VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 2/2/17)—The Rev. Dr. Marcia J. Patton, executive minister of the Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches, has announced her planned retirement to the executive committee of the region. The region has commissioned a search committee to find a successor to Patton, who plans to retire when a new Executive Minister has been named. The Search Committee anticipates having a name to present to the Annual Meeting scheduled for October 13-14, 2017 at New Beginnings Christian Fellowship in Kent, Wash.
Patton is the first Executive Minister of Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches, installed in June 2004. She worked with organizers of Evergreen Association, a group of churches invited by the American Baptist Churches of the Northwest to form a new region.
Evergreen Association is unique among American Baptist regions because it is organized around ethnic caucuses and does its work by consensus. The region, with Patton’s leadership, has worked to build bridges of relationship among its ethnically diverse churches as well as the larger American Baptist Churches family.
“We are grateful for Dr. Patton’s leadership from our beginning, through the process of becoming a region, and her service as our Executive Minister until her approaching retirement,” said Priscilla Bell-Lowe, Chair of the Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches. “Under her leadership and the guidance of God, Evergreen stands as a beacon on a mountain calling to the world that we are a place where all are invited and welcome to serve God’s kingdom.”
“Through her clear, persistent voice in speaking and writing, Marcia has made us think about things we needed to think about,” said Interim General Secretary Dr. Susan Gillies. “I am grateful for her leadership in our American Baptist family. In local pastoral ministry and region ministry she has been an encourager and a challenger. I hope this continues into her retirement.”
When speaking of her work, Associate General Secretary for Regional Ministries the Rev. Dr. C. Jeff Woods said, “Marcia consistently increased awareness of multiculturalism and ensured that a variety of voices and perspectives were welcomed to the table. Her contributions to the Mission Summit Conversations and the Mission Table are greatly appreciated.” Woods, in his role with Regional Ministries, is facilitating the Search Committee in its work to identify a new Executive Minister for the region.
Patton served as Associate Executive Minister with the American Baptist Churches of the Northwest for 13 years before moving to the role of Executive Minister of Evergreen Association. She served as Associate Minister for churches in Hatboro, Penn., Salt Lake City, Utah and Somerville, N.J.
Patton was ordained at First Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, Utah, on May 30, 1976. She earned a Ph.D. from Temple University in Philadelphia, Penn, a Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) and Masters of Arts in Religion (MAR) from Eastern Baptist (now known as Palmer) Theological Seminary, and a Bachelors degree at Michigan State University.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.