VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 10/20/17)—At the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches, held October 14 at New Beginnings Christian Fellowship in Kent, Wash., the members of the Association agreed by consensus to call the Rev. Douglas Avilesbernal as their second Executive Minister. This action was taken following the search committee’s nomination of Rev. Avilesbernal. He will begin his work with the region in January 2018.
“After a prayerful search process, we are pleased and excited to confirm the calling of Rev. Douglas Avilesbernal as the incoming Executive Minister of the Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches,” said Sandra Lee, co-chair of the search committee and member of Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church. “While his credentials are impressive, his genuine humility and enthusiasm for encouraging diversity in the church helped us see how he might assist our region with our unity and growth in Christ, both inside and out.”
“I am pleased with the call of Rev. Douglas Avilesbernal to serve as the next Executive Minister of the Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches, and look forward to working collaboratively with him in this new role,” said Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer, general secretary of American Baptist Churches USA.
The current Executive Minister of the region, the Rev. Dr. Marcia Patton, declared her endorsement of the decision with the statement, “Doug clearly understands the unique nature of Evergreen Association and has the skills and abilities to lead the Association in its ministry and mission in the years ahead. I’m excited about the future for Evergreen!”
“In a spirit-filled Baptist meeting, the caucuses of the Evergreen Baptist Association joyfully and unanimously affirmed and elected the Reverend Douglas Avilesbernal to become their regional Executive Minister. We are excited to have Doug bring his commitment to Jesus Christ for a mutual enrichment in ways that are loving, inclusive, and uniting. Both Evergreen and Avilesbernal have the common passion of building bridges among communities and overcoming any walls of separation,” said Rev. Dr. Horacio R. Da Valle, search committee member and coordinator of the Latino Initiative for the American Baptist Seminary of the West.
Avilesbernal has been involved with intercultural and diversity work for over 15 years. He has been actively involved with American Baptist Churches USA’s work in this regard since 1999, beginning with a program called the Xtreme Team, which sought to immerse young adults in different cultures around the world for one month at a time, allowing them to live alongside Christians different from themselves and to learn what their world was about. That work led to a continued focus for him within the American Baptist Churches denomination around the issue of intercultural engagement.
Among other assignments, Avilesbernal has led annual conferences for Missionary Children for American Baptist International Ministries, where issues pertaining to life in diversity are lived out in many different contexts.
He currently serves as lead pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Norristown, Penn., is a frequent speaker and workshop leader for regions and national conferences such as the “Orientation to American Baptist Life,” and is a published author in various media outlets. In the local sphere, he has been a leading participant in helping the city where his church is located to engage with and struggle through its first immigrant wave since the late 1800’s, as well as other efforts in the Philadelphia area. His work with diversity in the local church led him to be appointed by Montgomery County Commissioners to several local boards to advise and oversee the allocation of resources in ways that account for the diversity of the very large county where the church he pastors is located.
Rev. Avilesbernal holds a Bachelors of Music Performance degree from New Jersey City University, a Masters in Divinity from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and ABC recognized ordination.
He is the author of the ABC Reads book for 2017-2018, “Welcoming Community: Diversity that Works,” published by Judson Press in 2016. His recent TEDx talk: “Tolerance, the end of the beginning” can be found at the TED website or its you tube channel, here.
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.