The Biennial Mission Summit Planning Team is excited to announce the speakers and additional events for Mission Summit 2015, June 26-28, 2015, in Overland Park, Kansas. Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, senior minister of the historic Riverside Church in New York City, will preach during the Friday evening service. Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, will bring the message on Saturday evening during a celebration of his fourteen years as General Secretary. Rev. Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III, executive director of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, will speak during the Sunday morning time of worship. The Sunday evening service will be highlighted by speaker Rev. Dr. Don Ng, president of the American Baptist Churches USA and the first Asian-American to serve in this role. The theme of the 2015 event will be “Share the Journey.”
More on Butler: Amy Butler was nominated on April 27, 2014 to serve as senior minister of the Riverside Church in New York City. Rev. Butler was officially elected on June 8 as the first woman called to be pastor of the 84-year-old congregation. Prior to this position, Butler served Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., for 11 years.
Since it was organized in 1930 by industrialist John D. Rockefeller, the 1,670-member Riverside Church has been a bastion of progressive Christianity. Officially affiliated with both the American Baptist Churches USA and the United Church of Christ, it describes itself as interdenominational.
“I’ve come to believe that the call of God is a strange and beautiful thing. It invites us out of our comfort zones, often into places of fear and unfamiliarity. But I’ve found that these places are most often the places that give birth to things more beautiful than we could ever imagine,” says Butler in her spiritual biography.
More on Medley: Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley is General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA), the pastoral and administrative leader of the 1.3-million-member denomination in over 5200 congregations. Medley’s term as general secretary will conclude on December 31, 2015.
In response to the changing cultural context in which the churches in North America live and serve, Dr. Medley has led the denomination in the “Transformed by the Spirit” initiative. Transformed by the Spirit invites congregations into prayerful discernment and committed action in their communities and the world. “The church cannot live as a gated community,” remarks Medley. “A church with a sole goal of privilege and prestige, a church which has forgotten the cross, is a church with no spiritual power.”
American Baptists’ history of peacemaking has led him to be in the forefront of building relationships of mutual respect and understanding between Baptists and Muslims. Dr. Medley has been an untiring advocate on behalf of the Christian community and others in Burma who have suffered human rights and religious liberty violations under the military. He currently serves as chair of the National Council of Churches Governing Board and carries a number of responsibilities with the Baptist World Alliance. Prior to being called as General Secretary, Dr. Medley served as executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey, national director of the Neighborhood Action Program of American Baptist National Ministries, and as a pastor.
More on Wright-Riggins: Rev. Dr. Aidsand F. Wright-Riggins III has served as the executive director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies since August 1991. Additionally, he is chief executive officer of Judson Press, the publishing arm of American Baptist Churches USA. His passion has led American Baptist Home Mission Societies to commitments of encouraging discipleship, engaging in mission and transforming the soul of a nation. He says, “We are to be an incarnate community that affirms that Jesus Christ is Lord. In the midst of our cultural, theological, racial and ethnic diversity, we want to exhibit unity as a household of faith.”
Preaching the Gospel, establishing churches, making disciples and ministering to people in need are fundamental to the heritage and charter goals of American Baptist home mission. For Wright-Riggins, these ministries are essential to following Christ. He describes the full scope of American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ mission as including evangelism and emancipation, spiritual formation and social justice, church planting and community transformation.
“I am unapologetically evangelical, unashamedly ecumenical and unabashedly committed to the emancipation of all people from personal and public sin and selfishness. If we can walk in the reality that we are found, free, full and forgiven,” Wright-Riggins says, “faithfulness and fruitfulness will be the legacy of our lives and ministry.”
More on Ng: Rev. Dr. Don Ng is serving as President of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) for the biennium running from January 1, 2014-December 31, 2015. He served as Vice President for the term running from January 1, 2012-December 31, 2013. Since 1998, Don has served as senior pastor of the historic First Chinese Baptist Church in San Francisco that was started by the American Baptist Home Mission Societies in 1880. The church has three Sunday worship services served by a multiple pastoral staff team ministering to both English-speaking and Cantonese-speaking people in Chinatown as well as in the greater Bay Area.
Rev. Ng’s ABC service includes service on the General Board (now Board of General Ministries), the Executive Committee of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, the Executive Committee of the General Board, and the Education Task Force for the new ABCUSA Bylaws that were adopted in June 2011. From 1978-1998, Don was on the national staff of American Baptist Educational Ministries in Valley Forge, where he was director of Education for Discipleship, Youth Ministry. In this role he also represented EM on the General Executive Council. He was also involved in curriculum development, camping and conferencing, Asian Pacific youth ministry and Christian education; he also directed a number of the national American Baptist youth gatherings.