VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 5/18/17)—National Executive Council members this week expressed welcome, congratulations and appreciation for the incoming General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA). Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer was elected by the Board of General Ministries on May 8, in a special meeting of the Board at the Springhill Suites in Chicago. Dr. Spitzer’s name was brought forward to the Board of General Ministries by the General Secretary Search Committee, who identified him as the candidate best suited to lead American Baptists forward.
The National Executive Council is made up of the leaders of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, American Baptist International Ministries, American Baptist Women’s Ministries, and MMBB Financial Services, along with the General Secretary of American Baptist Churches, who chairs meetings of the Council.
Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, executive director, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) said, “I know the Search Committee was most prayerful, vigilant and earnest in its solemn task to recommend the most capable and qualified spiritual leader to lead American Baptist Churches USA at this critical and historic juncture in the life of the church in the United States today. I express the sentiments of the ABHMS Board of Directors, chaired by Dr. Clifford Johnson, and all of the ABHMS staff and friends who are in prayer for [Dr. Spitzer’s] seamless transition from region to national ministry. I look forward to personally extending [to Dr. Spitzer] a hand of friendship and welcome upon [his] arrival in the Mission Center in June.”
“On behalf of MMBB, I offer our warmest congratulations to Dr. Lee Spitzer on his election as the next General Secretary of ABCUSA,” said Louis Barbarin, chief executive officer of MMBB Financial Services. “Lee brings a deep understanding of the denomination, a spirit of innovation to help us discern God’s ‘new thing’ that he seeks to do in and through ABCUSA and, an earnest commitment to ecumenical outreach. We offer our full support and fervent prayers as he steps into this new role.”
Virginia Holmstrom, executive director of American Baptist Women’s Ministries said, “I appreciate the way in which Dr. Lee Spitzer has intentionally reached out to make connections with American Baptist Women’s Ministries. He has introduced to us key leaders from his region with whom we’ve been able to partner in our ministries with women and girls. Lee’s practice to individually invite a national ABC staff member to his region’s staff meetings has modeled relationship-building and collegiality.”
In an announcement from International Ministries on May 9, Sharon Koh, CEO/executive director said, “I was delighted to hear of the American Baptist Churches (ABCUSA) Board of General Ministries’ choice of Dr. Spitzer for General Secretary. He has been a longstanding friend of IM, and I am looking forward to working closely with this deep thinker who is known for his heart for global mission. May God grant us a season of collegiality and partnership on the National Executive Committee in the years to come.”
Susan Gillies, who will conclude her time as Interim General Secretary on May 31, said, “Dr. Lee Spitzer is coming to this role with strong faith and a true passion for the health of ABCUSA and its partners.”
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.