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New Directors Appointed to Lead Conference Youth Ministry Programs 

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Kenia Reyes de Leon and Shawn Paris will join the conference as new department directors in December. 

The Chesapeake Conference Executive Committee recently approved a reconfiguration of the conference’s youth, young adult and children’s ministries departments and elected two new directors.

The committee appointed Kenia Reyes de Leon as youth and young adult ministries director and Shawn Paris as camp ministries and missions director. Ann Reynolds will now serve exclusively as the children’s ministries director.

Reyes de Leon and Paris will begin their new roles on Dec. 1.

“This is an exciting and important moment of change for Chesapeake, especially for those in the age category of zero through young adult,” says Jerry Lutz, Chesapeake Conference president. “The combined experience, unique skill sets and spiritual gifts of these three directors will be the catalyst for the growth and expansion of their respective ministries. While honoring the many positive accomplishments and blessings of the past, they will lead the way forward, working together in the advancement of children’s, youth, young adult, and family ministries in our conference.”

Reyes de Leon comes to the Chesapeake Conference from the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, where she has served as a senior editorial assistant in the youth ministries department since 2019. During her time at the General Conference, she has also appeared as a TV host on Hope Channel’s “Bible Help’ Desk” and as a regular anchor on Adventist News Network’s “ANN World News.”

Originally from the Bronx in New York, Reyes de Leon brings extensive experience in youth ministry and Pathfinders from her time as a lay leader in the Greater New York Conference, where she served as an area coordinator and Pathfinder drill master. She reports being actively involved in leading youth ministry since she was a teenager.

Reyes de Leon says she looks forward to meeting youth and young adult ministry leaders around the conference and getting to know the Chesapeake Conference culture. She says she’s excited to brainstorm with leaders to see “what we can come up with that can work for this generation.”

Paris will serve in the newly created camp ministries and missions director position, which will involve leading the conference’s summer camp ministry at Mt. Aetna Retreat Center and directing FLAG camps at church locations around the conference. Paris will also be responsible for overseeing conference mission trips.

Paris is no stranger to the Chesapeake Conference, having pastored in the conference since 2008, most recently as pastor of the Willow Brook (Boonsboro, Md.) church. Paris previously served as senior pastor of the Atholton (Columbia, Md.) church and youth pastor at the Spencerville (Silver Spring, Md.) church.

Paris says he believes the new configuration of youth, young adult and children’s ministries in the conference will provide more significant opportunities to disciple young people for Jesus. He says his goal is to find new ways to better empower ministry at the local level by “putting the resources of the conference into the hands of the local congregation.”

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