VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 9/7/17)—American Baptist Women’s Ministries announces the appointment of the 2017-2018 national leadership team(NLT) of AB GIRLS, the organization’s ministry with girls aged 8 to 18. The only permanently standing leadership team for youth in American Baptist Churches USA, the national leadership team of AB GIRLS has been in existence since 1993 and is responsible for overseeing AB GIRLS (American Baptist Girls in Relationship, Leadership, and Service), the national ministry for girls of American Baptist Women’s Ministries.
Convenor of AB GIRLS is Driana Jamila-Lesan Arcenaux of Riverview Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia. Driana served as Events Coordinator on the national leadership team in 2016-2017, and is looking forward to being able to continue on the team in this new role. A junior in high school, Driana’s centeredness and personal practice of peace-of-mind has been an excellent example and inspiration to other AB GIRLS as they deal with the stress of adolescent life. Although Driana misses her two older siblings as she is now the only one left at home, she is tremendously proud of her mother who is a seminary student, and loves serving at church and singing in the choir. As convenor, Driana will also serve on the national executive committee of American Baptist Women’s Ministries, and has been appointed by ABWM President Angel Sullivan to additionally serve as Board Chaplain for one year.
Events Coordinator Missions Coordinator Anna Kouadio, entering the second year of her term on the NLT, is a junior in high school and a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Lowell, Massachusetts. Anna’s outgoing personality and deep commitment to Christ serve as an inspiration to all around her. She enjoys helping others and never seems to be too tired to pitch in. She is conscientious about her responsibilities, and loves reaching out to others to help them feel part of the group. Anna’s energy and loving nature contribute greatly to the ministry of the NLT with girls.
Promotions Coordinator Grady Nun Tha Iang, a member of the Carson Chin Baptist Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is in 10th grade and starting the first year of her two-year term on the NLT. She is active in her church youth group and plays on her high school volleyball and softball teams, where she served as captain of both teams in her Freshman year. Grady tries to incorporate her faith and values into her daily life, and “as a Chin teenager and Christian,” she writes, “I personally believe that I can provide new insights, perspective, and contribute all the knowledge that I’ve gained into AB GIRLS.” She appreciates the opportunity serving on the NLT will give her to grow in her faith.
Also starting her first year on the NLT, Events Coordinator Rachel Price is in 11th grade and a member of the First Baptist Church of Waterloo, Iowa, where she is active in AB GIRLS. She has attended several regional and national conferences of AB Women’s Ministries. She has been active in her church youth group and bell choir, and at school is staff manager of the school band. She is also involved in the anti-bullying organization in her community, and works at the Waterloo Public Library. She looks forward to serving on the NLT because she feels that “God gave me a voice to encourage, educate, and empower my peers.” She also looks forward to building more leadership skills through her NLT experience.
The four youth members serve with adult leaders, the national Coordinator of AB GIRLS Deneen M. Ray and the Missions and Events Coordinator Luz Jurado, and the team is staffed by the Rev. Sandra Hasenauer, associate executive director of AB Women’s Ministries. These intergenerational relationships add to the experience of all who serve on the national leadership team of AB GIRLS and often lead to life-long friendships.
“With such an energetic, diverse group of young ladies serving on the NLT, I know we will make an impact! We are sharing wonderful opportunities and a wealth of information that AB Women’s Ministries has to offer about ministry with girls,” says national AB GIRLS coordinator Deneen Ray.
“The national leadership team for AB GIRLS truly reflects and models for American Baptist Women’s Ministries at every level the vision for Beloved Community. I am eager for the new team to interact with ABWM’s national officers in October when they meet with ABWM’s executive committee on one day,” said Virginia Holmstrom, executive director of American Baptist Women’s Ministries.
American Baptist Women’s Ministries is a Christ-centered ministry with a commitment to encourage and empower women and girls to serve God. For more information about American Baptist Women’s Ministries, visit www.abwministries.org. For more information about AB GIRLS and the national leadership team, visit www.abwministries.org/girls
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.