Ministry News

ABCNJ Executive Minister Search Process Progressing Well

The Search Committee to call the next Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor for the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey has met several times during the year and is making strong progress. Numerous applications from both inside and outside the region were submitted. These applications represented a number of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

As provided in the ABCNJ By-Laws and Constitution, the Personnel Committee serves as the search committee when there is a vacancy in the office of Executive Minister. Since two members of the Executive Committee already sit on the Personnel Committee, the ABCNJ Council provided that the members of the Executive Committee join the search committee. The members of the search committee are as follows:

  • Ms. Bobbi Daugherty - VP for Personnel and chair of the search committee
  • Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan - President, ABCNJ
  • Rev. Dr. John Grove - VP For Professional Ministries
  • Ms. Cheryl Allocco
  • Ms. Pat Dansberry
  • Rev. Dr. Danny Scotton
  • Ms. Judy Hart
  • Rev. Suleima Rosario-Diaz
  • Ms. Rosa Sierra
  • Ms. Kathleen Reeder
  • Rev. Older Azard
  • Rev. David Holwick

The goal of the committee is to present a consensus candidate to the region which we can support as our next Executive Minister without reservation. When the committee achieves its goal, the region will schedule meetings of the ABCNJ Council and a specially called session of the region and its pastors and delegates, adhering to requirements for notification and voting contained within the regional By-Laws and Constitution.

More updates will be shared as the search process makes further progress. During these important days in the life of our region, I would like to enjoin our entire regional family to lift up the entire discernment process, as well as and each member of the search committee in prayer. Pray that they will be open to the presence and leading of the Holy Spirit, and be attentive to the person God is already preparing to be the next Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor of ABCNJ!



American Baptists Respond to Refugee Crisis at US-Mexico Border

In response to the recent statement by US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, using Romans Chapter 13 to justify the current US immigration practice towards refugees at the US-Mexico border of separating children from their parents, the ABCUSA General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, together with the Board of General Ministries, sent a letter expressing the deep concern of American Baptists over this inhumane practice. As we celebrate Father’s Day tomorrow, may we all lift up God’s gracious gift of family as the foundational space in life where God’s love is made known. 


June 15, 2018

Mr. Jeff Sessions, Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20530-0001


Dear Attorney General Sessions,

I am writing to you today on behalf of the 5,000 congregations and 1.3 million members of the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA). As General Secretary, I serve as the national pastor of the denomination. ABCUSA has a long and distinguished record of service in welcoming immigrants and refugees to communities throughout the United States.

The American Baptist family would like to communicate our deep concern over the unjust immigration policies of the United States government, and in particular, the unconscionable separation of children from their parents on our southern border. As a fellowship of Christ-followers who recall the trials of the child Jesus and his parents, who fled from persecution in their homeland to another country (Matthew 2:13-18), we adamantly oppose separating children from their relatives. A just society can fulfill its fidelity to its own laws and border security without resorting to such unwise and harmful practices; instead, we urge that compassion, fairness and family-affirming policies characterize our response to the plight of families on our borders. We note that destructive practices such as the separation of children from parents place a serious burden on our law enforcement agents and officials, who in carrying out such policies find their own consciences ethically compromised and troubled.

Furthermore, we strongly disagree with your erroneous appropriation of the New Testament (in particular, Romans 13) to justify inhumane and unjust governmental actions. No responsible Christian theologian would assert that Romans 13, or any other passage in the Bible, supports the horrific separation of children from parents that we are witnessing at the present time. In fact, both the Old and New Testaments call those who believe in God to welcome refugees and immigrants with open arms and friendship, with loving care and concern, and with the willingness to assist others in enjoying the prospects of a future based on hope and opportunity.

Accordingly, American Baptists wish to express our sincere hope that the separation of children and parents will immediately cease. We urge Congress and the President to approve and implement without delay more compassionate and just immigration policies and procedures. As the leading law enforcement official of our government, it is your privilege and responsibility to lead such an effort. Thank you for considering our position.


Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, General Secretary

American Baptist Churches USA

Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico – ABCUSA Sister Churches Initiative Announced

Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico – ABCUSA Sister Churches Initiative Announced

Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico Executive Minister Rev. Edgardo M. Caraballo Marín and American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) General Secretary Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer are pleased to invite churches throughout our country to sign up to participate in the Iglesias Bautistas de Puerto Rico – ABCUSA Sister Churches Initiative.