American Baptist Churches USA to be led by Rev. Gina Jacobs-Strain

by | Nov 7, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — On Saturday (Nov. 4), the American Baptist Churches USA became the last of the major mainline Protestant denominations to appoint a female leader by naming the Rev. Gina Jacobs-Strain as its general secretary. Jacobs-Strain was selected unanimously by the ABCUSA’s Search Committee after an 18-month-long process, said the denomination’s president, the Rev. James Wolfe. Jacobs-Strain will begin her two-year tenure in February.
“We believe she has the skills and the gifts to enable us to do the mission of ministry to which we’ve been called,” said Wolfe.
In June, the denomination also named the Rev. Nikita McCalister as the new president. McCalister will start her yearlong tenure in January; for now, she works on ABCUSA’s Transformed by the Spirit team, helping congregations tackle the challenges they face.
Jacobs-Strain will lead one of the nation’s most diverse denominations, with 1.3 million members and almost 5,000 churches. Among the numerous challenges that await her, she will be in charge of continuing the denomination’s ecumenical work and fostering partnerships with other regional ministries. She will also coordinate the Burma Refugee Commission, a joint effort by different Baptist organizations to advocate for Myanmar refugees’ rights.
Before her nomination, Jacobs-Strain was executive director of American Baptist Women’s Ministries, which aims to empower “women and girl …

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