Reverend Dr. Elmo D. Familiaran
Born and raised in the Philippines, the Reverend Dr. Elmo D. Familiaran comes from three generations of Filipino Baptists who were brought into the Baptist faith by American Baptist Foreign Mission Society missionaries. Son of the late Rev. Moley Familiaran and Elsie Dianala, Rev. Familiaran comes from a long line of pastors, church leaders and pioneer church builders. At an early age he developed a passion for medicine and surgery and prepared himself for that vocation.
After earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (R.N.) degree in 1977 from the Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod City, Philippines, he was admitted to medical school in Manila to finally fulfill a childhood dream. Two months before school opened he participated in the 1978 Baptist Youth World Congress which was held in Manila at that time. There he experienced a dramatic and life-changing call to ministry. He left for the United States in 1979 to study at the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago where he earned his Master of Divinity degree in 1983. While in Chicago, he also earned 5 quarters of Clinical Pastoral Education. After extensive postgraduate studies in the Department of Religion at Temple University in Philadelphia from 1990-97, Rev. Familiaran earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from the New York Theological Seminary in New York City.
Throughout these past 36 years of congregational, ecumenical, clinical pastoral and denominational ministry, Rev. Familiaran has served on the General Board of ABCUSA and on numerous ecumenical, local, regional, and national denominational committees engaged in the ministry fields of cross-cultural work, denominational inclusiveness, professional standards, inter-faith relations, and community advocacy. He is currently a member of the visiting teams of the Commission on Accreditation of the Association of Theological Schools. Through the years, he has been invited to present papers in various denominational venues on the subjects of evangelism, ecological justice, ministry and pastoral leadership, and has written several articles for denominational publications. He is the co-author of No Greater Love: Triumph and Sacrifice of American Baptist Missionaries in World War II Philippines, and the Martyrdom in Hopevale, published in 2007 by Worldwide Gifts. His next book scheduled for publication is, Signs, Patterns, and Fruits: A Spirituality of Discernment in the Congregational Pastoral Call Process.
As one who lives in both the worlds of East and West, he continues to see his ministry and spiritual journey as a call to serve in the diaspora of Christ's church. He brings to his role as associate regional pastor and area minister for the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey (ABCNJ) an abiding commitment that as American Baptists our greatest contribution to kingdom work is in the health and faithfulness of our pastors and our congregations, in our passion for missions and justice-making, in our belief that we are stronger when are together, that we achieve greater gains in ministry when we bring our individual resources to the common table of ministry and mission. He serves the Associations of ABCNJ through preaching, teaching, consulting and counseling, but is also part of the team approach of the region staff in bringing alongside our pastors and congregations the combined resources of the regional ministry team that will equip them to fulfill God's will in their particular ministry.
Rev. Familiaran served as a community and rural health nurse in the Philippines before moving to the United States. He was ordained in 1984 by North Shore Baptist Church in Chicago where he served a total of nine years as part of a multicultural pastoral staff team that served 4 language groups – Japanese, Chinese, Hispanic, and English speaking. He has served as hospital chaplain at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove, Illinois. In 1990, he joined the Volunteer Activities/Church Relations department of the American Bible Society in New York City as the eastern region field staff until the spring of 1997. He was called by International Ministries, ABCUSA in July 1997 where he served as director for Missionary Recruitment until December 2003. He joined the staff of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey in 2004, where he serves till the present day.
He returned to the Philippines in 1980, after his first year of seminary, to marry Maria Fe Magallanes. Elmo and Maria Fe live in Florence, New Jersey. They have two children: Gabriel, born in 1986; and Maria Elsie, born in 1987, and a granddaughters, Amelia Elsie, born in 2012; and Alayna Nena, born in 2016.