A Pastoral Message to ABCNJ Family from Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer

Dear ABCNJ Friends,

It is with a mixture of profound sadness, deep appreciation for the fourteen years I have had the privilege of serving as ABCNJ's Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor, and in anticipation of God's call upon my future, that I tender my resignation, effective May 31, 2017, in order to begin my service as the General Secretary of ABCUSA on June 1, 2017. Please forgive the brief time for transition, which is necessitated by the upcoming ABCUSA Biennial Mission Summit and other factors.

ABCNJ, its leaders, churches and clergy will forever be in my heart, and I receive solace in the knowledge that I will now serve the region in a new fashion. Thanks to all who have responded to the various press releases, and I deeply appreciate all the expressions of love and support I have received. I can imagine that you have many questions about the future of ABCNJ, and so let me address some of them in this letter.

How will the transition be handled?

The ABCNJ Council wisely passed a transition plan in 2016, before we knew that God would call me to national service. In accordance with that plan, Rev. Dr. Elmo Familiaran will become Interim Executive Minister on June 1. Rev. Miriam Mendez and Rev. Eric Hoheisel, who will begin his service as a full-time Associate Regional Pastor on July 1, have my full confidence. They will serve alongside Elmo and the rest of the ABCNJ ministry in an effective and faithful manner. The office staff will have regular dinners with me throughout the summer, to make sure that the transition is as seamless as possible.

How will ABCNJ find its next Executive Minister?

According to our by-laws, the ABCNJ Personnel Committee will serve as the region's search committee, and will report to the Executive Committee and Council. The search will be a national one and the region will receive regular updates. In accepting the role of Interim Executive Minister, Rev. Elmo Familiaran understands that he cannot be a candidate.

Will there be a celebration party?

Yes. Due to the demands on my time as I prepare for the ABCUSA Biennial in Portland at the end of June, we have decided to dedicate part of the ABCNJ Annual Session Luncheon on September 23 to celebrate the accomplishments of the past 14 years together. We anticipate a full house, and you are encouraged to pre-register for Annual Session. The website with all details about Annual Session is up and running.

Will the Spitzers be moving out of state?

No, the Spitzers will remain in Bordentown, and I will commute to Valley Forge. Lois and Joshua will keep their New Jersey jobs.

How do I communicate with Dr. Spitzer?

After June 1, please use my new email to communicate with me: lee.spitzer@abc-usa.org. After June 1, I will not respond to abcnj.net email. All ABCNJ-related matters should be directed to Elmo or another member of the team.

Can my church invite Dr. Spitzer to preach?

Yes, but please not right away. As General Secretary, I will have responsibility across the nation, as well as internationally. Therefore my travel schedule will be extensive and I will need to focus on establishing relationships throughout the ABCUSA family. In the meantime I encourage you to invite members of the rest of the ABCNJ team to your church!

My dear friends, I conclude my service as your regional pastor secure in the knowledge that ABCNJ is strong, that our ministries will not be interrupted, and that I leave behind an amazing ministry team that is eager to serve our churches and pastors. ABCNJ is healthy and faithful, and I will always love you all!

In Christ,

Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer