GRR Annual Gathering - October 2 - 3

Speakers and Location announced

2015 Ministers Conference: New Hope of Faithful Churches with Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Jones

Jeffrey JonesRegistration is now open (download and mail in; or, online) for this continuing event for ministerial church leaders. The seminar is scheduled for Thursday, October 1 from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. at The Chateau Bloomington (Illinois) Hotel and Conference Center.

Seminar fee includes a copy of "facing decline, Finding Hope: New Possibilities for Faithful Churches," Jones' most recent book.

Board of Ministry Announces GRR Staffing Changes

As a result of Regional Ministry Board action on Monday, May 18, Dwight Stinnett (retiring in June) is pleased to report that our staffing arrangements for 2015 (and in to 2016) have been completed...changes will be effective 1 June and will last only 12 months.  It is assumed that the next Regional Executive Minister will be able to design their own staffing plan by that time. (Changes | Staffing Chart)

Interim Executive Minister Begins Work June 15

Friends in the Great Rivers Region –
The GRR Regional Ministry Board is pleased to announce that Rev. Dr. Larry Mason has accepted the offer to serve as our Interim Regional Executive Minister. We all welcome Dr. Mason, and continue in prayer for our Executive Minister Search Committee under the leadership of Gerald Phillips.
Bonnie Cassida
President, ABC Great Rivers Region

Retiring Executive Minister Affirms GRR Board's Call

I add my “welcome” to Bonnie’s. Larry is a good friend and colleague. I am absolutely confident in his ability to keep a steady course through this brief, but turbulent season of transition.

There are a few things to keep in mind.

  • First, this is part-time. Larry will not be available 24/7.
  • His focus will be to maintain legal and administrative stability for the Region during this transition. His tenure is temporary. The regional covenant with Larry names December 2015 as the ending date. That is done with the full hope and anticipation that the work of the Executive Minister Search Committee will be finished by (or before) then.
  • Larry is prepared to negotiate an extension with the Board if that is necessary.

Larry and I will be working together closely to make this transition as smoothly as possible. I am happy to leave the Region in Larry’s capable hands.

Again, thank you for the privilege of having served you.JDS Signature


Wilton Center Federated Church Installs Pastor

Wilton Center Federated Lays on Hands of PrayerThe congregation of the church installed Rev. Rich DeVries as their new pastor during worship on Sunday, May 17. At left deacons and ordained clergy in attendance bless Pastor DeVries with laying on of hands as GRR Associate Minister Richard Ricks (left) leads the congregation in prayer. Fellowship luncheon in honor of their new pastor and wife followed worship.

Crossfire Youth Group of Murphysboro First Baptist

Crossfire Youth GroupThese youth were able to share God's message of salvation in New York City from July 5 - 11. "We were privileged to send a team of 24 high school and college students to Harlem, New York to partner with The Salvation Army and Experience Missions." (read more...)

Mahomet First Baptist Church Featured on National Site

Pastor Brian Romanowski and the congregation of the church have led in many ministries including post-tornado cleanup and rebuild. (Read more...)

Go to

American Baptists Respond to Needs of Nepal

$25,000 in emergency relief funds from One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) has been released to trusted partners of American Baptist International Ministries (IM) in Nepal. This the OGHS first response to the needs.  (more...)

Charleston IL First Baptist Church Installs Pastor

Pastor Christipher Prater was officially Charleston First Baptist Church Laying on Hands during intallation of pastorinstalled as full time Pastor of First Baptist Church, on Sunday, April 19th. Several out of town members of his family were on hand for the service. Welcome Pastor Chris! (more...)

First Baptist Champaign at Savoy Honors Pastor

Gauger Retirement BanquetRev. Dr. Randy Gauger retires the end of April from his position as Sr. Pastor of the church. On Saturday, April 25, the church organized - and youth served - a banquet in his and his wife Mary's honor. They were blessed being able to have their daughters and their families present. The King Family provided a country gospel/bluegrass concert. Randy has served as pastor of the church since 1996. Present and former staff members blessed them with testimonials. Richard Ricks expressed the GRR's gratitude for Randy's service to the church, region, and ABCUSA (whom he once served as vice-president). A combined worship service (of the three offered most Sundays) followed on Sunday, April 26 during which the congregation blessed his redirection in ministry.

Executive Minister Search Committee
Continues Listening
Pastor Bunyan Cocar

Thank you for your participation and giving of your ideas through the Listening Sessions and online survey. The Search Committee continues the journey with our Lord in discerning who God is preparing to be our next Regional Executive Minister. Please continue in your prayers for the.

Also, please complete the survey that will help us know more about your needs as to the next Executive Minister. Thank you.

Your Church Web Site Mobile Friendly?

About two years ago more internet searches were done on handheld/mobile devices, a.k.a smartphones, phablets, and tablets. Now Google, the most used web search service will begin on Tuesday, April 21 to list web search results giving preference to sites that are mobile friendly. According to USA Today on April 18, "A site that has been listed number one result of searches "could hypothetically fall to ninth or tenth place." Here is a site to test how mobile-friendly your site is:

How does the abcgrr site compare: The result of the test is "Awesome! Your site is Mobile Friendly."

If you have not yet made changes, you are not alone. As many as 40% of top corporations - including retail - have not yet made changes. They are now scrambling to do so.

Churches need to make the change. We have the best and most important service in the world to offer. Let's communicate it so all can hear and see.

Missionaries GRR Promotes -
Executive Minister Offers Clarity


There have been recent questions regarding the support of ABC missionaries historically promoted by the Great Rivers Region (see the attached flyer as an example). 

In particular, I have gotten word that we are no longer promoting support for Kristy Engel – that is not true! We promote her support!

As I reflected on the possible source of such I rumor, I came to suspect that it is over the recently released list of “Special Interest Missionaries” by IM.  This list has its roots in ABWM, and is related to their mission education strategy.  It changes from year to year and the list of “special interest” missionaries selected by IM has nothing to do with the missionaries that the Great Rivers Region chooses to promote.

The Great Rivers Region continues to promote:

  1.  ABC Missionaries serving in Costa Rica, because of our covenant relationship with Baptists in Costa Rica (presently this includes Ruth Mooney and Sue Hegarty).
  2. ABC Missionaries that have come from GRR churches (presently this includes Scott & Tan Coats, Annie & Jeff Dieselberg, Kristy Engel, Katie & Taku Longkumer, and Becky & Larry Stanton).

While we encourage the support of ALL ABC missionaries, we have assumed a special role in promoting the financial support of these missionaries.  I am always happy to answer any such questions.

Dwight Stinnett
Executive Minister

Area V ABCGRR Steps Toward Reconciliation

In the March 26 edition of the Mainstream Executive Minister of the ABCGRR reports on the steps taken before and during and prayer for the future reconciliation in the Greater St. Louis area. You may also find Dr. Stinnett's report with pictures on the home page of Area V.

Many others throughout the ABCGRR were praying for the gathering at St. Louis' Day Spring Baptist Church on March 14. These included sisters and brothers of Area I meeting for their Annual Gathering (also meeting on Saturday, March 14) at First Baptist Church of Ottawa IL. A special time of prayer was set aside by Area I leaders during their business meeting. After all, isn't working to be instruments of peace God's purpose for the Church?

Clergy Spouse Retreat 2015

“The Times…. They Are a-Changing”
with Rev. Muriel L. Johnson

April 24 - 25, Lake Springfield Baptist Camp
Download Brochure / Registration

For Your Calendars - An Update:

The Chateau of Bloomington ILThe Annual Assembly of the American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region will be held Friday / Saturday, October 2, 3 in Bloomington, Illinois. We shall gather at The Chateau (formerly Jumers) Hotel and Conference Center. The Annual Minister's Conference will be held on Thursday, October 1 with guest presenter Jeffrey Jones. Further information and registration materials will be available late summer. (View/Download Keep Date Flyer)

Your GRR is pleased to offer the matching grant opportunities for both mission and interns during 2015.  Prayerfully discern if one of these might be appropriate for your church: Mission Grant | Intern Grant

Alternative Ministerial Education

Paul Maitland, Dean Alternative Ministerial EducationFrom Dwight Stinnett, Executive Minister, ABC GRR:
It is my sad duty to announce that Rev. Carl Cottingham, Dean of the GRR Alternative Ministerial Education (AME) program has retired (again!!!). 


Paul MaitlandBut it is also my happy privilege to announce that Dr. Paul Maitland has agreed to serve as the next Dean, beginning 15 February.

The Alternative Ministerial Education program (read more) ...

Medical Insurance Information and Options for Pastors / Churches

Since MMBB discontinued offering medical insurance through CIGNA and the piecemeal implementation of the Affordable Care Act, there has been a lot of confusion, misinformation, and continuing evolution in the field of medical insurance.  While not claiming to be experts in this, we share this information with the hope that you might find it helpful. (read more...)

Could Your Church - or Pastor - Survive a Tax Audit?

Could your church or non-profit organization survive an IRS audit? Many clergy and churches are asking this question today be-cause financial accountability in churches and religious organizations is such an important and timely topic. Many clergy are finding themselves facing IRS audits. It is imperative that those responsible for your organization’s finances have the information they need to protect your exempt status and your right to accept donations. (2 Brochures available: Importance of Church Accounting and Church Accountability. These are made available from Summit Tax Accounting (formerly Patterson Accounting).

Speakers' Presentations: GRR Annual 2014 Assembly

Posted as processed per requests.

Brian Romanowski on Gifford Habitat Rebuild

Don Ng (Friday & Saturday Worship)