VALLEY FORGE, PA (9/14/21)—Susan Gottshall, associate executive director of Communications for American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) since 2005, will retire Dec. 31, completing nearly 20 years of service with the denominational mission organization.
Gottshall joined the staff of ABHMS, then known as National Ministries, in March 2002, as its first online managing editor. In that role, she was responsible for creating and posting news and information “content” to what was, at that time, the relatively new world wide web.
During her tenure as Communications director, Gottshall guided ABHMS into strategic use of other, new technologies as well. She led the Communications staff group to achieve awards such as a Religion Communicators Council (RCC) “Best in Class” designation in 2018 in the Digital Media category for “6,100 Miles, Seven Days: On the Road with ABHMS Disaster Response.” An online travelogue, the piece assessed damage from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria through videos, podcasts and blog posts to determine how ABHMS could support rebuilding and renewal.
The Communications staff also received an RCC “Best in Class” award for the 2019 ABHMS annual report in the Specialty Publications category.
Though her administrative and organizational skills are well-recognized by ABHMS, Gottshall’s first love has always been storytelling. In 2020, an article published by The Christian Citizen, “One Month and Counting: The Church’s Unique Role in Encouraging and Supporting Voting,” received an RCC Category Winner award (Writing for Periodicals).
Gottshall has found fulfillment in lifting up the history and justice work of American Baptists. She cites two projects as “most meaningful.” The first memorable project was an exhibit created for the 2007 Biennial entitled “Deliver Us From Evil,” detailing the story of ABHMS’ role in the struggle against slavery and its support of freed people. The second was a video entitled “A Church Stands With Its People,” which tells the story of ABHMS home missionaries who ministered to Japanese Americans in U.S. government-built internment camps following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
“Susan has meticulously crafted a compelling story of ABHMS engagement in the USA and Puerto Rico for 20 years, making sure that our voice of compassion is heard and that our mission story is told, while doing so with grace and clarity,” says ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray. “A dear friend to all, her leadership in Communications will be missed by our entire staff and Board of Directors.”
Gottshall holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master of journalism degree from Temple University. During her master’s program, she worked as an intern at Ms. magazine in New York City.
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.