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!
ABCOTS 54th Annual Session Hotel Reservations now Open
Click the link below to reserve your room.
Online Annual Session Registration is now Open. Click here to register
American Baptist Churches Of the South
Every Tuesday “Connecting ABCOTS…” A Virtual Conversation 11:00 a.m. (EST)
Meeting ID 929 6541 9729 Passcode 6Qi4WF
February-March America for Christ Offering (AFC) (Funds Received to Support AB Home Mission Societies)
March 23 Region Event America for Christ (all virtual)
March 31 Resurrection Sunday
April-May One Great Hour of Sharing Offering (OGHS) (Funds Received to Support Disaster Relief)
April 30 - May 2nd, 2024 - 54th Annual Session of ABCOTS
April 30 ABCOTS Board of Directors Meeting 5:00 p.m.
May-June One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) (Funds support disaster relief)
July 14 “ABCOTS DAY” Region Offering - (Funds Received to Support ABCOTS administration)
Aug 23-25 Area 7 Annual Meeting
September-October World Mission Offering (WMO) (Funds Received to Support International Ministries)
September 20-21 - 6 Annual Gathering
September 27-28 - Area 5 Annual Gathering
October 5 - Area 1 Annual Gathering
October 11 - 12 - Area 2 Annual Gathering
October 18-19 - Area 3 Annual Gathering
October 25-26 - Area 4 Annual Gathering
November 6-8 ABCOTS Board of Directors Meeting
November 27-29 ABCOTS Office Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday
November-December Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering (RMMO) - (Funds Thank You Gifts to MMBB Retirees)
December 23 ABCOTS Office Closed for Christmas Holiday
January 6, 2025 ABCOTS Office Re-Opens
March 22 Region Event America For Christ (all virtual)
April 21-25 55th Annual Session of ABCOTS
July 13 ABCOTS Day in our Churches
Dear ABCUSA Family,
Get ready for an inspiring and mission-focused Sunday as we celebrate ABCUSA Sunday in February! We believe that mission is at the heart of what we do, and this special occasion is an opportunity for us to come together in unity and purpose, celebrating our history and future together. Please choose either the Sunday before Valentine’s Day (Feb. 11) or the Sunday after (Feb. 18) to celebrate. All tools you need will be available during the first week of January on the ABCUSA website at www.abc-usa.org.
Here are some important details for ABCUSA Sunday:
Date: February 11 or 18 (Choose the date that works best for your congregation)
Theme: Mission is at the heart of what we do
Materials (to be posted at www.abc-usa.org during the first week of January 2024):
Videos: There will be two videos to download and show to your congregation as you wish. Feel free to post on social media, on your church website, and/or include links in your newsletters/emails.
Bulletin Inserts: There will be three bulletin inserts available to use on ABCUSA Sunday, or at any other time! Grayscale and color insert versions will be available to download and print, to enhance your Sunday service. They will tell the ABCUSA story as well as share how your congregation can participate.
Online Toolkit: There are many different resources available to you in our United Mission Toolkit. We have articles, sermons, webinars, and more. (Visit www.abc-usa.org/united-mission-toolkit)
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
You are invited to the MMBB Re-Think Re-Invest Financial Conference, March 10-13, 2024. Plan now to gather with MMBB for a transformational and inspirational experience that expands on MMBB’s Financial Wellness ministry.
Featured offerings at the MMBB Re-Think Re-Invest Financial Conference 2024 include:
Welcome Reception and Musical Concert on Sunday, March 10 at 6:00 p.m.
Inspiring Praise and Worship
Morning Plenary with Keynote Speaker, Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., creator of dfree,® a financial freedom movement on Monday, March 11, 9:30 a.m.
Morning Plenary with Keynote Speaker, Ms. Jill Schlesinger, Emmy and Gracie Award winning Business Analyst for CBS News on Tuesday, March 12 at 10:00 a.m.
Engaging Workshops and Panel Discussions
Dinner and Musical Concert, Tuesday, March 12 at 6:00 p.m.
And much more!
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA (12/15/23)—Introducing Hope for Her
A new collaborative initiative forged between International Ministries (IM) and American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM). This collaborative effort aims to bolster support for women and girls through the various ministries of IM and ABWM. Launching at the beginning of the New Year, this initiative will unite efforts to uplift and empower women across the globe.
Hope for Her seeks to illuminate the reality of God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11 of “a hope and a future” for women and girls in the United States, Puerto Rico, and abroad. Ministries for women and girls through ABWM include American Baptist Girls in Relationship, Leadership, and Service (AB GIRLS), National Leadership Team of AB GIRLS, Building Beloved Community Project, Building Bridges and Gateways to Girls’ Futures, and the Bridges & Gateways Endowment: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics Program. Ministries for women and girls through IM include Deborah’s House, IMCC Women’s Forum, INSAAF, Lott Carey Baptist Mission School, and Baptist Union of Southern Africa Women’s Department. All contributions made through Hope for Her will be shared equally between IM and ABWM.
Please visit abwomensministries.org/HopeForHer or internationalministries.org/HopeForHer to learn more about how you can make a difference in the lives of women and girls through hope-filled ministries.
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA (1/19/24)—The ABHMS Center for Continuous Learning (CCL), in collaboration with the American Baptist Theologians Commission, is launching “Baptist Theology on Third Thursdays,” a new six-session webinar series starting March 21, 2024, in which American Baptist historians and theologians will explore Baptist identity today. Each webinar will be either an individual presentation or a small panel discussion and include a moderated Q&A session to further engage an audience of pastor-scholars, theological educators, seminarians, and other leaders in various ministry contexts.
With that objective, the CCL invites proposals for 20- to 30-minute presentations—either individual papers or panel discussions involving 2-4 participants—emphasizing Baptist identity concerning a wide array of subjects. These could include:
Navigating diversity across ethnic, theological, and generational expressions;
The intersection of identities such as ethnicity, sexuality and ability;
Faith formation through preaching and teaching;
Identity formation with children and youth;
Spiritual formation amid religious disaffiliation;
Religious freedom in church and society;
History and current issues or trends; and
Worship and liturgy.
Presentation proposals should be submitted electronically no later than January 31, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET. Each submission requires the presenter’s name and biography or CV, the presentation title, and a summary of up to 300 words describing the topic under discussion. If a proposed presentation is a panel discussion, all panelists should be named and their biographies or CVs attached. The submission form is available here.
Review of proposals will begin immediately upon the close of the submission window on January 31. Six finalists will be selected by mid-February 2024, and each will be invited to present at one of the webinar sessions scheduled on the third Thursday of March through May or September through November at 12:30 p.m. ET. The series will be on hiatus from June through August. All finalists must submit their full presentation to the CCL by March 15, 2024, at 5 p.m. ET, irrespective of their presentation date.
In addition, notes Irwin-Diehl, any proposal submission may be considered for publication in the American Baptist Historical Society’s American Baptist Quarterly, or adapted or excerpted for The Christian Citizen magazine, an ABHMS publication.
For more information about the “Baptist Theology on Third Thursdays” webinar series or about submitting a proposal for consideration, visit https://ccl.abhms.org/products/communities/baptist-theologians or contact email@example.com.
ABCUSA JANUARY 2024 NEWS UPDATE
A Generosity Project Reflection – Learning to Tell Time
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.
As we turn the page on our calendar and begin a New Year, perhaps it is time to consider the calendar as a theological document and assess what we give our time to. Maryann McKibben Dana asks in her chapter on the Stewardship of Time, “Do we intentionally make time for spiritual practices, or do we simply hope they will happen? Are we setting aside time for exercise, time with family and friends, and rest? Even the way we frame activity makes a difference. Do we understand Sunday School and church as time with God—an investment in our discipleship—or just another activity among many?”
One of the earliest tasks we are asked to master, as young children, is to be able to “tell the time.” Interesting isn’t it? We teach our children to let us know when they are hungry or to recognize when they are tired and take a nap, and then they go to elementary school where they learn to “tell the time,” to read a clock, but what they actually learn is how to let “time tell them.” How to let time tell them when they need to wake up, get the bus, go to math and art and PE and science, come home, eat dinner, and go to bed. And from then on, we eat at noon and 6 o’clock, regardless of whether we are hungry or not, and we go to bed at a certain time, whether or not we are tired, and we structure the whole of our lives based on an external device which tells us what time it is.
I suppose we can argue over the benefits of efficiency and the maximizing of production in defense of the value of the clock, but I believe we have lost all sense and respect of time in the process. Because the thing is, scripture would argue with us, does the clock tell us what is most important in life, does it tell us that it is the time of beginning or ending? That now is the time to break or reconcile, the time to build up or break down, to tear or to sew? We need to realize that the clock does not answer these things. The ways and wonders of time are much more complicated, much deeper, much more sacred that we presume, those of us who live bound by the clock. And it takes an inner wisdom, cultivated intentionally and in quiet, deep spaces to learn how to really tell time.
We are stewards of our time. This blessed life given to us by our Creator and it is expected of us to be mindful of the time we have and how we spend it. This New Year, consider the ways the church calendar tells time—What does the church calendar say about how your congregation spends time? What activities show up? Is there a balance between doing and resting? What does the calendar suggest are your priorities and commitments? Who is involved and invited and who are you investing in and how? Is there a balance between time spent in internal fellowship and time spent outside the church walls with the wider community? How can the church learn to tell time and honor it, balance it, and use it for the glory of God?
Rev. Stacy Emerson is the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in West Hartford, CT and the Stewardship Consultant for ABCUSA. She is also the Coordinator for The Generosity Project which is about helping congregations deepen their understanding of stewardship as a call to generosity as disciples of Jesus; re-framing the stewardship conversation; and cultivating generosity in pastors, lay people, and congregations.