptists together and you can be sure that no two people will walk away with the same experiences and impressions! However, I admit I had my ABC Wisconsin lens on as I sought out indications of “rootedness”—one of our region’s imperatives and the theme of this year’s Annual Gathering. As our denomination is in a season of transition, with three of our newest national leaders offering their vision during plenary worship sessions, I listened for rootedness—and what that rootedness means for us today. My brief takeaway:
American Baptists have always been a people for and about mission, lifting up both the centrality of local communities of faith and the gospel call around the globe, who have understood God’s humanity as valuable and therefore examined the treatment of people with serious attention, and thus often found some justice to pursue that went against the then-current-day norms. From this rootedness we are still fiercely being called to challenge our comforts, comfort the afflicted, and discern and follow with deep faith the example of Jesus, repenting from all self-indulgent securities and making it our purpose to bring good news and hope to others.
On our best days, this is what I have witnessed, and these are the roots that I proudly claim and the call in which I labor.
Mission Summit press releases can be found at www.abc-usa.org (“News” tab).