Who We Are
American Baptist Women's Ministries (ABWM) of the Great Rivers Region (GRR) includes American Baptist communities in Illinois (excluding Cook, DuPage and Lake counties) and Missouri.
ABWM is a Christ-centered ministry with a commitment to encourage and empower women and girls to serve God.
Every American Baptist church shall have a vital women's ministry program that empowers women and girls to become and develop as God's person, build God's faith community, and serve God's world.
As servant leaders, we serve American Baptist churches by encouraging existing vital ministries with women and girls and empowering churches to build such ministries.
ABWM ministry is based on certain non-negotiable values that form a foundation and criteria for all that we do.
- We provide Christ-centered ministries.
- We strive for excellence in all we do.
- We practice faithful stewardship.
- We are relevant for women today.
- We assure that our diversity (clergy/lay, age, geographic, and racial/ethnic representation) as a denomination is represented in our ministries.
- We affirm and encourage the use of spiritual gifts.
- We recognize the worth of all women and girls.
- We value our American Baptist family relationships.
ABWM Organizational History
American Baptist Women's Ministries became a national organization 1951, with the formation of the National Council of American Baptist women. But women's ministries in our denomination began long before 1951. For well over a century, women have been strong partners in the American Baptist family-raising money for missions at home and abroad, sending missionaries, and ministering in local churches and communities.
Through the years, women have shaped their ministries to meet emerging needs. The Woman's Baptist Society, organized in 1871 (the forerunner of the Women's American Baptist Foreign Mission Society), focused on women in other lands. The Women's American Baptist Home Mission Society, formed in 1909, centered on evangelism in the United States. The World Wide Guild was established in 1915 to train, inspire, and empower girls for Christian ministry and leadership; it became a program of Educational Ministries. In 1992, AB Women's Ministries affirmed and accepted all responsibility for the girls' ministry and organized it as AB GIRLS.