Rev. Dr. C. Jeff Woods, associate general secretary for Regional Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) said, “Dr. Kelsey brings a unique combination of congregational, regional, and international experience to his new role of executive minister. Throughout his career he has demonstrated a passion for the local church and a desire to care for and train congregational leaders. Wherever he has gone, he has pulled together different perspectives toward a common vision. I am excited about the next chapter of ministry for both Dr. Kelsey and the region of ABC-NYS.”
Kelsey has served local churches as pastor in Ohio and Philadelphia, PA. While in Ohio, Kelsey directed its region’s Conflict Management Network and served in various capacities for both his association and region. He and his wife, Debbie, also an ordained American Baptist minister, have served as ABCUSA International Ministries (IM) missionaries in Belgium. Most recently, they served through IM in Italy, where they partnered with the Italian Baptist Union to work with African immigrants. Kelsey established a program that focuses on theological formation for African pastors and has worked with their churches, providing training, pastoral care and preaching.
The Kelseys are proud parents of Luke, who will be attending Denison University in Granville, Ohio in the fall, and of Ben, who will be entering his junior year of high school.
“As well as a deep commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ and a strong sense of call, Jim brings a broad spectrum of experience and gifts for ministry. Jim’s gifts for administration, his passion for local churches and their leaders, and his rich experience as an American Baptist make him an excellent fit for us,” said Rev. Lynn Sullivan, president of ABC-NYS.
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.