How Investments in ABEC Notes Are Helping Churches
On these pages, you’ll see how investments in the Financial Organization with a Mission help American Baptist institutions achieve their missions.
First Baptist Church Trenton, New Jersey
Tending the Sheep: A Church Helps Others as It’s Been Helped.
“We wanted to help as we’ve been helped,” says Rev. Liz Congdon, left, whose church, located in one of nation’s lowest-income neighborhoods, invests in ABEC Notes. “If we can help another church replace a roof or build a wing, that’s mission!” One of her missions, she says, is “to tend my sheep.” And those sheep have come to America from many lands: Uganda, Liberia, Korea, Thailand, Jamaica, Haiti, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, and “even a few from New Jersey,” she laughs.
The church leaders are proud of their focus on students in the afterschool program and college-prep classes — who are all are on track to finish high school, no small feat in a neighborhood with a high school graduation rate of just 47 percent.
Thomas J. Johnson, chairman of the church’s board, wrote the following in the church newsletter: “A few months ago, we were at a crossroads on what to do with a sum of money that had been invested with ABEC. We did our research. A story in ABEC’s annual report about a church in another state, Worthington Baptist Church in West Virginia, struck me as being pertinent. Their roof leaked and was in need of repair, and local banks were not willing to give a loan. ABEC was willing. The ABEC Loan did more than fix the roof. It gave that small congregation new hope and re-energized them to move forward. As I read the article, it reconfirmed the decision made by congregants on prior boards. Our money, reinvested just a short time back, provided funds for the Baptists of Worthington to move forward in mission and do God’s work.”
The Fellowship of American Baptist Musicians
Scholarships Funded with Interest Earned.
For Joyce Crowder (first row, center), executive secretary of the Fellowship of American Baptist Musicians (FABM), it’s important to care for each other in many different ways. “That means looking beyond the local church and thinking of ourselves as a larger family,” she says. Ms. Crowder, minister of music at the First Baptist Church of Columbus, Indiana, describes ABEC Notes as “a win-win for the American Baptist family: FABM earns interest on our money and many churches benefit from our investments.” *
For 50 years, FABM’s annual Conference for Church Musicians at the Green Lake Conference Center in Wisconsin has given some 400 attendees the opportunity to connect, polish musical techniques and performance skills, gain inspiration, and enhance their ministries. FABM’s president, the Rev. Carol Teare (first row, left), pastor of the First Baptist Church of Waterloo, Iowa, directs children’s and adult choirs. At her first FABM conference she realized that, “through music, we have an incredible outlet to express our faith, to get fresh inspiration and new music — and take it all home.”
At the conference’s celebration concerts FABM takes offerings to fund scholarships that allow deserving adults, teens, and children to join the week-long symphony of fellowship and learning. The proceeds are invested in ABEC Notes. It is a measure of both the solidity of the investments — and of FABM’s sound fiscal management — that the group has been able to fund up to 20 scholarships solely from the interest earned, without touching the principal. The sweetest sound, though, may be the giving-back philosophy behind the decision to invest with ABEC, which, Ms. Crowder asserts, “means that we financially support American Baptist churches around the country.”
Pacific Northwest Women’s Ministries
Investment Interest Underwrites Seminary Student Scholarships
Jean Heidal (back row, center, smiling under painting) grew up in Olympia First Baptist Church in Washington State. She remembers hearing about ABEC as a child. ”Whenever the church needed remodeling I heard the leaders talk about how ABEC helped them accomplish their goals,” she recalls.
Today Mrs. Heidal is Conference Chairperson of the Pacific Northwest American Baptist Women’s Ministries. She is among the local leaders who invest the ministries’ funds in ABEC Notes. “We know the funds help other churches, just like they helped Olympia First Baptist,” she says. Each year, the Pacific Northwest Women’s Ministries awards three scholarships that students can use for tuition, books, or living expenses. “We take some of the stress off the financial load they carry,” she notes. “When we see their names on the rolls of graduates, we take satisfaction in knowing we helped them with their calling to ministry.
“Although our investment is not large, we know that very investment helps,” she concludes. “We are doing together what we cannot do alone.”