VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/17/17)—The American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) Office of the General Secretary’s ministry team will soon have two new members. Rev. Marsha Scipio will serve as Associate General Secretary for Missional Initiatives and Partnerships, and Rev. Dr. Kevin Walden will serve as Associate General Secretary for Congregational and Pastoral Effectiveness. Announced during the Board of General Ministries meetings at the Crowne Plaza in King of Prussia, Penn., Scipio and Walden will join the Office of the General Secretary Ministry Team in January 2018.
At the Friday evening worship service of the board, Rev. Dr. Lee B. Spitzer was installed as General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA. As part of the installation, the Board prayed with the Office of the General Secretary Ministry Team who gathered together to renew its commitment to service, mission and ministry to American Baptist Churches USA.
Dr. Spitzer also shared with the Board of General Ministries that Rev. Dr. Patricia Hernandez, who has been serving as National Director for Women in Ministry and Transition Ministries, will be promoted to Associate General Secretary status for these ministries. Along with Rev. Dr. C. Jeff Woods and Alan Musoke, the Office of the General Secretary will now have five Associate General Secretaries, each overseeing a strategic aspect of ABCUSA ministry.
In addition to the new Associate General Secretaries, promotions were announced for two staff members, Bridget Lipin to Director of Communications, and Tina Turner to United Mission Coordinator. Lipin and Turner will continue to work in the area of Mission Resource Development as a part of the larger Ministry Team.
Spitzer said, “I am excited about the ministry team God is bringing together in the Office of the General Secretary! This diverse team has the gifts, skills, creativity, experience and wisdom to provide pastoral support, encouragement and guidance to ABCUSA’s churches, clergy, regions and partners. We are committed to serve faithfully and joyfully, as our spiritual family shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ all across the United States and throughout the world.”
Associate General Secretary for Missional Initiatives and Partnerships Rev. Marsha Scipio, executive director of the Berean Community and Family Life Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., brings a commitment to public service and social justice along with twenty years of non-profit management experience. Scipio, an attorney, was born in Trinidad & Tobago and raised in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She currently serves on the board of the American Baptist Churches of Metro New York.
As the former Site Director of Legal Outreach, a non-profit law-related education program in Brooklyn, Scipio was able to expand the program to its full capacity through keen strategic planning, developing partnerships with members of the legal, educational, and social services community, while effectively managing the program’s resources. As Development Director, she helped to cultivate an individual donor campaign for a new education initiative for African-American male youth, spearheaded special events and researched new funding sources in an increasingly challenging economic climate.
After seven years at Legal Outreach, Marsha decided to follow the calling on her life to go into Ministry. Her interest in interfaith dialogue and cross-cultural ministry has led her to study preaching and religious dialogue in India, to engage in pastoral ministry and community development in Liberia at the historic Providence Baptist Church, to do missions in South Africa, and most recently to journey to Israel and Palestine territories to participate in Christian-Jewish interfaith dialogue sponsored by the American Jewish Committee. She serves as an Associate Pastor at Berean Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Arlee Griffin, Jr.
Prior to working with Legal Outreach, Scipio developed a college and career leadership preparatory program for underserved youth in the South Bronx and East Harlem at the Supportive Children’s Advocacy Network (SCAN). At Georgetown University Law Center she represented clients in Georgetown’s Institute for Public Representation. She also worked at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services in their Legal Division and at the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division in the Educational Section. Scipio is a graduate of Yale University with a B.A. in Psychology and African American Studies. She earned an M.A. in Psychology from New York University, a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, and a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.
Associate General Secretary for Congregational and Pastoral Effectiveness Rev. Dr. Kevin Walden comes to ABCUSA after serving as a local church pastor for 25 years in the Midwest and most recently for seven years on the regional executive staff of the American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware (ABCOPAD). He served ABCOPAD with the staff designation of Regional Pastor with Pastoral Leaders. There he helped develop educational and retreat/conference opportunities, leadership learning communities and other ministries which aimed to build healthy partnerships as well as encourage and equip the personal and professional growth of pastoral leaders. He was the lead Ethics teacher and taught Pastoral Leadership in ABCOPAD’s Lay Ministry School. Along with the other executive staff, he worked to encourage pastoral leaders and their families and their congregations. He also coordinated the region’s interim ministries and collaborated with ABCUSA in that effort.
As a pastor, Walden was honored to serve many ministries that grew and flourished. His last congregation grew into the most ethnically diverse ABC congregation in Omaha, Nebraska with members from many nations serving the Lord effectively together in the community. Dr. Walden served the ABC Nebraska region in numerous capacities.
Walden has been married to Pastor Melody Walden for over 30 years, who serves an ABC congregation in ABCOPAD and is a current Fuller Theological Seminary M.Div. student. In addition to being active together in ministry on both local and regional levels, Walden’s extended family has served the Lord in ABC for generations as pastors and missionaries. He is a discipleship product of First Baptist Church of Omaha, Nebraska, where his family still attends; and a graduate of two American Baptist schools, Ottawa University (BA) and Central Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He also completed work at Fuller Theological Seminary (D.Min.) with a focus on Covenants and Ethics Education.
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.