Who We Are


Staff

Justin Rabbach

Executive Director

Justin lives in Waukesha, WI, having moved there from Chicago where he lived for four years after he graduated in May 2012 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with his Master’s in International Public Affairs, focusing on International Development. He received his undergraduate degree from the same University majoring in Economics and Social Welfare.

Justin grew up in Ebenezer Moravian Church in Watertown, WI, and got involved in mission work following a trip to Nicaragua in 2007 that really opened his eyes to the possibilities of building relationships and serving God abroad. Since then God has taken him time and again through “new” experiences, and he has found himself serving and encountering God for varying lengths of time in Wisconsin, California, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Alberta, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Israel/Palestine. In these experiences Justin was able to help recruit, equip and engage peers to take part in mission opportunities through the BWM.

Before accepting his a role as a staff member, Justin served as a member of the Board of World Mission and on the executive committee through his role as vice-chair. In 2014 he was hired to become the Director of Mission Engagement, coordinating volunteer service opportunities and providing educational opportunities for congregational mission discernment.

In November of 2017, Justin began work as the Executive Director of the Board of World Mission.

Justin is excited to work with individuals and congregations. Please feel free to contact him with any and all questions related to missions, and he will do his best to answer, or at least point you in the right direction!

Contact Justin: justin@moravianmission.org

 Justin’s 2017 Staff Profile

Deb Swanson

Administrative Assistant 

Working in the Bethlehem office, Deb joined the BWM in July 2015.  She previously worked as the Administrative Assistant for the Schoeneck Moravian Church in Nazareth, in Sales and Marketing for the IBOC at the Moravian Church Center Office in Bethlehem, and as an Associate Product Manager for Aesculap/B.Braun in Center Valley, PA.  She is a member of Edgeboro Moravian Church in Bethlehem.

She and her husband David live in Bethlehem with their Golden Retriever, Harley. Deb has two children, Amy and Stephen; as well as three step-children, Elizabeth, Joseph and Samuel.

Contact Deb: deb@moravianmission.org

Rex Knowlton

Treasurer

Rex joined the staff as Treasurer in July 2015.  Rex has been involved with finances since graduating from Rutgers in 1975.   Rex has served in a variety of leadership roles in his home church, Palmyra Moravian in Cinnaminson NJ, and has served as Treasurer of the Church since the early nineties.

Rex is blessed to work with several smaller companies on accounting and financial related tasks through the Knowlton Advisors, LLC.  Rex worked for almost thirty years in assuring access to non-emergency medical transportation in Philadelphia and surrounding areas through Wheels of Wellness, starting as Finance Director and moving onto Executive Director from shortly after college graduation through 2005.

Rex works to improve surface transportation across the country having served as one of ten Coordination Ambassadors working through the Federal Transit Administrations United We Ride program from 2005 through 2012 and more recently through Community Transportation Association of Americans Tribal Transit program which assist native American nations to access or build appropriate transportation.

Rex and his wife Gina recently celebrated forty years of marriage and enjoy the company of their two children Justin and Megan and their mates Timmy and Tommy and as importantly, the three grandchildren Kaeli, Sammy and Jamie!

Contact Rex: rex@moravianmission.org

Rt. Rev. Samuel J. Gray

Director of Mission Outreach

Sam was born in Winston-Salem, NC. His intercultural experience began at an early age when his parents, the Rev. and Mrs. Joe Gray, took him to Nicaragua when he was 5 weeks old. He lived in Nicaragua for 11 years; his mother taught her five children all through elementary school. He gave his life to Christ at an old fashioned revival service at Grace Moravian Church in Mt. Airy, NC in 1968.

After graduating from The Stony Brook School (Long Island, NY) in 1972, Sam attended Moravian College from 1972 – 1976, majoring in Religion. He was active in choir, band, the Campus Christian Association and a jazz band, “The Brethren.”

He worked for the Moravian Church in Honduras for one year, organizing a student group in Tegucigalpa.

In 1978 he returned to Moravian College for further study in Elementary Education and then attended Fuller Seminary (Pasadena, CA) in the summer of 1979.

In January 1980 he began full-time service for the Board of World Mission in Honduras as a high school teacher, Director of the Bible Institute, Christian Education Director, Student Group Organizer, and founding pastor of Israel Moravian Church in Tegucigalpa, serving there for 13 1/2 years. During that time, he married Lorena Alvarez, a Registered Nurse, from Cocobila, Honduras.

Sam returned to Moravian Theological Seminary in 1993, graduating in 1996 with a M.Div. and was ordained as a deacon in May, 1996. He served as Assistant Pastor of Emmaus Moravian Church and Director of Youth Ministries for the Eastern District of the Northern Province.

Sam and Lorena have three sons: Luke, Tim and Christian David, as well as two grand-daughters, Rachel and Gabriella Marie.

Contact Sam: sam@moravianmission.org

Sheila Beaman

Administrative Assistant

Working in the Winston-Salem office, Sheila has served the BWM for 29 years, previously working in secular business administrative positions. Currently, she is a member of Macedonia Moravian and serves as a Sunday School teacher, band member, and choir member. She enjoys playing clarinet in the Salem Concert Band.

She and her husband Charles have two sons, David and Jonathan, and three grandchildren, Abigail, Joshua, and Tabitha.

Contact Sheila: sbeaman@mcsp.org

Sheila’s 2017 Staff Profile

Jill Kolodziej

Director of Mission Service

Jill Kolodziej serves as the Director of Mission Service of the BWM who engages individuals in cross-cultural service across the worldwide Unity. The Director coordinates the collaborative exchange with the people who are the site hosts, those that receive the volunteers, as well as the cultural, ecclesial, spiritual, and logistical preparation of the servant or servants.

Jill was inspired at a young age to engage in mission by a missionary visiting her church. Over the years her husband, John, and three daughters, Sarah, Janelle, and Lauren have joined her or been involved on their own in serving others through domestic and international opportunities. Their spouses also volunteer within the community. Another generation, a granddaughter, Jordyn Grace, has begun to serve in their community of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The other five grandchildren, Mekhi, Eli, Lucy, Gus, and Fern will also be invited to join Jill as they are able.

Jill began as a volunteer with the Board of World Mission in 2006 and has been employed part time since 2009 to the present.

A Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Education and Master of Theology from Moravian Seminary has served her well in understanding God’s presence and mission in the world and how the work of the BWM supports that mission.

Contact Jill: jill@moravianmission.org

Rt. Rev. Chris Giesler

Director of Mission Engagement

Chris begins his ministry with the Board of World Mission in September of 2018 and feels that his lifelong connection with the Moravian Church and its mission focus has prepared him for this new opportunity.

Chris brings with him a wide range of experiences having been served by and serving the wider Moravian community. He lived in Nicaragua, where his parents were serving as Moravian missionaries, until he was nine years old. At that time his family moved to Winston-Salem, NC, where he was an active part of the Friedberg, King, and Bethabara Moravian congregations as his father served as pastor. While serving on the M-Staff for six summers at Laurel Ridge he felt the call to serve the Lord and the Moravian Church and thus continued his studies at Moravian College and Theological Seminary. During his college years he met his future wife Tina and they were married while he was in seminary. Following his graduation Chris was ordained in 1986 and then served as pastor of the Bethesda and Redeemer congregations in the Southern Province. From there he served for eight years as the Chaplain at Moravian College and Theological Seminary and then became the Director of Youth Ministry for the Eastern District, leading workshops, youth events, camps, and retreats. In this role he also helped to organize many of the Youth and Young Adult Convos of the 1990s and 2000s. From there he served as pastor of the Edgeboro and Emmaus congregations in the Eastern District, continuing his active involvement with camping ministry. He was elected a Bishop of the Moravian Unity by the Synod of the Northern Province in 2010. Chris and Tina have two adult children, their spouses, and four grandchildren, who light up their lives. He enjoys running and traveling, but mostly spending quality time with his family.

Chris’ main focus with the Board of World Mission is to keep congregations and their members informed about Board of World Mission initiatives, as well as to help them find their own mission passion for the neighborhoods in which they are located. He also hopes to assist individuals to hear God’s voice, discern their spiritual gifts and call, and to respond in loving service.

Contact Chris: chris@moravianmission.org


Board

The board members on the Board of World Mission are selected by the Synods of the: Moravian Church, Southern Province; the Synods of the Eastern, Western, and Canadian Districts of the Northern Province; the Synod of the Moravian Church in Alaska; the Mission Society of the Moravian Church, Southern Province; and by the Directors of the Board of World Mission.

Current members of the Board of World Mission:

Southern Province

Tommy Cole

Hilda Regalado

Joe Jarvis

Mission Society of the Southern Province

Alina Ricardo Cukiernik

Northern Province

Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller

Northern Province – Western District

Lisa Pampe

Taylor Wickert

Northern Province – Eastern District

Rev. David Geyer

Rebecca Turnbull

Northern Province – Canadian District

Donna Gordon

Alaska Province

Rev. Clifford Jimmie

Rev. Arthur Coolidge (mission representative, non-voting)

Unity of the Brethren, Texas

David Miller

Board Appointees

Thomas Baucom

Affiliated Membership

Rev. Dr. Errol Connor (Eastern West Indies Province, non-voting)

Phyllis Smith-Seymour (Jamaica, non-voting)

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