The latest news specifically for American Baptist Churches of Ohio.
In sure and certain hope of the resurrection through our Lord Jesus Christ, the Rev. Robert A. Cunningham, 76, died on Monday, June 14, 2021.
Bob was born on September 21, 1944 in Cleveland, OH to William A. and Agnes (Almgren) Cunningham.
He graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1966 with a major in accounting and a minor in American history. He received an MBA from Lake Erie College in 1989 and a diploma from Southern Baptist Theological Seminar Extension in 1997. After a long career as an accountant, Bob was blessed to serve as pastor of The United Church of Geneva, OH before retiring to Arizona in 2012. Bob was a devoted husband to Judy Uher Cunningham for nearly 47 years. After her death in 2017, he moved to Parrish, FL. He and Judy Keyser were married in 2019.
Bob was a lifelong fan of baseball, chiefly his beloved Cleveland Indians. He also loved animals, especially his sweet dog Roxie who died earlier this year and the many pets he and Judy raised throughout the years. Bob loved talking to anyone and everyone, reminiscing about life in Cleveland, and, most importantly, sharing his faith in Jesus Christ.
Bob was an enthusiastic volunteer at Morton Plant Hospital. He was a longtime Mason, most recently a member of Liberty Lodge No. 412 in Bradenton, FL where he served as chaplain. He was an active member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Largo, FL where he sang in the choir.
Bob is survived by his wife Judy Keyser of Largo, Fl and his brother William Cunningham of Louisville, Kentucky.
Since 2009, the "Buckeye Mission and Ministry Offering" (BMMO) has become a significant avenue for churches in the Region to support the ministries of American Baptist Churches of Ohio (ABC Ohio). BMMO helps make it possible for ABC Ohio to serve your church.
Every dollar given to the BMMO goes to support the various ministries that benefit your church (see the list of ministries below). The most significant region ministry is that of the two Executive Ministers, Rev. Jane Gibbons and Rev. Mark Click, who serve faithfully to help in whatever way needed to equip you and your church for ministry.
Our Region's theme is "Discovering New Life: Transforming Paths to Ministry" from Matthew 9:16-17. “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
BMMO gifts help develop, coach, and assist servant leaders. It provides new ministry resources for local churches and helps provide quality ministry gatherings to challenge and grow healthy churches.
Please consider giving to the BMMO in 2021. This is one way your church can partner with ABC Ohio to fulfill God’s mission in your community and beyond. Your faithful giving is appreciated and is needed to serve its member churches. Again, remember that every dollar given goes to ABC Ohio ministries that "help build healthy churches that impact the world for Christ."
April 27, 2020
We have been so blessed and encouraged by the creative and meaningful ways that pastors and congregations have responded to the challenges of ministry through this time of pandemic and quarantine. About 85 percent of ABC Ohio congregations have shared weekly electronic worship services that have included good preaching, prayer, and music. A number of churches have developed prayer and communication groups online, by phone or by email to be sure that their church families are cared for personally and spiritually. Pastors and others have made thousands of telephone calls to check on, reassure, pray with, and stay connected to their congregations. Since Easter, many of our congregations have begun to ask the question, “What comes next?”
Our Governor has announced in the past week that he would like to see the state begin to open up SLOWLY. We believe SLOWLY is an important word as the church prepares for what comes next. As much as we want to be together, the rush to make a hasty return to our previous ways could be disastrous for our congregations. Ken Braddy, Jr., a Sunday School specialist, has developed a series of questions church leaders should answer before they begin to set a date for the church to gather again in person. We recommend that your church consider some similar questions…
The following are recommendations from the Regional Executive Ministers Council for American Baptist Pastors during this time of the COVID-19 crisis and restrictions.
Traditional pastoral ministry has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and government Stay at Home directives. It has changed dthe way we worship, fellowship and provide pastoral care. In general, there are to be no groups of ten or more people.
1. Worship services should not be held in person. Services should be held by Facebook, streaming, and video conference.
2. Memorial services should be restricted to immediate family members of ten or less people. Larger services should be planned for after social distancing restrictions have been lifted.
3. Wedding services should be restricted to immediate family members of ten or less people. Larger celebrations and/or receptions should be planned for after social distancing restrictions have been lifted.
4. Pastoral calls to those in the hospital, nursing homes, and shut-ins should be postponed until after social distancing restrictions have been lifted.
5. People in hospitals, nursing homes, and shut-ins are considered at high risk of being infected with the virus.
6. Pastoral care must take on other expressions: greeting cards, phone calls, email, texting, Face Timing, and other creative ways to be present.
7. The ministry of prayer has been become even more important.
Best Practices for Funerals During the COVID-19 Crisis:
ABC USA Resources:
As we continue to grapple with the continuing effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the pace of change is rapid and ongoing. It can be challenging to keep up with the volume of information whether it concerns the rising number of people stricken with the disease and its rapid spread, the shifting market and investment environment, or understanding the details of the recent stimulus legislation passed by Congress and its impact on pastoral leaders, churches and faith-based organizations.
We take seriously MMBB’s fiduciary responsibility and ongoing commitment to serve our members. Therefore, we strive to ensure that the information presented about the CARES Act is accurate and reflects the clearest understanding of the specific provisions available to non-profits, clergy, churches and other religious entities. We appreciate your patience as we exercise our due diligence to examine multiple legal, financial, and legislative resources.