WELCOME to the American Baptist Churches of the South, (ABCOTS) website. ABCOTS is a Maryland non-profit corporation associated as a covenanting Regional organization with the American Baptist Churches, U.S.A. See us in Missions, Evangelism and Denominational Work, supporting the local congregations serving the District of Columbia and 15 states throughout the southern United States. Join us in reaching the world for Christ believing and perpetuating His identity, His message and His ministry!
Last week to purchase office items. ABCOTS Headquarters is going virtual, all office items must go.
Visit ABCOTS Online Store
All items MUST be picked, there is no shipping. Items are located at 7008 Security Blvd. Suite 120, Baltimore, MD 21244. Contact Ms. Gloria to arrange for pickup of your items at 443.551.3045 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join Weekly Zoom calls with ABCOTS Executive Minister Dr. Harrison
Tuesdays at 11 AM EST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 929 6541 9729 Password: 6Qi4WF
July 20th, 2021 Zoom meeting: Post Covid regional discussion.
June 29th zoom meeting: ABHMS program leaders
June 22nd zoom meeting: Regional updates
June 15 Zoom meeting with Dr. Ashley and Rev. Lewis
American Baptist Churches USA Holds First-ever Online Biennial Mission Summit, June 24-26, 2021
VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/30/21)—The American Baptist Churches USA 2021 Biennial Mission Summit—An Online Experience met virtually June 24-26, 2021, with several pre-event activities. Inspired by the event’s theme, Imagine, speakers and leaders fostered spaces and invited participants to work toward unity, experience healing, and have hope while envisioning new possibilities for ministry and communities. American Baptists logged on to the online event platform from all across the country and around the world.
A Thursday afternoon Welcome Session kicked off the three day national conference followed by Caucus Sessions, Workshops, the denominational Business Meeting, Mission Summit Conversations, Exhibitor Booth Activities, evening Worship Services, and more, culminating in the Saturday evening Worship Service: Imagine–Hope.
Saturday, June 26, marked the third and final day of the virtual gathering. Main session events began with afternoon workshops, with an array of offerings including a visit to the Caribbean and the Philippines with global servants, a discussion time to reset and reimagine the challenges and triumphs of ministry, a conversation on rethinking bi-vocational ministry, and an exploration of the imaginative work of God. Participants were then invited to share their perspectives and lend their voices to the Mission Summit Conversations on Anti-Racism, Unity, and Congregational Life. Following this hour, Dr. Jeffery Haggray and Rev. Jamie Washam, executive director and president of the Board of Directors, respectively, shared the exciting ministry of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies during the Highlighting American Baptist Home Mission Societies session.
The event wrapped up with the Worship Service: Imagine—Hope, starting at 7:00 p.m. EDT. The worship service led by the denomination’s youth celebrated being people of hope who serve as the Body of Christ. The Rev. Dr. Brianna K. Parker preached from 1 Kings 18:30-39 under the theme “The Proof is in the Putting,” encouraging worshippers to put all of and all in their lives on the altar, with full trust in God, even through holy struggle, that God will do more than you can imagine for you and your community. The 2021 Mission Summit Biennial also included words of thanksgiving and appreciation by the Rev. Felipe Candelaria, chair of the 2021 Biennial Mission Summit Planning Team, for the hundreds of people involved in making the event possible, saying, “Similar to the saying, ‘It Takes a Village,’ it took the whole [ABC] family.” Finally, the service ended with an invitation from Rev. Edgardo Caraballo, regional executive minster of Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico, to the 2023 Biennial Mission Summit to be held in June 2023 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“As I sit and reflect on all that occurred during the first-ever online biennial” ABCUSA President Karen Podsiadly writes, “The following scripture is brought to mind: ‘God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (The Message). She notes that over the course of the three-day event, “Not only did the planning team allow God to use them, the crew who brought the experience alive and each person who attended did so as well. It was exciting to witness our ABCUSA family gather for the excellent preaching, workshops, conversations, and exhibitor booths. It has been so filling to hear from so many of the family that they felt connected and are looking forward to seeing one another in person (and perhaps online) for the 2023 Biennial Mission Summit in sunny Puerto Rico. In the meantime, enjoy your access to the online platform for the next 90 days.”
Each of the ABCUSA partners hosted events to highlight the ministries that they are currently embracing. International Ministries held both a session to share their current ministries as well as a workshop on Saturday focusing on global servants serving in the Caribbean. “It really has been a delight to imagine and celebrate the life of our ABCUSA family over the past few days,” reflected the Rev. Sharon T. Koh, executive director/CEO of International Ministries. “I’m so glad that we could gather our hearts together this way.”
MMBB Financial Services hosted both a member address as well as a workshop “Financial Wellness in the New Normal.” Understanding the new normal, MMBB’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Louis Barbarin observed, “Out of an abundance of caution for our ABCUSA constituents and staff, the decision was made to provide a virtual experience for our Biennial Mission Summit participants. This setting did not prevent us from convening as God’s people and communing through spoken and musical praise, worship, and fellowship. It was clear that the Lord’s presence was powerfully with us during our time together.”
The American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ Executive Director, Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, shared about the event with enthusiasm, “what a wonderful experience was the 2021 online Biennial Mission Summit that celebrated our collective American Baptist mission, ministries and identity. Congratulations to ABCUSA President Karen Podsiadly, Interim General Secretary Dr. C. Jeff Woods and the Biennial Planning Committee for a job well done.” ABHMS celebrated their ministry in a workshop “Living the Gospel in the United States and Puerto Rico” from the perspectives of a local church pastor, a college president, a community ministry leader and a hospital chaplain. Haggray added, “We are proud to be American Baptists bringing Jesus Christ’s good news in the midst in these challenging times.”
The American Baptist Women’s Ministry started their celebrations earlier in the month with their AB Women’s and Girl’s day and continued during the Biennial Mission with activities within their Exhibit Booth and offering the workshop “Reset and Reimagine: Challenges, Triumphs, and New Possibilities,” sharing ideas and learnings sparked from diverse case studies. Executive Director Rev. Dr. Gina Jacobs-Strain commented, “The 2021 Biennial Mission Summit was a wonderful reflection of the gifts and beauty of our diverse intergenerational denomination. Each gathering reflected thoughtful planning and countless hours of collaborative work, shared brilliance of the committees, and a deep dedication to create a joyful experience for our family. We imagined with God, and we were blessed!”
Marking the end of the event, ABCUSA Interim General Secretary Dr. C. Jeff Woods reflected, “The hosting of the first ever fully online Biennial Mission Summit required the maximum efforts of a lot of people working a lot of hours. I am grateful for the team of staff and volunteers that continually worked toward the same goal of creating an inspirational, informative, and empowering Biennial that demonstrated who we are and can be as American Baptists. Just imagine what God will do in Puerto Rico in 2023!”
Event registrants will continue to have access to recordings of the main sessions and the resources in the On-Demand Library and Exhibit Booths through September 24.
Those who were unable to attend the Biennial Mission Summit yet would like to benefit from the available recordings and resources can take advantage of a post-event registration of $40. Details of this option, along with additional helpful instructions and information about the event, can be found at www.abc-usa.org/imagine2021.
Celebrating Baptism Sunday June 6th, 2021 at Iglesia Cristiana Hispana Americana
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. At FEMA, our mission is to help people before, during and after disasters. We are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.
We are working with stakeholder groups to get their input on ways we can best provide this assistance, and to enlist their help with outreach to families and communities. FEMA will begin to implement COVID-19 funeral assistance in April.
We are working to set up a dedicated toll-free phone number that can be used to apply for funeral assistance. More information will be available on this page soon.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:
The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
How to Apply
In April, FEMA will begin accepting applications. If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, we encourage you to keep and gather documentation. Types of information should include:
An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
Funeral expenses documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that includes the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses happened.
Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. We are not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.
How are Funds Received
If you are eligible for funeral assistance you will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you choose when you apply for assistance.
A Note from the Accountant’s Corner
Greetings from the Accountant’s Corner.
By now, hopefully most of you who are reading this have had your 2020 tax returns prepared or are making plans to have them prepared. I will try not to get in the way of those processes.
As many of you know, Congress is in the midst of passing another relief package known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. While most of the provisions in this bill will impact your 2021 tax plans, there is at least one piece of legislation that could impact your 2020 tax filing. For those of you who received Unemployment Benefits in 2020, some or all those benefits may be tax-free if the bill becomes law. For those of you who have already filed, you may want to speak with your tax advisor regarding an amended tax return.
With that said, I like to spend the remainder of my time discussing round 2 of the Paycheck Protection Program, commonly referred to as “PPP.” This subject has major implications for those of you who are self-employed, subcontractors, and/or managing a business or church. Hopefully by now, you all are familiar with this program. In case you are not, here is a brief overview:
The Economic Aid Act rebooted PPP (or PPP2, as some call it) with many of the same parameters as the first program but also several important differences from the original PPP. One of the biggest changes is making PPP funding available to businesses that previously received a PPP loan. Businesses are eligible for a (first or) second PPP loan of up to $2 million, provided they have 300 or fewer employees, have used or will use the full amount of their first PPP loan, and can show a 25% gross revenue decline in any 2020 quarter compared with the same quarter in 2019. If you are applying for PPP funding for the first time, you are exempt from having to meet the 25% revenue decline provision.
As with PPP1, the costs eligible for loan forgiveness in PPP2 include payroll, rent, covered mortgage interest, and utilities. PPP2 also makes the following line items potentially forgivable: Covered worker protection and facility modification expenditures, including personal protective equipment, to comply with COVID-19 federal health and safety guidelines. Expenditures to suppliers that are essential at the time of purchase to the recipient’s current operations. Covered operating costs such as software and cloud computing services and accounting needs. To be eligible for full loan forgiveness, PPP2 borrowers will have to spend no less than 60% of the funds on payroll (i.e., payments to employees or to the self-employed individual) over a covered period of either eight or 24 weeks — the same parameters as PPP1.PPP2 borrowers may receive a loan amount of up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs in the year prior to the loan or the calendar year, the same as with PPP1, but the maximum loan amount has been cut from $10 million in the first round to the previously mentioned $2 million maximum. PPP borrowers with NAICS codes starting with 72 (hotels and restaurants) can get up to 3.5 times their average monthly payroll costs, again subject to a $2 million maximum.
IF YOU THINK YOU MEET THESE QUALIFICATIONS, YOU MUST ACT QUICKLY. TIME IS RUNNING OUT. THE APPLICATION WINDOW CLOSES ON MARCH 31, 2021. PLEASE ACT NOW! CONTACT YOUR TAX PROFESSIONAL ASAP. DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS IMPORTANT, LOAN-FORGIVING, FUNDING OPPORTUNITY.
For more information on how the PPP program may benefit you, or to address any other tax concerns, please contact me at 443-551-3045. My best to you and your business.
Virginia Union University is offering a few new graduate programs and of those is the Executive Master of Business Administration in Church Management (EMBA).
Dr. Robin R. Davis, Dean of the Sydney Lewis School of Business at Virginia Union University wants to inform you of one of the most innovative, necessary and timely business graduate programs. The “Newly” launched “Executive Master of Business Administration program in Church Management”. We are extremely proud of this program, because it is the first time where we can really integrate and apply the sophisticated concepts of business to the management processes of the Church organization.
News & Updates
ABC-USA - Latest News
Book Invites Churches to Move Toward Authentic, Diverse Relationships
VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/30/21)—“Real Connections: Ministries to Strengthen Church and Community Relationships” invites churches to move authentic relationships to the center of congregational life and ministry with the community. It equips church members and leaders to invest in deeper, more diverse relationships in a variety of contexts: within the congregation; with other churches; with community […]
ABHMS Provides a Variety of Programming During ABCUSA’s Biennial Mission Summit
VALLEY FORGE, PA (6/30/21)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) launched its Center for Continuous Learning (CCL) last Wednesday during the “2021 American Baptist Churches USA Biennial Mission Summit – An Online Experience.” Participants met CCL’s director, the Rev. Rebecca Irwin-Diehl, who said CCL is a work-in-progress. “The foundational vision for this [CCL] is that […]
American Baptist Churches USA Holds First-ever Online Biennial Mission Summit, June 24-26, 2021
VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/30/21)—The American Baptist Churches USA 2021 Biennial Mission Summit—An Online Experience met virtually June 24-26, 2021, with several pre-event activities. Inspired by the event’s theme, Imagine, speakers and leaders fostered spaces and invited participants to work toward unity, experience healing, and have hope while envisioning new possibilities for ministry and communities. […]
Generosity Project Webinar: Financial Stewardship in an era of Covid: What You Can Do
Are you wondering what the pandemic will mean financially for your church going forward? Margaret Marcuson has been a pastor who has faced some dicey years in the local church (though not as dicey as a pandemic year). She knows what it’s like to wonder how this year–and even this month–will turn out financially. Learn […]
At this time many students have returned to college or seminary and are faced with paying for tuition, housing, meal plans and other supplies in this challenging economy. Will you help them reduce their financial burden by contributing to the American Baptist Scholarship Fund? For almost 200 years, ABHMS has maintained a fund, generously provided by caring donors like you. We humbly request your gift of any amount to the American Baptist Scholarship Fund, as we support our future leaders through education and empowerment.
E-Giving: abhms.org/SupportOurScholars | Check: “ABHMS Scholarship” in the memo line to: American Baptist Home Mission Societies, 1075 First Ave., King of Prussia, PA 19406
For info about supporting scholarships through an IRA donation or about naming a scholarship, contact Vincent Dent, ABHMS CDO, at email@example.com or 610.768.2420. Give Now