News of Ministry and Mission

American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region

April 2008 No. 2 Email: web:

GRR Calendar

April 25-26 -GRR Missions Conf. Cherry Hills Baptist

April 28 - May 17 -Gulf Coast Baptist Blitz Build with Habitat For Humanity

May 2-3 - Face To Face Indianapolis, IN

May 10 -Clean Up Day Lake Springfield Baptist Camp

May 24 -Open House Lake Springfield Baptist Camp

May 31 -Boundaries Professional Ethics Course

Note Change of Date

May 31 -Blackhawk Clean Up Day

June 16-21 -Great American Bike Ride Across Illinois

July 5-11 -National ABY Gathering Estes Park, CO

August 9 -Area I Senior Adult Day

August 21 -Area II and III Senior Adult Day

October 3-5 -Great Rivers Region Annual Meeting

Moline, IL

Mission Opportunities

Volunteers Needed

2008 Baptist Blitz Build

Twenty more volunteers are needed for the first week, April 28 – May

3. During that week, workers will be framing exterior and interior walls, raising roof trusses and roof decking, and installing windows, doors and vinyl siding.

During the week, May 12 – 17, we need more than 50 volunteers. That week the work will focus on completing vinyl siding, taping and floating sheetrock, painting, and installing trim work, cabinets and landscaping.

National Ministries is partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge and the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project 2008 on behalf of American Baptist Churches USA to build 11 homes for 11 deserving families in this Blitz Build. Some of these families were displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita and have permanently relocated to Baton Rouge

We give thanks to God for the 210 generous American Baptists who have already promised their time and talent to this worthy cause. We pray more will be called to this ministry, helping these deserving families find the gift of God’s love in the sound of hammers and saws and the sight of God’s people (continued on p. 2)

Mission Opportunities Continued...

working together to provide shelter for those lost in a storm. Aidsand Wright-Riggins, III Executive Director - National Ministries

A Community In El-Salvador

The Vision: The revitalization of the hillside community of Cuscatlán by building Peace Park around Bridge of Salvation Baptist Church.

This project supplies work for the people, a park for the whole community, restores the land of the church, builds a retreat center and parsonage allowing the Bridge of Salvation Baptist Church to become a community of faith that serves both the surrounding community

and the churches in El Salvador.

In August of 2001, International Ministries began sending teams in partnership with the Baptist Federation of El Salvador (FEBES) to assist in the rebuilding efforts after an earthquake and a hurricane. In 2002, International Ministries was able to buy six lots of land in order to build this park for children in the community and a retreat center for the churches of the federation. A 700 student public school and mission field is right across the street from this church. Building Peace Park will help to remind all of us of the peace God offers across the bridge of Jesus Christ.

This vision is several years in the making and needs your physical and financial help to complete it. Would you consider joining a team workingin El Salvador from June 28 through July 6, 2008 which includes eight time trip veterans Dale Phillips and John Oncken ? Please contact Pastor Brian Hodge at First Baptist Church in Waverly at 217-435-7651 or send an e-mail to for more information about how you can support this project by giving or going to work on a trip this summer or in the future.

Easter Blessings

Easter brought many blessings to First Baptist Church, Sparland, IL . Our usual Sunday mornings - down to around 30 about a year ago - have picked up to nearly 60. On Easter morning 135 members and guests worshipped together in our newly sided, roofed, and freshly painted sanctuary. Also, a baptism was also held in our new baptistry. Our cup runneth over!

March 30 brought us a church full as we held our annual Race for Christ pinewood derby. After a hot dog lunch for all we raced nearly 30 kids' hand made race cars, and nearly 40 big kids (40 and over in age) hand made cars, buses and trucks.

We are looking forward to April 27 as Pastor Anderson has challenged the Board of Ministries to a "Pie Contest". If the congregation can fill 110 seats for church service, the Board of Ministries gets to "Pie the Pastor", but if they fall short, Pastor gets to "Pie the Board." Afterwards, we will all celebrate the "Pie-ing" with a Pie Social for everyone.

Submitted by Connie Anderson

Summer Lunches Were a Success!

Lunches were served to 258 children in the North Greene area last summer from June 11 through August 17. Tammy Winters, a member of the Helping Hands organization, directed the project. Mrs. Winters said that 60 lunches were fixed daily (Monday thru Friday) at the junior high cafeteria in Roodhouse.

Churches who prepared lunches for a week: White Hall First Baptist, White Hall Catholic Church, White Hall Christian Church, White Hall Methodist Church, Roodhouse Baptist Church, Gentle Shepherd Church, White Hall Presbyterian Church, Harvest Media, and the Roodhouse Methodist Church.

These lunches were taken to White Hall, Roodhouse, and Hillview.

Churches, Bible school groups,

individuals, organi

zations, Kroger's,

Meehan's, and

Dollar General all

gave donations. Mrs. Winters said "What I like best about this project is that it is "people helping people" in our own towns!"

There were no grants involved in this, just donations! We are talking about 60 lunches daily for 54 days. 3,240 lunches donated and prepared for our children in the community! Thanks to all who donated time and money to this worthwhile project!

National American Baptist

Women in Ministry Conference: Daughters of the Flame

Pastor Heather Henson (at right) of Wilton Center Federated Church is pictured here with her area minister, Cheryl Henson. Heather was part of the leadership team who planned and hosted the national conference for women in pastoral, mission, chaplaincy, and staff ministries.

Music led by Hornrette Washington Thomas in addition to that provided by several soloists and vocal groups was awesome! Inspiring speakers included Kate Harvey, Yvonne Thorne, Elisa Vazquez, Claudia Barbosa, and Rothang Chhangte.

James Wolfe, Pastor of Pontiac IL First Baptist Church accepted the invitation to conduct a book signing of his recent publication: AB Women in Pastoral Ministry (Cloverdale, 2007).

A look at the participants revealed the fruit of many generations of work of our churches and the missionaries they have sent - there were women in ministry who have come from China (Hong Kong), Burma, Laos, Haiti, Brazil, India, the Philippines, the U.S. and many other places. God has called and these women have obediently followed. Find a short slide show at daughtersoftheflame.htm

Minonk First Baptist Church Celebrates 150 Years

First Baptist Church of Minonk, IL celebrated the 150th anniversary of the church on Sunday, April 20, 2008.

Following a luncheon at the church, an afternoon service was held.

Richard Ricks, Regional Associate MInister serving Area III, is pictured presenting a certificate to Pastor Richard Olson (center) and Jay Hurd, church member (left). Ricks also preached the message. The service included a variety of special music. . A reception was held following the service.

Alf Anderson Celebrates 65th Anniversary of his Ordination

Monday, April 28, 2008, Rev. Alf Elliot Anderson will celebrate the 65th anniversary of his Ordination as a Minister in ABC-USA. Alf was Ordained at Marquette Manor Baptist Church in Chicago, IL.

Following his studies at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Anderson served in the GRR at Chatsworth, Bushnell, Ashland, East Alton, and Pleasant Plains, IL. He also served on the staff of American Baptist Assembly at Green Lake, WS for one season. We congratulate Rev. Anderson for his service.

Our Great Rivers Region Baptist Family Is Growing!

First Baptist Church, Aurora, IL Welcomes: Dylan Andersen, Garrett Jackson, Jancy Lundberg, Isabella Sickler, D. J. Varney, Mariah Myrtil, Adam VanVolkenburg, and Jane Saenz

First Baptist Church, Belleville, IL Welcomes: Joshua Baird

First Baptist Church, Paris, Il Welcomes: Devin Mason, Deanna Mason, Austin Mason, and Sydney Mason

First Baptist Church, Sparland, IL Welcomes: Miranda Shofner

Central Baptist Church, Quincy, IL Welcomes: Brianny Thomas, Joanne Sigler, Susan Wilson, Russell Wilson, and Dorothy Mahla

Mainstream Contact Information

Send your stories of mission and ministry (300 word maximum; pictures in jpeg format). Please also send the names of new members (the fruit of mission and ministry) to:

Linda Ricks 232 Devron Circle East Peoria, IL 61611


(Please note the change in the e-mail address.)

The Mainstream is a twice-monthly publication of the American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region, 3940 Pintail Drive, Springfield IL 62711 Telephone: (217) 726-7366 Fax: (217) 726-7566 Email: Web: