Regional Executive Minister: Rev. Dr. Marie Onwubuariri
The Reverend Dr. Marie Onwubuariri has been serving as the Regional Executive Minister (REM) of the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin since August 2014. What originally drew her to ABC/WI is the region’s mission statement highlighting the centrality of the love of God known in Jesus Christ, and the call for covenantal unity (not uniformity) and for a shared faith and missional journey. What continues to compel and excite her about this ministry call are the people who strive for these values and the multiple avenues and expressions available in the region to live into this mission. Rev. Marie understands her role as REM is to build upon this strong foundation and shepherd a new chapter of associational life in which the region office, its staff, and leadership continually become an effective resource that compels and equips our ministers and ministries toward rootedness, collaboration, growth, and transformation for the sake of a relevant and engaging Christian witness in Wisconsin and beyond.
In her pastoral, administrative, and educational ministries Rev. Marie strives to embody an approach that integrates cultural self-knowing, interpersonal and organizational practices that affirm the value of and ensure equity for all people, and a deep trust in the work of the Triune God. She has been shaped through her work experiences as a seminary admissions director, Pastor and ministerial staff member at three America Baptist churches in the San Francisco Bay area, crosscultural competency trainer, volunteer in various roles within the denomination, executive in the retail industry, and from a lifetime of straddling the intersections of multiple cultures. She also offers her gifts in bridge-building, gracious and collaborative leadership, hospitality, communication, and holistic administration.
Her educational training includes a BS in Business Management at Binghamton University (NY), and a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry at ABSW (Berkeley, CA). She looks forward to continue to develop her doctoral work focused on raising up a new generation of holistic intercultural transformational leaders through a character-forming spiritual practice incorporating cultural self-knowing and negotiation, cross-cultural competency, and self-care. She also is co-editor and chapter contributor of Trouble the Water: A Christian Resource for the Work of Racial Justice (Nurturing Faith, 2017).
Rev. Marie is grateful for the diverse realities within her region, among her ministry networks, and in her personal life as wife, mother, family member, friend, and community member, which all continue to teach her and keep her accountable to the justice call of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Her balancing grace is each opportunity she can take to share her gifts as poet, photographer, and pianist with others. Rev. Marie’s home is in Brookfield, Wisconsin where she lives with husband Franklin, and children Anaya and Sol.
Associate Regional Minister - Education: Rev. Dr. John Jones IV
Dr. John A. Jones IV was appointed as Associate Regional Minister-Education, effective January 1, 2017. This appointment includes responsibilities of the Site Coordinator of CENTRAL Wisconsin CBTS, inclusive of the Hispanic Lay Institute and the Korean-Language program that meets at the Elm Grove offices. Prior to assuming this position, John has taught classes at CENTRAL since 2008.
Originally from the south, John grew up in Georgia, graduating with a B.A. from Mercer University in Christianity, Psychology, and Greek in 1991. He enjoyed a year at Regents Park College of Oxford University in England before pursuing the M.Div. degree at the Baptist House of Studies of Duke Divinity School in North Carolina where he graduated in 1995. Soon thereafter he received Southern Baptist Church ordination through his home church Shirley Hills Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Georgia. He served as pastor of Crystal Hill Southern Baptist Church in Virginia for about one year before moving back to Georgia to be with his father after the passing of his mother from cancer.
In Georgia, he taught middle school mathematics, coached softball and soccer, and prepared to continue studies in theology and ethics. In 1999, John moved to Milwaukee to begin a doctoral program at Marquette University. He successfully defended his dissertation, The Costly Witness of the Church in 2006. Prior to that defense as well as in the time since, he has had the opportunity to teach as an adjunct instructor at various local schools including Marquette University, Lakeland College, Cardinal Stritch University, Mount Mary University, Viterbo University, and CENTRAL Wisconsin seminary.
In 2008 he had the good fortune of marrying Katherine Valentyn. They have two daughters, Martha and Alicia, who teach them valuable lessons daily, helping them be better parents and better people by providing both laughter and challenge. The family is involved in the congregational lives of both First Baptist Church of West Allis and St. Benedict the Moor in Milwaukee. John very much enjoys cooking for the family and trying to do some running or cycling to work off all that good food. During summer holidays you can usually find the family camping in one of the wonderful Wisconsin State Parks.
The position of Associate Regional Minister – Education is a new position in the ongoing growth and evolution of the Region ministries. The hallmarks of rootedness, growth, and collaboration that lead to transformation are built into the responsibilities of CENTRAL Seminary site coordinator, and they have been born out through John’s experience over the last several years teaching students responding to God’s call. Our rootedness in the story of God’s work in the world enables growth to meet new challenges through collaboration – we need each other to let our faith shine. That makes possible transformation: personal, communal, social. John considers it an honor to serve in this position.
Hispanic Community Liaison: Rev. Dr. Jim Carlson
Dr. Carlson serves as the ABCW Hispanic Community Liaison. He serves as a ministerial support for the four Spanish Speaking congregations in the region. His duties involve consultation, ministry support, leadership development, and advocacy for the Hispanic community. He sees his ministry as one of walking along with Hispanic congregations as they go through the different congregational life events and stages of church development. He is a resource to church leaders and seeks to empower them to respond to God's call.
Assistant Minister - Camping: Facilities and Guest Services: Rev. Kim Drost
Kim’s official title is Assistant Minister - Camping: Facilities and Guest Services; another way of thinking of the position is Minister of Hospitality. She is the one who supports the programming and usage of the camp by making sure all of its facilities are maintained and in good working order. Kim gets to help people enjoy all that Camp Tamarack has to offer and through it encounter the loving God who created it. It is her heart’s desire to do everything she can do to help more people find and enjoy this place and, more importantly, find Jesus in it.
Kim was raised Roman Catholic and decided to follow Jesus wholeheartedly in college. Baptized as an infant, she was also baptized as an adult at Bethel Baptist Church (Southern Baptist) in Oakway, SC. Her very first experience with American Baptists was in 1986 at Immanuel Baptist in Brookfield, WI, and she joined the First Baptist Church of West Allis in March of 1999. She served that church officially as Mission Education Chair and Sunday School Superintendent. She played bells in the bell choir, sang tenor in the chancel choir, and played bass with the praise team. She was active in their American Baptist Women’s Ministries (ABWM) circles, and during that time visited many of our region’s churches to do pulpit supply. She served as the ABWM State Secretary for three years and has been the President of the Wisconsin ABWM since 2014.
She has served as Camp Tamarack Head Cook as part of the Summer Staff since 2010. Cooking at Camp was her “summer job” while she spent three winters ministering in Death Valley National Park with A Christian Ministry in the National Parks. In August of 2011, her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, so she did not return to Death Valley. Instead, after her father passed in early 2012, she was called to pastor the Indian Baptist Church in Wisconsin Dells, WI and Grace Community Church in Mauston, WI. The churches were gracious enough to let their pastor continue her summer ministry at camp for the three years that she served them. In addition to the two-church pastorate, she also served as a Head Cook in the Portage, WI Community School District during the school year. You could say she takes Jesus’ command to “Feed my sheep” literally.
Kim has a B.A. in Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. As part of CENTRAL-Wisconsin CBTS’ first class, she received her M.Div in May of 2010. She was ordained by the First Baptist Church of West Allis, WI in November of 2010. She also attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and has ½ of an Electrical Engineering degree, which she hopes to finish someday.
If you do not find Kim in the Camp Tamarack maintenance shop or John Gray kitchen, you will probably find her “wogging” (faster than a walk but not really a jog and definitely NOT a run) on one of camp’s 2.5+ miles of trails. She likes playing the guitar, biking, reading, Brewers baseball and Packers football, but her absolute most favorite thing to do is be the “cool aunt” to her five nephews and two nieces.