Get to Know Larry Mason
Interim Executive Minister, ABCGRR

Read about his journey in the July 7 edition of the Mainstream.

Logo of Note God's New Thing 2015 Annual GatheringGRR Annual Gathering -
October 2 - 3


Speakers and Location announced |
Download Registration Form

or, Register Online

2015 Ministers Conference:

New Hope of Faithful Churches with Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Jones

Jeffrey JonesRegister soon. Download and mail in or register online for this continuing event for ministerial church leaders. The seminar is scheduled for Thursday, October 1 from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. at The Chateau Bloomington (Illinois) Hotel and Conference Center.

Seminar fee includes a copy of "facing decline, Finding Hope: New Possibilities for Faithful Churches," Jones' most recent book.

Need to donate books? The Used Book Depository team is planning to be available to you on Friday, October 2 at the Annual Gathering in Bloomington. Time: TBA shortly.

Discover the Roots of American Baptists

Paul Maitland, Dean of the Alternative Ministerial Education Program invites you to take part (download registration form) in the American Baptist History and Polity Course September 18 - 19. Download the Schedule. Church historian and former seminary professor Adrian Lamkin will teach this course (download requirements) that explores American Baptist roots and what we look like today. The sessions of the course will be taught at the GRR Resource Center located in Springfield, IL Schedule and materials information will soon be available on this site and on the sponsoring ministry's site (Alternative Ministerial Education). Read more in Mainstream.

The American Baptist History and Polity course is required for those on the journey of ordination and for those whose call is to have a previous non-American Baptist ordination recognized.

You need not be pursuing ordination for this to benefit you. Adrian will share stories of the women and men of faith who have been used of God to included listings of freedoms in our "Bill of Rights", bring about the end of slavery, establish schools, and begin a mission movement whose format has been used as a pattern for others.

Aurora First Baptist to Ordain Associate Pastor

Aurora FBC Convenes Ordination Council for John Withum, August 20, 2015Aurora First Baptist Church convened an Ordination Examination Council to interview their Associate Pastor John Withum (center, back) to discern his readiness for ordination. The Council was called together by Rev. Dr. Rex Rogers of Belvidere and member of GRR Area I Ministry Committee. Pastor Tim Baltz, Sr. Pastor of Aurora First Baptist Church (at left), began the Council with prayer. Area I Minister Rachel Cocar (at right) served as recording secretary. The Council affirmed the church's call for John's ordination. An ordination service will be scheduled for Sunday, September 13 during morning worship.

MMBB Retirement Seminar

Reserve October 14. More news soon!

Christy Engel, ABC IM Global Consultant for Health speaks at Peoria IL FBCKristy Engel, International Ministries Global Consultant for Health shared her mission stories - including an account of her intense training and the dangerous service God led her through by pulling on her "heart strings" for the people of Africa stricken with Ebola. The Mission Board invited her and neighboring churches to dinner and sharing time on Wednesday, August 12. In addition to members of Peoria FBC, members and pastors of neighboring American Baptist Churches participated including Farmington FBC and East Peoria FBC. Kristy transitioned in 2012 from 12 years of service to the peoples of the nations of Hispaniola to become International Ministries Global Consultant for Health. In this role she uses her nursing training to back up medical missionaries and consults with our mission partners and missionaries around the world. She is one of several American Baptist missionaries who churches of the GRR have focused their support of prayer and giving. Nutrition, she mentioned, is one of the primary challenges to health. She noted that nutritionists are looking for many ways to overcome this. Lately, one plant, "moringa", has been attracting nutritionists attention as a food source.

Visit her International Ministries web page. Let God lead you discover how you can pray for her and support her financially. Then grow as you follow through. Thank you Peoria FBC! Thank you, Kristy!

Belvidere First Baptist Honors Petersons

Rev. Drs. John and Ruth Peterson have served Belvidere First Baptist Church as co-interim pastors as the church sought the person God is preparing to be the church's next pastor. On Sunday, August 2, following the worship service the church honored the Petersons during a reception. GRR Area I Assistant Area Minister Rev. Kathy Remley shared greetings from the ABC of the Great Rivers Region.

Belvidere FBC honors Ruth and John PetersonKathy Remley (at left) adds GRR affirmation of the Petersons. Vince MacFadden (chair of the Search Committee - at left) and George Strayer (Moderator - behind the Petesons) make a presentation to John and Ruth.

Rev. David Love will begin as Senior Pastor of Belvidere First Baptist on Sunday August 16.

Dixon First Baptist Church Celebrates

On Sunday, August 2, Dixon First Baptist Church opened their worship service with an expression of thanksgiving to God for Bunyan and Rachel Cocar 10 anniversary at Dixon First Baptsit Churchtheir co-pastors, Bunyan and Rachel Cocar (at left in the photo). Bill Appleman presented his pastors a card from the church and then asked Richard Ricks, GRR Regional Associate Minister (at right in photo), forward for a presentation of anniversary certificates.

The Cocars were blessed by their church's recognition during the service and during a reception in the early afternoon. Adding to this blessing was the presence of both sets of their parents - who themselves had the great gift of more time with their two grandsons. What a blessing it was for the Cocars and their congregation to serve communion by intinction assisted by their fathers - Buni Cocar and James Olsen - who are also Baptist pastors.

Rachel started June 1 as GRR Staff person following Richard Ricks in serving Area I churches. Bunyan is serving on the GRR Executive Minister Search Committee.


Father and Son at altarLighting More Than a Candle

His father assists him in lighting the candles at the altar as their church, First Baptist of Macomb, gathers to worship. As the father and church have given him the opportunity to serve - as they have his older brothers - more than a candle gets lit and starts to light up. "Train up a child in the way he should go..."

Macomb First Baptist Church invites you to the dedication worship service of the new sanctuary that God has blessed them with. Put September 20 on your calendar and join in at 3:00 p.m.

Introverted Evangelist?

Not as oxymoronic as you may think. Read more.