ABHMS announces 2024 Merit Awards, will celebrate recipients at Space for Grace & Spiritual Caregivers Conference 2024 luncheon

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 02/29/2024)— The Reverend Dr. Patricia Murphy, BCC, ecclesiastical endorser of American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) / American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA), is pleased to announce the American Baptist leaders in chaplaincy and specialized ministries who are receiving ABHMS’ four national ministry merit awards for 2024. They are:

CH (CAPT) Richard Blanchette, U.S. Air Force, who is receiving the Lorraine K. Potter Military Chaplaincy Merit Award for his faithful and effective pastoral and spiritual care in the United States military. Drawing upon more than 20 years of experience as an ABCUSA-ordained clergy and chaplain, Blanchette serves in the USAF Chaplain Brigade. He was also an instructor in the ABHMS chaplaincy skills for community ministry cohorts.

The Reverend Carol Ramsey-Lucas, BCC, who is receiving the Paul Strickland Institutional Chaplaincy Merit Award for her outstanding pastoral and spiritual care in an institutional setting. Ramsey-Lucas is chief of chaplain service at the Washington, DC VA Medical Center, where she leads a diverse team of chaplains in meeting the spiritual needs of veterans and their families. She has been an American Baptist Churches-endorsed chaplain for more than 20 years.

The Reverend Dr. John Simon, BCC, who is receiving the American Baptist National Network of Chaplains, Pastoral Counselors, and Specialized Ministers Merit Award for his commitment to faithful and effective ministry service in a leadership capacity. Simon is the vice president of spiritual health services at Westchester Medical Center Health Network and a former president of the Association of Professional Chaplains. His career as an American Baptist chaplain spans more than three decades.

The Reverend Dr. Kristina R. Gutierrez, who will receive the Carolyn M. Piper Pastoral Counseling Merit Award for her dedication to faithful and effective pastoral counseling. Gutierrez is renowned nationally and internationally for her work over decades as an educator, team builder, counselor and chaplain. She is ordained American Baptist clergy.

The awardees will be celebrated at the Chaplaincy Awards Luncheon on April 10, during ABHMS’ three-day Space for Grace & Spiritual Caregivers Conference in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The luncheon will be attended by in-person conferees and streamed live.

“We are looking forward to honoring the amazing leadership of this year’s award recipients in person,” says Murphy. “They embody the ministry of presence in their daily individual practices.”

Notes of congratulations can be sent to endorsement@abhms.org.

To learn more about Space for Grace & Spiritual Caregivers Conference 2024 and to register to attend either in person or online, visit the event website.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

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.