Women engage in intercultural learning during recent ABHMS conference

During American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ (ABHMS) Intercultural Ethnic Women Conference in July, 46 female clergy, lay leaders and seminarians from 17 ethnicities—including 13 leaders from the Kachin Baptist Convention in Myanmar—participated in learning opportunities, engaged in dialogue and strengthened relationships.

“It was a wonderful experience just meeting women of different cultures and knowing better the challenges they are facing in daily life,” says Milagros Cordero of Iglesia Bautista Betesda, Indiana. “I have seen or heard in the media about their situations, but now—having seen their faces and knowing their names and struggles—I feel so different and supportive of my dear sisters in Christ.”

The event was part of a collaboration with American Baptist Women’s Ministries and American Baptist Women in Ministry, which hosted concurrent conferences—“FEEL: Fully Exploring and Engaging in God’s Love” and the National Gathering for Girlsat Judson University, Elgin, Ill.

“It was truly God’s moment throughout the four days, when ABHMS’ Intercultural Ethnic Women Conference joined with American Baptist Women’s Ministries and American Baptist Women in Ministry,” says the Rev. Florence Li, national coordinator of ABHMS Asian Ministries. “Much more learning happens through interaction with women of various races, languages, ages and ministries. God has a place for each and every one. Intercultural-competency skills are definitely essential tools to enhance our calling and service to God and people.”

Conferencegoers enjoyed such workshops as “Learning and Retooling Intercultural Competency Skills,” along with Bible study led by the Rev. Dr. Zina Jacque, pastor of Community Church of Barrington, Ill. Small-group discussion centered around ministry stories, specialized service areas, the joys and challenges of ministry, and finding common ground among various ministries.

In addition to the Kachin Baptist Convention, attendees hailed from these American Baptist Churches USA regions: Central, Indiana and Kentucky; Massachusetts; Metro Chicago; Michigan; Pennsylvania and Delaware; Rochester and Genesee; Rocky Mountains; Vermont; and Wisconsin.

Information about ABHMS’ Intercultural Ministries is available online.