As American Baptists, we are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on Asians and Asian Americans. The fear and uncertainty caused by the pandemic has led many persons in the U.S. to scapegoat, resulting in Asians and Asian Americans becoming victims of prejudice, discrimination and, at times, violence.
The Alliance recently issued a Statement of Concern regarding COVID-19 and the Anti-Asian Racism and supports the Statement of the Asian American Christian Collaborative. This latter website contains many helpful resources as well.
Efforts to raise awareness to the current issues and to move our denomination forward in racial equity and justice are continuing.
View this Zoom Conversation, hosted by ABHMS: Racism against Asian Americans during COVID-19, originally posted on May 21, 2020.
Avenues to Wholeness Webinars
American Baptist Women’s Ministries hosted “Avenues to Wholeness”, a free winter webinar series in 2020. This webinar series help participants to discover their natural abilities, strengths, gifts so they can achieve their full spiritual, personal and professional potential. The series featured a variety of experts including Dr. Elizabeth Perryman, founder of Upstream Mindfulness LLC and Allison Lansky, Lead Senior Clinical Therapist at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center. Topics ranged from mindfulness and Christian spirituality, emotional awareness as a tool to overcome addiction to finding wholeness after tragedy through the lens of a survivor of Hurricane Maria. This webinar allowed space and time for women to be honest and examine their intents, motives and desires for setting goals.
Avenues to Wholeness: Discover your Superpowers
January 9, 2020
Guest Presenter: Dr. Robin L. Owens, Ph.D
Click here to watch on demand
Avenues to Wholeness: Finding Wholeness in Seasons of Change
January 23, 2020
Guest Presenter: Rev. Jessica Vaughn Lower
Click here to watch on demand
Avenues to Wholeness: Mindfulness and Christian Spirituality
February 6, 2020
Guest speaker: Dr. Elizabeth Perryman, Ph.D
Click here to watch on demand
Avenues to Wholeness: Finding Wholeness after Tragedy
February 20, 2020
Guest speaker: Mrs. Sandra Roman
Click here to watch on demand
Avenidas a la Plenitud: Bienestar Financiero (For Spanish Speakers)
March 19, 2020
Presentadora: Mrs. Magda Amargos
Click here to watch on demand
For more information on the Avenues to Wholeness project and to watch recordings from the Fall 2019 Avenue to Wholeness Series, click here.
The emergence and spread of the novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19 as designated by the World Health Organization, has faith leaders considering appropriate response and responsibility. This developing situation reminds us of the interconnectedness of the world; we are all connected as part of God’s good creation. People of faith respond to such developing situations with compassion and care first, rather than fear and panic, because of the courage that faith inspires.
TWO IMPORTANT TASKS...
As with any developing situation, some media reports can be more harmful than helpful, inspiring fear and anxiety, even outright panic. As people of faith, we are called to remember two important tasks in such situations:
1. We are called to respond first as Christians, as the church, the body of Christ. The first response is compassion and concern, undergirded by prayer and service. Our first impulse is courage, compassion, and faithfulness. Those principles, rather than fear and panic, guide our decisions and actions moving forward. Bias and racial profiling often accompany public crises, as they have in this case. Resist and renounce these temptations in your response to this crisis.
2. Because of our first response, we are also called to inform ourselves about the reality of the developing situation and about known best practices for dealing with the situation in a coherent and faithful way. We must draw on reliable resources for guidance in both preparing for and dealing with this developing situation.
We hope the information on this page can support our faith communities as you discern faithfulness and wise actions in the weeks ahead; we will try our best to update this page as frequently as we deem helpful.
The OGHS COVID RESPONSE is a two-part appeal: one part for relief across the United States and Puerto Rico (domestic); the second part for international relief. Relief efforts, domestically and internationally, will cover a wide range of needs that have been impacted by COVID-19: unemployment, housing, hunger, healthcare, ministry programs, special needs of marginalized populations and communities, and more. Emerging needs will also be considered. OGHS is typically the 2nd quarter ABC special offering. 100% of OGHS donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. HOW TO GIVE:
Give your donation to your church, indicating the appropriate designation noted below, and ask your church to send in your donation along with their monthly mission giving:
Domestic: “OGHS-COVID Recovery: US & PR” |
Global: “OGHS-COVID Response International” |
General Disaster Relief: "OGHS" Click HERE for other ways to give.
During this time of COVID-19 the Milwaukee Christian Center's food pantry has maintained our mission to help those in need. It is hard for families to keep food on their shelf during the everyday normal struggles of life adding COVID pandemic makes it even more difficult. MCC's food pantry has seen an increase beyond the norm of families in need, from March 16th through April 16 MCC has served 876 households which equal to 2,422 individuals. This has put a tremendous financial stress on the pantries food as well as overhead cost. Anything given is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your support. Stay safe. Stay well. Contact Bernadette Arellano, Food Pantry Coordinator, for more information: email@example.com
CONSIDERATIONS: RETURNING TO CHURCH BUILDINGS
WHILE IT IS THE POSITION OF ABC WISCONSIN TO FOLLOW THE STRICTEST OF LOCAL AND COUNTY ORDERS regarding public gatherings and to err on the side of extreme caution with so many unknowns about the continued spread of the coronavirus, we understand that conversations about the church building reopening for public activity are inevitable. To this end, we offer the following resources to aid you in having well-informed and thoughtful discussions and decision-making:
- ABCUSA - Discussion Guide for Reopening Churches from the Office of General Secretary. Lists discussions questions covering building, ministry, and personal considerations. Available in English and Spanish.
- Wisconsin Council of Churches - Holding Our Plans Loosely: Returning to Church 4.0
- Church Mutual - Frequently Asked Questions about safely returning to worship, including issues of liability.
- ABCUSA National Insurance Company -
- CDC Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Vanderbloemen- Christian Organization Resource Organization - Recorded Webinar Resources -- series of webinars covering different discussion topics for re-opening
- For long-term adjustments to the physical space of your sanctuary, see this resource on Church Facilities in a Post-Coronavirus world.
- Also see Employer/Employee and Church Building Considerations/Signage resources below
REQUESTING RELIEF FUNDS
All American Baptist national and regional partners including regions, churches, American Baptist Related Organizations such as ABMen and AB Women, ABC related colleges, universities, seminaries, Community Outreach Ministries partners and the American Baptist national network of chaplains, pastoral counselors, spiritual counselors and specialized ministers’ are eligible to apply for these grants. Organizations may apply for a OGHS COVID-19 related grant in one or more of the quarterly cycles. However, priority for awarding grants will be given to organizations who are first time applicants.
Please find attached the OGHS COVID Grant Application form. You may also submit the application online on our website at this link: https://abhms.org/abhms-covid-recovery-grant-application-form. The passcode is: COVID1920
Previous Communications from ABC/WI
ABC/WI Email Blast Sent on May 14, 2020 | Still Safer-at-Home and Surveys
ABC/WI May Synergy Enews sent on May 6, 2020
Pastoral Letter from Regional Executive Minister, “In This Together” sent on April 20, 2020
ABC/WI April Synergy Enews - COVID-19 Edition (sent on April 1, 2020)
ABC/WI Email Blast Sent on March 25, 2020
ABC/WI Email Blast Sent on March 19, 2020
Initial ABC/WI Email Blast Sent on March 12, 2020
Pastoral Care/Clergy Health Resources
1. In “Ministry during Pandemic: From Awareness to Implementation,” Judson Press and the Rev. Dr. Naomi Kohatsu Paget offer a free and downloadable resource at www.judsonpress.com for ministry in these times.
2. ABC Regional Executive Ministers have put together a brief list of best practices, including pastoral care and recommendations for funerals. Click HERE.
3. A "Guide for Christian Funerals during COVID-19" by the Massachusetts Council of Churches.
4. A Multi-Faith Clergy group on Facebook produced this document, giving suggestions and guidance for worship, technology, giving, and pastoral care.
5. Psychological Perspectives on COVID 19 by Richard Bedrosian, PhD, a brief slide show with links to various practical resources on coping with anxiety, stress, and other psychological and emotion health topics.
6. Mental Health Guide for Faith Leaders - provided by Pathways to Promise, an interfaith cooperative of many faith groups to facilitate the faith community’s work in reaching out to those with mental illnesses and their families.
7. Taking Inventory: Preparing for the Next Phase in Ministry - a Zoom conversation, hosted by ABC/WI and CENTRAL Wisconsin on Thursday, May 21, 2020. Slides from the presentation available: Taking Inventory slides. Also available is an edited audio recording of the event:
Worship Service Resources
2. Church Music in the Age of COVID-19, provided by the Wisconsin Council of Churches
3. A sermon "Connected through the Cloud" based on Hebrews 12:1-3 from John Jones, Associate Regional Minister-Education, for all the churches of ABC Wisconsin. Click HERE.
4. A sermon and word of encouragement from Marie Onwubuariri Regional Exec. Minister, to the churches of ABC Wisconsin based on Ephesian 4:11-16. Click HERE.
5. Hymn Medley: Pianist: Marie Onwubuariri
Holy, Holy, Holy; Great is Thy Faithfulness; It is Well With My Soul
6. Blest Be The Tie That Binds (Instrumental): Pianist: Marie Onwubuariri
To listen to the audio file you do need to log into Dropbox; you can listen from any browser window.
Lyrics can be found HERE if you would like to sing along (Note: Time Signature is 4/4)
7. Sample video devotion from Camp Tamarack - from Rev. Kim Drost
9. Ministry Brands: Free Online Ministry Resources
2. CDC guidance for employers and businesses that might be modified for a church setting
3. APA Center for Workplace Mental Health: Working Remotely During COVID-19: Your Mental Health & Well-Being - provided by Dr. Laura Miraz, ABHMS | HRMATTERS.
Church Building Considerations/Signage:
3. Signage: How to Protect Yourself and Others from the CDC
4: Signage/Guideline: Cleaning And Disinfecting Your Facility - from the CDC
5. Signage: How to Handwash - World Health Organization
WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT...
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Matthew 25:35-36 NRSV
‘If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?’ James 2:15-16 NRSV
Listen to the scriptures and the tradition that speak our identity into existence. The scriptures remind us of who we are in times of crisis: those who respond. However and whatever the response, may we remember first and foremost who (and whose) we are.
Pray for those infected by the coronavirus all around the world.
Pray for the families who have lost loved ones during this pandemic.
Pray with gratitude for those who care for them.
Pray with gratitude for health specialists and authorities who are combatting the spread of infection.
Pray for government officials and leaders to have the wisdom necessary to make necessary and informed decisions out of care for the public good, particularly those most vulnerable.
Pray for all who at this time are feeling anxious.
BASIC HEALTH GUIDANCE
This guidance for all individuals of basic protective measures is drawn from the World Health Organization, and other widely available communications.
- Stay home if you are feeling sick.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Maintain social distancing.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Practice respiratory hygiene.
- Bleach, alcohol, Lysol and other basic disinfectants are good to use to clean doorknobs, handles, faucets and counter tops.
- Have a good supply of fluids, healthy food, decongestants, anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen for fevers.
- Have a first aid kit, flashlight, space blanket in your car.
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the following camps at Camp Tamarack have been cancelled.
This does not mean there will be no programming this summer, however – please stay tuned for alternate Summer 2020 opportunities!
June 5-7 AB Men’s Retreat
June 12-14 AB Women’s Retreat
June 14-20 Sr. High (Campers that just finished 9th-12th grade)
June 21-24 Primary (Campers that just finished 1st-2nd grade)
June 21-27 Middler (Campers that just finished 3rd-4th grade)
June 28- July 4 Junior (Campers that just finished 5th-6th grade)
June 28-July 4 Jr High (campers that just finisher (7th-8th grade)
July 5-8 Grandily – Grandparents and Family Camp (All ages!)
July 5-11 All Inclusive – no programming
July 12-18 Hispanic Camp
Registration will be open in the spring!
ABC/WI News Release
NO ONE PUTS NEW WINE INTO OLD WINESKINS; OTHERWISE, THE WINE WILL BURST THE SKINS, AND THE WINE IS LOST, AND SO ARE THE SKINS; BUT ONE PUTS NEW WINE INTO FRESH WINESKINS.
The New Wineskins Grant Program is up and running!!
Throughout April and May the New Wineskins administrative team, made up of both regional staff and representatives of the Commission on Finance, reviewed the applications from churches and individuals seeking to build new faith communities. It was difficult to know that we were not able to fund all applications as each had promising elements for Christian mission work; we hope that all will continue to pursue their vision. However, there were three applicants that most clearly exemplified the New Wineskins ideals of: New means new, new relationships, “with and among” not “to and for,” alignment with ABC/WI mission, collaboration with others, and innovative approaches.
We are so excited to announce the three inaugural projects receiving a 2019 New Wineskins Grant:
Miracle, Inc. (birthed by Milwaukee, Progressive Baptist Church): BLESSS–(Building Love Equipping shepherds around shame, stigma, suicide, and self-care). BLESSS aims to meet the challenges of clergy mental health and suicide by dispatching a faith-based, pastor-centric curriculum and developing a community of practice during the process.
Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Madison: Mt. Zion Campus Ministry—Campus Ministry holds a monthly worship service entitled Relevant Worship and events in reflection of the needs of the campus. Our mission is to inspire college students to grow personally and spiritually by inviting them to deepen their values and their relationships with themselves, others, and God. Lastly, our vision is to be an Acts 2 church – expanding our support to college students through obedience to God’s Word with the help of the Holy Spirit through worship, discipleship, evangelism, fellowship, and ministry.
Underwood Memorial Baptist Church, Wauwatosa: Bricks—In response to the absence of safe spaces for liberation/healing for trans people, Bricks has been organized by intersectional trans people for intersectional trans people. The group utilizes liberative pedagogies to view trans history – past, present, and future – through a critical counter-narrative lens to found a group identity built upon the tenets of solidarity, liberation, and the power of trans people. Through learning this identity, we seek to create a space/dialogue where trans people can know God’s love and have space to heal, grow, and thrive in their bodies, families, and communities.
This program is made possible through the partnership of the American Baptist Foundation, where the New Wineskins Endowment is managed.
To read the full news announcement, click HERE.
To learn more about the New Wineskins program, click HERE.
NOMINATIONS - SUMMER OF 2022
Under the leadership of our new Regional Executive Minister, Rev. Mindi, REGION STAFF AND LEADERS are discerning how God would have us move forward in bold GOSPEL ways.
- We need conscientious voices shaping this beautiful association of connected yet autonomous Baptist churches and persons.
- We are looking for stewards of our common mission and shapers of our associational culture.
- We are looking gift-seekers who can find and encourage a diverse mix of talent and perspectives.
- We are looking for doers of the Word, not hearers only, who will pursue with purpose what they believe must be done collectively as the Body of Christ.
We still have available terms for individuals to serve in the following ways, pending appointment. If you are interested, please fill out the appropriate leadership form and submit it to the Region Office (ongoing deadline).
Nominee Documents for Appointed Positions (ongoing deadline):
- Prospective Nominee to the Finance Committee Packet:
- Prospective Nominee to the Commission on Congregational Mission Packet:
- Prospective Nominee to the Commission on Ministry Packet:
- Prospective Nominee to the (Annual Gathering) Program Committee:
The 2021-2022 Nominating Committee Members
- Archie Ivy, (Chair) New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, Milwaukee
- Mark Brandel, Wyocena Community Church, Wyocena
- Sudie Jones, Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, Milwaukee
- May May Latt, Milwaukee Myanmar Christian Church, Milwaukee
- Carol Lewis, Greater Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Milwaukee
- Ruby Jackson, Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church, Milwaukee
- John Jones, Ex-Officio
- Phone: (262) 782-3140
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Following Commencement ceremonies at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas on Saturday, May 18, 2019, 2 local CENTRAL Wisconsin Site graduates were Commissioned by the faculty and alumni of this learning community on Sunday, May 19 at New Covenant Baptist Church in Milwaukee.
Hattie Mitchell and Darlene Turner-Harper both received their Master of Divinity degrees from the seminary after having fulfilled all of the requirements for the degree. As members of the graduating class of 2019, they mark the 10th graduating class from the CENTRAL Wisconsin seminary site.
The worship service marking the occasion was a celebration, an affirmation, and a proclamation of God’s complete gifts for ministry. Key founding partners, faculty and even the visionary whose work helped instigate the creation of the seminary site all participated in the worship service.
Rev. Dr. Carmen Porco is CEO of Housing Ministries, key ministry partner of CENTRAL Wisconsin. Rev. Dr. Arlo Reichter is retired Executive Minister of American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin and founding Site Administrator (retired). Rev. Dr. Timothy Ashley is recently retired pastor of First Baptist Church of La Crosse, Wisconsin and founding Site Coordinator (retired). Rev. Dr. Roy B. Nabors is currently pastor of New Paradise Missionary Baptist Church in the St. Louis area, and founding pastor of Community Baptist Church of Greater Milwaukee. As a longtime advocate for accredited theological education in Milwaukee in a Baptist voice, Pastor Nabors was integral in articulating the originating vision for the seminary site, one that has grown and changed – and continues to change to this day.
Rev. Dr. Trinette McCray offered a message appropriate to the day, for both the graduates and the wider learning community of the site. She illustrated the ways in which “God Gives Completely,” drawing on multiple examples throughout the Biblical narrative in which God was at work through “two women” to change the world.
The worship service was followed by a reception, hosted by New Covenant Baptist Church, pastor – Rev. Dr. Fred Crouthers. The congregation of New Covenant served as models of the gift of hospitality. The entire day was a testament to the faithfulness of God who calls people to participate in God’s creative action in the world.
FORUM #2 – May 9, 2019 @ New Hope Missionary Baptist Church
On Thursday, May 9 at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Milwaukee, several Baptist Pastors from around the Milwaukee area gathered to hear Rev. Dr. Demetrius Williams – pastor of Community Baptist Church of Greater Milwaukee and professor at UWM and CENTRAL Wisconsin – share some of his recent work.
The gathering was for the second of four planned “Teaching Pastors Forums” for 2019, hosted by CENTRAL Wisconsin in cooperation with ABC/WI pastors and congregations.
Dr. Williams shared some research and reflection on utilizing a close read of Pauline literature for guidance in pastoral cares and concerns: “Paul, Mission, Ministry and Money.” The focus of this particular offering was to examine carefully Paul’s interaction and relationship with congregations in his ministry, particularly on the issue of finance. Dr. Williams’ presentation helped everyone understand Paul as a living, breathing Christian leader with real challenges and aspirations in the church – rather than some sort of “oracle” or abstract constructor of doctrine, producing scripture and church policy for all eternity. The guidance suggested by this close reading can inspire pastoral leaders to take seriously both their unique understanding of the call to gospel ministry and the profound challenges of human relationships found in all churches. Whereas laws or guidelines written in stone for all times and places may be in short supply, subtle encouragement in the struggle can be found throughout the Pauline corpus.
FORUM #1 – March 9, 2019 at ABC/WI Region Offices
On Wednesday, March 9, Ministers and Pastors from across the region gathered in the larger classroom of CENTRAL Wisconsin, located in the lower level of the ABC/Wisconsin region offices. The gathering was for the first of four planned “Teaching Pastors Forums” for 2019, hosted by CENTRAL Wisconsin in cooperation with pastors and congregations in the area.
The desire for honest, challenging theological reflection in a safe setting drew more than 15 pastors and ministers together for lunch and an introduction to the Teaching Pastors Forum.
The background and motivation of the offerings were presented, along with future plans for forums to be facilitated by CENTRAL Wisconsin faculty and other leaders.
Participants responded to a question about their greatest teacher, prompting stories and memories from Seminary training all the way back to elementary school. All Teaching Pastors are first students, encouraged and challenged by good teachers.
An open discussion of potential future topics provided the opportunity to begin honest conversations about race and racism in the U.S., in Wisconsin, and particularly in Milwaukee. The courage and honesty of these servant-leaders created the possibility of very small steps in a positive direction to face difficult truths and work toward education and conviction in service of repentance and reconciliation.
CENTRAL Wisconsin seeks to cultivate, create, and care for safe spaces for theological reflection in service of equipping the saints. The Teaching Pastors Forum is another element of that mission.
SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH EVENT
We had a great launch event on Saturday, March 23, 2019 at ministry partner, the Milwaukee Christian Center.
Guest speaker, Rebecca Anderson, pastor of Gilead Church and Bethany United Church of Christ, both in Chicago, opened our morning, in proper story-teller style, about her experiences as a pastor of an established church and a church planter — at the same time! She spoke about “translations” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ — not different Bible translations, but rather different understandings and expression of the gospel in the context of different communities.
Morning Panelists & Small Group Discussion Facilitators:
Local Visionary Pastors Sharing on their Experiences from Visioning to Implementing to Assessing…
Walter Lanier, Pastor of Progressive Baptist Church, Milwaukee and founder of MIRACLE Network
Max Ramsey, Pastor of Immanuel Church, Brookfield and catalyst/networker for various ministry starts locally and across the nation
Johnny White, Jr., Pastor of Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, Milwaukee and visionary of the Greater Galilee Community Development Corporation
Afternoon Workshop Leaders:
Rebecca Anderson, Storyteller and Church Planter – Getting to the Heart of Your Missional Story…and Telling About It!
Angie Mason, Resource Development Director of the Milwaukee Christian Center – Relational Resourcing
Lauren Ng, Director of Leadership Empowerment for the American Baptist Home Mission Societies – “21st Century Church – trends and opportunities”