VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 10/29/18)—At a specially called session of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey on October 27, 2018, the region called the Rev. Miriam Méndez as its new Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor with an overwhelming majority. She will begin her ministry as Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor on January 1, 2019.
Rev. Dr. Elmo Familiaran, ABCNJ’s Interim Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor, applauded Rev. Méndez’s selection saying, “The overwhelming positive vote of the region to call Miriam as the next Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor of ABCNJ is the consummation of this appointed time, I am personally overjoyed over Miriam’s appointment. Aside from the clear gifts and experience that Miriam brings to this responsibility, she comes with a lifetime of engagement and ministry with American Baptists, a deep spirituality, and a servant heart.”
“Rev. Mendez brings a wealth of experience to this position, having served on the current region’s staff as well as the region staff of the ABC of the Central Pacific Coast. She is a strong leader, a deep thinker, a compassionate caregiver, and is thoroughly committed to American Baptist Mission and Ministry,” said Rev. Dr. C. Jeff Woods, Acting General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA.
Since 2015, Rev. Miriam Méndez has served as Associate Regional Pastor and Area Minister for the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey. Prior to coming to New Jersey, she served as the Associate Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of the Central Pacific Coast in Oregon. She also served as the lead pastor of Esperanza Church, a new church plant and the first bilingual (Spanish/English) church in the ABC of the Central Pacific Coast.
Méndez is a native New Yorker and Puerto Rican and enjoys a deep history with the American Baptist Churches. She has been shaped by over twenty years of extensive and high energy leadership in pastoral ministry, region work, spiritual direction, mentoring, seminary teaching, and community leadership. Throughout her ministerial career, Méndez has served as an interim pastor, co-pastor, lead pastor, associate pastor and church planter. This has given her a rich and unique insight into the various roles and complexities of pastoral leadership. For fifteen years she served as adjunct faculty at George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland Oregon — where she taught in the areas of spiritual leadership, reconciliation, and prayer.
As Executive Minister-Elect, Rev. Méndez will spend the next 6-7 weeks in intensive transition work with Dr. Familiaran.
Méndez said, “I am grateful and honored for the servant leadership that God has provided in the ABCNJ. God has led us to this point and continues to call us to a new thing. When I think of leading this region the words of the prophet Isaiah come to mind, ‘…behold, I am about to do a new thing; do you not perceive it?’ (Isa. 43:19) God continues to call us to be courageous, strong, bold, faithful and obedient. The rich diversity of our theological perspectives, gender, age, geography, ethnic, and cultural settings are a strength in the ABCNJ region. Serving in such a diverse region offers me the opportunity to lead in a manner that encourages conversation and welcomes the differing gifts of the diverse oneness of the Body of Christ. I look forward to continuing to build strong, healthy, positive and effective working relationships with the ABCNJ churches and pastors, council, team, staff, partners, and important stakeholders within the wider ABCUSA family. May God find us faithful on this new journey together.”
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.