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!
Connecting ABCOTS during COVID 19
Join Weekly Zoom calls with ABCOTS Executive Minister Dr. Harrison
Tuesdays at 11 AM EST
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 929 6541 9729
Upcoming Zoom Calls
August 18 - Rev. Maggie Lewis/Dr. Willard Ashley (Center for Career Development And Ministry) - Addressing Mental Health Concerns.
August 25 - Dr. Eddie Cruz, Dr. Christine Rousch and Dr. Marvin McMickle.
August 4 Zoom call - Rev. Donald Porter, Handling grief and Grief Counseling during the pandemic.
July 28 Zoom call - Dr. Patricia Murphy, Ecclesiastical Endorser, National Coordinator for Chaplaincy, Pastoral Counselors and Specialized Ministries.
ABC-USA News and Updates
American Baptist Churches USA Call to Prayer Event Planned for August 5: Task Force Focused on Anti-Racism to Meet
The American Baptist Churches USA Board of General Ministries Executive Committee voted at its June 2020 meeting to reconstitute the task force on race and racial violence. The new task force will have an "anti-racism" focus. ABCUSA President Karen Podsiadly recently shared the following definition of anti-racism, "Anti-racism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably (NAC International Perspectives: Women and Global Solidarity)."
To begin this work, the ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary will sponsor a Call to Prayer event on Wednesday, August 5 at 2:00pm EDT.
All are welcome! Register for the Call to Prayer event here.
The ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary announces a search for a new Associate General Secretary for Mission Resource Development.
The person in this position is responsible for overseeing the fund development activities associated with the ABCUSA Office of the General Secretary. Major responsibilities involve promoting United Mission, working with potential donors, overseeing public relations, and providing stewardship education. With a goal of increased financial support, the office of Mission Resource Development will seek, through effective branding, marketing, and public relations to create and sustain a climate and environment of increased giving to the American Baptist family and the Office of the General Secretary.
Interested persons are asked to submit applications by August 31, 2020. View the position description here.
COVID-19 Resources Available
Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60%-95% alcohol.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze.
Routinely clean frequently touched objects.
Maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Stay home when you are sick, and if you are not sick stay home as much as possible.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early.
Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
In recent months, the American Baptist Churches USA Office of the General Secretary has shared many resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic on the ABCUSA website.
We invite you to review these helpful resources covering a variety of topics, including resources for churches as they plan to meet in person, or continue to meet virtually, at the website address below:
American Baptist Churches USA - Remembers Rep. John Lewis
American Baptist Churches USA remembers Rep. John Lewis, civil rights leader and U.S. representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district. Lewis, an American Baptist, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was a pioneer in the Civil Rights Movement struggle for racial equality. He was one of the leaders of the Freedom March on Washington in 1963 and the voter registration march in Selma, AL in 1965. He also received the Edwin T. Dahlberg Peace Award from the American Baptist Home Mission Societies in 2003.
Congressman Lewis dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building “The Beloved Community” in America. Inspired by the radio broadcasts of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a young boy, Lewis tirelessly carried on the fight for civil and human rights, and he remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements. His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the U.S. Congress. Find out more about Lewis here.
“John Lewis was a visionary leader whose experiences propelled him forward as a model for others. His legacy of leadership and commitment to racial justice will live on forever,” said ABCUSA Interim General Secretary Dr. C. Jeff Woods.
We sat down with Lewis in 2014 as a featured speaker in a video produced for American Baptist Churches USA (Inspired, Transformed…American Baptist Churches).
At the time, Lewis reflected on involvement in the civil rights movement and American politics being an extension of his faith:
“From attending segregated public schools in Alabama as a youth to standing on the streets of Washington, D.C., in his 80th year to add his personal presence to the unfinished work of racial equality and social justice in America, Congressman John Lewis, a son of sharecroppers, helped to bend the moral arc of this country toward our living together as a beloved community of hope and love. Representative Lewis exemplified this noble quest with an unwavering commitment to nonviolence and staunch spiritual values. His courageous life bore the outstanding credentials of a wounded but unbowed warrior,” said Rev. Dr. Leo S. Thorne, former Associate General Secretary for Mission Resource Development with American Baptist Churches USA. Thorne worked with Lewis on the “Inspired, Transformed…American Baptist Churches” video.
He noted that “American Baptist is very progressive. It’s been out there as a headlight and not a taillight. Been pointing the way and leading the way.
Lewis received the Edwin T. Dahlberg Peace Award at the 2003 Biennial Meeting of American Baptist Churches USA in Richmond, Va. from the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, for his more than 40 years of work for peace and justice, beginning in the Nonviolent Civil Rights Movement and continuing in the U.S. national political arena. Encouraging American Baptists to pursue ministries of reconciliation, he urged attendees of the event to focus on the challenge of peace, which “is as old as the beginning of time and as new as today’s morning newspaper.”
He was honored by President Barack Obama with a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 and at the 125th anniversary of his home church, Ebenezer Baptist Church, a month later. Martin Luthe King, Jr. was co-pastor of that congregation in the 1960s.
More recently, Lewis gave the benediction by video at the nation’s National Prayer breakfast on February 6, 2020.
Lewis said the country needed peace, “now more than ever before.” Lewis asked God to bring the country together and prayed Americans would treat each other as “brothers and sisters.”
“We must believe in one another,” he said. “We must never give up on our fellow human beings.”
“My heart carries deep sorrow and overwhelming gratitude as I learn of John Lewis’ passing. What a powerful voice for equity and justice in our nation,” noted Rev. Judy Fackenthal, recent American Baptist Churches USA President, 2016-2017. “I’m sad that his voice will no longer be heard. I’m grateful for all he worked toward and accomplished. It is up to us to carry on what Rep. Lewis and his peers began.”
A Generosity Project Reflection: Generosity is…Justice
The Generosity Project is a collaborative effort between ABCUSA, regions, and local congregations. The Generosity Project aims to help pastors re-frame the conversation around stewardship and generosity in their congregations. Bi-monthly blogs help support new growth and understanding as we deepen our ministry and discipleship. The reflection below was provided by Rev. Stacy Emerson.
..........And so I have written lots of articles on generosity…generosity is…love, generosity is… Rooted in love—the radical, audacious, revolutionary and dangerous love of Jesus—we are called to be generous, and so called to work for justice. Teacher, author, and activist, Dr. Cornel West said, “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.”
For more info click HERE
ABC-USA COVID-19 UPDATES
American Baptist Churches USA Survey Assesses Impact of COVID-19
In May of 2020, a survey regarding the impact of the global pandemic was sent to all of the American Baptist regions via each region’s executive minister. On behalf of local churches, the person most knowledgeable was asked to complete the survey. Originally requested by the members of the National Executive Council and Regional Executive Ministers Council, the survey of American Baptist congregations was aimed at assessing the impact of COVID-19.
A total of 414 congregations responded to the survey. A summary of the quantitative results is shown below. The survey results summary looks at the overall impact of COVID-19, the impact of COVID-19 on worship and ministry, future outlook related to COVID-19, and areas impacted by the virus.
Overall Impact of COVID-19
The survey indicated that a slight majority of the congregations surveyed are experiencing only a slight or moderate impact from COVID-19, while a small percentage of ABC congregations have been hit very hard by the pandemic. The majority (63%) of respondents believe that they are in an area with fewer cases than the rest of the country. About one-half (52%) of the congregations surveyed indicated that COVID-19 has had a moderate or less impact on their congregation. Some congregations (14%) report being hit very hard financially by COVID-19 stating that at least 20% of their members are unemployed.
Impact of COVID-19 on Worship and Ministry
In regard to worship and ministry, the survey respondents indicated through their response that many congregations have delivered a robust response to the adverse effects of COVID-19. While the pandemic has elicited both positive and negative influences upon the congregations surveyed, sometimes the dual influences have occurred in same areas such as worship and outreach.
88% of the respondents indicate that their congregations have been able to offer online worship during the pandemic. Only 6% indicate that their congregation has not been able to offer any online activities during the pandemic.
73% of the respondents believe that COVID-19 has negatively impacted their worship, but a slightly higher number (77%) believe that COVID-19 has also created new opportunities for worship. ........... Sixty-percent report that giving has decreased compared to only 16% who report that giving has increased during the pandemic...........
Nearly three-fourths of respondents revealed that their congregation has engaged in “delivering supplies to persons who cannot leave their home” during the pandemic and at least one-half have engaged in “distributing food to those in need” and “making masks.”
While COVID-19 has taken a severe toll on some congregations, others have shown strong signs of resiliency and hope.
Nearly two-thirds (62%) of the respondents say that their congregations are not worried about paying their pastor and staff in the near future.
More info click HERE
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