|Dr. Bill Godwin, pastor of University Baptist Church in Palm Desert, CA, said that his church was “excited about the upcoming organizational meetings.”|
While the new Association forms, ABCLA will be acting as “shelter and support in the spirit of Good Samaritan response” for churches who desire to remain American Baptist according to ABCLA Executive Minister, Dr. Samuel S. Chetti. Their support will act as an administrative bridge between former PSW churches and the denomination until the Association votes to either form a new region or to join an existing one.
“There is a positive missional future for American Baptists in the Southwest,” said the Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, general Secretary for American Baptist Churches, USA (ABCUSA). “The denomination, including National Ministries, International Ministries and MMBB, is committed to working alongside these congregations to strengthen both their life and their expressions of mission.. Dr. Jeff Woods, Associate General Secretary for Regional Ministries, on behalf of the denomination, is working with ABCLA and the churches to form an association that will achieve these goals.
The article also referenced the recent agreement inked between Dr. Reid Trulson and Dr. Dale Salico, reminding readers that TM candidates would still not be eligible for appointment as missionary candidates.
The deal between BIM and TM was much more favorable than had been agreed to just months ago by Reid's predecessor. And, even then, BIM appeared to be in retreat from previous understandings and professions of cooperation. Under Trulson, by contrast, the rhetoric is one of cooperation, followed up by actual steps of engagement (e.g., coming to TM to do a missions conference here). In fact, I have been told by a credible lay leader that his congregation (in the ABC of LA) was miffed that ABC missionaries evidently broke former agreements to appear at the historic ABCLA congreation in order to participate in a TM venue slated for the same time.
It is difficult to believe that a BIM missionary would actually break a formal commitment to an ABC church in order to participate in a TM congregational event. Still, even if the double booking was an innocent error, it still reveals an ongoing desire to reach out to TM churches.
The press release, coming out of the OGS, seemed to go out of its way to "remind" readers that missionary appointments would be impossible unless TM affiliated with BWA. Extrapolating (fairly?) from the available data, you might say that while blood is thicker than water, the color of cooperation is still green. Regardless of what Dr. Medley does or does not feel about TM, BIM seems unwilling to pass on so much potential money from the southwest.
[His Barking Dog has been too busy at work and some community non-profit work to comment much of late. Nevertheless, my return to the Net has not conferred any more authority on me. These ruminations and interpretations are mine alone, unemcumbered by official authority or even common sense.]