VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 4/27/21)—The Planning Team of the “Celebrating Ministering Women: Radical. Redeemed. Ready.” Conference is excited to announce that the Rev. Dr. Priscilla E. Eppinger, executive director of the American Baptist Historical Society (ABHS), will serve in the role of Conference Historian for the event. On June 15-18, 2022, Eppinger will join event speakers in a new role that helps to celebrate and highlight the role of women in ministry throughout American Baptist history.
“What a blessing it will be to gather together to celebrate ministering women!” said Eppinger. “Too often our ideas of what constitutes ministry have been limited, overlooking that women were among Jesus’ disciples, the first apostles, and deacons of the early church. Yet throughout Christian history, women have proclaimed the gospel and cared for the needy. When Baptist congregations emerged in the 17th century, women were among the founders, offering their homes as meeting places, leading Bible studies, and exhorting. Baptist missionaries have always included women, frequently ministering to other women.”
“So, while the timing of this conference is related to the 40th anniversary of the organization American Baptist Women in Ministry, which works in support of ordained clergywomen, the conference program will celebrate the many and varied ways that Baptist women have engaged in ministry: as lay women and clergywomen, authorized by a church and with little recognition, publicly and one-on-one, in the pulpit, in the pew, and in the kitchen! We hope to see many sisters and brothers at this history-making event, celebrating that even now, Baptist women are Radical. Redeemed. and Ready.”
Soozi Whitten Ford and Tom Wiles, co-chairs of the conference planning team, said, “The 2022 conference, ‘Celebrating Ministering Women: Radical. Redeemed. Ready.’ will be a significant touchstone in the historical journey for American Baptists as we value the partnership of women and men serving together in all forms of ministry. We are grateful for the particular skills and gifts that Dr. Eppinger will bring to the task of Conference Historian, ensuring that this event and the stories that emerge from participants will be documented for future generations.”
More about the Conference Historian
Rev. Dr. Priscilla E. Eppinger has served as executive director of the American Baptist Historical Society since 2016. She accepted the position of executive director of ABHS inspired by the Society’s mission to advance Baptist identity, promote historical literacy, and thereby advance spiritual and social transformation. One of her priorities as curator of the ABHS archives is to ensure the inclusion of marginalized voices in the historical record.
Prior to taking up leadership of ABHS, Eppinger was professor of religion at Community of Christ Seminary (Independence, MO) and Graceland University (Lamoni, IA) where she also chaired the Peace Studies program. Earlier ministry experience includes pastoral ministry at First Baptist Church (Plymouth, MA), which ordained her in 1994, and North Shore Baptist Church (Chicago, IL). At the start of her career Eppinger was commissioned by International Ministries and served as an educational missionary to the Democratic Republic of Congo (then called Zaire), and subsequently worked in the ABHMS Office of Governmental Relations.
A third-generation clergywoman —granddaughter of Rev. Ted and Gertrude Eppinger and M.L. and Elaine Casbeer, and daughter of the Rev. Dr. Paul and Sybil Eppinger —Eppinger is American Baptist “by birth and by choice.”
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.