VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 3/8/12)—Rev. Rothangliani Rema Chhangte, liaison for Burmese refugees with American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA, was named as director of Baptist World Aid (BWAid), the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance. Chhangte was approved by the Executive Committee of the BWA at its March meeting in Falls Church, Virginia, close to Washington, DC, on Wednesday, March 7.
“We are excited for Rothang and delighted that the BWA is tapping into her rich resources of gifts and graces that will impact the lives of millions of people. She is the right fit for Baptists globally who want to expand our ability to touch a wounded world with the caring heart and compassionate hands of Jesus Christ,” said Dr. Aidsand F Wright-Riggins, III, executive director of ABHMS.
Dr. Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, said, “Rev. Chhangte, who has so ably served us as American Baptists, will now bring her considerable gifts and skills to the world Baptist family. Rothang has distinguished herself as a compassionate and capable leader who will strengthen the efforts of BWAid in development and relief.”
Medley and other leaders from American Baptist Churches USA continue to be involved with the Baptist World Alliance in varying capacities.
According to a Baptist World Alliance press release, Chhangte’s appointment came after an international search for the head of the division. Chhangte begins her ministry on August 1, succeeding Paul Montacute who retires in July.
In addition to serving with ABHMS, Chhangte served on the BWA General Council from 2001-2007 and has attended a number Baptist World Congresses and several Baptist Youth World Conferences. She was pastor of the Woodland Baptist Church from 1994-2000 and, prior to that, was assistant pastor of Chestnut Street Baptist Church, both in Philadelphia in the state of Pennsylvania.
Chhangte has worked with a number of church-affiliated organizations. She was, at various times, program analysis coordinator with Church World Service; director of ecumenical formation at American Baptist Churches USA; executive director of the Asian American Youth Association; and administrator at the Oxford Conference on Christian Faith and Economics.
Since 2006, she has been a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches and was a member of the Executive Committee and Governing Board of the National Council of Churches USA from 2001-2007, co-chairing its Interfaith Commission between 2004 and 2007.
She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Palmer Theological Seminary and an MBA degree from Eastern University, two Baptist-affiliated schools near Philadelphia. She was also a business major in her Bachelor’s degree program at another Baptist school, Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. In addition, she holds diplomas from the Oxford Graduate Summer School of Theology in the United Kingdom and the Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies in Switzerland.
She received a Human Rights Award from the Human Relations Commission of the City of Philadelphia in 1998, and a Community Service Award from the Association of Asian American Educators in 1996.
“I am delighted that Rev. Rothang Chhangte has been selected to serve in this capacity. Her love of Christ, talents, gifts, and passion for those who have been wounded and marginalized are evident by all who know her. All of these will serve her well in this global Baptist call,” said Rev. Marilyn P. Turner, associate executive minister of Missional Life and Leadership of ABHMS and associate national secretary of ABCUSA.
ABHMS—the domestic mission arm of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA))—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.