From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ABCUSA: Medley Praises Visits to Regions as 'Year of Blessings'

From "SCHRAMM, Richard" <>
Date Fri, 21 Feb 2003 14:55:18 -0500

American Baptist News Service (Valley Forge, Pa. 2/21/03)--General Secretary
the Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley has praised "the great spirit of Christ-centered
commitment, witness and mission-mindedness" he has experienced in a busy
schedule of visits to American Baptist regions during his first year as the
pastoral and administrative leader of American Baptist Churches USA.

Medley is approximately halfway through "an arduous but deeply rewarding"
itinerary of region events in which he is articulating his denominational
vision--"Centered in Christ"--and sharing in worship, fellowship and
extensive prayer time at churches and gatherings.

"I came into this position convinced that my role is first and foremost a
pastoral one," Medley said.   "We may be a family of autonomous churches and
regions, but the denomination that serves them needs to articulate and share
in a prophetic vision of personal faith and corporate witness in the 21st
century.  For that purpose, the general secretary needs to be accessible and
truly open to understanding the needs and concerns of the local church and
its members.  There is no way for me to do that well unless I participate
firsthand in as many of these events as possible.  It's at these gatherings
that people who are on the frontline of mission worship, fellowship and
address the challenges that lie before believers.  I need to be there to
hear, learn and respond--and celebrate how God is moving through the people,
congregations and organizations of our great family."

"This has been a year of blessings," he said.  "I have come away from each
gathering reinvigorated and assured that, in so many ways, we are a people
truly committed to centering ourselves in Christ.  The Spirit is at work in
ways expected and unexpected throughout our regions and churches.  Part of
what I share is a genuine appreciation for these ministries, as well as the
hope that American Baptists will actively allow their denomination to help
them reach out effectively in the name of Christ.  We exist as American
Baptist Churches USA to serve our congregations and further the Gospel
through mission around the world, and I see myself as a servant of the
Gospel and its believers."

In noting that the focus of his second year of regional visits will be
"Called and Centered to Be Sent," Medley emphasized, "The heart of our
health lies in Christ; the measure of our health lies in our service." 
Many have responded with enthusiasm and appreciation for Medley's visits. 

The Rev. Dr. Linda C. Spoolstra, executive minister of the American Baptist
Churches of Massachusetts, noted the response of participants at the New
Life Prayer Meeting last Oct. 27 at First Baptist Church in Boston: "Four
hundred hands were clasped together at historic First Baptist Church in
Boston as the congregation was led in prayer for the needs of the world by
our new general secretary, Roy Medley.	People from about 65 churches had
come together to worship and to pray for the goals of NEW LIFE 2010.  Many
people told me afterward how much they appreciated the spiritual leadership
that our new general secretary provided.  He helped us to feel the holiness
of God, and we were brought into a spirit of unity which fostered a deep
desire to serve God together as American Baptists."

Participants at the American Baptist Churches of Michigan Staff Prayer
Retreat this Feb. 4-5 also responded enthusiastically to Medley's time with
them.  "It surprised some of our staff," said ABC Of Michigan Executive
Minister the Rev. Dr. Michael A. Williams, "that the general secretary made
time to be with us, is such a warm and gracious man of God, and led us in
several hours of prayer for our individual ministries, our region
ministries, our national ministries, our international ministries and the
wider ministries of Christendom."  Williams added: "It was interesting that
on Wednesday morning, as we spent several hours in prayer for each
individual on our staff, they suddenly realized that Roy had led us to pray
for each person in the room--but not for Roy!  So our staff in turn laid
hands on Roy and prayed for him."

"I believe this time with our general secretary served to strengthen the
bond between the region staff and the ABCUSA," Williams said.  "It helped
remind our staff they are part of a wider ministry that is making a
difference in the Kingdom of God."

Since January 2002 the general secretary has participated in the following
regional events:

ABC of Great Rivers staff gathering and Area V meeting, Kansas City, March
2002; Tri-region Pastors Conference (ABC of Dakotas, ABC of Nebraska,
Mid-American Baptist Churches), Vermillion, SD, April 2002; ABC of
Connecticut annual meeting, April 2002; ABC of Rhode Island annual meeting,
April 2002; ABC of Massachusetts 200th celebration, May 2002; ABC of Los
Angeles annual meeting, June 2002; West Virginia Baptist Convention pastors
and staff prayer retreats, September 2002; ABC of Pacific Southwest Churches
of the Future Conference, September 2002; Philadelphia Baptist Association
semi-annual meeting, September 2002; ABC of Indiana/Kentucky annual meeting,
October 2002; ABC of New York State biennial meeting, October 2002; ABC of
Pennsylvania and Delaware biennial meeting, October 2002; ABC of
Massachusetts New Life Prayer Meeting, October 2002; Cleveland Baptist
Association, November 2002; ABC of Metro Chicago installation of new
executive minister, November 2002; ABC of Central Region Mid-winter Mission
Conference, January 2003; ABC of Rochester/Genesee annual meeting, February
2003; ABC of Michigan staff prayer retreat, February 2003; ABC of the
Northwest Big Sky Area pastors/spouses retreat, February 2003.


American Baptist News Service: Office of Communication, American Baptist
Churches USA, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851; (800)ABC-3USA x2077
/ (610)768-2077; fax: (610)768-2320;;

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