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Sunrise over the Wheat Field

The AnnualGathering 2020

September 21-26, 2020






Renewal. Breathe into us, O God.


  The current pandemic has taken our breath away, often literally. We see the unrest and uncertainty in our nation. We hear the "breathes" of those shouting for justice in our land. And, we hear the whispers upon the wind of our prayers for God to intervene and to lead us ... his people.

  And so, in a time of social distancing and precautions, we're gathering virtually this year. With it, comes new challenges, but also new opportunities. More people--from further distances--can participate in this virtual Gathering. We can join together in our homes and in our churches, remembering the Hebrew word used to describe "breath, wind, and spirit" -- RUACH -- a reminder that God's Spirit is still at work in our world! O' God, may you breathe upon us as we remember your name and celebrate your goodness!

The Gathering

2020 ABCRM Annual Gathering | Virtual |

The spirit of God hovered above the waters of the yet unformed earth ...


God breathed life into the first man, Adam, after forming him from the dust...


Breathe on me, o' Breath of God ...


With COVID-19, and the fight to breathe in our nation, o' Lord God, breathe upon us once more ...


Mission Mondays


Our Gathering spirit continues each Monday from Sept. 28-Oct. 26 with our Mission Mondays series. Gather together to hear how God is transforming lives through the dedication of our Global Servants. Each session will provide a mission report plus a chance to ask questions and to interact with our "Gospel Essential" workers on the frontlines of cities and nations in the midst of this pandemic and global "change." Experience how God is at work throughout this world!

Mission Mondays | Bolivia |



JD & Rhonda Reed

The Reeds have served in Bolivia since 2011. J.D. is a regional consultant for Theological Education throughout Iberoamerica and the Caribbean. He is the Coordinator for the Masters of Theological Studies Latino/a Ministries Program and the liason to Palmer Seminary of Eastern University. He works to help train pastors and church leaders throughout the region. Rhonda is a nurse (MSN) who oversees the health initiatives at the House of Hope and the Fundación Proyecto de Esperanza in Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.

Click here to watch the recorded conversation.

Mission Mondays | Mexico |


Recorded | Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. 

Juan & Denise Aragon

Juan and Denise serve in partnership with the Council of Rural Indigenous Evangelicals of Mexico (Consejo Indígena Campesino Evangélico de México, CICEM) in Chiapas, Mexico. They both work in training, prevention and education as they learn the community needs and look for ways to emotionally and economically empower leaders in their communities. Juan focuses on theological education and leadership training as he accompanies, coaches and disciples new church leaders. Denise’s ministry seeks to empower women, especially those who are victims of domestic abuse.

Visit their IM Web site for more information.

Click here to watch the recorded conversation.

Mission Mondays | Dominican Republic |


Recorded | Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.  

Vital & Ketley Pierre

The Pierres work in the East Coast of the Dominican Republic to strengthen local churches and encourage existing churches to plant new ones and disciple new members. One way they do this is by leading and coordinating seminars and workshops. Through these sessions, pastors and leaders of local congregations learn how to start and strengthen a broad range of outreach ministries in their communities. The Pierres also serve as a link with volunteer groups, matching them with local ministries according to where they would be the most effective, and encourage and facilitate Haitian mission work both within the D.R. and abroad.  Visit their IM Web site for more information.

Click here to watch the recorded conversation.

Mission Mondays | Lebanon |


Recorded | Oct. 19 at 10 a.m.  

Dan & Sarah Chetti

Melanie Baggao

Melanie works with the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary and focuses on learning the Arabic language and culture, building relationships and preparing for future ministry in Arabic-speaking cultures. Dan and Sarah both work with the seminary, and they also lead a number of sensitive ministries to help foreign migrant workers, to fight against injustice, and to help end human traf-ficking. Dan is an adjunct professor at the seminary, where his wife is a librarian, and together, they coordinate home groups and host mission outreaches.

Return later to watch the recorded conversation.

Mission Mondays | Global |


Recorded | Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.

David & Joyce Reed

The Reeds serve as IM’s Global Coordinators for Spiritual Care. Building on 20 years of ministry as global servants in Mexico and service as Regional Consultants in Iberoamerica and the Caribbean, they seek to cultivate a culture of health in which IM personnel around the globe can thrive and be effective in ministry. They offer spiritual guidance, support and presence, and walk with colleagues through significant times of transition, transformation, grief and loss; and mentor global servants during their first years on the field.  Visit their IM Web site for more information.

Click here to watch the recorded conversation.

Workshop Series 2020



Brad Berglund

Creating Engagement in Worship, learn new tools from a leader in Taize and other worship styles! Learn how to make "worship matter" both online and in-person during this uncertain time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to watch the recorded workshop.


Also, click below to download prayers and worksheets for "Creating Engaging Worship" Resources

Video Preview



Rev. David Reed

Can Prayer Be Silent?


We're past the initial shock of Covid-19, and now, we're navigating weariness, isolation, grief, and a long term roller coaster ride of stressors. In this chaotic sea of uncertainty, how do we find and stand on our solid center in Christ? For centuries the spiritual disciplines have helped countless followers of Jesus in times not unlike ours. Especially two forgotten yet critical practices: Silence and Solitude. Gather with us as we explore how listening can become deep soul prayer. Read more.

Click here to watch the recorded workshop.

Video Preview



Dr. Rev. Stan Slade

Manuscript Bible Study Method


This is a two-session workshop, "People of the Spirit," that will combine a very brief introduction to Manuscript Bible Study with glimpses of the way Luke tells the story of God at work in the early days of the Christian movement.We will use two digitally-provided and specially-formatted selections from the Book of Acts to focus on the way our movement grew initially in both Samaria and Ephesus.We will also be on the lookout for principles that can help us respond faithfully to the mission God is calling us to pursue in the time of COVID-19. Read more.

RESOURCES (Please review BEFORE the workshop):

Download Introduction Notes

Download Selected Passages

Click here to watch
the recorded workshop.

Video Preview

Margaret Marcuson.jpg


Margaret Marcuson

How to be the least anxious person in the (virtual) room


  1. Be calmer during these anxious times.

  2. Relate to others without catching their anxiety.

  3. Claim spiritual courage during anxious times.

You already know it—you are leading in anxious times. How can you provide leadership in these days in ways that are life-giving for yourself and for others? This workshop will offer some ways to approach leadership in these days.Nowadays you only have to be a little less anxious than those around you to be a better leader and have a better experience of life in these unusual times.

Read more.

Click here to watch the recorded workshop.

Video Preview



Dr. Zina Jacque and Rev. Eugene Downing

"I Can't Breathe" Racism and the Church's Response

This workshop is designed to offer participants space and time to consider how racism stands in opposition to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how the church may stand against racism Additionally, as we hold the Apostle Paul’s words in our hearts from Philippians 4:13 ("I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"), we will spend significant time formulating first or next steps for each participant’s church to address racism in their particular context.

Click here to watch the recorded workshop.

Video Preview



Listed below are the various national and regional reports for our 2020 Annual Gathering. We invite you to please review the reports before the Business Meeting at 9-10:30 a.m. on Sept. 26, so that you might contact the appropriate individual with any further questions. We also encourage you to bookmark this page so that you might be able to reference these video reports as often as needed in preparation for the Business Meeting. Thank you for taking the time to walk this "Ruach" journey with us this year in an unprecedented manner as we participate TOGETHER in the Annual Gathering.


Acting General Secretary Jeff Woods

A National ABC Outlook for 2020 and Beyond.

Dr. C. Jeff Woods serves as Interim General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA. Prior to serving as Interim General Secretary, Woods served as Associate General Secretary for Regional Ministries. In this role, Dr. Woods worked to encourage the health and vitality of the 33 regional judicatories coast to coast throughout the United States. Other denominational positions include serving as the Executive Minister of the Ohio Region and four pastorates within the ABC Region of Indiana.  Read more.


IM CEO Sharon Koh

A Year to Remember ...

As the CEO of the organization (International Ministries) that both supports and also sends forth our Global Servants, Sharon Koh has taken the time to share some reflections about God's missional work in 2020, as well as to share some optimistic outlooks for the year ahead.  Read more.


Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Haggray

Executive Director

As executive director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies and Judson Press, Dr. Jeffrey Haggray finds the heart of his ministry in motivating Christians to impact communities with their deeply-held faith; encouraging emerging leaders to discern and respond to God’s call; and emphasizing God’s loving concern for humanity’s well-being, wholeness and justice.


Read more.


Louis P. Barbarin


Louis P. Barbarin, CPA, initially joined MMBB’s staff as assistant treasurer and has since served as treasurer, CFO and deputy executive director before assuming the role of Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining MMBB, Louis served as the deputy executive director and treasurer of the American Baptist Board of Education and Publication. Other experiences include serving as controller and acting vice president of finance at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania and a professional career at the accounting firm of KPMG.  Read more.


Rev. Dr. Gina Jacobs-Strain

Executive Director

Reverend Dr. Gina C. Jacobs-Strain loves the Lord and gave her life to Christ when she was in elementary school. She presently serves as the executive director for American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM) and is a member of the National Executive Council for American Baptist Churches, USA. American Baptist Women’s Ministries is a Christ-centered ministry which encourages and empowers women, young women, and girls to serve God.  Read more.



Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran

Executive Minister

Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran is passionate about local churches and helping them become the incarnated body of Christ in their community.  He has served as Executive Minister for ABCRM since March of 2008 and has been involved in coaching pastors and local churches since 2003 after 18 years of pastoring local churches.  Read more.


Financial Report

Karen VanValkenburgh

Region Administrator

Karen joined the ABCRM staff in 2007 with a strong financial and hospitality background. After spending over 35 years in the restaurant industry, she enjoys using her technical skills (CPA and EMBA) to help the ABCRM staff work with churches, camps and individuals in the Rocky Mountain region reach their world for Christ.   Read more.

NOTE: Click here to access and to review the Audit Report.

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