A Message to the Family and Friends of American Baptist College

As much as the light of hope prevails today against the dark abyss of human brokenness, the inspiration of the advent Christian story reminds us of God’s liberating good news and grace in the world. Centuries ago, the good news Jesus brought to the world clash with imperial values against godly values – love, mercy and justice for the poor. As the year 2019 comes to a close, the tumultuous times in which we live seek to diminish the hope of these values for new beginnings. However, the weightier matters of love, justice and mercy stand against all threats to life. They remain, after centuries of the innocent shedding of blood, labors of sweat and tears, as the inexhaustible unimpeachable spiritual sustenance for the transformation of life. At American Baptist College we carry forward this hope into the 2020 new-year and invite the friends of the College to join the faculty, staff, students and board of trustees on the journey where justice weds joy.

The unfinished business of the future awaits us on the next phase of the journey. As we embark upon the year 2020, I encourage all to reflect upon what we have done, what we should have done, and what, as a college we resolve to do. Our new-year institutional marker is We Educate to Liberate – transforming and reconciling the old to something new. It offers us the opportunity to better align our educational mission to meet human hungers for social and spiritual alternatives to humanize life with justice and love.

American Baptist College is committed to keeping the godly values of justice, love and mercy in prominent perspective. Completing twenty-years of service to the College, I am proud that justice, love and mercy stand at the center of our educational mission, it is the heart throb of our Christ-centered commitment to educate and liberate students who come here with an ambitious zeal for leadership and service. By helping students in multiple ways to connect to our ancestral faith heritage, they become agents of good news on the journey of justice and joy today.

Thus, In the new-year we turn to a new chapter on the journey. Signs of a new beginning are appearing with the clarity of institutional governance, multi-year grant funding to empower congregations to heal communities. It continues ABC’s 95-year tradition and legacy as a learning community, in solidarity across generations with the good news of God. It is our collective dream to hand to every ABC student the tools that they need to guard the stories and practices of social justice, struggles for equity, agency for advocacy and adaptive leadership. This is the SEAL of every ABC product. The foot print of the dream follows them in the fields of service where ever the journey takes them.

So, in the 2020 new-year, we proudly take to the path of the ancient journey. Along the way imperial depots may impede progress but cannot stop it. Along the way we connect with the Hebrew ancestry of Elizabeth, Zachariah, Mary, Joseph and the crucified Jesus. We meet in solidarity with the founders and presidents of ABC – Sutton Griggs, James Nabrit, and Henry Highland Garnett, and the courage of those who died on the journey of justice and joy. It is a continuum of faith, meaning and purpose and is why American Baptist College exists today, and it is why in all our ways and gifts we must love and show compassion toward one another.

Dr. Forrest Harris