From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ABCUSA General Board Report: 6/21/02

From "SCHRAMM, Richard" <>
Date Fri, 21 Jun 2002 15:34:10 -0400

American Baptist News Service (6/21/02)--The American Baptist Churches USA
General Board, meeting here this week, in its first sessions were addressed
by  new President David Hunt and new General Secretary A. Roy Medley,
affirmed a resolution addressing needs in Sierra Leone, and received reports
on progress in new budget covenant development and on denominational
structure.  The meetings, which began yesterday, will conclude on Sunday,
June 23.

President David G. Hunt, speaking on "Light at the End of the Tunnel," said
he "is excited about how we can focus and move toward that light" through
such opportunities as Go Global, NEW LIFE 2010, Discipleship Matters,
organizational structure, capital campaign needs, giving and budget
covenant, regional and covenantal issues, diversity and racial
reconciliation.  While "we can see some element of darkness-we are not yet
into the light--God is pushing us in all directions," he said.  Hunt cited
five goals he has for the 2002-2003 biennium: praying, as an essential part
of worshipful work; "pre-structuring-structuring for the future";
"planting," expressed through "most of our efforts in mission and ministry";
"pastor-prospering"-providing support and encouragement for the new general
secretary as he brings pastoral leadership for the denomination; and
"pursuing the all areas not being afraid to move through the

In his first address as general secretary, the Rev. A. Roy Medley told board
members, "You are serving at a critical time in the life of our
denomination--a time when we will be addressing decisions which will
potentially refocus and reshape our national expression of mission as a
denomination.  These will be times of plucking up and breaking down in order
that we might plant and rebuild.  But in all of this we trust that God's
loving purpose is to renew us as a people of faith for stronger ministry
both within and without the United States."  He noted, "In this time of
transition one of my chief tasks will be to help us discern God's leading in
the decisions we will face and to remind us that God is present and
faithful.  In such times it is crucial that we 'keep the main thing the main
thing.'  For this day, I believe the 'main thing' is the making of
Christ-centered disciples through new and renewing congregations in order
that we might accomplish the ministry of reconciliation which has been
entrusted to us." 

Medley and Associate General Secretary and Treasurer Cheryl H. Wade reported
on progress on the development of an amended budget covenant for the 39
covenanting organizations within the denomination.  The proposed amended
covenant, which is being refined by the General Executive Council, will be
received for action by the General Board at a future meeting.  The amended
covenant has been designed to be simple and understandable, to enhance the
ability to increase giving, to honor donors, and to provide choices to
regions, among other considerations.

The Rev. Dr. Trinette V. McCray, past ABCUSA president and a member of the
Structure and Process Study Group, reported on that group's work and
progress in developing a proposal for denominational structure.  The board
approved the group's request for resources to pursue one more meeting,
including a prior meeting of a design team, in order to refine a proposed
one-board model and identify "process suggestions for how to take the group
recommendation from that meeting forward to the denomination."

The board unanimously approved an "American Baptist Resolution on Sierra
Leone" which addresses social needs created by the recent long-term
"appalling civil war symbolized by the brutal mutilation of thousands of
civilian victims."
The resolution calls on American Baptists to pray for and educate themselves
about the situation, urge positive action by political leaders, work
ecumenically to address needs created by the situation, and "ask the Board
of International Ministries to investigate and create ways that American
Baptists can be more involved in ministry and mission to the people of
Sierra Leone."

In other actions today the board voted to amend Standing Rules 5.2 and 5.3
relating to the receiving and dismissing of cooperating churches (138 yes, 0
no, 2 abstentions) and approved Standing Rule 6.1, which outlines the
procedure for orienting and accepting new regions (137 yes, 0 no, 2


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