• "...to bring good news to the poor... proclaim release to the captives... let the oppressed go free..."
  • (Luke 4:18-19)

    National Presidents of AB Women's Ministries

    Blanche Hodge was the first president of the newly formed National Council of American Baptist Women and led the new organization through uncharted fields. She drew upon her own experience gained as director of the Fellowship Guild of Oregon, as president of the Oregon Baptist convention, and as vice president of the American Baptist Convention. Through her enthusiasm and confident vision, native sincerity, and unquestioning faith upon the leading of God, she set the tone for her successors. Blanche passed to life eternal in June, 1990.

    Freida Roach was born in Minnesota into a family of five children, she being the only girl. During her college days at Cornell College in Iowa, she was active in the YWCA. and Sunday School. Following graduation, she taught high school, then married her college sweetheart Howard Roach and lived in Plainfield, Iowa. As a leader she was heavily involved in her church, served as president of her local Baptist Women’s society, then of the ABW of Iowa. Active in her community, she served on the State Legislative Committee for Aid to Dependent Children. Freida passed to life eternal in 1986.

    Helen Stuber, a graduate of Bates College, served both in New Jersey and in Kansas City, Missouri, in many capacities, including president of the Women's Baptist Mission Association and chair of the board of Christian Education in her church. She also served on the board of the YWCA and Church Women United, on the General Council of the American Baptist Convention, and on the board of managers of the National Council of American Baptist Women. Helen also served as a member of the planning committee of the Japan International Christian University Foundation. Helen passed to life eternal in 1994.

    Alice Johnson served in ministry with local, association, and state organizations of American Baptist Women. As a member of the national board of managers of ABW, she served as chair of House Party and chair of the first national women's conference held in Green Lake, Wisconsin. She also served on the American Baptist board of Education and Public, as vice president of Church Women United of Connecticut, and on staff of the Connecticut Council of Churches as the director of Christian Education. Alice was a public school teacher and active in the Parent Teachers Association. Alice passed to life eternal (date unknown). 

    Olga Bell was a native of California and lived in Arizona and Washington. As the wife of the pastor of First Baptist Church of Redlands, CA, she was closely associated with both students and faculty in the role of teacher, counselor, and friend, always extending a warm welcome to students and others from near and far. Her leadership skills were honed early. She brought to her presidency experience on the national level having served as the national vice president of Christian Training and involvement in two major women’s conferences. Olga passed to life eternal in January, 2008.

    Lucy Thompson was a native of Maine, a graduate of Bates College, and a Junior High science teacher. She was described as one with a capable mind, an energetic spirt, a keen understanding, and a dedicated life. Her husband, Donald, pastored churches in Maine. They were parents of three children. She served as ABW state president and several other offices in that region. On the national level she served four years as treasurer. Lucy passed to life eternal in November, 2000.

    Betty Burns was born in Boston, MA, and graduated from Hartford Seminary with a degree in Christian Education. Her work experiences as a Christian educator and executive secretary well prepared her for service to ABW later.  She and her husband James lived in California where he was a career counselor at the Center for the Ministry in Oakland. No stranger to ABW, she served as chair of Program and a member of the long range planning committee. She began her term as national president having been elected at the 20th annual meeting. She is remembered as “a bubbly person who got everybody excited about her ideas.” Betty passed to life eternal in May, 1997.

    Emma Hamilton was always in a leadership position and known not only for her gifts, but for her graciousness and sensitivity to the needs and potential of others. Married to William Hamilton, she began service in her local Cleveland, OH, church as president, then later as president of the ABW of Cleveland. She was quickly recognized as a leader by the national organization and served as chair of Love Gift, then vice president of Christian Service. For her denomination she served on the General Board and was appointed to the ABC Task Force on Women.  Emma passed to life eternal in June, 2001.

    Dorothy Ogrean was born of Swedish immigrant parents and lived in Boston, MA, speaking no English until she entered first grade. Nursing education was her career and she served on the faculty of hospitals, directing a school of nursing in Connecticut for 18 years. Her husband Richard was a hospital administrator.  She served ABW of Connecticut as Love Gift chair, president of the National Council of AB Women, and then of the Connecticut region of ABW.

    Barbranell Stake was long involved with AB Women, serving two terms as vice president of Program Interpretation and chairing the long range planning committee designing goals for the 1980s. She held numerous positions with American Baptist Women at the local, state, and regional levels. She also served as vice president of American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest and on the boards of mission and finance. Ecumenical work was important to her and she served as president of the Arizona Ecumenical Council and of the Church Women United of Arizona. Additionally, she chaired an AB Women's conference at Green Lake. Music, needlework, swimming, and museums were among her many interests, and she had three children. Barbaranell passed to life eternal in May, 2007.

    Marilyn Momose is a native of Pennsylvania who has served American Baptist Women faithfully for many years in her local church, the association, the state, and nationally.  Demonstrating her gifts of leadership early on, she was tapped on for many areas of responsibility.  She chaired two ABW Conferences and the search committee for an executive director of the organization.  In all of her involvements, she demonstrated grace, encouragement, joy, and a desire to see women grow and develop.

    Nita Myers was a leader described as one who reflected the effective leadership qualities of being relational, patient, kind, trustworthy, joyful, and forgiving, as well as having faith in God, in others, and in themselves. She was a Christian leader who put persons before tasks, a serving leader motivated by love. Besides being a past president of ABW of Colorado, Nita held many other ABW offices on other levels. She served four years on the national ABW board as a representative from the board of National Ministries of American Baptist Churches (now American Baptist Home Mission Societies). Nita passed to life eternal in May, 1998.

    Ruth Housam was active in American Baptist Women for thirty years prior to election to its presidency. She served ABW of Pennsylvania/Delaware as chair of Spiritual Growth and then as president, and she also served as president of American Baptist Churches of her region. Nationally, she had also served as the chair of Communications and Membership. Ruth had traveled to Haiti, Thailand, Burma, Hong Kong, and China on mission study tours. She was frequently invited to lead Bible studies, spiritual growth retreats, and leadership development events. Ruth passed to life eternal in February, 2003.

    Evon Laubenstein lives in Hamilton, OH, and is a member of Immanuel Baptist Church where she has been active in the areas of Christian education and mission education. Evon has done it all in ABW Ministries: local, association, state, and national offices. Her region has benefited from her gifts as have Girl Scouts, PTA, and other community services. Evon emphasizes people in her ministry. She is a past president of the Ohio Baptist Convention and also served as moderator of her association. Her ABW Ministries offices have included local, association, and state president and vice president; national vice president of Program Interpretation; state chairwoman of Conference; local and association chair of Special Interest Missionaries, and national coordinator of the Mid-West Section. She has served as a Scout leader and has been involved in PTA. She serves on the board of directors and as secretary of the Agapeland Day Care Center. Evon's leadership brings a relaxed style of people-oriented leadership as she emphasizes humor and team building. Her gifts are teaching, planning, and hospitality. Her skills include teaching, writing, and verbal communication. She enjoys working with people.

    Thelma Schaller of Dover, Delaware, is a member of Christ Memorial Baptist Church. Her local church leadership has included chairing the Missions, Pastoral Relations, and Fellowship committees. She has also chaired the bBoard of Deacons and served as moderator. Prior to the national presidency, Thelma served as chairwoman of the National Women's Conference of AB Women's Ministries. In addition, she has been a local, association, and region president. In her local church, she has worked with Program Interpretation, Leadership Development, and Missions and Service. Thelma guides visitors who come to historic Dover. She volunteers with "Read Aloud Delaware," and is a representative to the Christian Council. She is an encourager and a mentor. As a leader, she brings the gift of administration.

    Rev. Karen Selig has been the pastor of First Baptist Church of Royersford since November 11, 2007. She and her husband Alan have two adult children and one grandchild. Karen served as the coordinator of the YWCA Battered Womens' Program in Dubuque, Iowa. In addition to her work with abused women, Karen facilitated an AIDS family and friends support group, served as a hospice chaplain, and worked with victims of pastoral sexual misconduct in the Central Region. In the ABC/USA, Karen served as a chair of the Public Mission team and as co-chair of the Statements of Concern committee, and as a member of the General Board Executive Committee of the ABC/USA. She also served a term as President of the Central Region of the ABC/USA. One of Karen's great joys in the past decade or so has been to be the Bible Study leader at regional and national women’s conferences across the country. 
    Lois Chiles served as national secretary for American Baptist Women's Ministries from 1998-2001. In October of 2001, she stepped in to fill an unexpired term when the national coordinator of Resources resigned. Lois is gifted in organization and follow-through. She loves to roll up her sleeves and dig into a project to get things accomplished. She is a member of First Baptist Church, Leavenworth, Kansas, where she serves as secretary.

    Rev. Theresa (Terri) Simpkins from Burien, Washington, is an experienced leader in AB Women’s Ministries at every level of participation. Nationally, she served as Church & Community Coordinator in 1992-95 and coordinator of the Western Section in 1999-2002. She describes her ministry as “encouraging women to be all that God has called them to be, whether it is women in their churches, women at region/state conferences, or women in prison.” One of Terri’s passions is prison ministry; she leads women’s Bible studies and retreats in the prison setting through Kairos Prison Ministry. Terri is a member of Burien Community Church, Burien, Washington, and was ordained in 2013.

    Barbara Anderson lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, and is a member of Trinity Baptist Church. A former AB Women’s Ministries president of her region, Barbara has served numerous positions in women’s ministries and youth ministry. She was attracted to AB Women’s Ministries 15 years ago as a young woman. She has a passion for missions and AB Women's Ministries' “Break the Chains” initiative to end human trafficking inspired her to launch a new ministry initiative in the greater Boston area, All Hands In. Barbara has a B.A. in Youth Ministries and a Masters in Education from Gordon College. 

    Rev. Patricia Stratton brought to the presidency extensive experience as a leader in her church, region, AB Women's Ministries, and American Baptist Churches USA.  She served a two-year term as vice president of the denomination and is a former national coordinator of Personal Development Ministries for AB Women's Ministries. She serves on the coordinating team for the “Transformed by the Spirit” initiative of ABCUSA. She is a registered nurse by profession, and has been employed as a school nurse. She received a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained to ministry in 2015. She is married to Jon with whom she co-pastors the First Baptist Church of Rutland, Vermont.  Both are natives of West Virginia and are parents of four children.  Her spiritual gifts include listening. She enjoys Bible study and teaching.  

    Rev. Angel Sullivan
    is an American Baptist-endorsed chaplain, serving as a Staff Chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hospital-Bay Care Health Systems, in Tampa, Florida. She grew up in Rochester, New York, earning a college degree in Communication/Visual Communication (1995), followed by a Master of Divinity from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (2004). For one year during her seminary experience she served as AB Women's Ministries intern, helping the board to learn about issues important to young women. From 2012-2015 she served as an adult member of the AB GIRLS National Leadership Team, and she led ABWM’s “Transformed by the Spirit” Action Learning Team, which addressed ABWM’s challenge to engage younger generations of women in its ministries. 

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    (610) 768-2288 · info@abwministries.org