Of immediate note was the recommendation to continue in covenant with the ABCUSA. Yet, a careful read of the document also shows that there are words directed at the Ministers Council of the ABCUSA as well as advice for congregations to re-direct their giving in order to express their own missional priorities. In the words of the official release: "Each congregation is encouraged to review and appropriate its American Baptist mission dollars in a way that reflects the church’s theological perspective and mission goals, utilizing the inherent flexibility of the American Baptist Mission Support system."
It will be interesting to see how the constituency responds when the General Board takes action this week on their petition.
The Task force, comprised of Roxie Hobbs, Kyle Whitmer, Bernie Jackson, Connie Tingle (pres.), Becky Pohle, Jon Carlstrom, and Mike Barnes made the following recommendation to the Board concerning our relationship with the ABC/USA and it was adopted by the Region Board:
Presidential Task Force Report
Relationship with American Baptist USA & American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky
The American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky
* Is a covenant of local congregations
* Who adopted the resolution “The Homosexual Lifestyle” in 1980
* Serves as a coordinating mission unit of covenanting congregations, and that the ABCUSA is a collection of covenanting regions.
Recognizing the importance of our heritage as American Baptists, and with due diligence, having prayerfully considered the task before us, we recommend the following to the ABCIN-KY Region Board.
Continue to be a covenanting Region within the ABCUSA.
As a covenanting Region, defend or challenge issues to hold accountable the integrity of our witness to the scriptures and our denominational witness in mission and ministry.
Cooperate and network with other regions with similar concerns regarding the issues of human sexuality.
Work within the national/regional structure to continue to effect change within the denomination:
* Call for the conclusion to the 1998 resolution calling for dialogue on Issues on Human Sexuality. (1998 Resolution Calling for Dialogue on Issues of Human Sexuality.)
* Affirm the resolutions affirming the role of family and the practice of homosexuality as inconsistent with Christian teaching. (Specifically 1984 General Board Policy Statement on Family Life; 1991 Statement of Concern at the West Virginia Biennial, Resolution on Homosexuality; the 1992 General Board Policy Statement, Homosexuality and the Church)
Each congregation is encouraged to review and appropriate its American Baptist mission dollars in a way that reflects the church’s theological perspective and mission goals, utilizing the inherent flexibility of the American Baptist Mission Support system
Seek change in the representative process to the General Board.
* Seek to restore the historical responsibility of the General Board to represent the churches.
* Maintaining a goal of 90% Regionally Elected Representatives.
Educate and resource congregations in ministries regarding issues of human sexuality.
* Help pastors and local congregations face the issues of human sexuality in a positive, helpful, biblical and Christ-like way.
* Assist local churches in finding appropriate and helpful resources.
* Encourage congregations to be a “means of grace” and provide ministries of reconciliation
We further recommend that the ABC/IN-KY-GI Ministers Council review/evaluate their relationship with the Ministers Council of ABCUSA
Covenanting Region – Regions who, through action of their governing boards, have agreed to cooperate with other American Baptist regions, national mission boards and auxiliary organizations in areas of common mission and ministry.
General Board Representatives – Persons elected to serve as the governing board of the American Baptist Churches USA.
Regionally Elected – General Board Representatives elected to serve as representatives to the national governing board by a specific region. Indiana and Kentucky have five (5) regionally elected general board members, one from each of the five areas of our region.
Nationally Elected -- Nationally elected representatives are nominated by the ABCUSA’s nominating committee and elected by the delegates at a national biennial meeting. As national representatives, these representatives do not directly represent the region in which they live and serve.
Issues of Human Sexuality – These go beyond the one issue of homosexuality. Issues of human sexuality speak to marriage, some family life issues, celibacy, and much more.
These recommendations are action steps to be acted upon immediately. Therefore, we recommend that progress be reported at each Region Board meeting and our relationship with ABCUSA be reviewed again at the November 2007 meeting of the ABC/IN-KY Region Board.