ABHMS’ ‘Space for Grace’ 2018 urban retreat promises renewal, refreshment

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/30/18)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ (ABHMS) “Space for Grace: Thy Will Be Done” urban retreat Nov. 14-16 in Philadelphia promises a variety of ways for participants to experience grace, reflection, refreshment and renewal. Via online video, ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray extends an invitation to attend this highly anticipated national event.

Each daily worship experience will focus on its own theme, following the “Thy Will Be Done” theme and based on the Lord’s Prayer:

  • Wednesday: provide for us, as we provide for others;
  • Thursday: forgive us, as we forgive others; and
  • Friday: deliver us, as we seek liberation for others.

Multicultural Communion on Friday evening will feature various stations representing the diverse racial and ethnic groups that comprise the American Baptist family. Participants will be invited to come forward to receive the Bread and Cup in distinctly unique ways.

Worship music will be provided by local and visiting guest musicians, including Tony McNeill, program director for the certificate in Worship Leadership at the Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, Atlanta, and interim choral director at Texas Southern University. A wide representation of the American Baptist Churches USA family will bring greetings. Two offerings will be collected—one for “Rebuilding, Restoring, Renewing Puerto Rico” and another to benefit a Philadelphia-area ministry related to the Sanctuary Movement.

In addition to free time intentionally built into the schedule for quiet and reflection, the event will feature a chapel/quiet room hosted by the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. The Washington, D.C.-based organization provides resources for contemplative and prayerful living and invitations to silence as well as retreats and programs for clergy, spiritual directors, prayer group facilitators and others seeking to lead from the heart.

The chapel/quiet room will be staffed by Greg Cochran, Shalem’s Spiritual Guidance Program staff member and Shalem board member; the Rev. Yolanda Sampson, an American Baptist minister and director of Evangelism for First Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A., Washington, D.C., and ministry leader for its War Room Prayer Line; and the Rev. Dr. Ostein B. Truitt, a professional certified spiritual director and assistant pastor of St. John Baptist Church, Columbia, Md.

Because controversial yet important issues will be discussed at Space for Grace—with the goal of following the Holy Spirit and transforming a hurting world—those staffing the chapel/quiet room will hold the event and its participants in prayer throughout each day. They will be available to individuals who need to talk or pray with another. Because God connects with each person in his or her own unique way, the staff will offer various approaches to quiet and prayer, including readings, art supplies, music and one-on-one spiritual guidance.

“We are so grateful and humbled to be a part of this conference and cannot wait to see how the Spirit moves,” Cochran says.

As early morning chapel host, Sampson will lead a power-packed time of corporate Bible-based prayers, praise and worship, Scripture reading, devotion and creative prayer activities.

“Early morning prayer at ABHMS’ Space for Grace 2018 is a clarion call for conference participants to humbly cry out to Jesus together,” Sampson says. “Participating in corporate prayer and praise is vital to refreshing and renewing us, so that we can be more effective in our service and witness for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Inspiring homilists and lecturers are as follows:

  • Wednesday evening: the Rev. Lauren Ng, ABHMS network strategist, and Dr. Molly Marshall, president and professor of Theology and Spiritual Formation, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Shawnee, Kan.;
  • Thursday morning: the Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan, pastor of St. Paul’s Baptist Church, Philadelphia, and the Rev. Dr. Corey D.B. Walker, vice president, dean and professor of Religion and Society, Virginia Union University, Richmond;
  • Thursday evening: the Rev. Jamie Washam, ABHMS board member and pastor of First Baptist Church in America, Providence, R.I., and the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta;
  • Friday morning: Shane Claiborne, head of Red Letter Christians, and members of the Puerto Rico panel discussion;
  • and Friday evening: Dr. Debora Jackson, director of Lifelong Learning for Yale Divinity School, and the Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, senior minister, The Riverside Church, New York City.

The deadline to register for the 2½-day event at the early-bird discount rate of $229 is Sept. 7. After that date, registration is $299. Registration fee includes three evening receptions, two lunches and two breakfasts.

To be held at Loews Hotel in the heart of a top-10 largest U.S. city, the event will offer access to world-class speakers and the opportunity to engage in compelling conversation with faith leaders, community service leaders and social justice advocates about tackling mission; developing leaders and disciples; and transforming churches and communities. Cutting-edge workshops will deliver culturally competent learnings applicable to your ministry arena. Pre-conference activities—available for a nominal fee—include opportunities to discover exciting ministry in the Latino Community of Philadelphia and engage with ABHMS’ Social Justice Outreach Ministries.

For more details, call 800.222.3872, x2452, or find out more online and register today!

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.