Florida couple commissioned as home missionaries
VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 2/2/16)—In a service held at Church of the Beatitudes, St. Petersburg, Fla., on Sunday, the reverends Phil and Janel Miller-Evans of Pinellas County, Fla., were co-commissioned by American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) as home missionaries and by Global Missions of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida as field personnel.
The couple serves as co-directors of Micah Center of Pinellas County Inc., which seeks to advocate for, educate, empower and assist the underemployed. Services include an after-school literacy program and summer literacy camp. The center is partnering with Southern Poverty Law Center to address Pinellas County school policies that hinder children’s success; with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to rein in predatory lending practices; and with Gospel Justice Institute to create a Christian legal counseling center for non-criminal issues.
Micah Center is an outgrowth of the ministry of Church of the Beatitudes, where Phil has been pastor since 2002. In addition, Janel has been a chaplain at Westminster Palms Retirement Community, St. Petersburg, since 2003. As a licensed clinical social worker, she also maintains a small private practice for family and individual counseling.
“The problems facing the underemployed are enormous in the current economic and cultural climate in the southern United States. Lack of insurance, poor public education, predatory payday lending practices and lack of affordable housing all work to destabilize economically marginal families,” says Phil. “Micah Center was created to bring an asset-based community development model of ministry to these individuals and families.”
The commissioning sermon and charge to the missionaries was provided by Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III, ABHMS executive director emeritus.
“We celebrate the fact that God and this church community have chosen Phil and Janel Miller-Evans to this special ministry and mission of Micah Center of Pinellas County. They are a part of this congregation and its ministries in the extension of outreach in Micah Center,” said Wright-Riggins. “Our prayers and our spirit are one in compassion and caring ventures with the underemployed. Commissioning is a way of recognizing and celebrating our connectedness to God and this church community.”
American Baptist Home Mission Societies—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.