Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Thorne Called as Associate General Secretary for Mission Resource Development

[From the ABCUSA News Service (

Rev. Dr. Leo Thorne, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Kansas City, MO, has been called to serve as the Associate General Secretary for Mission Resource Development of the American Baptist Churches/USA.

In this position, Dr. Thorne will oversee the efforts for communicating the overall vision and mission story of American Baptist Churches, developing stewardship and tithing resources for local congregations, and assisting the denomination’s program boards and regions in raising mission support. In his role, he will provide training and support for the regional network of ministers of mission support in stewardship development and fundraising.

Dr. Thorne brings to his position the wealth of pastoral experience in one of the denomination’s strongest mission giving congregations. “One of the qualities we were looking for in this call,” stated Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches/USA, “was someone who was effective at the congregational level in mission support. Dr. Thorne brings with him the perspective of a pastor who has seen both the strengths and weaknesses of our approaches and materials and has a keen interest in sharpening our efforts in communication and fundraising so that they are congregationally-friendly and effective.”

"I am energized and hopeful by the new day I see dawning at ABC-USA,” was Thorne’s response to the call. “I look forward to being part of a wonderful history and future of a Christ-centered denomination that is having a meaningful, Spirit-driven impact on our world. It will be my delight to join a terrific team of gifted persons working with a dedicated servant-leader, General Secretary Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley. I embrace fully the enormous potential embedded in combining communications and stewardship in this new position. It feels good and spiritually refreshing to be exactly here in my life and ministry at the moment."

Prior to his service at First Baptist Church, Kansas City, MO, Thorne served the Ramapo Valley Baptist Church in Oakland, NJ. This multi-cultural congregation grew substantially under his leadership and soon after his coming as pastor helped initiate the first Martin Luther King Day celebration in the township. In addition, while pastoring the congregation, he continued to serve as an administrator and professor at Farleigh-Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ where he completed more than 30 years of service. In these and other settings, Dr. Thorne honed his skills in working with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities .

His experience and interests are wide-ranging, including serving for more than a decade as the radio host of a poetry broadcast, “The Poet’s Corner,” and participation on the editorial board of the Faith and Values section of a leading New Jersey newspaper. In addition, Thorne has been active in regional and national life in the ABC, as well as participating in the Baptist World Alliance.

A native of the Caribbean, and a pastor’s son, Dr. Thorne is married to Yvonne Martinez Thorne, a counseling psychologist.

“I am so delighted in Leo’s call.” stated Rev. Medley. “I have had the pleasure of working with him and Yvonne for many years. They are wonderful, loving followers of Christ. I know Leo to be an excellent communicator and effective administrator. I look forward to serving with him.”

The Rev. Dr. Robert Roberts who has been serving as interim in this position will continue through June as a special consultant to the General Secretary with a primary focus on stewardship resources.

Dr. Thorne will begin his new position in January, 2006.

The ministry of stewardship is one of the most neglected, yet honorable, callings within the Christian family. With strong multi-cultural experience and deep roots within both the church and the academy, he comes to his post with impressive credentials. Congratulations to Dr. Thorne upon the occasion of his call to this important role. Several of his predecessors were able to tell the ABC story effectively and to communicate it creatively to people in the congregations. May the Lord bless Dr. Thorne in manifold ways as he embarks upon this important ministry, particularly in such troubled times among American Baptists.

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