VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 2/1/19)—The ABCUSA Nominating Committee has nominated the following persons to serve as ABCUSA Officers for the term running from January 1, 2020-December 31, 2021. The nominees are ABCUSA President, Karen M. Podsiadly; ABCUSA Vice President, James O. Wolfe III; and ABCUSA Budget Review Officer, Paul Higgins. Officers will be elected at the Biennial Mission Summit, June 21-23, 2019 in Virginia Beach, Va.
Josue D. Gómez-Menéndez, president of ABCUSA, said, “At the last meeting of the ABCUSA Nominating Committee, we looked at our immediate future with much hope and diligence. We were happy that we had a large group of suitable and enthusiastic candidates to consider. It is with great expectations that we look forward to our next biennium, with the certainty that God will lead us through new ways, along with a leadership that knows our history and Baptist principles. The Virginia Beach Biennial will bring unity and new perspective.”
Karen M. Podsiadly has been nominated to serve as President. A native of Rochester New York, Podsiadly was educated at State University of New York College at Geneseo and Western Illinois University with degrees in Sociology and College Student Personnel, respectively. Currently the Director of Community Development at The College at Brockport (SUNY), she has served for over twenty-five years in a variety of settings within American Higher Education. Podsiadly previously served as President of Rochester Genesee Region of American Baptist Churches, Inc. and recently as chair of the Executive Director Search Committee for the region. She has also served on the Board of Directors at The Community Place of Greater Rochester and as a Church Trustee and President of Women’s Ministry at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church. She also currently serves as the Board Chair at ROC Achieve Charter School. Among her greatest passions is mentoring young people with a particular affinity for supporting young women as they make choices towards healthy and successful lives.
James O. Wolfe III (Jim) has been nominated to serve as Vice President. Wolfe is pastor of First Baptist Church, Pontiac, Illinois where he has served since March 1, 1990. Prior to serving in Pontiac, Jim served two churches in New Jersey: Memorial Baptist Church in Salem and Calvary Community Baptist Church in Pennsauken. Jim was ordained March 15, 1981 at the Bethel Baptist Church, South Charleston, WV. He is a graduate of Alderson-Broaddus College, where he met his wife Janet, a Registered Nurse. He holds the M.Div. and D. Min. degrees from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Palmer), and a Ph. D. from the Graduate Theological Foundation. Jim currently serves on the Board of General Ministries, and as Special Director to the American Baptist Home Mission Societies. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the American Baptist Historical Society, and serves on the Board of Managers of the American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region.
Paul Higgins has been nominated to serve as Budget Review Officer. This will be his fourth term serving in this role. He is the Vice President of Finance for Rainbow Acres, a residential ranch-style community for the developmentally disabled in Camp Verde, Arizona. Prior to joining Rainbow Acres in 2010, Higgins served as the Vice President of Finance at the American Baptist Assembly/Green Lake Conference Center for thirteen years, where he also served as Vice President of The Golf Courses of Lawsonia, Camp Grow Ministries, and Worldwide Gifts of Green Lake. He served as Treasurer of American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin for four years, and previously served on committees for American Baptist Churches of the South and American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest.
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.