“Tony’s passion for congregations and insight into how to help smaller congregations become more effective benefited us all. We will miss Tony in this role, but I am confident that we can continue to partner together in ministry,” said Rev. Dr. C. Jeff Woods, associate general secretary for Regional Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA.
“Tony’s passion is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That has been the total focus of his ministry,” said Rev. Dr. Judy G. Allbee, executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of Connecticut. “Tony is a great and longtime colleague and friend, and I have appreciated his leadership in our neighboring region. His understanding of the small membership church continues to teach many pastors.”
The TABCOM Board is in the process of appointing a Search Committee, which will be staffed by Woods. The search will include regional profile development, posting of the position, interviews, and candidacy phases. The final candidate will be presented to the Board of Directors for approval, and then a business meeting of TABCOM delegates will vote as specified in the by-laws. According to the region website, “The Executive Minister is the chief spiritual leader, administrator and representative of the 280 churches in Massachusetts.”
Pappas has served TABCOM since 1995, and plans to continue in the position into spring 2015, working with the Region Board to select an end date. Prior to the executive minister position which he began in June 2005, Pappas served the region as the American Baptist Area Minister for the 50+ ABC churches of southeastern Massachusetts. Previously, Pappas pastored the Harbor Church of Block Island, Rhode Island, for nearly 20 years.
In a letter from Pappas announcing his retirement, he said: “I have done my best to emphasize congregational renewal, multicultural functioning, maximal presence to our churches and associations including pastors and laity, leadership development through our camping programs and the new TABCOM School of Ministry, consistent mission emphasis and involvement, and solid management and stewardship practices. One thing that needs more attention has to do with the fresh ways the Spirit is blowing relative to how we ‘do church.’ In my article series, The Church of Tomorrow, I attempted to analyze the factors making this fresh wind a necessity. But how it will become embodied is still to be discerned. It is my hope and prayer that TABCOM will become a trail blazer in this dimension of faithful discipleship. This will be one of my main foci over the next months, and I hope it will become a TABCOM-wide focus in the years ahead.”
He continued, “It has been a privilege to fulfill this role to the best of my ability, to work closely with the many fine leaders in TABCOM, to carry the torch of faithfulness for my lap around the track.”
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.