The latest news from many resources for American Baptist Churches.

Celebrating the life and ministry of Rev. Orville R. Chapman


International Ministries is sad to announce the passing of Rev. Orville R. Chapman on January 2, 2020. Rev. Chapman and his wife, Virginia (Becker) Chapman, were IM missionaries for almost four decades in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). 

Commissioned in 1955, the Chapmans began their ministry in Sona Bata, training pastors in rural villages and teaching science and theology at the local secondary school. In 1960, due to political turmoil, the Chapmans were evacuated. They returned to Sona Bata in 1961. In 1963, they spent three months by the Angolan border working with refugees. In subsequent terms of service, they lived in Moanza, Kinshasa, and Kikongo where they did administrative work and taught theology at the ISTK (Institute of Theology in Kinshasa) and also at the Kikongo Pastors’ School (now the Baptist University of Kikongo/UNIBAC).

Rev. Chapman received his B.A. from Ottawa University (Ottawa, Kansas), his B.D. from the Berkeley Baptist Divinity School (Berkeley, CA.), and his D. Min from the American Baptist Seminary of the West. He once described his passion for life-long ministry with the Congolese as “an opportunity to help bring about a more abundant life” to people in rural village areas.

Glen Chapman, the oldest of Rev. Orville and Virginia’s four children, carries on the legacy of his parents’ missionary service. He and his wife, Rita (Brown) Chapman, are also long-term missionaries with International Ministries and have served in the DR Congo since 1987.

Please keep the Chapman family in your prayers.

Puerto Rico Earthquake Relief


In response to the 6.4-magnitude earthquake that shook Puerto Rico January 7, 2020 American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), on behalf of American Baptist Churches USA, has released $15,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) funds to partners in Puerto Rico, including $10,000 for Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico. However, additional help is needed.

What You and Your Church Can Do

Pray, pray, pray! Pray for our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico daily at 20:20 hours. Part of the concern is that the lack of electricity, water and gasoline will trigger widespread panic in addition to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder initiated by Hurricane Maria.

Donations can be made online designated to “OGHS-Puerto Rico Earthquake” or via your church or check with the same designation and mailed to the attention of Leda Carter at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, 1075 First Ave., King of Prussia, PA 19406.

One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. To ensure that your church receives credit for your gift, write the church name on your check.

Conditions

National personnel have been in touch with key partners in Puerto Rico, including the Rev. Edgardo Caraballo, executive minister of Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico. The island found itself without electricity immediately following the earthquake. The southwestern area continues without electricity and water. Long lines have formed at gasoline stations, which are running out of gasoline.

Primera Iglesia Bautista de Yauco received significant damage, according to Caraballo. Two pastors had to evacuate their homes, which were deemed unsafe. Damage assessment will continue on the island. Primera Iglesia Bautista de Guayanilla, according to its pastor, Carlos A. Padilla, has become a shelter for the community; more than 60 individuals are eating and living at the church’s facilities.

In Guánica, 28 homes were destroyed, 99 received damage and 21 are near collapse, according to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, which happened to be on the island at the time of the earthquake. In addition, two schools have been destroyed and one received damage. Two public buildings in Guánica have been decimated and another is close to collapse, while one bridge and one road received damage. Thirteen shelters, according to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, are housing 746 individuals and are in great need of supplies. More details and updates can be found at abc-usa.org.

Rev. Rev. Richard Hunter Clossman Goes to be with the Lord


Dr. Rev. Richard Hunter Clossman, 91, of Elgin, passed away in his home surrounded by his loving family on November 9, 2019. He was born in Kokomo, IN on September 19, 1928 to the late Elmer Dunlap and Mary E. (Hunter) Clossman.

Richard was a graduate of Bob Jones University in South Carolina and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago, IL and was ordained in 1952. He received a masters of Arts and a PHD in History from The Ohio State University in 1965 and 1971 respectively.

Dr Clossman served in ministry for congregations in Ohio, West Virginia, and Illinois. He also served as campus minister for American Baptist Students at Ball State University from 1968 to 1972. In 1972 he took a professorship of History at Judson College in Elgin, IL and retired from that calling in 1997, He was an active member of the First Baptist Church in Elgin, IL

Dr Clossman was the author of several books; A History of the Ohio Baptist Convention, I Will Stand and Sing, and American Character and the Influence of Film. He was an accomplished pianist and organist. He and his wife enjoyed season tickets to the opera in Chicago. He was a longtime member of Kiwanis and Friends of Judson.

Please keep the Clossman family in your prayers.

Rev. Gordon Thomas Passes


Rev. Gordon L. Thomas, age 71, passed away at 4:25 p.m., Monday, November 4, 2019 at Justin T. Rogers Hospice Care Center in Copley. Rev. Thomas He was born May 16, 1948, in Sharon, Pennsylvania to the late Lewis and Alice (Wasilko) Thomas.

Rev. Thomas was a 1966 graduate of Hickory High School in PA, earned his BA in 1972 from Youngstown State University and earned his Master of Divinity from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. He was ordained at First Baptist Church in June of 1976 in Sharpsville, PA.

Other churches Pastor Thomas served at were: First Baptist Church-Sharpsville Pa. as an interim Pastor from 1971-1972, Geneva Road Baptist Church-Wheaton, Illinois from 1973-1976, Waynesfield Baptist Church-Waynesfield, Ohio from 1977-1980, Trinity Baptist Church-N. Canton, Ohio from 1980-1993 and First Baptist Church-Alliance Ohio from 1993-2010.

He was a member of the Lions Club, and involved with Goodwill Industries in Canton from 1984-1990, volunteered with Quest Recovery Service in Canton, organized N. Canton Singles Club and Big Brother/Big Sister Programs in Lombard, Illinois, and N Canton, American Baptist Churches of Ohio Adjunct Staff Christian Education, Moderator at Akron Baptist Association, treasurer of North Canton Ministerial Association, Moderator at Trumbull Baptist Association and Board of Trustee at Judson Hill Camp in Camp Koinonia, board of trustee for Neighborhood Ministries in Youngstown and 12 years as Director of Junior Camp at Judson Hills Camp.

Please keep the family of Rev. Thomas in your prayers.