News & Notes from
   American Baptist Home Mission                                     February 2016
Thinking about more than candy hearts this Valentine's Day 

If it's February, you must be a victim, like me, of the marketing machines saturating our days with Valentine's Day ads and products: chocolate hearts, heart-shaped cookies and cakes, and heart-shaped boxes of heart-shaped chocolates--a double whammy of Valentine's Day joy. Even diamonds are cut into the shape of a heart in honor of this day.
What a shame the focus of this winter holiday is eros, which can be so fleeting, so temporal. "What the world needs now is love, sweet love," Dionne Warwick reminded us in 1966; "It's the only thing that there's just too little of." That feels just as true today as it did close to a half-century ago, but it's not the love celebrated on Valentine's Day that our world lacks. Rather, it's the universal love that originates with God that we're missing--that love that's "not for some, but for everyone," as the song goes.
Imagine what the world might be like if we devoted Feb. 14 to agape--the selfless, sacrificial and unconditional love demonstrated by Jesus. C.S. Lewis referred to this highest form of Christian love as "gift-love." Imagine communities holding seminars such as "How to Love Your Neighbor" on this day. Or neighborhoods replacing a book group meeting with a discussion of "How to Welcome the Stranger." What if The New York Times headline that day pronounced, "Nation Celebrates Day Dedicated to Loving One Another"?
You and I know that this kind of celebration is not going to happen any time soon. But, individually, we can celebrate Valentine's Day by living our lives incarnating the love of God with our friends and colleagues, our families and the strangers we meet along the way on Feb. 14, and every other day of the year as well. This is how we make a difference in the crazy, mixed-up world in which we live.

"Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God... . If we love one another, God lives in us, and God's love is perfected in us." -- 1 John 4:7,12 (NRSV)

May your Valentine's Day be filled with love--the deep and abiding kind.

Susan Gottshall
Associate Executive Director, Communications
American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS)

Make your America for Christ Offering a success
by accessing resources online
From a mini-poster and leader's guide to envelopes and coin boxes, all the resources you need for a successful America for Christ Offering are available online in English and Spanish at 
Students encouraged to apply for scholarships from ABHMS 
May 31 is the deadline for members of American Baptist Churches
USA-affiliated congregations to apply for academic scholarships from ABHMS. Additional information is available online or by calling 1-800-ABC-3USA, x2067.

ABHMS Christian center feeds the hungry
with 'Friday Night Take Out'
An ABHMS Neighborhood Action Program Christian center, Friendship House, Peoria, Ill., provides individuals and families with prepared Friday night meals and enough nonperishables to make the weekend's six other meals.

Concepts come alive via ABHMS workshops 
Try ABHMS' Workshops for Church Life and Leadership in four languages to teach your group a variety of concepts--from stewardship of the natural environment to management via boards and committees. 


ABHMS-administered grant finances home construction
for recent immigrants
An ABHMS-administered One Great Hour of Sharing grant is helping Greater Lowell (Mass.) American Baptist Churches and Habitat for Humanity to build a home for a mother and son from Africa.



Book offers insight into ministering on infant loss
A collection of personal narratives by clergywomen who have experienced perinatal or early infant loss, "Still a Mother: Journeys through Perinatal Bereavement" features practical insights for clergy who minister to women.


Please share the



"News and Notes"


"Equipping God's people for the work of ministry... Building up the body of Christ."  EPHESIANS 4:12
log 150w


Please help us keep you connected to this communication ministry: Send e-mail address changes to

Please forward "News & Notes" from American Baptist Home Mission to your friends and ministry colleagues.
We'd love to hear how these stories impact your ministry.   
American Baptist Home Mission Societies