FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA – January 27, 2021)
Following a global search and interview process, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is appointing Rev. Marsha Scipio to serve as Director of Baptist World Aid (BWAid). With the origins of BWAid arising a century ago in response to the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, this appointment comes at a pivotal time as the world continues to battle COVID-19. Scipio will begin her service in this executive level role on February 1, focusing on the BWA’s core ministry area of aid, relief, and community development.
Within the BWAid portfolio, Scipio will lead the BWA’s response to people in need by collaborating in times of crisis, networking agencies, supporting sustainability and creation care, building capacity, and empowering local church engagement. This will include oversight of BWAid grants and programs; facilitation of the BWA Forum on Aid and Development (BFAD); and engagement in additional theological reflection, collaboration, training, and missional action.
“I am a firm believer in the Micah mandate – to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. To respond to the call of the BWAid Director role is an invitation to exercise this mandate on a global scale. Therefore, I said, ‘Yes. Yes to God. Yes to BWA. And yes to those who still find themselves on or in the margins of the 21st Century Jericho roads,'” said Scipio. “I look forward to working alongside sisters and brothers in times of crisis; to sharing resources and knowledge to promote sustainable development, especially in places where the most vulnerable Baptists reside; and to intentional collaboration with leaders in the international aid community. I am excited to partner with our BWA regions and Baptist family as we Stand Together to serve all God’s children.”
Scipio’s leadership background includes service within the local church, non-profits, government entities as well as local and national denominational bodies. Born in Trinidad and Tobago and raised in the USA, she completed internships with the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Education as well as the United States Department of Justice – Civil Rights Division. She went on to serve in various roles with Legal Outreach, Inc., including Law-Related Education Coordinator and Site Director. She served for five years as the Executive Director of the Berean Community & Family Life Center in Brooklyn, New York, USA, which included overseeing the completion of a new multi-million dollar affordable housing development project and supervision of all health, wellness, and youth development programs. Scipio represented Kings County on the Board of Directors for American Baptist Churches of Metro New York and was appointed to the role of Associate General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) in January 2018, with a special focus on missional initiatives and partnerships. In her role as Associate General Secretary, Scipio coordinated ABCUSA’s Creation Justice Initiatives, built national partnerships, and engaged in church-based and ecumenical networks.
“The ministry of BWAid has been a core focus of the Baptist World Alliance for decades. The calling of Marsha Scipio to serve as its new director is an inspired choice. Baptist humanitarian aid agencies across the globe will find they have a passionate advocate for their cause who will work tirelessly and collaboratively with them as Baptists strive to impact the world for Christ,” said Lee Spitzer, former General Secretary of ABCUSA.
Scipio is passionate about equipping disciples within the local church and currently serves as Associate Minister and Youth Pastor at Berean Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York, USA. Within this role, she has been encouraged by the opportunity to invest in the next generation, particularly through teaching the Bible to youth and young adults. She has also invested in training for women as the Founder and Convener of Women Who Minister, a conference designed to empower and equip women to serve in ministry in the pulpit and the marketplace.
Her interest in cross-cultural ministry has led her to study preaching and religious dialogue in India, to engage in pastoral ministry and community development in Liberia at the historic Providence Baptist Church, to serve on mission in South Africa and Haiti, and to journey to Israel and Palestine territories to participate in Christian-Jewish interfaith dialogues. Most recently, she has been privileged to preach and serve in Myanmar and Puerto Rico.
Her appointment follows a multi-faceted search, which yielded more than 30 applicants with all six BWA regions represented. The search was overseen by an international committee that included Tomás Mackey (BWA President), Elijah Brown (BWA General Secretary), Everton Jackson (BWA Director of Integral Mission), Euticauls Wambua (Vice Chair of the BWA Commission on Aid), Ronnie Chiu (Chair of the Asia Pacific Baptist Federation Aid Committee), and Lisa Rothenberger (World Relief Officer for ABCUSA).
“The Lord has endowed Marsha with precious gifts, and at the same time, she has prepared herself well and has an excellent personal disposition to continually learn,” said Mackey. “She is not alone. She will have a great team with which to work, and at the same time she will coordinate the work together with the entire worldwide Baptist family and other agencies. We commit our prayers and our active participation in the work and in every aspect that may be required to fulfill the ministry.”
Scipio holds a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University, a Master of Arts in Psychology from New York University, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. During her time at Georgetown, she was recognized with the Public Service Award from the Office of Public Interest and Community Service. In her studies at Princeton, she earned the Matthew Anderson, Jonathan C. Gibbs, and John B. Reeve Award in History as well as the Bryant M. Kirkland Award in Practical Theology.
“We are blessed to welcome Rev. Scipio to the BWA team, and we prayerfully champion her leadership as she builds upon BWAid’s century of kingdom impact to guide it toward a strategic future,” said BWA General Secretary Brown. “We also want to express gratitude to those who have stood in the gap to lead our global aid and relief efforts, particularly our Standing Together Global Response Plan in 2020. I want to especially commend Rachel Conway-Doel for her instrumental role in the development and facilitation of BFAD, a network of more than 25 global entities that has mobilized more than $1.5 million USD in COVID-19 aid and relief over the last year. This has paved the way for effective global collaboration during this crucial time in the world and will bear fruit for years to come.”
Brown continued, “I would also like give special thanks to BMS World Mission for their faithful partnership and generous secondment of Rachel Conway-Doel to serve as BFAD Facilitator. Commendations are also extended to Kendra Eastman for her faithful service as BWAid Assistant and to BWA Comptroller Monica Teal for executing the monumental distribution of more than 130 emergency aid grants to 82 countries within the initial months of the pandemic.”
To learn more about BWAid and the Standing Together Global Response Plan, visit BaptistWorld.org/bwaid.
After a global search with more than 30 applicants, Rev. Marsha Scipio has been appointed to serve as Baptist World Aid Director. To view an introductory video of Rev. Scipio, visit our
BWA YouTube Channel or click the image above.