On behalf of the Board of the Managers and staff of the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin, we are writing to inform you that Rev. Dr. Marie Onwubuariri has announced her resignation as Regional Executive Minister. After over six years, she will depart at the end of December 2020 to become the Associate General Secretary of Mission Resource Development of the American Baptist Churches USA in King of Prussia, PA, leading efforts to strengthen and sustain a climate and environment in which American Baptists are “Together in Christ, United in Mission” through the oversight of fund development, communications, marketing, and public relations.
Since 2014 our region has been richly blessed by the ministry of Dr. Onwubuariri, who has been to us a caring pastor, an able administrator, and an insightful educator. She has strengthened our core commitment to the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ and covenantal unity (not uniformity) expressed through shared faith on a missional journey. She has helped us complete the work outline in our strategic plan, which has brought staffing and organizational structure in alignment with our gifts and priorities. She has oft reminded us of the centrality of Christ, and of both the price and the promise of following our Lord into mission. Now the same Holy Spirit who led Marie to us has called her to a new and expanded role where her creative energy and servant leadership will bless even more pastors, churches, regions, and mission organizations. Why should you and I be grieved at this? We would selfishly like to keep her in Wisconsin, of course, but we must be genuinely enthused about the impact she will have, by God’s grace, through this national denominational platform that is focused on mission.
Reflecting on her ministry with ABC/WI, Dr. Onwubuariri says, “It has truly been a growing and blessed experience serving in ABC/WI over the past 6+ years. I find value in every relationship formed, ministry effort and experiment, conversation and meeting, for in all these occurrences there were at least two or three gathered, and God was with us. We have explored rootedness, collaboration, growth, and transformation in relation to our common mission and witness, and I fully trust that ABC Wisconsin is well-positioned to follow God into the next chapter of ministry. I thank all of you who have welcomed and partnered with me, both in your own ministry contexts and in the common life of the region and denomination. It has been a humbling privilege and a great joy to serve you as REM and look forward to a continued strong partnership between the region and ABCUSA.”
During the next few months, we will be bringing closure to the chapter of work begun under Dr. Onwubuariri’s leadership. Prayer is a priority during this season of transition. Please pray for Marie and her beautiful family as they move to a new place of service. Join our Board of Managers in praying for discernment regarding appropriate next steps toward the future of ABC/WI. As a region we are uniquely gifted for the work of justice and reconciliation so desperately needed today. Advised by Dr. C. Jeff Woods, Interim General Secretary of ABCUSA, the Board will be in regular communication with you every step of the way. A faithful way forward comes with a price – and a promise. The future is as bright as the promises of God.
Rev. Fred Oaks
President, ABC Wisconsin
You may soon visit www.abc-usa.org for an announcement from the Office of the General Secretary regarding Dr. Onwubuariri’s new ministry call.