New Executive Minister AppointedRev. Paul H. Gibson

The Rev. Paul Gibson, a native of North Dakota, has been named to be the next Executive Minister of the Great Rivers Region of American Baptist Churches.  Rev. Gibson comes to this position from the pastorate of First Baptist Church, Bismarck, ND.  Having served as pastor of churches in Arizona, Nevada and Missouri and most recently North Dakota, he will assume his new position on January 1, 2016.  He and his wife, Melissa, will reside in Springfield, IL

Rev. Gibson received his graduate degree, Master of Divinity, from the American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkley, CA.  Before that he graduated from Valley City State University in ND. He has done graduate work toward a Doctor of Ministry at Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN.  Rev. Gibson is presently Regional Board President of the American Baptist Churches of the Dakotas. 

The Great Rivers Region, an affiliate of American Baptist Churches, USA, has offices in Springfield, IL  There are approximately 230 American Baptist Churches affiliated with the Great Rivers Region located in all of Illinois and Missouri, except the city of Chicago. 

The new Executive Minister and his wife have two grown children.  Hunter is in the U.S. Marines and located in California.  Emily is a Communication Specialist in Minneapolis, MN.  Mrs. Gibson is legal secretary.

Submitted by Rev. Gerald Phillips,
GRR Search Committee Chairman,

SKWIM 2016 Announces Early Registration Deadline: November 23

This annual Youth Retreat at Green Lake - sponsored by Area II GRR - is open to all youth groups of GRR churches. Dates: January 15 - 18.

More information at SKWIM website (look under Group Leaders for registration information and forms) or on SKWIM's facebook pages.

Practicing Community in Christ

Members of Antioch and Second Baptist Churches of St. Louis gather together for a mealThe members and friends of St. Louis' Antioch Baptist and Second Baptist Churches met together on Sunday, October 11 at Antioch for lunch, fellowship, and worship.  It was the second such gathering, the first happening on August 16 at Second Baptist. 

Highlights of these two meetings have been scrumptious food, wonderful and diverse worship, great choirs from both churches, inspired youth led worship and pastors swapping pulpits.

The two churches, one predominantly African American in its make up, the other predominately European and Burmese, have made the decision to intentionally meet together for fellowship, worship, and ministry.

The connection between the two churches dates back to the 1950's when they chose to  worship together, lead a joint Vacation Bible School, eat meals together and meet together in small groups to discuss current social issues.  It was a ground breaking collaboration in its time.

The current partnership serves as an effort for the members of these churches to discover common ground in Jesus Christ, blessed koinonia with each other and fruitful ministry in the wider community. 

Story submitted by Pastor Steve Meacham,
Second Baptist St. Louis.   

From Area I's Rev. Rachel Cocar

Sandwich Federated Church celebrated their new pastor's service with the church in a service of installation on Sunday, October 11. In this picture sent in by GRR Staff Member Rachel Cocar, the Dan DeWitt and Linda DeWitt affirmed in prayer by Sandwich Federated Churchmembers of the Session of the joint American Baptist and Presbyterian Congregation join in a laying on of hands on Rev. Dan DeWitt and his wife Linda. They were led in prayer by Rev. Dan Cole, recently retired from bivocational pastorate of East Moline First Baptist Church.

Third Baptist Church, St. Louis Installs Pastor

Third Baptist Church installed Dr. Tommy Simons as their new pastor on Sunday afternoon, October 4. Regional Associate Minister, Rev. Muriel Johnson welcomes Dr. Simons to the ABC GRRRev. Muriel L. Johnson welcomes Dr. Simons to ABC of the Great Rivers Region and presents him with a "Green Lake" stole.

Installation service participantsParticipating in the service of installation and joining Dr. Simons for this picture were (from left to right): Rev. Veronica Richardson, pastor of Southern Union Missionary Baptist Church & Area V moderator; Dr. Simons; Jim Wiegner, Development officer ABC-USA International Ministries; Rev. Dr. F. Delano Benson, Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church; and Rev. Muriel L Johnson, Regional Associate Minister GRR, Areas IV and V.