VALLEY FORGE, PA (10/9/19)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) celebrates the ministry of Diane Sypherd, who will retire at the end of December after 43 years of dedicated service.
While Sypherd served American Baptists in several capacities since 1976, her primary ministry was with American Baptist Personnel Services (ABPS).
“In Diane’s roles with ABPS over the years, she impacted thousands of pastors and lay leaders with her ministry,” says ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray. “ABHMS is deeply appreciative to Diane for her years of unparalleled commitment.”
A computer-based, data-storage-and-retrieval system, ABPS produces personnel profiles to assist professionally trained ministry leaders who seek new opportunities to serve local congregations and denominational entities. ABPS works in partnership with American Baptist Churches USA regions to assist local church search committees by retrieving profiles of ministry professionals who possess the skills and experiences the church requires.
“I liked working with the professional leaders, helping them update and getting their profiles ready to search for jobs,” she says. “It was always fulfilling to hear them say, ‘We found our job through ABPS’ or that we’ve helped them get their profile ready or helped them get their positions.
“With the regions,” she continues, “I worked closely with region staff with processing searches for them and training them to search on our system to work with their committees in the search-and-call process.”
ABPS is now part of a new digital platform called ministrElife, custom-built at the direction of ABHMS. (All ministerial leaders—both clergy and lay—are encouraged to enroll in ministrElife and complete an ABPS profile.)
Sypherd began as a data entry specialist with the Board of Educational Ministries in 1976. Her duties centered on data entry with The American Baptist magazine and Judson Press orders. In 1979, she moved to ABHMS—then known as National Ministries—to serve as a database specialist for ABPS and the Church Congregational Profile System.
She worked with four ABPS systems over the years (not including ministrElife). “As systems changed, my positions changed,” Sypherd recalls. “When I first came, there was one computer that we shared. It was really funny. We shared with a couple different people in different departments.”
“Serving the regions and the professional leaders helps our churches,” she says. “It started out as a job, and as I grew and the ABHMS staff helped me to grow, it turned into a ministry for me.”
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.