VALLEY FORGE, PA (12/15/23)—American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM), on behalf of the national board and staff, congratulates Rev. Dr. Gina Jacobs-Strain for being elected as the new General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA).
Rev. Dr. Jacobs-Strain has served as the Executive Director of ABWM since 2018. During her tenure, she has been instrumental in developing professional development opportunities for staff, building relationships with boards, and elevating ABWM’s profile within the denomination and with ecumenical and not-for-profit partners.
“I am extremely grateful for serving alongside and witnessing how Rev. Dr. Gina Jacobs-Strain has moved American Baptist Women’s Ministries forward. Her leadership shaped the culture of ABWM by following and sharing the importance of our mission, vision, purpose, and core values. Her welcoming hospitality has built and sustained relationships with women groups and partners. Her dedication to empowering women, young adult women, and girls touched many lives, including my own as she has encouraged and stretched me to grow. I am thankful for Gina’s leadership and will truly miss her, but I look forward to seeing how she moves the denomination forward as General Secretary,” says Wendy Clemmer, Director of Operations.
Under her leadership, ABWM implemented Fall and Winter Webinar Series, established the Bridges & Gateways Endowment, and launched the AB GIRLS program, Building Bridges and Gateways to Girls’ Future, fostering a connection between the AB GIRLS Christian Curriculum and local STEAM providers.
In addition, Rev. Dr. Jacobs-Strain has been a leader in deepening awareness and broadening our engagement in the fight against domestic violence. She spearheaded the first domestic violence workshop with Safe Haven Ministries in upstate New York and, since then, has worked to bring similar workshops to communities around the country. She has also partnered with regions, clergy groups, and women’s groups to build “beloved communities.” To bolster ABWM’s ministries and programming, Dr. Jacobs-Strain increased fundraising and grants, including Palmer Grants, New Baptist Covenant, and many others.
Rev. Dr. Jacobs-Strain has also been a champion of equity and alignment within the ABWM sisterhood. Through annual conferences, increased board engagement and Shalom retreats, as well as the incorporation of certain staples into the ABWM repertoire, she has successfully propelled the organization to the forefront of discussion and collaboration. She has elevated ABWM’s contributions and impact within our denomination while building strong relationships.
“American Baptist Women’s Ministries heartily congratulates the Rev. Dr. Gina Jacobs-Strain on her historic election to the Office of the General Secretary of ABCUSA! Being the first woman and person of color to hold this position, Dr. Jacobs-Strain’s election signals to women and girls around the world that discriminatory barriers will not prevail, where men and women honor the gifts, skills, and benefits that all people can bring to the table. We stand in solidarity to pray with and for Dr. Jacobs-Strain as she continues to provide strong, visionary leadership in her new role,” says Rev. Dr. Christine Smith, National President, and Lovena Van Haaften, President Pro-Tem.
ABWM applauds Rev. Dr. Jacobs-Strain on her appointment and looks forward to the impact she will have in her new role. Rev. Dr. Jacobs-Strain ends her tenure as Executive Director on January 31, 2024.
American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM) is a diverse community of American Baptist women and girls serving in ministry in Christ’s name in the US, including Puerto Rico. With local, area, region/state, and national levels of ministry, American Baptist Women’s Ministries creates and sustains communities of passionately faithful, mission-minded women and girls engaged in worship, leadership, service, and friendship. Our ministries include domestic violence and sex trafficking prevention and education, building beloved community, advocacy, and developing leaders. To learn more about American Baptist Women’s Ministries, visit
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.