Sister Church Initiative

The residents of Puerto Rico are rebuilding since Hurricane Irma.  There is a significant ABC-USA presence in Puerto Rico, with over 112 American Baptist churches on the island alone.  The denomination created a sister church initiative that would pair mainland churches with Puerto Rican churches for mutual encouragement, prayer and connection.  We have been paired with Iglesia Bautista de Lomas.

 As a sister church, we are committed to pray for one another; communicate with one another through letters, photos, email, skype, etc., at least once every three months; visit one another as travel plans permit; communicate in both Spanish and English; promote friendship between the children with letters, art, craft gifts; and participate in the 2021 Biennial in San Juan, where Puerto Rican churches will welcome us on the Sunday morning of the celebration.

The Baptist Church of Lomas began as part of a mission field organized by the American Baptist Churches in the beautiful mountains of the villages of Canovanas and Rio Grande on the island of Puerto Rico.  This missionary field was organized at the beginning of the 20th century, in what is now known as the Baptist Church of Guzmán Arriba, but it was not until 1934 when a group of brothers and sisters began to gather in the Lomas de Canóvanas neighborhood.  This group continued to be organized until in 1946 they became the Lomas Baptist Church.  There are many people who have contributed to the development of this work and many pastors who have led this flock.

A long history that marks the path traveled by a congregation committed to the message of reconciliation between the human being and God, and with the invitation to salvation in Christ Jesus.

You can learn more about Iglesia Bautista de Lomas on Facebook (search for Iglesia Bautista de Lomas) or at www.bautistadelomas.com.

Lydia McKee

World Mission Conference

A great event will be held at the American Baptist Assembly/Green Lake Conference Center in July; it’s the World Mission Conference!  The dates are Wednesday, July 4th, through Saturday, July 7th.

A complete schedule of the conference is posted on the Mission Bulletin Board in the entryway.  Here are a few things people planning to go for just a day or so might be interested in:

Bible study will be at 10:30 AM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  The Bible study leader will be the Hastings’ friend Rev. Dr. Hikmat Kashouh, who teaches at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary in Beirut, Lebanon, and pastors Resurrection Church Beirut, which is one of the fastest-growing churches in the Middle East and has ministries to refugees, migrant workers and at-risk children.

Exhibit space will be open from 10:00 AM until 7:00 PM on Thursday and Friday and from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM on Saturday.

The evening programs will begin at 6:45 PM Wednesday through Saturday.

Plan to spend some quality time at Green Lake enjoying the beauty of the grounds and meeting some missionaries.  The missionaries (also called global servants) who will be in attendance are:

Current Missionaries:

  • Melanie Baggao – Lebanon
  • Barbara and Dwight Bolick – Chile
  • Dan Chetti – Lebanon
  • Kristy Engel – Global Consultant
  • Ruth Fox – Thailand
  • Anita and Rick Gutierrez – South Africa
  • Sarah McCurdy – Costa Rica
  • Marlene Po – SE Asia and Japan
  • Paul Rollet – Philippines
  • Stan Slade – Global Consultant
  • Corenne and Phil Smith – Brazil
  • Becky and Larry Stanton – Hungary
  • Jeanine and Walt White – Global Consultants

Endorsed Missionaries:

  • Alise and Mark Juanes – Thailand
  • Sarah Nash –  Bolivia
  • Aaron and Valerie Osterbrock – Malaysia
  • Brian and Lynette Smith – Haiti
  • Jae Stockton – Mexico

For more information, visit https://www.internationalministries.org/world-mission-conference/.

Please include the World Mission Conference in your prayers; thank you!

Caroline Overzet

Yarnians Update

The Yarnians knitting and crocheting group has decided not to continue making mittens for Back to School next year.  We will still make some hats and scarves, but will do other projects, too.

In the fall, we will start to make some prayer shawls, lap robes and twiddle muffs for local nursing homes, as well as baby items for Youth for Christ’s Parent Life.  We would also like to hear other ideas from you.  If you have an idea for a mission project for the Yarnians, please talk to Kathy Bonde or Pearl Mertens.  The group will resume on September 22nd.

Pearl Mertens

Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico – ABCUSA Sister Churches Initiative

In the wake of the rebuilding efforts after hurricane Irma hit Puerto Rico in 2017, the American Baptist Churches, USA has developed a sister church initiative that brings together American Baptist congregations in Puerto Rico and the mainland for mutual encouragement and prayer.

Memorial Baptist Church is excited to announce that on the recommendation of the Pastor and Diaconate, we have enrolled in this sister church initiative, and our sister church is

Iglesia Bautista de Lomas (the Baptist Church from Lomas)

PR-907 KM. 2 SECTOR LAS YAYAS , LOMAS
CANOVANAS, San Juan
Puerto Rico
(www.bautistadelomas.com)

This sister church commitment involves: 

  1.  A three year commitment to pray for one another, communicate with one another (through letters, photos, email, skype, etc.) at least once every three months, and visit one another as travel plans permit.
  2. An openness to communicate in both Spanish and English.
  3. Promote exchanges of friendship and encouragement between children of the sister churches (letter exchanges, art, craft gifts).
  4. A willingness of mainland churches to participate in the 2021 Biennial in San Juan, and for Puerto Rican churches to welcome them for Sunday morning worship during that celebration.

You can find out more information about Iglesia Bautista de Lomas at their website above, and about American Baptists in Puerto Rico here.

For instance, did you know that as of 2011, there were 112 American Baptist churches and 9 new church plants in Puerto Rico?  Or that our denomination first planted a church there in 1899?

Watch for more information about how we will be exploring this sister church connection in coming weeks.

One Great Hour of Sharing

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we look at all the areas of need in God’s world: there’s hunger, sickness, and injustice in so many communities.  It’s easy to feel that we are too small, too insignificant to make a difference, to believe that there’s nothing we do can help.  But there is hope!  We are that hope!  For, as the Apostle Paul writes, “…by the power at work within us,” God is able to “accomplish abundantly more than we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

As Christians we know that we are part of God’s answer to the need in the world!  God gave us community to practice love and compassion.  We know that when we share our resources we find that there is enough for us all!

As Christians we know that we are all connected; we derive our identity from God “from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name” (Ephesians 3:15). We are all part of the same family whether we live in an agricultural community in Nicaragua or in a bustling urban city in the United States – we are all God’s people.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians reminds us that we do not act alone.  We act as Church: a gathering of God’s people, still living into Paul’s prayer that we be “rooted and established in love” (Ephesians 3:17b).

In God’s hands, a small seedling might become a revolutionary food system that prevents famine.  That seedling might nourish a child who will become a visionary leader bringing peace in the world.  The contribution we make through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering—the seedling we help plant—has effects that ripple far beyond our imagination and spread far beyond what we can conceive.

Please pray about your gift to OGHS.  Thanks!

Stone Soup Community

Every Saturday since January of 2017, a group of people has been gathering in the parking lot of the Fond du Lac Public Library for a meal.  It started small, with a couple of dozen sandwiches; a few weeks later, we added a crock pot of soup and packed a small folding table.  Now, we pack two canopies, several folding tables, camp chairs, boxes of baked goods, one or two (or sometimes three) Nesco roasters, coolers, carafes of hot beverages and bins of picnic supplies, and around 30-40 people stop by for a meal and conversation.  Volunteers are not just people from our church family, but people from other churches, people we know from our workplaces, our circles of friends, our hobbies, social media connections, family connections, nonprofit partners and the local shelter network.  The downstairs kitchen has been shaken out and freshened up to make room for donated supplies and a space for volunteers to prepare meals, and the faithful old Nesco roasters are in use almost every week.

If you’d like to get involved but aren’t able to commit to every week, here are some ways you can join in:

Eagles’ Nest:  A church in Brookfield that has a food pantry receives food donations every Friday morning.  We like to send one or two volunteers down to help them sort and put away food; if they have extra food, they give it to Stone Soup.  We would also like to build partnerships with local stores to help them reduce food waste (as long as we don’t negatively impact donations to local pantries).

Cooking:  Thanks to our partnership with Eagles’ Nest, we have donated ingredients around which you can build a main dish.  If you need other ingredients, we can put the word out on our Facebook page inviting people to donate these items.

Transportation:  Once we’re at our site, Stone Soup volunteers mostly sit around and eat with people for two hours.  However, we need help getting our stuff to and from the site.  We have the use of a trailer, but we need people with vehicles large enough to tow it to and from the Library who would be part of a rotation.

Communication:  Coordinating volunteers and getting information to and from them each week is a constant challenge.  We would love to have a committed volunteer who could serve as a communication hub.

Presence:  At its heart, Stone Soup is not about feeding people.  It’s about building community around a shared meal.  We invite you to come and eat with someone, learn their name and ask how their week was.

Prayer:  The Kingdom of God is at work in the community that is growing around the old Nescos in the Library parking lot.  We need people to lift up our volunteers, our guests, our conversations, our friendships and our connections every week.

If you have any questions, talk to Tony Penton, Kathy Bonde or Gabrielle Hastings.

America for Christ Offering

The origin of Christian ministry is in Christ, who gives spiritual gifts and gifted people to the church.  Its goal is the building of the body of Christ in knowledge, faith, and love.

The Apostle Paul echoes this truth in Ephesians 4:11-13: “The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.”

God’s pattern for producing people with powerful faith and genuine love is not to have the pastor-teachers do all the work of the ministry.  They are to equip the saints to do the ministry. They are you – all of you – who have set yourselves apart for God through faith in Christ.  According to God’s pattern, the building of the body in faith and love is the immediate result of the ministry of the laity.

The Lord Jesus Christ intends every member of the church to do the work of the ministry.  The intention of ministry is to build up each other’s faith and love.  God’s design is to use human support and encouragement to sustain the faith of his children and to lighten the burdens they bear in the service of love.

The America for Christ Offering (AFC) 2018 reminds us that it is in our service to the church and the community that many experience the Christ in us.  We are encouraged by this year’s theme to come alongside people and build them up.  Let’s join together in giving generously to this year’s AFC offering as we partner in home mission.  Thanks!

2018 World Mission Conference – Green Lake

The Mission Ministry Team of MBC would love to have people attend the World Mission Conference at Green Lake this summer!  It begins at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, July 4th, and ends at 9:00 PM on Saturday, July 7th.  Here’s an overview:

Discover how International Ministries global servants and partners make disciples for Jesus Christ through ministries of health and wellness, economic and community development and the abolition of human trafficking.

Celebrate the 4th of July as you interact with global servants and international leaders from dozens of nations, participate in global worship and conversation and explore ways to be more involved in global mission.

We will give you updates on the World Mission Conference as more details become available.

Please support the World Mission Conference and all of our missionaries in prayer.  Thank you!

What’s Happening in Memorial Baptist Women’s Ministries?

We kicked off our new season with a fall gathering on October 7th.  Lydia contacted some people from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to come talk to us about mental illness and how the support group helps them cope with everyday life.  It was encouraging to know the people that suffer mental illness have been able to find support and share their struggles with others about how they are able to live normal lives with medication and therapy.

Our next gathering will be a Christmas Brunch, where we will celebrate the act of giving when we collect items to donate to the Milwaukee Christian Center, Despensa de la Paz and our local warming shelter.  We will meet at 10:00 AM on December 2nd for a brunch, then whoever would like to join us will drive down to Milwaukee to deliver the items.  We need to verify someone will be able to meet us there on that day, but that is the plan.  Watch for an early Christmas tree to appear in the narthex next month with ornaments on it naming items which can be purchased to help with this request.  We will also be “Stocking up on Socks”, where we will stuff a large Christmas stocking with socks to donate.  One of the biggest needs for homeless people in the cold months is warm socks, so when you are out shopping pick up a couple extra pair of warm socks for our homeless.

Jean Schneider, MBW President

World Mission Offering

Many of us pray the Lord’s Prayer at least weekly; some pray it daily or even more often than that.  Matthew tells us that, when Jesus gave his followers the model prayer we find so helpful, he also taught them to combine their faith-filled praying with faithful living.  He called them to embody their prayers by living in a way that reflected the very character of God.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is changing lives around the world, and we are privileged to be a part of fulfilling God’s global mission on earth as it is in heaven.  Jesus invited his disciples, “come, follow me” (Mark 1:17).  For those men, it meant leaving fishing nets behind to become “fishers of men.”  Today, that invitation is still ours to take in and live out.  International Ministries global servants work in cross-cultural settings to extend Jesus’ invitation through American Baptist churches and beyond in many creative ways.  This year, World Mission Offering is focusing on three major initiatives: Peace and Justice in Egypt, Abolishing Global Slavery in Thailand and Economic and Community Development in Chile.  The scope of God’s work in the world is truly breathtaking.  The World Mission Offering makes it possible for us to train new global servants, care for the ones on the field and provide the services and resources that they need.

The IM brand mark has changed.  The new logo is meant to convey that God’s work in and through IM encompasses the entire world and makes an impact beyond what the eye can see, just as the letters “IM” stretch across the entire circle and continue invisibly beyond.  The new color represents our vibrant and passionate endeavor to respond to God’s call to global mission.

Please prayerfully consider your gift to World Mission Offering.  Thank you!