President … Fall 2018
by Lillian Cabral
My Dear Sisters,
The lazy, hazy days of summer have passed; autumn is here and now it’s time to get back into the swing. Yep, that’s the dream.
The reality is usually that summer isn’t as lazy as we would like, at least not in my world. It goes by in a flash of a whirlwind of “leisurely activities”.
I work in the business office of our local school district and often we hear people ask, “You work all summer?” Or “What will you do all summer?” We have to then educate our educators that we get to work all summer. Summer tends to be our busiest time of the year. So lazy, hazy hasn’t worked for me for years.
That being said, I did have the opportunity to work on your behalf as well this summer.
National Board at Judson University
The National Board of American Baptist Women’s Ministries met at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois for a week in July.
Judson is a very beautiful campus. We roomed in one of the dorms and it was a blessing being with fellow board members from across the country as well as getting to know our new Executive Director, Rev. Gina Jacobs-Strain.
Rev. Gina is brimming with ideas to revitalize our organization. She comes to us with a background from the business world. She sees things differently and has ideas that are new and exciting. She pointed out to us that we have been treating ourselves, our organization, like an auxiliary to our local churches. The churches are seeing us in that same light. We have to change that.
American Baptist Women’s Ministries is an independent organization, with by-laws, finances and ministry focus separate from American Baptist Churches USA. We work in partnership with ABC, International Ministries, and American Baptist Home Mission Society. Each of these organizations are PARTNERS in ministry.
We love and support each other in our ministries.
Love Gift and National Support
AB Women’s Ministries supports the denomination with Love Gift. We have been doing that for many, many years. Last year, women across the country raised over $327,000 for the denominational partnership. This money goes to United Mission. United Mission giving is important. In return, ABC gives 15 cents for every dollar collected to American Baptist Women’s Ministries. ABC keep 85 cents from every dollar we collect. Keep that in mind as I continue.
In August, I sent a letter out to many of you requesting that you collect for National Support. Many of you did that and I thank you for your assistance.
Others, asked why they should when there is so much need everywhere. The reason this was necessary is because our national staff has found it necessary for several years to draw funds from our reserve funds. This has amounted to approximately $50,000 a year. We are running dangerously low on reserve funds.
You may be thinking that this is normal procedure for us as an organization.
It is not normal procedure for a fully functioning organization. We need to re-think how we do our business.
We have been asked to reconsider our Love Gift giving and how we collect it.
Our churches should be giving to United Mission. I know of some churches that make Love Gift a congregational offering instead of just something the women do (and often our congregations don’t even know why the women do it.)
At our recent state board meeting, I suggested that when we take a love gift offering (as part of our women’s group expectation) we designate it for one of OUR funds of which there are several nationally and statewide. Women’s and Girls fund, AB GIRLS, National Support, Young Adult Women’s Ministries Advisory Team, State General Fund, Refit, are all possibilities.
White Cross is another big venture that the women have taken on to ASSIST our Partners, International Ministries and American Baptist Home Mission Society. This year there has been difficulties in getting the requests to our local Associations and Churches. I am hopeful that you will have these in your possession before you read this article in A Witness.
It has been put on my heart that there are women in our state that need to be reminded of Jesus words from the book of Matthew chapter 7 verse 12, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them to do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (NIV) or as I remember it from Sunday school, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
There is the toothpaste analogy that tells us that once you squirt out the toothpaste you can’t put it back in the tube and the same thing happens with our words. When we get frustrated or impatient it is easy to forget the wisdom of that analogy. Be careful of judging and accusing others. It is a slippery slope and can get us in more trouble than it is worth.
Shifting gears now.
I also had the blessed opportunity this past summer to spend time at Pathfinder Lodge with 13 beautiful young ladies at our attempt to introduce AB GIRLS conference and focus, to girls around the state that are unfamiliar with AB GIRLS.
It rained a good deal but that didn’t dampen the experience we all had together. I want to thank Alecia Willie, (AB GIRLS Chairwoman), Claudia Little (our Pastor for the week), Laura Richards (nurse #1 for half of the week), Grace Schutt (nurse #2 for the rest of the week), Ruby Henry, Carol Seidel, and Dorene Ingersoll, (mentors) and the staff at Pathfinder for all they did to make the “experiment” a success; reaching these girls for Christ.
We are currently looking at the possibility to have the conference at Pathfinder and in some format, offer another retreat of introduction for girls.
Many of us complain that we don’t get counterpart letters anymore and that seems to have created a disconnection among us as American Baptist Women’s Ministries.
Leaders Reader and Communication
I hope you all receive the “Leaders Reader.” If not, it is accessible on the website – abwomensministries.org – if you cannot download or access the internet there is someone you know that can. How about a young(er) woman in your congregation or group?
My point being the availability of information (and the possibility of building a relationship.)
I would like to propose that here in New York State at least, we re-initiate counterpart letters in some form. Even email is better than no mail (but we still enjoy getting that letter in the mail.) It is easy to forward emails among each other to get information out. Feel free to pass along any email I send to you to local presidents.
We need to be proactive in sharing our email addresses with each other. We need to connect with each other. Women need women.
May God bless each of you and the work He has given you as you reach out to women and girls for Christ and the Kingdom.
Lillian Cabral, President ABWM NYS