That word was front and center during American Baptists' recent virtual Biennial Mission Summit. It was not only the theme for this online gathering, but in many ways
it defined the event.
Two years ago when American Baptists gathered in Virginia Beach, who could have imagined that the next Biennial would take place virtually rather than in Puerto Rico as was planned? Who could have imagined the challenges and changes that would be sparked by a global pandemic? The anxiety and loss? The weariness and uncertainty?
But the opportunities for worship, learning, sharing, and reconnecting offered as part of the virtual Biennial remind us about another aspect of imagination.
Two years ago few if any in our denomination would have imagined being able to make the current Biennial a reality. But rather than allowing COVID’s countless challenges to become roadblocks, American Baptists have used them as springboards from which imagination has soared. We have imagined new ways to worship and learn together in meaningful ways; to care for one another and reach out to others; and to create opportunities for authentic community.
On the first night of the Biennial, members of the National Executive Council shared “silver linings” that have emerged during the past two years. The leaders of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, American Baptist International Ministries, American Baptist Women’s Ministries, and MMBB Financial Services, along with the interim general secretary of American Baptist Churches, offered examples that reflect the gift of imagination.
That same gift is evident throughout the American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island, as are the silver linings.
Our congregations have been faithful and effective in ways that none of us could have imagined two years ago. Our pastors and other leaders have imagined new ways to be creative and caring. Our members have used their imagination to find ways to serve their neighbors and communities. As a region, we have connected virtually to imagine together and share support and resources
Let's continue being open to how God might lead us in ways that we might never have imagined.