Posts by ABSW

  • Food Security in the Land of Plenty

    April 30, 2018 ~ ABSW

    Food Security 4-30-18The Board of Trustees of the American Baptist Seminary of the West (ABSW) voted unanimously in their recent meeting to express concern that in this, the most prosperous country in the world, proposals by congress to further reduce food security for our most vulnerable citizens must be reconsidered.

    Seminary president, James E. Brenneman, said, “We believe Jesus meant what he said when he warned leaders of his time, “I was hungry and you did not give me something to eat. I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me.”

    Today, one in six people in America face hunger on a daily basis. Food insecurity, as defined by the USDA, exists in every county in the United States. More than 18 million households are food insecure bringing to 49 million Americans struggling to put food on the table. In the U.S., hunger is closely associated with poverty, even among those families with full-time working parents.

    The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (HR 2) – the Farm Bill – proposes to cut $8.5 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, a member of the ABSW board, made note: “If one considers the $11 billion already cut to SNAP families with the expiration of the stimulus bill funds in November, these further cuts seem especially harsh.” The primary recipients of SNAP have always been children, the disabled, and the elderly. And for the vast majority of those who are able bodied, this program has always been a bridge between survival and a better future. It has been a supplement to the working poor, the overwhelming majority of whom are white.

    We recognize that it is the task of congress to oversee and allocate tax-payer dollars wisely. We believe, whether in giving aid to the hungry or further tax cuts and subsidies to those of us who are well-fed, the choice is clear. Any further cuts to the SNAP allocation seem arbitrary and cruel given the disproportionate effect those cuts have on hungry families. We implore congress to preserve SNAP’s full funding on behalf of the working-and-hungry poor.

  • Announcing the Publication of The New Manual of Worship by Rev. Dr. Nancy Hall

    April 18, 2018 ~ ABSW

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    New Manual of Worship – Press Release (PDF)

  • Tribute to former ABSW Board member Dr. Samuel Berry McKinney (1926-2018)

    April 11, 2018 ~ ABSW

    Dr Samuel Berry McKinney

    Rev. Dr. Samuel Berry McKinney, pastor, author, and civil rights leader in the Seattle, WA area, died on April 7, 2018, he was 91.

    Dr. McKinney, born to and raised by Rev. Wade Hampton McKinney (himself an activist) and Ruth Berry McKinney in Flint, MI and Cleveland, OH went on to become a pre-eminent civil rights leader and pastor in Seattle, WA.  McKinney attended Morehouse College, where he was persuaded by then president, Benjamin Mays, to leave his original path toward civil rights law and shift to ministry.  From Morehouse he went on to study at Colgate Rochester Divinity School, where he studied with student colleague Martin Luther King, Jr.

    McKinney served as pastor of Olney Street Baptist church in Providence, RI between 1955 and 1958, after which he became pastor at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Seattle, WA.  McKinney pastored Mt. Zion Baptist Church for 40 years (1958-1998) during which he fostered numerous institutions and programs that assisted the black community, including: The Mt. Zion Baptist Church Credit Union, Liberty Bank, the Seattle Opportunity Industrialization Center, an elderly and working poor housing complex, a pre-school and kindergarten, and an ethnic school.

    During the 1960s McKinney became one of the most influential voices for civil rights in the Seattle area participating in demonstrations for equality in housing, employment and education.  In 1965 he marched from Selma to Montgomery as part of the Voting Rights march that motivated the U.S. Congress to enact the 1965 Voting Rights Act. His activism continued well into the 80s.  In 1985 McKinney was arrested for protesting apartheid at the South African consul’s home in Seattle.

    From 1999-2007 Dr. McKinney served as a prominent member of the ABSW Board of Trustees.  In 2003 he was the ABSW graduation speaker.  The title of his sermon was “Mandate for Ministry in Century 21.”  As was expected, McKinney charged the class of 2003 to enact social justice ministries.

    The ABSW community remembers Dr. Samuel Berry McKinney with great fondness and admiration for his service to church and community. His life and ministry serve as a model for the next generation of pastors and faith based community leaders.

  • In Memoriam – Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    April 4, 2018 ~ ABSW

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    On the anniversary of his death, we at the American Baptist Seminary of the West deeply mourn the loss of fellow Baptist, fellow Christian, fellow pastor, fellow human being, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We honor his spirit when we imitate him as he imitated Christ: waging peace, challenging injustice, and loving others. In this high and holy season, we are grateful for his life, we mourn his death, and we anticipate, with all the saints, his resurrection into life everlasting. May he rest in peace even as we work to make his dream of a beloved community come to pass on earth as it is in heaven.

    -President Jim Brenneman