Dr Solomon Rongpi, General Secretary of the Council of Baptist Churches of North East India, introduced by Jerry Cain, brought greetings from our Baptist sisters and brothers in India and spoke of the schools being founded for training leaders.
Dr. Lee Spitzer, General Secretary of the ABC USA, shared thoughts on what makes ministry more difficult when we allow it. He later presented a certificate from himself and the American Baptist Historical Foundation celebrating the 50th birthday of the GRR.
Lee was introduced during the afternoon session by retired Executive Minister, Dr. Dwight Stinnett.
Paul Gibson leads the assembly in thanking outgoing President of the GRR, Elaine Bolen for her service. Rev. Bolen spoke briefly about her pilgrimage following God's call into pastoral ministry. She encouraged pastors and churches to pray and act on discovering and supporting women and men already among us God is calling so that they too can respond, serve, and train for pastoral service.
Paul also recognized all those working to making this 50th Annual Gathering the blessing that it has been for those in attendance. He thanked his ministerial staff including those who have just finished their interim service - Rachel Cocar and Adrian Lamkin. He noted the two new Regional Staff members Rex Rogers and Patty Bilyeu.
Newly elected President of the ABC GRR, Craig Donoho, member of First Baptist Church Champaign at Savoy shared a bit of his pilgrimage. Craig acknowledged that change often frightens us. He used his experiences with changes in agriculture to challenge all who heard him that change can bring more of the harvest that Christ has directed us to gather in. He reminded us that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is often defined as insanity.
Dr. Marvin A. McMickle, President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, preached on the Christian's needed witness in an already non-believing age practicing our faith that God is present.
More stories and pictures of our 50th Annual Gathering coming...