Home Mission Societies board names new directors, embraces technology to support ministry

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 6/29/17)—Meeting this week in Portland, Ore., American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ (ABHMS) Board of Directors voted to add four new members and affirmed a Socially Responsible Investing Advisory Council. Board members also were introduced to a new technology platform designed specifically for religious professionals.

As President Dr. Clifford Johnson opened the meeting, he noted “with a deep sense of satisfaction and celebration the great things that God has done and is doing through ABHMS.”

Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, ABHMS executive director, introduced a state-of-the-art technology platform currently under development that will provide opportunities for building networks and relationships among American Baptist partners and religious professionals.

“By the 1890s, the American Baptist Publication Society, part of today’s ABHMS, was buying rail cars. This platform is the equivalent of buying a chapel car,” Haggray said. “This is big. This is an acknowledgement that technology is here, and it is here to stay.”

The yet-to-be named platform, being developed to incorporate American Baptist Personnel Services (ABPS), will connect diverse Baptist professionals through profiles, ministry interests, affinity groups, webinars, virtual meeting rooms and additional programming features that will enhance and encourage professional growth.

Board members unanimously approved four candidates presented by Vice President Lois Chiles for the Governance Committee to fill current vacancies:

  • The Rev. Karen Yee, New Life Christian Fellowship & Mien Friendship, American Baptist Churches of the Central Pacific Coast;
  • The Rev. Dr. Conley Hughes Jr., Concord Baptist Church of Boston, American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts;
  • The Rev. Jamie Washam, First Baptist Church in America, American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island; and
  • The Rev. Dr. Leon Runner, Lowville (N.Y.) Baptist Church, American Baptist Churches of New York State.

In other business, the board affirmed recommendations of three members to serve on a newly created Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) Advisory Council that will supplement and complement the work of the Finance Committee:

  • The Rev. Aundreia Alexander, associate general secretary, Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA;
  • Thomas L. Bowen, director, Mayor’s Office of Religious Affairs, Executive Office of the Mayor, Washington, D.C.; and
  • Wynn Davis, retired, former budget director, Wisconsin’s Human Services Agency.

The ABHMS SRI Advisory Council will provide research, review and recommendations in support of the Finance Committee’s decision-making related to ABHMS SRI initiatives.

 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.