ABHMS welcomes AAABC, Asian Baptist leaders for meeting, consultation

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 3/29/19)—At its Leadership and Mission Building on Wednesday and Thursday, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) hosted a meeting of the Alliance of Asian American Baptist Churches (AAABC) and welcomed Asian Baptist leaders for a consultation.

The AAABC had been known as the Asian American Baptist Caucus since its founding in 1971 to advocate for unheard voices. The new name was adopted at American Baptist Churches USA’s Biennial Mission Summit in June 2011.

“It’s a significant time in the life of the Asian Alliance and, therefore, our whole constituency,” said the Rev. Michele Turek of  First Chinese Baptist Church, Fresno, Calif., and AAABC Records & Communications coordinator. “With this new identity as the alliance, it’s important to build partnerships.”

ABHMS leadership was invited to the AAABC meeting on Wednesday morning to discuss ways in which the two organizations could partner. Among the topics discussed was the fact that AAABC’s vision intersects with that of ABHMS.

“We want God to take our denomination to the next level,” said the Rev. Dr. Wungreiso Valui, pastor of First Baptist Church, Santa Clara, Calif., and AAABC’s former congregational resourcing coordinator. “One of our visions is to leverage technology for the denomination. ABHMS cultivating leaders aligns with our equipping emerging leaders.”

ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray told those assembled that he was glad to hear the group’s intentions.

“There are so many points of agreement and intersection [of AAABC] with ABHMS,” he said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Asian Baptist leaders met with the Rev. Salvador Orellana, ABHMS director of Intercultural Ministries, and the Rev. Florence Li, ABHMS national coordinator of Asian Ministries. Facilitated by the Rev. Katie Choy-Wong, pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship, Castro Valley, Calif., the consultation sought to identify the needs of Asian churches.

During brainstorming at their tables, participants produced lists of immediate church needs that include the following: additional pastoral staff, strong spiritual leaders, a van or other transportation, concern for the local community, relevant teaching and cultural/racial reconciliation.

A panel discussion focused on churches’ future needs. When Choy-Wong asked specifically how the church could address the next generation’s needs, Katharine Hsiao of New Life Christian Fellowship and mission coordinator of AAABC, introduced the topic of contemporary tastes.

“Young people want to see social media. They don’t want to see our old PowerPoints,” Hsiao said. “And they want the latest music.”

On Thursday, leaders remembered key moments of Asian Ministries, learning more about ABHMS’ current programs and services. They received training in ministrElife—ABHMS’ new online networking platform for American Baptist ministry professionals and lay leaders—from Jill Duroseau, ministrElife team lead. The names of at least 40 millennials were provided as potential emerging leaders. The group used the words networking, connected and changed to describe the event’s take-away message.

Additional information about ABHMS’ Asian Ministries is available online at abhms.org > Ministries > Intercultural Ministries > Asian Ministries.

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.