VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 12/19/22)—The American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) Nominating Committee has nominated the following persons to serve as Officers for the term running from January 1, 2024-December 31, 2025. The nominees are ABCUSA President, Rev. Nikita McCalister; ABCUSA Vice President, Thomas C. Ross., Jr.; and ABCUSA Budget Review Officer, Paul Higgins. Officers will be elected during the 2023 American Baptist Churches Biennial Mission Summit, June 23-25, 2023 at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Nominating Committee has also published the Election Slate for 2024-2025.
Rev. Nikita G. McCalister was licensed and ordained into the Gospel ministry under the leadership of Rev. Dr. James C. Perkins, pastor of the Greater Christ Baptist Church in Detroit, Mich. She received her bachelor of science degree from Central Michigan University (Mount Pleasant, Mich.), Master of Business Administration from the University of Detroit Mercy (Detroit, Mich.), and Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology (Boston, Mass.).
She currently serves as the Transitional Ministries consultant for the American Baptist Churches of Michigan and Transition Pastor of Westhaven Baptist Church in Port Huron, Mich. In addition, Rev. McCalister serves on the Advisory Board for American Baptist Women in Ministry, Boston University Alumni Council (BUAC), the Boston University School of Theology Dean’s Advisory Board, as president of The Metropolitan Detroit Area American Baptist Women, and as co-chair of the Metropolitan Detroit Area American Baptist Churches.
She previously served as the chairperson of the American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) Transformed by the Spirit Journey Team Task Force; as associate executive minister for Administration for the American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island (ABCORI); as senior pastor of Bethany Baptist Church, Pawtucket, R.I.; as assistant pastor of Ministry Development at Greater Christ Baptist Church in Detroit, Mich., and Calvary Baptist Church in Providence, R.I.; as co-youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Randolph, Mass.; and as a member of the ecumenical planning team for the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York, which hosted a Parallel Event entitled: “Sacred and Safe: Building Capacity of Faith Communities to Address Gender-Based Violence.”
She is married to Rev. Jabulani McCalister, pastor of Covenant Baptist Church (West Bloomfield, Mich.), and is the proud parent of two children, Jaden McCalister and Azriel McCalister.
Thomas C. Ross, Jr., is a member of Solid Rock Baptist Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is currently serving in his second term as a Board of General Ministries Director for American Baptist Churches USA, and serves on the ABCUSA Finance Committee and the Board of General Ministries Finance Committee and Action Group. He previously served on the ABCUSA Nominating Committee.
Ross is the chairperson of the Trustee Board at Solid Rock Baptist Church, and is a member of the regional board of directors for the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York. He also serves as the president of the board of directors at Flemister House, a New York City non-profit that provides housing for persons with HIV/Aids and other special needs.
Budget Review Officer
Paul Higgins currently serves as ABCUSA Budget Review Officer. Paul is chief financial officer for Rainbow Acres, a residential ranch-style community for the developmentally disabled in Camp Verde, Ariz. Prior to joining Rainbow Acres in 2010 as vice president of Finance, he 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.
Higgins served as treasurer of the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin for four years. He previously served on committees for American Baptist Churches of the South and American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest. He has participated in church leadership in the areas of preaching, teaching, computer and network administration, stewardship and finances. He has served on the financial boards of four American Baptist congregations including service as the treasurer of two merging congregations. Paul was elected to the Board of General Ministries in January 2012 and began serving as Budget Review Officer in January 2014.
He has a bachelor of science degree in Information and Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine. He simultaneously earned Master of Divinity and Master of Business Administration degrees at Emory University.
Paul and his wife Jeri reside in Camp Verde, Ariz.
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.