VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 1/2/18)—The two new Associate General Secretaries working with the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) Office of the General Secretary ministry team were in Valley Forge, Pa., to begin their positions on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. Rev. Marsha Scipio joins the organization in the role of Associate General Secretary for Missional Initiatives and Partnerships, and Rev. Dr. Kevin A. Walden begins his service as Associate General Secretary for Congregational and Pastoral Effectiveness.
“I am so excited that God has brought two new members to the pastoral ministry team of the Office of the General Secretary,” said General Secretary Lee B. Spitzer. “As we look forward to serving the churches, clergy and regions throughout ABCUSA, our team will focus on the following ministry priorities: unify our family based on core convictions and joyful mission; strengthen our regions as they serve our churches and clergy; promote the mission of our national agencies and mission partners; lead our family into new church growth, evangelism and creative service; and encourage creative partnerships.”
The two new staff members were at the American Baptist Churches Mission Center in Valley Forge, Pa., for orientation and introductions to the organization.
“This new call is so humbling. I’m looking forward to discovering the many effective processes and methods our congregations and pastors have developed. It is my prayer that we can be a hub to share that inspiring information as well as encourage new effective processes and methods that glorify the Lord and bless each other,” said Walden.
“‘Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth up; do you not perceive it?’ I give God praise for the new thing God has begun as Kevin and I step into these positions with ABCUSA,” said Scipio. “God is doing a new thing within our denomination and I am humbled to be part of the ABC family as we work together to understand God’s revelation for God’s people in this season.”
Associate General Secretary for Missional Initiatives and Partnerships Rev. Marsha Scipio previously served as executive director of the Berean Community and Family Life Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. She 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.