ABHMS hosts Palmer Grant recipients at conference on faith among youth and young adults

VALLEY FORGE, PA (10/06/2023)— In the 2022 cycle of the Palmer Grant themed “Thriving Youth and Young Adults: Faith and Hope for a Lifetime,” thirty missional partners of American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) received awards totaling $530,063. Beginning October 2, ABHMS hosted a three-day conference celebrating these partners, who represent regions, churches and outreach ministry organizations from across the United States and Puerto Rico, and the work that their Palmer Grant funding has made possible. The event, held in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, at ABHMS’ Leadership and Mission Building, was filled with relevant talks and seminars, worship, and opportunities for networking and fellowship.

Acknowledging this as the first in-person Palmer Grant gathering since the COVID pandemic, Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, ABHMS’ executive director, extended a warm welcome to ABHMS’ guests and rejoiced in the blessings of meeting face-to-face. He then went on to stress the importance of this conference as an invaluable opportunity for learning and sharing.

“We want you to know that you are not alone in your ministry,” said Haggray. “There are many others like yourselves, devoted to ministries of uplift, who are concerned about youth and young adults who are making an impact in the world. We try to bring many of the grant recipients together through this program. It’s about helping to cultivate leaders, but it’s also about network capacity building and hearing about best practices. The possibilities for mission are boundless when we converge along the way for the sake of God’s ministry.”

Among the conference highlights was a plenary conversation titled “Mental Health: Impact of Pandemic, Racial Unrest, Gun Violence” between Dr. Stephanie Krauthamer Ewing, a clinical and developmental psychologist and assistant professor at Drexel University, and the Rev. Dr. Rebecca Irwin-Diehl, director of ABHMS’ Center for Continuous Learning (CCL). They explored the multi-dimensional nature of the growing mental health crisis among young people and the myriad challenges associated with addressing the causes and providing effective treatment.

In “One Church’s Story,” two presenters with expertise in working with youth and young adults in church settings described their experiences at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church (Enon) in Philadelphia. Sarlene Mingo, project leader and program director of the church’s Parenting Support and Teen Enrichment Program, and the Rev. Brittany Mindo, who serves as an associate pastor of Enon’s youth and young adult program Elevation Community, shared inspiring stories illustrating how God continues to work through youth ministry there.

The Rev. Rothangliani Chhangte, senior associate for Grants, Partnerships & Strategy Alignment at ABHMS, expressed her excitement about the Palmer Grant Conference and the importance of the subjects under discussion. “Mental and spiritual health of our children, youth and young adults is critical,” she said, adding that the event also allowed the conferees to “share tools, resources and strategies in spiritual formation.”

The Palmer Grant is made possible by The Virginia and Gordon Palmer Trust of the American Baptist Foundation, a permanent endowment created by Virginia and Gordon Palmer in 1999. The Rev. Dr. Chris Roush, executive director of the American Baptist Foundation (ABF), which administers the trust, said that ABF was “delighted to join with ABHMS this week in celebrating all the ministry and mission made possible by the incredible generosity of Gordon and Ginny Palmer.” She further stated that “they would be pleased to hear how each of these ministries is making a Kingdom difference in their communities and regions.”

To learn more about how ABHMS collaborates with its ministry partners, visit abhms.org.

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.