ABHMS announces second cohort of ‘Co-Creators Incubator’

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 3/2/21)—ABHMS announces the names of six individuals chosen to participate in the second cohort of its “Co-Creators Incubator.” Set to begin meeting in April, those chosen for the two-year program seek to turn their Christ-centered ideas into viable ventures.

The Co-Creators Incubator strives to nurture the growth of innovative ministry ideas. While fostering collegiality, the incubator provides creative individuals—referred to as Co-Creators—with resources to develop their ideas or enhance their ministries, pairing them with mentors and introducing them to creative partners who may provide long-term financial and other support.

While a Co-Creator is eager to put ideas into action, he or she may be at any point in the creative process, from brainstorming to launching.

The new Co-Creators are as follows:

Monique C. Harrington, founder and executive director of Way Club, graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. Way Club is a faith-based social club for high school-aged teenagers. Its mission is to bring together like-minded teenagers of all backgrounds and encourage them to lead an intentional and healthy lifestyle. This lifestyle will be accomplished by offering members lifestyle-enhancing amenities in an upscale, contemporary space geared toward meeting their recreational, developmental and spiritual needs. The overall vision is to inspire the next generation of believers to have fun while being responsible citizens and active participants in Jesus’ mission to share the good news.

Dr. Ruth Alerte Jones is an optometrist by profession who has led a variety of ministries, including overseas eye clinics, work with women, her church youth, regional youth through the Alliance of Haitian Baptist Churches, and on a national level through her work as A.B. G.I.R.L.S coordinator. As a wife, mother and miscarriage survivor, she shares her testimony via the H.E.M. (Healing Embrace Maternal) Network as evidence of God’s healing. The H.E.M. Network is a faith-based ministry centered on spiritual wellness for women following pregnancy loss. It is designed to equip church (lay and professional) leaders to implement visible support for women as they navigate spiritual challenges related to their situation.

Jonathan Malone has been a local church pastor for more than 20 years, serving in Dayton, Ohio; Bryn Mawr, Pa.; and currently in East Greenwich, R.I. He has climbed the 46 high peaks in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, and has almost climbed all of the 48 high peaks in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Sometimes we need to get away to be able to listen to God. Malone offers multiple-day hiking and backpacking trips into the wilderness, with an emphasis on encountering and engaging with the divine. Participants have the opportunity to push themselves physically and emotionally as well as to experience the wonder of God’s creation. Moments of stillness and wonder can be found in the back country when we open ourselves up to the voice of God.

The Rev. Yolanda M. Norton is the Crump Visiting Professor of Black Theology at the Seminary of the Southwest and assistant professor of Hebrew Bible and H. Eugene Farlough Chair of Black Church Studies at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Her womanist scholarship explores how Scripture treats foreign women and how it has led to the oppression of Black women who encounter the Bible today. In addition, she is founder and executive director of the Global Arts and Theology Experience (GATE). GATE is an organization dedicated to promoting the wholeness, healing and development of Black girls and women through programs that promote womanist theology and the arts. GATE focuses on providing spaces for Black women’s stories, struggles and survival.

Dria Price is a Masters of Nutrition student at the University of Mississippi and a full-time entrepreneur with Justevia, which creates natural tea blends using locally grown, organic herbs that are sweetened with stevia as opposed to sugar. The company came about in the midst of the pandemic with the goal of providing people with an alternative to sugary beverages full of empty calories. As shepherds of the Earth, Justevia wants to ensure that the vessels of our siblings in Christ are not overloaded with the unhealthy options that are advertised to the public regularly. As the company grows, Justevia plans to include people of all backgrounds, especially those underrepresented in the agricultural industry, such as Black, indigenous people of color and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals.

Alex Zarecki is a musician, educator and chaplain from Massachusetts. He is currently in his seventh year leading music at Seattle’s historic Japanese Baptist Church. He says that he has struggled between the tension of writing songs as an artist and playing songs that make sense for his church. Over the last three years, he has worked toward bringing it together by writing weekly songs during Lent that his church continues to sing throughout the year, writing anthems for denominational gatherings, and bringing vulnerable, personal work into congregational settings. He intends to continue to write new songs tempered for an array of contexts, fit for personal and congregational enjoyment. As a Co-Creator, he can accomplish this task with greater boldness.

Additional information about the Co-Creators Incubator is available online or by contacting the Rev. Lauren L. Ng at La[email protected], 888.79.ABHMS or 610.768.2417.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.