Rev. Dr. Judy Allbee, executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of Connecticut, shares the following reflection in the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, December 14.
“And the land rested from war.” (Joshua 11) For a brief period of time there was no violence. That statement has haunted me over the years because it seems so elusive and it haunts me on this day as well; a day when little children and the adults who cared for them were murdered. It is incomprehensive and overwhelming. I am reminded of the words in Jeremiah , “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
November 2-10, a team of 14 persons from 11 of our Region churches spent a week in Haiti building a “rubble house” under the direction of Conscience International, and with guidance from American Baptist International Ministries. Lynne Punnett, Project Coordinator, reflects below on the experience. If you would like to hear more about the project, contact Lynne at email@example.com. You may also read about our journey and see pictures at www.michiganservantsforchrist.blogspot.com.
Faithful Reflections from Lynne
Bonjour tout le monde!
This trip has been another amazing and Holy Spirit filled experience. I prayed for team unity and God answered our prayers. We are a team that remained united in every respect and watched out for and encouraged one another all the way.
The Rev. Ronald Cary, Contract Consultant to the ABC-MI for congregational health, announced his decision to end his consulting services to the ABC-MI when his current “Statement of Work” agreement ends December 31, 2012. In a letter to Dr. Michael Williams, ABC-MI Executive Minister, Cary stated, “Closing out forty-two years of ministry and eleven years of work with the ABC-MI has not been an easy decision, but it is one with which I am at peace.”
Cary further noted in his letter to Dr. Williams, “I want to express my deep and abiding appreciation for our friendship and for the opportunity you and the Region Board have granted me in the work of ‘Growing Healthy Churches.’ I have always believed that our mission as churches in this Region was of great importance and ultimately of eternal significance, and I believe I have given it my best effort. It has been a joy to work with a wonderful group of colleagues, including the professional staff and the office support staff. They are all talented and committed people who have been of great personal support and often a real inspiration to me.”
“I am deeply grateful for the significant ministry Rev. Cary has had among us over these eleven years,” stated Dr. Williams. “Rev. Cary has always embraced the challenges and changes with great passion, a great spirit, and made many contributions to our life together. While I will miss his daily involvement in our Region life, I am thankful he will remain in Michigan in the coming years where we can continue the friendship we have known. I wish Rev. Cary and his wife Carolyn the very best as they enter into next chapters of their lives including the chapter of being grandparents!”
Rev. Cary will continue his work among us through December 31 and will also continue to work with the Commission on Ordination & Standing into 2013 as a volunteer member of the Commission.
Individuals and churches are invited to contribute a letter (8-1/2" by 11") to the “Book of Letters” being compiled to present to Rev. Cary during the ABC-MI Staff Christmas Luncheon December 10. Letters should be sent no later than December 7 to the ABC-MI, 4578 S. Hagadorn Road, East Lansing, MI 48823.
News by Stan Slade, BIM
One "superstorm." Six countries. The impact of Hurricane Sandy on the Western Hemisphere is staggering.
Long before Sandy came ashore in New Jersey, the hurricane had cut a deadly, destructive swath through the Caribbean. Osbel Gutiérrez, pastor of Fourth Baptist Church in Santiago, Cuba's second largest city, described Santiago with words like "devastation." Reina Rodriguez, pastor of Peniel Baptist Church in Jiguani described Santiago as "a disaster."
Even as Sandy was damaging 70% of the homes in Santiago and wiping out farms throughout eastern Cuba, the storm was also destroying crops and taking lives in southern Haiti, where the confirmed death toll is already over 50. Sandy also brought destruction to Jamaica, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands.
And then Sandy hit the U.S., spreading death and destruction throughout a huge part of the heavily-populated Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern part of the country, in a drama that most of America was able to follow in real time through the media.
Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey last Monday. The storm has left a trail of destruction, floods, and power outages for millions of people across the northeast United States. The road to recovery is only just beginning.
Church World Service's expertise in the U.S. focuses on long-term recovery: helping the most vulnerable prepare for and recover from disaster. CWS is shipping 2,000 CWS Blankets, 3,000 School Kits, 3,000 Hygiene Kits, 300 Clean-up Buckets and 100 Baby Kits for emergency response efforts in New Jersey. And CWS emergency response specialists are working with state, regional and local officials to determine what aid and training is needed and where.
Dear ABC-MI Family:
Here is the first report coming from the ABC of New Jersey regarding their findings thus far on damage to their churches.
Churches may give to One Great Hour of Sharing and note "Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts" or more specifically, "Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts--New Jersey." Click here for report. Visit their regional website, www.abcnj.net, for regular updates.