President … Spring 2017

by Lillian Cabral

Last summer my 95 year old neighbor passed away. She was my neighbor for 45 years. During her “working” years she was the head dietitian in our school district. I was acquainted with her before I moved to my present location. After she retired she worked for the Plainville Turkey Farm creating recipes. She push mowed her lawn into her mid-late 80’s when she thought it was getting too hard for her but she was a gardener up to the end and it still wasn’t uncommon to see her mowing with the riding lawnmower.

It hasn’t been the same since last summer. Next week her “kids” will be having an estate auction. They tell us the property has already been sold. It’s a sad time for my family and me.

You see, it’s a change.

I have learned this past year that I don’t like change any more than the next person.

In 1964, Bob Dylan had an album (most of us remember albums) called “The Times They Are A-Changin”. The first verse on his title song goes like this:

“Come gather ’round people wherever you roam,
And admit that the waters around you have grown
Accept it soon, you’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’, you could sink like a stone
For the times, they are a-changin’ “

Those words – the times they are a changin – have been running through my head the past few days.

image of tiles spelling Time For Change on a cork background

We American Baptist Women have been feeling the change in the air for a few years now. Our National officers have looked closely at the ministry and our goals and adjusted the slate of officers to reflect those ministry goals. It hasn’t stopped there.

As of January 1, 2018 our White Cross/International Ministries liaison, Chris Marziele will be retiring and moving on to the next step in her life journey.

In March 2018, Virginia Holmstrom, our National Executive Minister of AB Women is also retiring. The national officers are working on the search for replacing her. We wish them both the best of everything.

“If our time is worth savin’ then we better start swimmin’.”

We are not ready to sink like a stone. American Baptist women are fighters.

In 1935, when our denomination was in financial trouble, we organized and started saving pennies for Love Gift. The One Million dollars we collected saved our denomination.

The initiative to bring Human Trafficking and modern slavery to the forefront has brought the issue to the attention of the media and the governments around the world.

Rev. Sandra Hasenauer has almost become a regular attendee at our gatherings. She has made two appearances at Fall board meetings to help us understand how and what we can do about change. She was a wonderful addition this year at our gathering in Rochester; helping to make it a great convention.

One that is sure to go into the memory book. (If you weren’t there, let me share that it started with the fire alarms going off as we were ready to convene and ended with a wonderful skit at the banquet by the women of Rochester/Genesee Region led by a robber who tried, unsuccessfully, to steal our valuables.)

During our board meetings we have done some brainstorming for suggestions on what we can do and/or do better.

Last spring, it was decided to bring two AB G.I.R.L. liaisons onto the board, as presidential appointments, to offer their expertise on the younger women we have always said we are trying to reach. (To “Youthinize” us….hmmm) These two young ladies are part of the convention committee in hopes of attracting more of the same. If you can use them locally, for speaking or encouragement, invite them. You will have to keep in mind their school schedules which can be a bit tricky.

The Leadership Development and Advisory team has worked with me on putting together some suggestions for what will work in New York State. At our annual meeting of the board, we brought those suggestions to your representatives on the board.

The board agreed to the following changes effective next April (2018):

Eliminate:

  • Coordinator of Mission and Service,
  • Coordinator of Church and Community,
  • Chairperson of Conferences,
  • Chairperson of Resources. As a member of the convention committee this person would be an appointed position within that committee.

Create:

  • Ministries with Women – combining Coordinator of Personal Development and Conference chair.
  • Missions and Love Gift Ministries – combining Coordinator of Mission and Service with Love Gift.

The rationale of these changes are

  • to bring us more into alignment with the National Board ~ and ~
  • it is getting more difficult to find women who can commit to these positions.

On the state level we are also looking at rules changes for board members. Adding 3 per year instead of the current 5 per year.

Please note another change on the National level… Make note that the National Board will no longer be printing up the Program Booklets that we have used for many years. All the resources will be available for download from the website – abwministries.org

It is a lot of change but take a breath.

You may be wondering how this will affect your local group. That is totally up to your group. You are not required to make any change to your list of officers.

If you have enough women to fill all these positions, that is great! If you struggle on the local level as we have on the state level hopefully the reorganization will help alleviate some of the stress you may have felt to copy the current state level organizational structure.

As you continue to share light in this dark and dreary world, let me leave you with these words of Paul to the Colossians:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Amen… (Colossians 3:16-17)

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