ABC-MI 2013 Annual Business Meeting Highlights

Delegates gathered Saturday, September 21, at the historic Second Baptist Church of Battle Creek for worship, fellowship, the joint Annual Business Meeting of the American Baptist Churches of Michigan (ABC-MI) and Michigan Baptist Convention (MBC); and reports on the denominational initiative "Transformed by the Spirit."

Ministry Teams and Region Board Meeting October 26

East Lansing—New ABC-MI Officers and Region Board members met Saturday, October 26, at the American Baptist Churches of Michigan offices in East Lansing. The four ministry teams, including: (1) Family Ministry Team (FMT); (2) Congregational Ministries & Missions Team (CMMT); (3) Leadership Ministry Team (LMT); and (4) Administrative Ministry Team (AMT) met during the morning with the whole Region Board meeting during the afternoon. Highlights of the Region Board meeting include:

New Board members were introduced including: (1) Rev. Ed Owens, President; (2) Rev. Mary Fair-Matthews, Vice-President; (3) Ms. Becky Hiebert, Region Secretary; (4) Dr. Keith Whitney, AMT Chair; (5) Ms. Carolyn Jackson, CMMT Chair; (6) Rev. Biak Lian Thang, CMMT; (7) Dr. Arie Van Brenk, CMMT; (8) Rev. Robyn Moore, FMT; (9) Mr. Dennis DeMott, LMT; Rev. Paul Prochaska, LMT; Rev. Ray Strawser, LMT.

Mr. Edwin Ritzler was re-elected Region Treasurer for 2014.

Ordination Service for Lara Heise on November 24, 2013

A duly called ordination council met on October 12 at First Baptist Church of Midland to examine Lara Heise as a candidate for ordination. After thorough questioning regarding her ordination paper the delegates voted unanimously to recommend that the Midland church proceed to ordain her to the gospel ministry. The Rev. Dr. James Kent was moderator of the council, and Ms. Linda Atiemo-Obeng served as clerk.

The ordinatiion service for Ms. Heise took place on Sunday, November 24, at 4:30pm at Midland. She was called late last year as pastor of preaching and teaching at First Baptist of Midland. Lara and her husband David have one daughter, Lola.

IM Endorses a New Development Worker for Service in Cambodia

VALLEY FORGE, PA – JUNE 26, 2013: Jennifer “Jeni” Pedzinski  from Niles, Michigan has been endorsed for service as a development worker by American Baptist International Ministries (IM). She will serve in Sobhan Village near Phnom Penh, Cambodia with IM partner Jumpah, a Christian economic and community development initiative.  The announcement was made at the 2013 American Baptist Churches Mission Summit in Overland Park, Kansas on June 22, 2013 to a gathering of over 2,400.

Pedzinski grew up attending IM’s World Mission Conferences  in Green Lake, Wisconsin
and at a young age felt God beginning to call her toward missionary service. Since then, she has sought to prepare herself for cross-cultural life and ministry through focused education and international experience.  Pedzinski served as IM’s first Mission Apprentice (September 2012 – June 2013) and is enrolled in a dual-degree program at Eastern University and Palmer Theological Seminary.

The Rev. Dr. Billie Beverly New Peer Leader


By Rev. Dr. David Swink

Welcome to the Rev. Dr. Billie Beverly to the position of a Ministry Leadership Group Peer Leader. She comes to this position with a wealth of experience in pastoral leadership. Dr. Beverly was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Detroit. She has her Masters of Divinity degree from Northern Baptist Seminary. She has an M.A. from Marygrove College. She has a D.Min. from Graduate Theological Foundation. And she recently completed her Doctor of Ministry degree from the Ecumenical Theological Seminary. She has served as Chaplain in the Beaumont Hospital system and in Children's Hospital of Detroit. Currently, she is a Chaplain in the St. John's Hospital system.

ABC-MI Announces New Contract Consultants

East Lansing -- The American Baptist Churches of Michigan (ABC-MI) welcome three new contractconsultants to the team of current contract consultants. Each begins their work March 1, 2013.

The Reverend Laura Lee Strawser will offer consulting services in the area of Women in Ministry (WIM).Specifically, her work will involve contacting, encouraging, and resourcing the more than forty WIMserving as pastors, co-pastors, associate pastors, chaplains, interim ministers, and youth ministers acrossMichigan. In addition to working a few hours each week as a contract consultant, Rev. Strawser serves asSenior Minister of the Michigan Avenue Baptist Church in Saginaw. She previously served thecongregations of First Baptist Church of Owosso and First Baptist Church of Birmingham. “I am excited towelcome Rev. Laura Lee Strawser to the ABC-MI Contract Consulting Team. She brings a wealth ofexperience and passion for supporting women in ministry across Michigan,” states Dr. Michael Williams,ABC-MI Executive Minister. Rev. Strawser has been involved in Region life having served several yearson the Executive Committee as Vice-President, President, and Immediate Past President. She currentlyserves on the ABC-MI Ministers Council Executive Committee.

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