VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/4/11)—David Chandler, 53, of Media, Pa., former online managing editor for American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), passed away in the arms of his wife, Bonnie, on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, at Keystone House, Wyndmoor, Pa. In addition to his wife, he is survived by sons Stephen, Forrest and Alijah.
Chandler left ABHMS in 2009 to undergo surgery, treatment and rehabilitation for a brain tumor. During his ABHMS tenure, Chandler was instrumental in updating and managing the content and design of ABHMS’ website. He brought his invaluable gifts and skills to ABHMS in 2005—a time of increasing importance for electronic media and technologically-advanced communications efforts.
He had been associate director of the Office of Communication, Office of the General Secretary, American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA), from 1996 until a restructuring in 2005. He coordinated and supervised maintenance of the office’s website; acted as producer and contractor for outside media services; and cooperated with other American Baptist and ecumenical agencies in electronic media strategies that served the denomination. He supervised production of several editions of the ABCUSA multimedia magazine on CD-ROM and provided substantial support for the “Seek It!” denominational appreciative inquiry process.
“David Chandler was a kind man with a gentle spirit, driven by his faith and his family. He invested many years of his life in the denomination where he lived out his faith, communicating the ministries and mission of ABCUSA and then ABHMS in various media with exacting precision and attention to detail,” says Susan Gottshall, ABHMS’ associate executive director for Communications. “His untimely death bears a weight of deep sadness for the loss of contributions David still could have made to American Baptist churches and our world.”
He tackled major leadership responsibilities for the denomination’s Communications Council, for which he developed an unprecedented ABCUSA identity campaign. He had also been involved in ecumenical communication planning and dialog, notably with the National Council of Churches and its Worldwide Faith News website. In addition, he worked frequently with the Baptist World Alliance, for which he provided technical direction and assistance for the 2,000th Congress in Australia.
Chandler had extensive experience in both the technical and creative components of a wide variety of electronic media, including the Internet, video and other interactive computer-based technologies. He was an independent media consultant/producer, 1989-1996, and director of Media Services for American Baptist-affiliated Eastern University, St. Davids, Pa., 1984-89.
He held a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Eastern University. He did undergraduate study in television production at Cabrini College, Radnor, Pa., and graduate study in film and instructional media at West Chester (Pa.) University.
He had been an active member of Central Baptist Church, Wayne, Pa., where he maintained integral roles. In addition to regularly contributing to the musical aspects of worship, he had served on the Board of Outreach and as a media consultant. An artist at heart, Chandler expressed his passions through drawings and paintings and through his musical abilities and soothing voice.
“When David sang the likes of Bruce Cockburn and Jackson Browne as well as favorite hymns, his voice infused us with heaven and made the presence of God’s spirit so tangible,” say The Rev. Thomas Beers and the Rev. Laurie Sweigard, pastors at Central Baptist. “David will be sorely missed, and our hearts are aching, even as we celebrate his life and continue to surround Bonnie, Stephen, Forrest and Alijah with our love and support.”
A memorial service will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, at Central Baptist Church with a supper following. Condolences may be mailed to 430 N. Monroe St., First Floor, Media, Pa. 19063. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to “Yes! And” at 3721 Midvale Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19129. “Yes! And” organizes summer theater camps, after-school programs, studio classes and full-length original productions for children in the Philadelphia area’s most underserved neighborhoods.
ABHMS—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.