Ayda Patricia Martin is elected president of GEMN

Global Episcopal Mission Network
Posted Jul 5, 2022

Patricia Martin, Molly O’Brien, Grace Burton-Edwards, Bill Kunkle

Ms. Ayda Patricia Martin of the Diocese of the Dominican Republic was elected president of the Global Episcopal Mission Network (GEMN) at the meeting of the GEMN Board on June 7.  She is the first GEMN president from a diocese beyond the continental United States.  Martin previously served as vice president and succeeds Titus Presler as president.

Martin has worked in the missionary teams coordination office of the Dominican Episcopal Church and has contributed to the growth and strengthening of the mission of the church at the congregational, diocesan and international levels through ecumenical work, planning, and development of youth and adult programs. With administrative experience in multinational companies, she is a member of the Iglesia San Andrés de Santo Domingo. She completed secondary studies at San Andrés Episcopal College and studied business administration at La Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña in Santo Domingo. She serves in licensed lay ministry and is a cursillista.

Elected vice president was Ms. Molly O’Brien, a member of the Global Mission Commission of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, where she is a member of Christ Church, Ithan, and St. Martin’s Church, Radnor. After visits with Cristosal in La Iglesia Anglicana de El Salvador, O’Brien helped found the Vermont-based Cristosal Base Community. She served as administrative coordinator for the Center for Anglican Communion Studies at Virginia Theological Seminary. She holds a B.A. in Spanish and anthropology from Smith College and is working on a master’s degree in public policy at George Mason University. O’Brien served as GEMN’s interim coordinator in 2021.

Elected to a second term as secretary was the Rev. Dr. Grace Burton-Edwards, a member of the Global Mission Commission of the Diocese of Atlanta and rector of St. Thomas’ Church in Columbus, Georgia. A member of the Standing Commission on World Mission (SCWM), she co-edited the SCWM publication, Becoming a World where Love is the Way: Guiding Principles for World Mission, and is the originator and co-author of the GEMN study guide, Questing: The Way of Love in Global Mission. Burton-Edwards holds a B.A. from Mississippi College, M.Div. from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, and D.Min. from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary.

Appointed treasurer was Mr. Bill Kunkle, executive director of the Province IX Development Group and former executive director of the Dominican Development Group. Kunkle served as an appointed missionary to the Diocese of the Dominican Republic through DFMS and then as an Episcopal Volunteer in Mission. A former GEMN Board member, he serves on the Companion Diocese Committee of the Diocese of Southwest Florida. Kunkle is the founder and president of Kunkle Contracting in Tampa.

Appointed assistant treasurer was the Rev. David Kendall-Sperry, rector of St. Peter’s Church in Delaware, Ohio, a member of the National and World Mission Commission of the Diocese of Southern Ohio, and secretary of the diocese’s Standing Committee. Kendall-Sperry is a former GEMN Board member.

GEMN officers serve one-year terms and are elected internally by the Board. See here for profiles of officers and other Board members.

The purpose of GEMN – a network of mission-activist dioceses, congregations, agencies, seminaries, religious orders and individuals – is to gather, inspire and equip people to participate in God’s mission. Its core values are humility, inclusion and companionship.