January 3, 2013

A recent letter from the Planning Team for the American Baptist Mission Summit/Biennial Gathering (to be held in Overland Park, Kansas on June 21-23 of this year) notes, As we gather, we will be celebrating several important anniversaries of our collective faith journey. At the top of the list is the 200th anniversary of Adoniram and Ann Judson’s arrival in Burma to share the good news of Jesus. This fueled the beginnings of a national connection for Baptists in America. The year 2013 will also mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 375th anniversary of the First Baptist Church in America, and the 90th anniversary of American Baptist Men.” To this important list I would also add that 2013 is the 20th anniversary of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists of which Lakeshore is a charter member.

I hope that a good number of us will be able to attend this year’s Biennial Gathering of American Baptists. Under the new by-laws of the ABC-USA there will be an emphasis on facilitated conversations among those attending about the issues and challenges facing our churches and about the ways we can shape the mission with which we are entrusted. The Summit/Biennial website is www.americanbaptists2013.com. Please contact me if you are interested in representing us.

As this year of important anniversaries begins I ask three things of you:

  1. The most direct connection that we have to the historic efforts of the Judson’s is the San Francisco Kachin Baptist Church, which shares our space with us. Keep Pastor Naw San Dee KD and congregation in your prayers. The challenges they, and their family members in Burma, face are that we have to the historic efforts of the Judson’s is the San Francisco Kachin Baptist Church, which shares our space with us. Keep Pastor Naw San Dee KD and congregation in your prayers. The challenges they, and their family members in Burma, face are many. The attention currently being paid to Myanmar by the international community does not mean that there is an abundance of peace, freedom, justice or prosperity in that country.
  2. Join us for Soup and Study at 6:00 on Tuesday evening, January 22, when American Baptist Missionary Judith Sutterlin will be our guest leader. In an email planning for her visit to Lakeshore Judith wrote, My hope is to have a chance to share about our mission work in China, which would include things about Nanjing Union Theological Seminary where I teach biblical and theological English, things about churches, especially several churches in Nanjing that I relate to regularly, things about several projects that share God’s love in action through another of our partners in China called the Amity Foundation (a project sponsoring AIDS orphans so that they can stay in school, a project with village doctors and clinics in remote villages in Ningxia and Gansu provinces, and a Bible based drug rehab program operated by churches in Yunnan province).
  3. Visit the website of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, www.abhms.org, and view the 13 minute video “Behind the Barbed Wire” which describes the internment of Japanese-Americans from the Seattle area during World War II and the response of the remaining members of the Japanese Baptist Church of Seattle (where Woun Kim is currently a member of the pastoral staff) and other American Baptists from the Seattle area.

As members of the American Baptist Churches we are part of a proud tradition and an important mission. May we continue to represent the best of the tradition and play our part in the compassionate and inclusive components of the shared mission.

Peace,

Jim H.