President … Fall 2019

by Grace Kelley-Neal, President 2019-2022

Greetings to everyone,

It is such an honor and a privilege to stand before you in service to the Lord and to our communities. I am proud to give updates on what is going at the National level and Local levels.

Our new theme for 2019-2021 is “Sisters Seeking Wholeness.” On the local level of New York State, we chose the Scriptures of 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NRSV)

17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 That is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who new no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NRSV)

As sisters in Christ, we are all in need of wholeness in some areas of our very busy lives. Whether we are rich or poor, whether we are married or single, whether we are parents or childless, whether we are in good health, or bad health, whether we are healed, or looking to be healed, whether we are happy or sad, whether we are grieving or coming out of a storm, we are all in need of some sort of wholeness… which only comes from our Lord and Savior. So reach out and grab a hold of the hem of Jesus’ Garment and be made whole.

As we gather together under the banner of American Baptist Women of NYS, as sisters in Christ, let us seek to become whole; to be made whole by Jesus Christ. All we need is a touch from Jesus! Now is the time to stretch ourselves and come out of our regular paradigm. We belong to the family of Jesus Christ and through him, we are sisters on a journey.

Try some new things you’ve never tried before; go to places you’ve never been before, meet some people you’ve never met before. Stretch yourself and reach out and touch somebody’s hand, make this world a better place if you can, we have that power through Jesus Christ. Be a blessing to someone who cannot reciprocate the blessing back to you.

As I travel this journey as President of ABWMNYS, I am being sent to places I’ve never been to before. I’ve met some people I’ve never met before. I traveled to Virginia Beach, VA, as your representative to the Biennial and I was amazed. I met some new friends and caught up with some old friends I had not seen in years. I enjoyed my first National Board meeting with representatives from thirty-three states, including Puerto Rico. I got to reconnect with the new National Executive Director, Rev. Gina Jacobs-Strain; I got to meet the new Assistant Executive Director Rev. Lathelma Yenn-Batah, and I had the pleasure of rooming with the new National President Lori Hill from Kansas, MO. Plus I also met a whole plethora of wonderful and accomplished American Baptist Women whom I hope to recruit to come and be a blessing to us over the next few years at our NYS Convention.

I also pledge as my tenure as President to make all four retreats in the three years I have left. Usually, three have been held on the same weekend in June, these past couple years. However, I have checked our new updated website and discovered that the Central Area retreat is being held on June 12-13, 2020. So if Southern NY and Western are on different weekends, I would love to attend as many as I can. Even if I can only attend one or two per year, that is fine.

I am proud to announce that we have instituted a new way to pay for the 2020 convention with on-line payment and registration through our website that will be available. This will hopefully help streamline the registration process for those who have wished for that. I am also proud to announce that our website is being constantly updated with all aspects of American Baptist Women’s info for 2019-2020. Please visit for up-to-date info.

For our 2019 Fall Board Meeting, as part of our Leadership Development, we were proud to have Johnquel Neal, Esq., present a wonderful presentation on Domestic Violence, and how it affects our communities. Johnquel is a former Senior District Attorney who prosecuted sexual violent crimes in Fulton County, Atlanta, Ga. and has vast experience in Domestic Violence; which is ABWMNYS Special Project for 2019-2020. She is presently an Attorney in corporate practice.

I am looking forward to the next phase in our progress of ABWMNYS. We are certainly on the move for 2020. Please come out, join us, and be a part of our 2020 Convention being held in Rochester, NY on the dates of April 24-26, 2020 @ the RIT Conference Center. Until the next time, remember, we are Sisters Seeking Wholeness…together!

God Bless, Rev. Grace

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