VALLEY FORGE, PA (8/8/19)—Welcoming new personnel to Volunteer-Mobilization and Disaster-Response Ministries as well as to Financial Empowerment Ministries, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) continues to cultivate leaders, equip disciples and to heal and transform communities across the United States and Puerto Rico in Jesus’ name.
As ABHMS’ national coordinator of Volunteer-Mobilization and Disaster-Response Ministries, the Rev. Kadia A. Edwards will serve as a “connector,” building strong and collaborative relationships among ABHMS and volunteers who are discerning their passion for furthering God’s mission on Earth.
“I believe that, through this work, we can heal and transform communities,” she says. “This work is holy for me because I get to engage with people who are committed to making meaningful contributions to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico. You can’t help but see the hand of God when two people have moved from strangers to neighbors because of the tasks that they have accomplished through volunteerism.”
Edwards seeks to create an aligned 21st-century model of volunteerism by redesigning legacy systems to attract and retain a nimble multigenerational and culturally diverse network of volunteers who are engaged in efforts that enhance the mission and ministries of ABHMS while responding to disasters. She further seeks to create an Aligned Disaster-Response Network that mobilizes volunteers and utilizes ABHMS’ Aligned Action Network for increased responsiveness.
Pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree at Lipscomb University, Nashville, Edwards holds both master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Duke University, Durham, N.C., and Howard University, Washington, D.C. She served as a trainer in both conflict transformation and racial justice for the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America~Bautistas por la Paz.
Jennifer L. Sanborn, program director of In Support of Excellence—ABHMS’ financial-literacy program for clergy and lay leaders—believes that Jesus’ words about money show that use of financial resources is connected to loving God, neighbor and self.
“While there are many educational programs that can provide practical guidance about financial management,” she says, “only an organization like ABHMS will tackle the spiritual dimension of these questions.”
Sanborn understands the situation firsthand. A coach trained by Clergy Leadership Institute, Hillsboro, Ore., she has served not only as program leader at a large, well-resourced church but also as pastor of a small, financially struggling church as well as in Admissions at Hartford (Conn.) Seminary. In addition, she is the daughter and granddaughter of American Baptist pastors.
While her parents possessed graduate-level education and professional church positions, she says, they struggled to make ends meet.
Says Sanborn: “Working with pastors and congregations to provide practical tools and to encourage understanding that caring for their needs is a way of putting their own oxygen mask on first—thus enabling healthy, sustainable generosity—feels like a call to intergenerational healing as well as meaningful service to the leadership of clergy in our present day.”
Sanborn holds master’s degrees in Religious Studies and Spirituality from Hartford (Conn.) Seminary and in Higher Education and Student Development from Syracuse (N.Y.) University as well as a bachelor’s in English Literature and Youth Ministries from Eastern University, St. Davids, Pa. She has served as a leader to the young adult service community at First Church of Christ, Simsbury, Conn., and an admissions recruiter at Hartford Seminary.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
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.