American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware

Regional News Updates

December 2023



We apologize for the length of time between updates. But, rest assured, we have been hard at work these past 6 months!

Search Committee Update:
Our ABCOPAD Search Committee has been meeting at least twice a month and each Committee member worked on tasks individually since May of this year, to find our next Regional Executive Pastor. It is quite a process! Rev. Soozi Whitten-Ford, Interim Associate General Secretary for Regional Ministries, ABCUSA, has provided guidance and support to our committee throughout the process. This valuable benefit was provided to our Region, at no cost. We’ve had 9 great candidates apply and interviews and discussions are ongoing.

The Executive Committee of the Board expects to recommend a candidate for Regional Executive Pastor to the full ABCOPAD Board in the first quarter of 2024.

American Baptist Women’s Ministries:
Our Regional American Baptist Women have been on the move this year! With a very successful August 2023 Thrive retreat with almost 100 women gathering from around the region, the ABWMOPAD Board met in September to start planning the 2025 Retreat and discuss upcoming plans and changes for ABWMOPAD. During that Board Meeting, a decision was made to end promotion of Love Gift and instead introduce a new opportunity for Over and Above Giving. Want to know more about the change? You can find that here: 8 Things To Know - LoveGift

Thrive Retreat 2024 will be August 16-18 at Camp Hebron. Look out for registration information this spring and updates will be posted here: ABWMOPAD Thrive Retreat 2023

American Baptist Men’s Ministries:
Our Regional American Baptist Men’s ministry has been going through a re-visioning process in 2023. A couple of smaller gatherings took place at Camp Ichthus in the summer and fall in the East and a breakfast gathering in the Southwest at Bethlehem Baptist Church and another in the Northwest at Camp Judson, have been opportunities to connect and gather feedback on what our men would like to see in our ABM going into the future. We look forward to seeing what 2024 will bring for the men of our region as they follow and serve with a Christlike heart and mindset.

ABCOPAD Staffing for 2024:
The Regional Board voted at the December 5th Board Meeting to keep staffing, including our Geographical Pastoral Servants (GPS), the same as we had in 2023. Our GPS have also graciously agreed to keep serving!

So many pastors and church leaders have shared how much you valued the connection and support you have received from our Region through our GPS, it was an easy decision to make! If you haven’t yet connected and would like to reach your GPS and learn more about what the Region has to offer its local churches, pastors and leaders with support and guidance: Geographic Pastoral Servants

We also want to give a shout-out to our Regional Ministry Associate (RMA) for Women in Ministry, Apryl Crownover-Glunt. Pastor Apryl has been hard at work making phone calls and connections with the women clergy in our Region. If you haven’t connected with Apryl, she would love to hear from you: Regional Ministry Associates

If you have a chance, please drop a note to Secretary, Denise Veselicky [ email ] and Treasurer Caryl Casey [ email ]. These two powerhouse ladies keep the whole ship moving along for ABCOPAD. They tend to move steadily behind the scenes so well, that no one realizes how much they really do!

Ever wonder how our ABCOPAD Region Facebook posts and website continue to keep information updated? RMA Bud Russell is the whiz behind all of that. Bud can be reached here: Regional Ministry Associates

Where is the world is Mark Mahserjian-Smith?
Our ABCOPAD Region went through a visioning process that finished up early in 2023. That process revealed a great need for our Region to reconnect with our local churches, rebuild partnerships and make sure our churches are aware of the services that their Partners in Ministry relationship and support can provide them upon request.

In addition to the great work our GPS and RMA have been doing to reconnect with our churches, our current Acting Regional Executive Pastor, Mark Mahserjian-Smith, has been burning up the roads all year visiting with pastoral leaders, lay leadership and congregations. Mark has had 158 in person meetings across PA & DE with Pastors and Congregational Leaders and that doesn’t include the hours spent on Zoom and telephone conversations. He also attended 52 different services including worship, installations, and other celebrations. In addition, he’s had 64 meetings and training sessions with staff, Board Meetings and LLC groups. 

Knowing all of that, you won’t be surprised that Mark has traveled close to 24,000 miles on the roads of PA and DE this year! Oh, and in his spare time, Mark went on two mission trips to La Paz and attended the ABC Biennial in Puerto Rico this year.

2024 ABCOPAD Biennial Conference – SAVE THE DATE
The 2024 Biennial Conference is set for October 17-19, 2024 in Altoona at the Blair County Convention Center. This is looking to be a wonderful and meaningful event, hope to see you there. Look for more information coming early January!

As we move into 2024…
We ask that you continue to pray for the Search Committee as they discern God’s will, the Regional Board for big decisions to come, for our current Regional Staff as they work through the challenges before us and our entire region of churches and families, as we all work together to figure out what God is leading us to do next. It’s a very exciting time to be part of God’s plan!

Please reach out to us if you have any questions and we thank you for your continued support, prayer and partnership with the ABCOPAD region.

On behalf of the ABCOPAD Regional Board and Staff, we wish you a blessed and peaceful Christmas Season and the happiest New Year!

Bryon Luke, President [email]

Lori Jennings, Vice-President [email