American Baptist Computer Center Director Duncan Retiring

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American Baptist Computer Center Director Duncan Retiring

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 2/8/13)—Sam Duncan, director of the American Baptist Computer Center (ABCC) and former International Ministries missionary to the Congo/Zaire and the Philippines, will retire effective March 31, 2013. The ABCC Board has appointed David Cushman as Acting Director of the ABCC. Cushman currently serves as Research & Information Services Officer with the American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS).

Michaele Birdsall, president of the ABCC and CFO/Treasurer of ABHMS, said, “Sam has provided exemplary leadership for and stewardship of the Computer Center and he will be greatly missed. I pray God will grant him many more years of health, laughter, and fruitful ministry as he enters a well-deserved retirement.”

“It has been a pleasure to serve alongside Sam Duncan in this ministry” said Dr. Aidsand F Wright-Riggins III, executive director of ABHMS. “The same servant leader I saw in Sam when I first met him many years ago when he served as an overseas American Baptist missionary, I saw even more clearly in his founding role as the director of the American Baptist Computer Center. He did a fantastic job at cross cultural global ministry and in shepherding our cultural shift from a print to digital world.”

Wright-Riggins continued, “David Cushman is the right person for such a time as this in the evolution of the American Baptist Computer Center.  David possesses a unique blend of technology and theology, research and reflection, pastoral presence and prophetic skills and commitments that made him an obvious choice as ABCC explored options for transitional leadership. I am grateful that David will only be seventy-five feet further down the hall as he begins this new journey.”      

Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA, said, “Under Sam’s leadership, the ABCC has continually evolved from the embryonic years of business use of computers to the current day where electronic communications are the norm. Sam has brought not only his technical expertise to bear upon our life, but also his passion for Christ and God’s reign in the world. His presence will be sorely missed.”

Duncan received a Bachelor of Science degree in Math from MIT in 1962, and a Master of Arts in Math from University of Southern California in 1969.

From 1962-68, Duncan served as a senior research engineer and programmer at General Dynamics in Pomona, California. There, he developed a prototype simulation model of air defense, and worked with varied systems and equipment, such as missiles, radar, real-time applications, and anti-submarine defense, and also taught programming to other engineers.

In 1968 Duncan left the defense industry to serve as a missionary with International Ministries (IM) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo/Zaire, teaching Math and Physics. His three children were born in Africa, before the family returned to the United States in 1980.

He wanted to return to mission, and did so in 1981 to serve once again as an IM missionary at Central Philippine University, Iloilo City, Philippines, starting a computer center at the university, selecting hardware and training programmers and teachers. He developed the curricula for several programming courses, and published two books on programming. He served in the Philippines from 1981-84.

In 1984, he moved to Pennsylvania and helped incorporate the American Baptist Computer Center at the American Baptist Churches Mission Center in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. For the next 28 years, Duncan served as the director of ABCC.

Duncan was an adjunct Professor at Eastern University from 1995 through 2008, teaching courses and developing curricula in the Graduate School of Management Studies.

“The staff members at the Mission Center are the nicest and most supportive people in the world, and I am blessed to have colleagues like them,” said Duncan. “Everyone makes my job so enjoyable that I have actually looked forward to coming in each day. The Computer Center staff has been wonderful, and I will greatly miss the fun of working here.”

There will be a retirement party for Sam Duncan in the ABCUSA Mission Center side dining room on March 22, 2013 at 2:00pm. All are welcome.

American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.

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