VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/11/16)—On October 2, 2016, Marilyn Raatz was commissioned by American Baptist International Ministries (IM) for mission service in Africa.
This was a historic moment for Cape Cod’s Brewster Baptist Church. As Lead Pastor the Rev. Dr. Doug Scalise stated, “As far as I know, over the more-than-190-year history of the congregation, this is the first time our very own missionary has been commissioned.”
Raatz will serve as a regional consultant residing in Cape Town, South Africa, assisting IM partner organizations throughout Africa in promoting peace and justice in ministry. She will do this by providing instruction, skills training, guidance and coaching for young leaders entering the pastorate or careers in education, civil service or the private sector.
Scalise emphasized the importance of Raatz’s ministry, saying: “God is asking you, Marilyn, to walk with him, even as Jesus said, ‘Follow me.’ This means standing up for the powerless-those who face injustice and those who are hurting and need a little kindness. The world right now needs peace, justice and reconciliation, which is what Marilyn will be seeking to provide.”
During the commissioning message, the Rev. Dr. Reid Trulson, recently retired IM Executive Director, expounded on Raatz’s calling: “Marilyn, God has called you . . . to use your knowledge, skills and wisdom, your wise counsel, to pursue peace and to teach others how to transform conflict into ways of living together with one another in peace . . . to give faithful witness to Jesus, who is the truth and the source of peace.”
As the service concluded, Raatz expressed her gratitude and praise for the opportunity to enter into full-time mission service: “I thank God for this ministry of peace, justice and reconciliation. I am awed and honored to be a small part of it. This work is gaining momentum. We know as Christians that the world is not falling apart and that the old responses to conflict and violence simply don’t solve problems in lasting ways. The new path is the path of Jesus. If we are to really follow him, we must understand how crucial the work truly is of teaching peace, advocating for biblical social justice and working for reconciliation.”
Raatz’s Mission Partnership Team was also installed at the service. Ruthann Stevenson, IM’s Mission Partnership coordinator, commissioned the U.S.-based team to serve on Raatz’s behalf.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.