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Meet Our New Board Members!

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January 22, 2019

Join us in welcoming four new members to our board of directors as well as one returning member serving a second three-year term.

The BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz membership overwhelmingly chose to affirm our 2018-2019 slate of candidates. Newly-elected board memebrs include Rev. Jaime Escobar (New York, NY), Verónica Garibay-Bravo (Querétaro, México), Rev. Gail Hill (Chico, CA) and Rev. Jessica Torres-Torres (Scottsdale, AZ). We also welcome back Rev. Anita Peebles (Seattle, WA) who was elected to serve a second three-year term.

We also welcome Melissa Schellinger Gutierrez as our newest Youth and Young Adult (TYAYA) Representative. The TYAYA Reps are elected by the youth and young adults each year at Summer Conference.

Find out more about these members below, and click here to learn more about all of our current board members.


Members serving a 1st three-year term

Rev. Jaime Escobar

Rev. Jaime Escobar (he/him/his; él) was born in Chile but had to relocate with his family during the Pinochet regime. He now lives in New York and serves as Associate Pastor at the Spanish American Baptist Church in Union City, New Jersey. He learned about BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz through friends (Cheryl Dudley, Amaury Tañón-Santos, Fela Barrueto) as they are involved in the good and necessary work of the organization. Jaime is bi-vocational and also works as an optician in New York City. Jaime acknowledges his gifts as a talented administrator with good organizational skills. He is a teacher and also a conflict resolution facilitator.

Verónica Garibay-Bravo

Verónica Garibay-Bravo (she/her/hers; ella) lives in Querétaro, México, with her husband Rubén and their two children Mateo and Paula. After attending the 2017 Peace Camp at Campo Mazahua, Verónica became very keen in joining BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz to learn how to foster peace and justice in her community among children and teenagers; to offer her skills and experience to serve God by contributing to the achievements of BPFNA’s mission and vision. Verónica holds a degree in Chemical Engineering and an MSc in Environmental Technology. She has 20+ years’ experience in environmental policymaking, both with the Mexican government and the private sector. Her professional experience includes working with trans-disciplinary teams in projects of diverse complexity and scale. In doing so she has cultivated her leadership, teamwork, as well as management and writing skills, both in Spanish and English. Starting August 2017, Verónica embarked on a PhD in Science Communication to enhance communication processes between scientists and stakeholders towards improved, evidence-based environmental policymaking. Verónica and Rubén joined Shalom Church, a Mexico City-based church led by Baptist pastors Javier Ulloa and Rebeca Montemayor, in 2003. In 2008, she and Rubén became teachers in the preschoolers Sunday school group and in 2010 the couple was invited to become advisors to the youth group. At the end of this year (2018) the Garibay-Bravo family is planning to start a Bible Study in Querétaro (where they live since 2012) sponsored by Shalom Church and guided by the pastoral staff.

Rev. Gail Hill

Rev. Gail Hill (she/her/hers; ella) is currently serving as pastor of Chico First Baptist Church in Chico, CA. She comes with a business background; being part of ABC life and has also attended several Peace Camps throughout the years. Gail is seeking Board membership because 2018 Election: Board of Directors she has a desire to become more involved with the work of peacemaking and social justice. Prior to becoming an ordained minister, Gail spent 20 years in the advertising and marketing industry. From there, she entered SMU Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, TX. During her time there, she was mentored by Dr. Isabel Docampo, who led her to Park Road Baptist Church for her internship in Charlotte, NC and the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America in 2009. Since that time, Gail has enjoyed pastoring a church near Rochester, NY, attending Peace Camps, and marrying the love of her life, Tom Hill. Her current areas of interest include creating a new program with the Interfaith council in Chico regarding “Fear of the Other” and getting involved with immigration concerns on our borders with Mexico.

Rev. Jessica Torres-Torres

Rev. Jessica Torres Torres (she/her/hers; ella) is a pastor, currently serving in the area of hospitality at First Baptist Church of Scottsdale and gave workshops in Hispanic Baptist Church in Glendale, AZ. She grew up, and pastored several years in Puerto Rico. She also graduated from Evangelical Seminary in Puerto Rico. Her ministry interests are creation care and social justice. Jessica learned about BPFNA ~ Buatistas por la Paz through her professors while in seminary (Dr. Doris García, Dr. Guillermo Ramírez, Rvdo. Ricardo Mayol). She also participated in two BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz sponsored events; The Conference of the Network of Churches for Afro Indigenous, Latin American and Caribbean Peace; and an event at the Mayense Intercultural Seminary in 2014. In 2016, Jessica submitted a proposal for sponsorship to BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz for the First Encounter with Creation event, which was developed by the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico. Jessica possesses varied gifts including organizational, teamwork, coordinating and writing skills.

Members serving a 2nd three-year term

Rev. Anita Peebles

(Anita has served three years, two years as a TYAYA representative and an additional year filled an unexpired term. She is now starting a full three-year term.)

Rev. Anita Peebles (she/her/hers; ella) grew up in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, exploring the beautiful Great Lakes through camping and kayaking and attending First United Methodist Church of Eaton Rapids. Anita attended Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, where she earned a B.A. in Religion and a B.A. in Environmental Studies. During her education there, she attended Peace Community Church in Oberlin (ABC-USA and Alliance of Baptists). Anita graduated from Vanderbilt Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee with a Master of Divinity in 2018. In April 2018, Rev. Anita was ordained by Glendale Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, a congregation affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and pastored by Rev. Dr. Amy Mears and Rev. April Baker. Pastor Anita is humbled to be serving as Associate Pastor for Next Generation Ministries at Seattle First Baptist Church, where she works accompanying children, youth, young adults and families at SFBC along their faith journeys.

TYAYA Representative

Michelle Schellinger Gutierrez

Michelle Schellinger Gutierrez (she/her/hers; ella) was raised in Tijuana, a city along the US/Mexico border, and became aware of the impact and devastation of borders and how they affected entire families and communities. This understanding, rooted in her experience and faith, led her to pursue a degree in Social Work from Eastern University in Philadelphia, PA, in 2015. Since she concluded her studies, she has worked as a counselor to unaccompanied minors and as a case manager and advocate for children and families in the Philadelphia Child Welfare System. Currently, Michelle is pursuing a Dual Masters degree in Divinity and Social Work at Boston University. She hopes these degrees will help her in the varied and diverse work to further peace and justice around the world. Michelle has long-standing ties with BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz and the Baptist faith and tradition. Her parents, Ray and Adalia, are deeply tied to the Baptist world. They have worked for International Ministries as missionaries for over 25 years. Michelle, along with her family, has also attended several Summer Conferences since she was in high school, and in the past three conferences she has been part of the leadership for the children’s program. Michelle is extremely excited to be joining the Board. She looks forward to this as a learning opportunity and hopes to contribute to the incredible work of BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz.



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