American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware

Regional News Updates

April 2023

Happy Spring ABCOPAD! We hope this email finds you renewed in hope of the Easter Season and blessed as Holy week has passed and the promise of warmer weather and longer daylight hours are upon us.

Please continue to keep our Region, Staff and Board in prayer as we make decisions and approach the May 5th in person Spring Board Meeting. Some expected items on the agenda will be: A report from the Vision Committee and a recommendation on how to proceed. Information will be provided to the Board from the Subcommittee that is discussing whether to allow ABCUSA un-fellowshipped churches to remain in fellowship with ABCOPAD and the consequences of doing so for those churches, among other agenda items which are being developed over these next weeks.

Regional Ministry Associate (RMA) LLC Position:

This position was removed from the staffing line-up. The current GPS role includes the task of encouraging LLC groups, especially in areas that do not have active Associations, so it is not necessary to have a separate paid staff position for this.

GPS Pittsburgh Area:

An additional GPS position was created for the Pittsburgh Area, to assist the large Southwest Area of ABCOPAD covered by a sole GPS, Rev. Cristy Wise. A portion of the previous RMA LLC budget funding was used to support this position.

Please welcome Rev. Dr. Felicia Brock who will provide GPS coverage to the Pittsburgh Area.

Regional Ministry Association - Women in Ministry:

Please welcome Pastor Apryl Crownover-Glunt, who has been hired to fill the vacant budgeted position of Regional Ministry Associate for Women in Ministry, this position has been vacant since September of 2022.

Respectfully and prayerfully submitted,

Bryon Luke, President [email]

Lori Jennings, Vice-President [email]

March 2023

Greetings ABCOPAD Region! May the Lord be with you, and may you feel His presence as you walk through this time of Lent. God is so good!

As you read this latest update, we ask that you keep us and the Region in prayer. Please know that we strive to seek God in every decision made and each of us continues to pray constantly for even the smallest decision that must be made. We can see God at work, we hope you do also!

Geographic Pastoral Servants (GPS):

As we let you know from our update last month, the North East GPS position was vacant but would be announced soon…

Please extend a welcome to our North East Co-GPS, Pastor Tim Schwartz and Pastor David Hardin, approved by the Executive Committee on February 23, 2023.

The 2023 budgeted compensation for one GPS staff member will be divided between Pastor Tim and Pastor David:

  • 70% of the compensation would go to Pastor Tim as he cares for Abington, Wayne Susquehanna and Welsh Wyoming Associations.
  • 30% would go to Pastor David as he cares for Reading Association

Don’t forget, you can connect with your Regional GPS and read their bios HERE

Sub-Committee Formed:

The Board Officers formed a sub-committee to look into the request from at least two ABCOPAD churches to stay fellowshipped with the Region but who wish to disfellowship with ABC/USA.

The sub-committee is made up of Bryon Luke, Lori Jennings, Mark Mahserjian-Smith and Mark McCallion, along with Pertroula Zoll and Josh Trojak.

So far, the sub-committee has met twice with at least two more meetings scheduled. In addition to exploring whether to make a recommendation to the larger ABCOPAD Board to allow or not allow our churches to disfellowship from ABC/USA and remain with ABCOPAD, they are exploring the consequences of doing so. Or, in other words, what might a local church “lose” by choosing to disfellowship themselves from ABC/USA, just so they are able to make an informed decision.

The meetings so far have included “homework” of reading bylaws, constitutions, and other documents and discussion on specific text in those documents, to come up with the best recommendation. Either way the Committee chooses to recommend, it will be up to the larger Board to decide on what is next for ABCOPAD. We do ask that you start considering these things also. The Committee plans to have a recommendation to the Board sometime in April and ahead of the May 5th Spring Regional Board Meeting.

Respectfully and prayerfully submitted,

Bryon Luke, President [email]

Lori Jennings, Vice-President [email]

February 2023

Vision Team Update:

The Vision Team met in person on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, in Bedford, PA, with our newly-hired consultant, Brian Dunks of Vanderbloemen. The team walked through their journey and great work in 2022, and Brian asked pointed discussion questions to discover the best way to get us to where we want to be and, more importantly, where we need to be to be in order to be successful with our staffing and vision for the future of ABCOPAD. We discussed what is going well and what needs improved, and common themes in all areas of discussion were connection, relationships, and partnerships. It was encouraging and helpful to break things down and have open discussion with these key leaders. We expect a detailed written report from Brian within 6 weeks or so and then follow up zoom meetings with Brian and the Vision Team to discuss the report. It is the hope that we will be able to provide a full update to the ABCOPAD Board at the May 5, 2023, Board Meeting.

Geographical Pastoral Servants (GPS):

As a temporary and needed response in 2022 (which has been extended through 2023), our Reigonal GPS pastors have been appointed to specific areas to connect with pastors of local congregations in their area to give support and resources.

You may have already had contact with your Regional GPS in 2022. If not, they’d love to connect with you for coffee or a meal and to support and celebrate special occasions and needs in your congregation including pastoral searches and pastoral or congregational challenges.

  • South Central GPS – Kelly Legg
  • South East GPS – Dan McDowell
  •  South West GPS – Cristy Wise
  •  North West GPS – Randy Powell
  •  North Central GPS – Rob Rice
  •  North East GPS – Vacant, but look for future announcement soon.

Connect with your GPS


New for 2023, Regional Ambassadors have been appointed to provide a regional presence and representation at special events taking place at a local church on Sundays and at times when our Acting Regional Executive Pastor or GPS are not able to be present. When your Acting Regional Executive Pastor or GPS has a prior commitment, they will contact the Ambassador on your behalf to arrange attendance and will inform you of who is attending and provide contact information. Unlike GPS and Regional Staff, Ambassadors are not paid by the Region for their services, but will rely on the generosity of the local church to provide an honorarium, when possible.

  • Western region: Mark McCallion, Past President, ABCOPAD Executive Team
  • Central region: Apryl Glunt, Past President, ABCOPAD Executive Team
  • Eastern region: Bryon Luke, President, ABCOPAD Executive Team

Commission on Ministerial Leadership:

Bryon Luke [ABCOPAD President], Rev. Mark Mahserjian-Smith [Acting Regional Executive Pastor], and Rev, Cheryl Filson [Ministers Council President] have been working on rebuilding the Commission on Ministerial Leadership (COML). COML oversees Credentialing and Clergy Ethics in our Region. The team invited Rev. Dr. Kevin Walden to serve as the Acting Chairperson for COML, and Pastor Kevin accepted the invitation. Pastor Kevin is the Intentional Interim at First Baptist Church, Lancaster, and is a former staff member for ABCOPAD as well as a former ABC/USA Associate General Secretary. Currently the leadership team is rebuilding the Commission, inviting both Clergy and Lay Leaders to serve and represent their area on COML Area Commissioning Teams (ACT). Thank you for your prayers as this important aspect of regional ministry is rebuilt to serve pastors and congregations.

It is our goal to provide the Region with regular updates and we ask that you continue to pray for our Vision Team, Leadership Board, and Staff as they seek guidance from our Lord on where He wants us to go from here.

Bryon Luke, President [email]

Lori Jennings, Vice-President [email