ABHMS names head of Healing, Transforming Communities ministry

VALLEY FORGE, PA (4/12/21)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) announces that the Rev. Lisa Harris Lee has assumed leadership of its Healing and Transforming Communities ministry.

As such, she will head programs that include volunteerism, domestic disaster response and Community Outreach Ministries (COM). The COM network is comprised of more than 25 neighborhood centers and other faith-based social service ministries across the United States and Puerto Rico that meet the specific and various needs of children, families and individuals in their communities.

Most recently, Harris Lee served as director of Mission Engagement and National Network Initiatives, thereby leading Aligned Action Networks, an ABHMS strategy for accomplishing mission. Comprised of mission-minded American Baptist partners in geographically organized alignments throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, Aligned Action Networks convene leaders for more creative partnerships that deepen the effectiveness of responses to challenges and possibilities.

As she begins her new position, Harris Lee is careful to emphasize that the work of network building and mission engagement will continue. ABHMS will continue convening ministry leaders in collaborative efforts for cultivating leaders, equipping disciples and healing and transforming communities.

“Through the past four years,” she says, “it has meant a lot to me to work with colleagues to bring together ministry leaders to facilitate greater mission impact.”

She had previously served as national coordinator for ABHMS’ children’s ministries/the Children in Poverty (CiP) initiative, which focused attention on the millions of children living in poverty in the United States. She coordinated advocacy efforts around issues that adversely affect poor children, such as substandard public education, inadequate health care, hunger and poor quality housing. In addition, she provided leadership in forging partnerships with community organizations and American Baptist Churches USA congregations. She represented what was then known as National Ministries at local and national CiP events.

She had come to ABHMS after serving as executive director of Bethel Neighborhood Center, Kansas City, Kan., an American Baptist urban mission agency providing youth development, adult education, recreation, and financial, material and spiritual support to individuals and families.

She had been associate executive minister for Philadelphia Baptist Association (PBA) and minister of Mission Support for American Baptist Churches of New Jersey and PBA, when they shared this position. In both roles, she served American Baptist congregations and pastors in mission and stewardship development.

Before that, she was ministry resource associate for the Hinton Rural Life Center, a United Methodist Southeastern Jurisdiction mission agency serving small membership and rural congregations in nine southeastern states.

An ordained American Baptist minister, Harris Lee was pastor of Bethel New Beginnings Church, Kansas City, Kan., and associate pastor for churches in North Carolina and New Jersey.

Harris Lee holds a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University, Durham, N.C., and a Bachelor of Art degree in Political Science from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.

Her Christian faith was nurtured by her family and St. Paul Baptist Church, Montclair, N.J.

Healing and Transforming Communities remains an integral facet of ABHMS’ mission.  Harris Lee is equipped to serve with American Baptists in this role.  “As I assume new responsibilities,” she says, “I continue to be inspired to guide people into deep connection with God and with one another to live fully into God’s vision of Christ-centered interdependence, hospitality, mercy and justice.”

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.