Sharon Wear, President

American Baptist Women
of the
Great Rivers Region
American Baptist Churches
Ripples Spring 2014
Dates of Interest:
 May 30– June 1 GRR ABWM Region Conference, Raymond, IL
 July 21-25 World Mission Conference, Green Lake
 July 26-29 ABWM Intergenerational
Gathering, Green Lake
 Aug 3-9 Nat’l Gathering for Girls
Missions Week, New Orleans
 Aug 22-23 GRR ABWM Board,
 Sept 19-22 ABWM Cruise
Sharon Wear, President
The crocuses are beginning to
bloom, at least in Saint Louis. As I
write this the snow piles in the
parking lot are beginning to melt.
I hope we are finishing our WhiteCross quotas. Don’t forget to get
your report in to your White-Cross
chairman by May 15th.
Inside this issue:
Carolyn Cook-Head & Lori
Hill, Conference Co-Chairs
Hilda Smith, Coordinator of
Mission & Service
Joyce Topping, Secretary
Carol Matheson, Coordinator
of Personal Development
Jean Bode, Associate for
Student Aid
Doris Kaisner, Treasurer
June Moore, Coordinator of
Church & Community
Janet Lebegue, Associate for 7
White Cross
Sandi McKee, Associate for
Nancy Johnson, AB GIRLS
Area I News
Area IV News
National EVENTS
The five areas are also preparing
for their spring rallies. Attendance
has been declining recently, so let’s
try to include those not active to
attend with us.
All the areas and regions nominating-committees are having trouble
in finding officers. I know we have
capable and interested people out
there somewhere.
For whoever
gets this “Ripples” check yourself
and/or others in your group to see
if any would be interested. Let a
current officer of the area know.
There is work to be done, but it its
exciting work and special friendships are made. I think that most
of the mission work in our churches
is done by our group. If we have to
disband, who will be helping out our
missionaries in so many different
ways? The Home missionaries depend on us for supplies and financial support for their centers. The
same is true of our international
missionaries. If we can’t keep up,
then we need to convince our
churches to step up their support.
What is our purpose as a church?
The National American Baptist
Women’s Ministries is also in financial need. We need more women to
become “Vital Partners” by pledging
at least $10 per month. Also, individuals and churches can give to the
National Support Fund.
We all
have to increase our financial support or that may be the end of
ABWM. Plus, there are other needs
that can be met by giving to the
Women’s and Girl’s Mission Fund.
Ask any one of us for that information. I think we need to check our
Be sure to check out the conference
information. It is going to be exciting to be at a new location. Hopefully we can increase our attendance
and enjoy a fun and fellowship-filled
weekend. Remember to register by
April 1 for a discount.
As we finish our work for our year,
let’s all prayerfully consider what
more we can do to include others in
our midst. This really is exciting
work that we are dedicated to and
enjoy. As Ina May Fakhoury told us
several years ago “The word ‘retire”
is not in the Bible.
Page 2
Ripples Spring 2014
Carolyn Cook-Head and Lori Hill, Conference Co-Chairs
THEME: A time to Serve, “Using Your Spiritual Gifts to Serve God”, Ephesians 4:12-13
WHAT: The American Baptist Women’s Ministries-Great Rivers Region Annual Conference is just around the corner. We are looking forward to seeing
you again and sharing the weekend with you.
WHEN: This year the weekend date has changed. Conference will be
May 30 – June 1, 2014.
WHERE: Another change this year is the location. The conference will be
held at Magnuson Grand Hotel, 19067 W. Frontage Road, Raymond,
Illinois, not far from Carlinville, Illinois. Directions will be included in your
letter once you register for the conference.
May 30 – June 1,
Magnuson Grand
19067 W. Frontage
Road, Raymond,
WHO: Our Bible Study Leader will be Rev. Muriel Johnson, Regional Associate Minister for Area IV & V; Kristy Engel, Healthcare Relief Resource Regional Missionary for Iberoamerica and the Caribbean; Katie Longkumer, Missionary to India and Rev. Patricia Stratton, ABW National President.
WORKSHOPS: We have a number of workshops planned and you will have
four opportunities to attend them. We will offer a workshop on Friday night,
Saturday morning and two workshops on Saturday afternoon. New this year
is a workshop on Nutrition and Water Aerobics. If you wish to participate in
the water aerobics, be sure to bring your swimsuit. In keeping with the
theme, there will be a workshop on Spiritual Gifts.
Remember, this year you have an opportunity to save $10.00 off the
registration fee of $165.00. Submit your registration form and payment by April 2, 2014, and you pay only $155.00. Registration
forms are available on the website ( or at
your Spring Rally.
SPECIAL PROJECT: In lieu of the Silent Auction, we will have a “used
book” and “used jewelry” sale to raise monies for our Special Project, Detroit
Friendship House. Bring you used books (Christian based, devotions and audio tapes) and used jewelry (placed in ziplock bags and marked with the
price) to donate.
If you have never been to conference before, please consider coming. Our
new location offers very comfortable accommodations, easy access to all activities and a pool. If this is not your first time, I invite you to check out our
new location. We think you will love it.
We will be praying for your safe travel and a wonderful weekend.
Page 3
Ripples Spring 2014
Hilda Smith, Coordinator of Missions & Service
There will be a few changes in our
Special Interest Missionaries list for
GRR, starting in June. We have 15
assigned to us and they will be
equally divided between the 5 Areas. Your Area Mission and Service
Coordinator has the list. It will also
be posted on our GRR Web Site after June 1st. Areas 1, 2 and 4 have
stayed basically the same. Areas 3
and 5 have a few changes.
stay the same also. One change
there is a new Director at Peoria
Friendship House. She is Melanie
Ann McNiff replacing Barbara Hartnett who has retired. Her e-mail is
[email protected]
I hope you are all keeping in touch
with your SIMs. They depend on
The Home Mission Assignments will
Joyce Topping, Secretary
Resources for American Baptist
Women’s Ministries are available electronically as well as in printed form.
For resources from our National Office
visit to order
resources through the website store or
call 610-768-2288 to request a current
order form.
The AB Women’s Ministries
Website – has downloadable resources, our store, information and
registration for upcoming events, information about our organization and
message forums.
The Guide Booklets to
American Baptist Women’s Ministries – A series of booklets that provide a guide to AB Women’s Ministries
in the local church, area/association,
region/state, and national officers.
AB Women’s Ministries General Brochure – This is an introduction to the vision and mission of the
national organization. It is available
free in quantity to distribute to all
women of your congregation.
Two-Year Program Theme
ministry Resource and Logo Items
– This is a collection of programs
ready to use with your group.
Resources for Programming
and Ministry – includes AB Women’s
Ministries and AB GIRLS logo items,
available through the website store;
White Cross Materials, available from; and Love
Gift Materials, available from
E-Newsletters – Leader’s
Reader is a free bi-monthly enewsletter writer by the national officers, consultants, and staff of AB
Women’s Ministries, available at It is also
available in print for $15 per year.
Call 610-768-2288 to subscribe to
the print version.
Resources from AB Women’s Ministries of the Great Rivers Region
include the website and the Ripples newsletter. To submit an e-mail address for
the Ripples, e-mail
[email protected] or view it on the website.
Thanks to each of you for all you do
for American Baptist Women’s Ministries.
Joyce Topping
1403 Schroeder Drive
Normal, IL 61761
[email protected]
Resources for
American Baptist
Women’s Ministries
are available
electronically as well
as in printed form.
Page 4
Ripples Spring 2014
Carol Matheson, Coordinator of Personal Development
Ubuntu is a philosophy that considers the success of the group
above that of the individual.”
Stephen Lundin- Ubuntu!
“Ubuntu. How could
any one of us be
happy if all the
others were sad?”
“An anthropologist studying the
habits and customs of an African
tribe found himself surrounded by
children most days. So he decided
to play a little game with them. He
managed to get candy from the
nearest town and put it all in a
decorated basket at the foot of a
tree. Then he called the children
and suggested they play the game.
When the anthropologist said
“now”, the children had to run to
the tree and the first one to get
there could have all the candy to
So the children all
lined up waiting for the signal.
When the anthropologist said
“now”, all of the children took each
other by the hand ran together towards the tree. They all arrived at
the same time divided up the
candy, sat down and began to happily munch away. The anthropologist went over to them and asked
why they had all run together when
any one of them could have had the
candy all to themselves. The children responded: “Ubuntu. How
could any one of us be happy if all
the others were sad?” Ubuntu is a
philosophy of African tribes that can
be summed up as “I am what I am
because of who we all are.”
As I sit here in Bluefields, Nicaragua, I am thinking of all of you.
The story above may seem farfetched but I have experienced Ubuntu here. I have about 35 English
students and I have been blessed
by each one of them. Whenever we
play a game to help them learn new
English words, they cheer for that
one who wins. When someone in
the class reads well, they cheer.
When we have a special day and I
provide cookies or cupcakes, they
wrap their treat in a napkin and
take it home to share. These children and their families live the Ubuntu philosophy “I am what I am
because of who we all are.”
A person with Ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm and
generous, willing to share. Such
people are open and available to
others, willing to be vulnerable,
affirming of others, do not feel
threatened that others are able
and good, for they have a
comes from knowing that they
belong in a greater whole. As
Personal Development Coordinator,
I challenge you to look within yourself and see if you have these qualities and, if not, why not.
Page 5
Ripples Spring 2014
Jean Bode, Associate for Student Aid
Student aid is not only a blessing
for the recipients, but also for those
of us who assist in the funding. I
like to think that we are in a small
part participating toward the
healthy future of our society. With
all the unsettling things in the news
currently, it has been said that what
you feed is what grows. Well, let
me be clear, I want to feed the
healthy side of life and I feel
strongly that we need to support
our youth who want to make our
world better than they found it.
There are students who could not
further their education if it were not
for the help of the GRR/ABW scholarship funding.
Anna says, “I cannot tell you
how thankful I am for this financial help. It is such a blessing and
a load off my shoulders. Thank
you also for the cards and little
books throughout the year.”
The GRR/ABW scholarship is designed to extend financial assistance to the student who completes
the application showing a need.
They must be associated with an
American Baptist church and attend
an approved college or seminary.
Additionally, they are to provide
recommendations from a lay leader
or a professional as to the applicant’s potential for Christian service
in the world.
Matt says “Thank you so much.
I am so grateful for the support of
the GRR ABW board as I pursue
my seminary degree. Please express my thanks to the members…”
It is truly a blessing and an honor
to be able to support this project
for our youth in order that they
may further their chosen path of
education. Please give generously!
Brenda says,” This is my last
year for seminary education. I
plan to keep in touch. Please
thank the board of GRR ABW for
your support and prayers.”
by Jean Bode
Humbly submitted
Student Aid representative, GRR/
There are students
who could not further
their education if it
were not for the help
of the GRR/ABW
scholarship funding.
Page 6
Ripples Spring 2014
Doris Kaisner, Treasurer
Last fall in my Ripples article I
talked about harvesting vegetables—well, now it is time to think
about planting. We need to plant
ideas in each of our areas in regard of how to bring in more dollars. We are very low on our project dollars at this time.
Someone in each area could call
churches and ask them to participate in our project, in student aid
or to just make a plain ole donation to ABW.
Ladies, we need to be in prayer
about this. Our numbers are getting fewer and many do not even
know what ABW is all about. My
church has that problem… we
have one Circle now… have an all
ladies work night for White Cross
activity… have a Potato Bar to
earn our dollars for White Cross…
BUT one large problem is… we
have many, many small groups
(Bible Study)… our schools have
many activities… not enough time
for ABW.
June Moore, Coordinator Of Church and Community
Have you included
ministries of church
and community in
your year’s
program? There
are so many
opportunities for
these ministries in
our churches.
I am sure all of you are welcoming
spring after the many months of
deep cold winter. I know that I am
Springtime is my favorite
season of the year.
This is also the time for AB Women’s
Ministries to finish up our goals for
the year. Have you included ministries of church and community in
your year’s program? There are so
many opportunities for these ministries in our churches.
We did two new ministries in our
group this year. Our pastor is a
chaplain for a hospice group and he
made us aware of providing blankets
and Teddy bears made from garments of the deceased. We made
two bears and several blankets to
date, we are planning to continue
this ministry. Our women asked the
church if they would like to do the
Shoeman water project and we had
real good results as around 250
pairs of shoes were delivered to the
I would love to hear from you about
any new projects you have been
doing and I will pass it along at my
booth at conference May 30-June l.
God bless all of you in your work for
the Lord.
Then the righteous will answer him,
Lord, when did we see you hungry
and feed you, or thirsty and give
you something to drink? When did
we see you a stranger and invite
you in, or needing clothes and
clothe you? When did we see you
sick or in prison and go to visit
you? The King will reply, “Truly I
tell you, whatever you did for one
of the least of these brothers and
sister of mine, you did for me.”
Matt. 37-40 NIV
[email protected]
Ripples Spring 2014
Page 7
Janet Lebegue, Associate for White Cross
White Cross is Important.
Our National and International
missionaries look forward to and
depend on the White Cross items
purchased, handmade or money
sent, so they can carry on the
work that God has called them to
do. As the quotas are finished and
mailed, remember to fill-out the
White Cross Report and send it to
the Area White Cross Associate by
May 15th. These reports are important because they help Area
White Cross Associate’s determine
the amount to give each local
I’m encouraging everyone to go to
the Region ABW Ministries Conference. There will be a White Cross
workshop. Bring ready to roll 3”x5
yd. bandages. Please bring the
bandage rollers.
Last year the
women rolled over 200 bandages.
The White Cross project is WalMart gift cards for Peoria Friendship House.
Thank you so much for participating in White Cross.
Ephesians 4
to equip his people for works of service, so that the body
of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the
faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become
mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of
Christ. NIV
As the quotas are
finished and
mailed, remember
to fill-out the White
Cross Report and
send it to the Area
White Cross
Associate by May
Page 8
Ripples Spring 2014
Sandi McKee, Associate for Communications
...we need to be
communicating to
them where they
‘live’ in a way that
they see the
benefits and the
possibilities for
A friend was visiting businesses in
our area to solicit donations for a
silent auction to support a new ministry to homeless families. After a
couple of tries she was able to talk
with the manager of one of the chain
restaurants in the area about the
possibility of them donating something for the auction. She told the
manager about the ministry and how
it would benefit the families served
and how it would benefit the community. The manager was only able
to donate a couple of certificates for
pancakes because of company policy
but gave my friend a personal family
donation of a $25.00 gift certificate
to the restaurant.
This personal donation may not
sound remarkable unless you know
the back story. The manager is a
single mom with four children and
she is undergoing chemotherapy for
cancer. She works as many hours
as she can to support her children
when not too ill from the effects of
the chemo. $25.00 may not sound
like a lot to many of us but to her it
was a pair of shoes for one of her
children or several meals for her
Why then did she donate to the
homeless ministry from her own
Because she had been
homeless with her children.
Because the benefits to the homeless
families had been communicated to
her in a way that she understood.
Because what this ministry would
do met her where she had lived.
Because someone told her about a
good thing and she wanted to be a
part of it.
When our ABW Ministries communicate to our women and girls we
need to be communicating to them
where they ‘live’ in a way that they
see the benefits and the possibilities
for ministry to women and girls.
We need to communicate what we
do with and for missions. We need
to be out there communicating
what ABWM and ABGIRLS can do in
lives and communities. We do good
Tell your women about
them. We have a good thing to
share. We need to share it with the
women in our churches.
GRR ABWM Executive Board Alumni
Please contact Sharon Wear if you would like to be on
an email list for executive board communications and
Ripples Spring 2014
Page 9
Nancy Johnson, AB GIRLS Coordinator
Great River’s Region Annual Women’s Conference and
AB GIRL’S Retreat
May 30 – June 1 2014
Magnuson Grand Hotel & Conference Center
Raymond, Illinois
Exit 60 toward Carlinville from Interstate 55, then take first right on frontage
“A Time to serve:
Using your spiritual gifts to serve GOD”
A new Date, A new Location, New Friends WOW!!!!!!!!
This year will be a special time for attendees who have been with us the last few
years. We will start Friday evening with Tacos for supper.
Due to the fact that we will be staying at a hotel on this trip, We still plan on taking the Girls to the Camp Williamson to do (High Ropes). I had promised the
Girls last year that we would do this activity. I was able to arrange this and a
promise is a promise.
Sam and I Have some great activities planned this year. Brandy Trussel will be in
training as she will be taking over my position after this Retreat. Please welcome
her and give her the support I have been given the last several years.
Registration forms were handed out to all the Area Presidents of the Great Rivers
Regions at the Spring Board meeting. If your church did not receive forms, please
go to and print out a Registration Form. The Girls forms
require more information than the Women’s form. I need Parents’ Permission,
Medical Info, Shirt sizes, etc. in advance.
I am challenging all Baptist women to bring a girl or several girls with you when
you attend the Women’s Conference. They will appreciate you for bringing them.
Please add our GIRLS to your prayer list. They are our future. God Bless!
Questions you may have?
Who can come to the GIRL”S Retreat?
Any girl who has completed grades 6 through 12.
What is the cost? The cost of the retreat is $150...This includes lodging, food and retreat activities. SAVE $ 5 by registering by April 18th
How do we register? Fill out Both Sides of Registration Form. Include
your payment of $150 or SAVE $ 5 (145) (Make checks payable to
AB GIRLS) and mail to:
Nancy Johnson - AB GIRLS
137 East 6th Street,
El Paso, Illinois 61738
How soon do I need to register?
Registration deadline is May
16th. Registration may be made over the phone by calling Nancy at
309-830-4342, however, all paperwork and payment must be received
prior to the retreat.
I can honestly say that I will miss all of the GRR Board Members. It has been so
much fun working and getting to know all of you. I hope to stay in touch with
many of you going to Gatherings, Conferences, and other Activities. I will miss
playing Mexican Train Dominos with you gals. It’s been a great experience…..Nancy [email protected]
Page 10
Ripples Spring 2014
Sharon Farral, Area I President
Our Area 1 women continue
to enjoy fellowship, learning experiences and inspiration.
October 2013, we held our
Fall Rally at FBC Marengo. During
the morning session Sharon Farral
shared her pilgrimage with the
American Baptist Historical Society
to the Ann and Adoniram Judson
sites in Burma/Myanmar. In the afternoon Dr. Angelene Naw, Asian
History Professor at Judson University and founder of the Western Chicago Karen Baptist church brought
about 40 of her church family including primary children to grandparents. They all sang in beautiful harmony unaccompanied by instruments. The youth choir sang several
numbers with a guitar accompanist.
They performed several dance; one
telling the story of planting, waiting
on the Lord, and harvest. Another
dance depicted their struggles when
their homes in Myanmar were destroyed. The Karen singers and
dancers wore their beautiful cultural
attire. In the past the host churches
prepared a lunch. This year each
lady brought a salad and we enjoyed a delicious salad luncheon.
Each spring we have two
‘Spring Spiritual Feast’ one in the
eastern part of the state and one in
the west. These are morning only
meetings beginning with a coffee
fellowship and then a program.
April 12, 2014, we will hear Kelly
Stewart, coordinator for World Relief in the Moline area, speak. This
meeting is at FBC Cordova. On April
26, 2014, we will be at Immanuel
Baptist in Elgin. Our speaker will be
Kimberly Spagui, director of AT
LAST. She will speak on issues related to human trafficking in the
Chicago area. Chicago has the 5th
largest trafficking population in the
nation. AT LAST – Attorneys Targeting Labor And Sex Trafficking.
Sharon Farral, Area 1 ABW president
Ripples Spring 2014
Page 11
Kathy Johnson, Area IV President
We in Area IV, as well as all of the
Great Rivers Region, are truly
blessed. We have a heavenly Father
who loves us so much He gave His
only son to die for us, so we may
live. I mean REALLY live. Full of joy.
Full of hope. Full of peace. We honor
Him so much when we share His
message with others, and when we
allow His love to show through us as
we help those in need. We have
awesome opportunities to spread His
gospel with the work done in ABWM.
There are times we may feel burdened down and do not feel we can
continue. We may think there is no
benefit for the work we are doing.
However, Jesus did not quit on us.
He was burdened, turned away and
ignored. His words were twisted and
used against Him. Still, He persisted.
Because of that, we have a hope
that passes all human understanding.
Area IV ABWM meets in the spring
and fall of each year. We had missionary Becky Stanton speak at our
Spring Rally. She was excited about
the job to which she and her husband, Larry, have been called. As
most of you probably know they will
be heading for Liberia at the end of
March. It is uplifting for us to see an
Area IV couple from Southern Illinois
heading into the mission field. During our Fall Gathering, updated information was presented on several
of our International Missionaries. It
is always prudent to be reminded of
those we are supporting and helping overseas, as well as those here
at home in the United States.
The afternoon sessions of our semiannual meetings are White Cross
workshops. After lunch, those who
are able to stay help roll roller bandages. We enjoy the fellowship
while we roll away on our roller
bandage machines.
We are in the process of updating
our contacts within our area
churches. We are trying to efficiently reach each church. Sometimes the lines of communication
become stale and information does
not flow smoothly. Any help or updates are appreciated. We would
like to be able to pass along information about missions we support,
the current special project, student
aid and others items.
I would like to say thank you to my
Area IV board members. It is a
pleasure to work with you. Please
pray for us in Area IV, so that we
may have the vision God wants for
us to pursue.
Page 12
Ripples Spring 2014
American Baptist Women
of the
Great Rivers Region
American Baptist Churches
AB Women’s Ministries is a Christ-centered ministry with a commitment to encourage and empower women and girls to serve God
Every American Baptist church shall have a vital women’s ministry program that empowers
women and girls to become and develop as God’s person, build God’s faith community, and
serve God’s world.
We are attempting to be good
stewards or our resources.
Therefore, we no longer send the
‘RIPPLES’ via U.S Mail. If you
know of someone who does not
have computer access, please
print a copy and share it with
To submit an e-mail address to
be added to the list
E-mail: [email protected]
As servant leaders, we serve American Baptist churches by encouraging existing vital ministries
with women and girls and empowering churches to build such ministries.
Young Adult Women Leadership Training Webinars
April 5, 2014 noon—1:15 pm EDT
May3, 2014 noon—1:15 pm EDT
June 14, 2014 noon—1:15 pm EDT
Join with other young adult women to discern, embrace, and grow your gifts
for Christian leadership! A.C.T.: An online Christian leadership training
course for young adult women that features leaders training leaders. Webinars are led by women of all ages who have experience in Christian leadership and contagious enthusiasm!
For more information goto:
Virtual Mission Encounters for Women
May 5, 2014 “Break Every Yoke: Homelessness”
Sept 29—Oct 3. 2014 “A Time of Grace: Aging and Faith”
American Baptist Women’s Ministries offers a ground-breaking mission opportunity bringing the mission trip experience to women within the context of
their daily lives.
Intergenerational Retreat
July 26-29, 2014
Join us at the Green Lake Conference Center in Wisconsin for an Intergenerational Retreat for girls and women of all ages! Register now.
Cruise with ABWM
September 19-22, 2014
Join Rev. Dr. Debora Jackson, Dr. Lisa Croft, Joyce Sinclair Lake, and your
American Baptist sisters as we explore the theme “A Time to Serve: A Time
to Prepare.” There are still spots available.
“Home Mission: Till the Work is Done” Work Week
August 3-9, 2014, New Orleans, LA
ABGIRLS are invited to join with groups from all over the country to help rebuild from hurricane Katrina.
You can find more information and registration for all of these National
Events on the ABWM website: