Area III: Discipleship Summit

Saturday, March 7, 2015 hosted by Bloomington FBC (register online)

Find additional areas' meetings information.

Ruth Haley BartonPursuing God's Will Together
Summit Presenter: Ruth Haley Barton

Ruth has been a student, a practitioner, a teacher and a leader in the area of Christian spirituality and spiritual formation for twenty years. 

Ruth holds a Doctor of Divinity from Northern Theological Seminary (Lombard, IL), along with a Bachelor of Arts from Wheaton College (IL) and Master's studies at Loyola University Chicago Institute for Pastoral Studies.   She's also a student of family systems theory as it relates to congregational life (Lombard Mennonite Peace Center) full biography.

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).

Executive Minister Appeals for Prayer

Read Rev. Dr. Dwight Stinnett's pastoral letter concerning the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Read the pastoral letter from Rev. Dr. Dwight Stinnett concerning the unrest in Ferguson.

RMMO Logo 2014

The offering supports those who have devoted their lives to God’s service by providing emergency assistance in times of need and a thank you check at the end of each year. We hope that RMMO will continue to serve as a rich tradition for ABC congregations and be an inspiration for so many who have served with gladness.

Thank you, church leaders, for your support of this ministry. Need resources to help get the word out about this ministry? Click on the RMMO logo above or click here.

QUEST 2015

Green Lake Conference Center (GLCC) is beginning to put together their 2015 Quest summer staff. The theme is “Wreck This Life,” studying the Gospel of Mark. GLCC is seeking young adults who have a heart for sharing the gospel of Christ, have high energy, enjoy leading worship and hanging out with junior and senior high students. Quest staff applications can be submitted online at: Applications can be submitted until December 15. For more information visit or contact Heather Henson, Director of Youth Ministries, (920) 341-3426 or


In the October issue of Parish Paper, "How Can We Prevent Suicide", Cynthia Woolever recounts the struggle the Rick Warren family experienced (and still experiences) when their son took his life.

The issue is especially pertinent during these holiday weeks. The holidays act as an amplifier of both celebration AND depression. The article linked to above and the personal story submitted below are offered to help each of us to be more aware and offer appropriate help.

One of the most challenging and hurtful experiences is how people try to explain why a person would commit suicide. Woolever puts it plainly, "Because anyone can struggle with these challenges, churches can debunk the myth that depression or mental illness is a sign of spiritual weakness."

Xavier Whitford lost her son, Tommy, on August 18, 2014 to suicide as a result of depression. As a Pastor’s wife (Xavier's husband Cory is Youth and Christian Education Pastor of Belvidere First Baptist Church), she writes, "I have encountered all sorts of responses from people, both positive and negative.  We have received judgment from some who wonder what we did wrong or how could we not know and do something, but mostly we have received love and support." (Read the full letter.)

Ebola Is No Zombie Movie: Executive Minister Dwight Stinnett Cautions


It seems like Ebola is in the news daily.  I share with you two things, then a brief comment.

First, attached is a bulletin insert (in both B&W and color) regarding American Baptist work in Ebola-stricken areas, and requests for support through One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS).  You can include your clearly identified gifts in your regular mission support sent through the Region.  100% of OGHS funds go to OGHS.

Second, attached is a memo from a state emergency management meeting with the Centers for Disease Control with factual information.

Finally, my comments:  I was still working in the medical field when it was first described in 1976.  Yes, Ebola is scary.  There is a reason it is kept in high containment labs.  Still, it is an incredibly rare disease.  That is why U.S. hospitals and care workers are not “prepared” for it – they have much more pressing concerns.  That is also why no corporation has made treatment a high priority (there is more money in drugs for falling hair or falling cheeks).  Government support for research in general has gone down, and Ebola has not been high on anyone’s priority list.  Much of its devastating impact is directly related to the poor level of medical care, resources, and living conditions in West-Central Africa.  I am disappointed (but not surprised) at the political posturing, suspicion mongering and finger pointing that has followed this unfortunate outbreak.  I am amazed by the opinion-makers in the media who have become infectious disease experts overnight. 

Yes, be careful – just like you are about the flu (which can also be deadly and is much more contagious).  Be compassionate in your support of those caring for victims of this disease.  But stay away from the hysteria bandwagon.  This is not a zombie movie.

A Service of Your GRR: Challenging and Relevant Articles

The most recent edition of The Parish Paper is "What Can We Do the Prevent Suicide." Cynthia Woolever shares how we in our churches are often not aware of persons who may attempt this. She lists warning signs to look for and elements of strategies for churches to discern as churches take steps to intervene with love.

Gary L. McIntosh, in his monthly Growth Points, continues his discussion of the part our churches play in mission.

The Parish Paper and Growth Points are e-mailed out to each church and are archived on this web site.

Dwight Stinnett Urges Churches to Review Pastors' Salaries

I am writing to you because you have been entrusted by your Church with a position of special responsibility. My concern is the compensation of your Pastor (and other
ministerial leaders). (Read letter, information, and recommendations.)

Speakers' Presentations: GRR Annual Assembly

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Brian Romanowski on Gifford Habitat Rebuild

Don Ng (Friday & Saturday Worship)