General Secretary Search Committee

ABCUSA > General Secretary Search Committee

Overview

Following a survey released by the General Secretary Search Committee, the Committee has begun meeting and moving forward in the process to select the next General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA.

Search Committee Updates

November 10, 2022

American Baptist Churches USA President Rev. Dr. James O. Wolfe, in his role as chair of the General Secretary Search Committee, gave a report of the Search Committee at the November 4-6, 2022 Board of General Ministries meeting. He noted that the committee has continued to meet and hopes to have a position description for the General Secretary role available early in 2023, when the nomination and application process will open for the next General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA.

September 21, 2022

American Baptist Churches USA President and Chair of the General Secretary Search Committee Rev. Dr. James O. Wolfe shares a report of the work of the Search Committee to date:

The General Secretary Search Committee began its work with an in-person meeting in Tampa, Florida, January 27-29, 2022. In preparation for the meeting, committee members read the book “Sacred Decisions” by Marcia Patton and Nora Percival. Marcia Patton consulted at this first meeting and led the committee to determine a process of consensus that has guided the committee in its work.

The committee decided to retain an outside consultant to lead the consensus process. Accordingly, in March 2022 the Rev. Julie Boleyn, Director of Kaleidoscope Institute, was retained to facilitate the group process. Boleyn has continued in that role, meeting with the committee in each of its meetings.

The search committee has met monthly since January. Subsequent meetings have been conducted via Zoom. During six months of Zoom meetings, the committee has been actively engaged in reviewing the results of the Board of General Ministries survey that was made available online in February 2022. The committee was encouraged in that each of the American Baptist regions was represented in the survey.

In an effort to engage the wider denominational family in receiving input, the committee made a presentation to the National Leadership Council (NLC). Among those participating in the NLC are regional executive ministers, executive directors and representatives from our partners, and the executive directors of the American Baptist Historical Society, the American Baptist Foundation, the American Baptist Extension Corporation, American Baptist Women’s Ministries, American Baptist Men, the American Baptist Assembly and the Ministers Council. Through table discussions members of the search committee were pleased to answer questions and receive feedback on the hopes and expectations for our next General Secretary.

In June, the Board of General Ministries was presented with a report of the committee’s work. Table conversations were held during the meeting and input solicited from board directors regarding hopes and expectations for the next General Secretary.

In late July and early August, the search committee invited American Baptists from all our regions to participate in online Focus Groups. In addition to the regions American Baptist Caucuses were encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions.

The Search Committee met for the second time in person August 17-19 to review all of the valuable data and information shared with the committee through the listening sessions and survey results.

A subcommittee has been tasked with the work of drafting a position description, which will be reviewed by the entire Search Committee in upcoming meetings.


July 29, 2022

The General Secretary Search Committee has added four new Focus Group sessions. In addition, connection information for two previously scheduled Focus Group sessions has changed. Please adhere to the connection information in this announcement for Focus Group sessions moving forward. Changes are noted at the bottom of the document.

Newly added, a number of American Baptist Caucuses will be hosting Focus Group sessions, including the Alliance of Asian American Baptist Churches, National Black Caucus of the American Baptist Churches USA, American Baptist Hispanic Caucus, American Baptist Women’s Caucus, and a focus group for American Baptist Young Adults. All persons who are active members of these caucuses, or who identify with these groups, are invited to attend the Focus Group sessions.

Please join us via Zoom at one of the scheduled Focus Group times to share your thoughts as we seek the next General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA. (NOTE: If possible, join a call with others from your American Baptist region. All times listed are Eastern Time Zone.)

Each Zoom Focus Group will be hosted by a member of the Search Committee and should last for approximately one hour. Several general questions will be asked about the role and the necessary attributes of the next General Secretary. The Search Committee looks forward to hearing from American Baptists who feel called to participate in a focus group and to have a voice in the selection of the denomination’s next General Secretary.

The General Secretary Search Committee
American Baptist Churches USA


July 20, 2022

The Search Committee for the next General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA seeks your input!

In late July and early August, the Search Committee will be holding a number of Zoom focus groups scheduled by region, and would like to invite all American Baptists who feel called to participate in a focus group and to have a voice in the selection of the denomination’s next General Secretary.

Please join us via Zoom at one of the scheduled focus group times to share your thoughts as we seek the next General Secretary of American Baptist Churches USA.  (NOTE: If possible, join a call with others from your American Baptist region. All times listed are Eastern Time Zone.)

Each Zoom focus group will be hosted by a member of the Search Committee and should last for approximately one hour. Several general questions will be asked about the role and the necessary attributes of the next General Secretary.

Thank you in advance for your participation in this important task on behalf of our denomination.

The General Secretary Search Committee
American Baptist Churches USA

 


May 5, 2022

The General Secretary Search Committee began its work on January 27, 2022, with an in-person meeting held in Tampa, Florida. At that initial meeting the committee determined to use the consensus model of decision-making for all subsequent deliberations and decisions. An outside consultant was subsequently hired to facilitate this process.

Since the first meeting in January the committee has conducted three meetings via Zoom. Central in these meetings has been a focus on the results of the survey that was distributed through the ABCUSA website concerning the role and expectation of the General Secretary. The committee is very grateful to everyone who participated in the survey process. The comments and concerns raised by the survey will be instrumental in constructing a job description and expectations for the next General Secretary.

The search committee is grateful for your prayers and patience as we discern God’s will in selecting our next General Secretary.


February 2, 2022

The Board of General Ministries, the American Baptist Churches USA governing board, is currently in the process of seeking information regarding the priorities for the next General Secretary, whose term will begin in 2024.

The board released a survey which remained open through March 5, 2022. All feedback received by this deadline will help the current General Secretary search committee develop a profile of a desired candidate.

The committee tasked with the search for the next General Secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA met in Tampa, Fla., January 27-29, 2022. At the initial meeting of the committee, decisions were made concerning the process the committee will follow in its search for the next General Secretary.

Rev. Dr. James O. Wolfe, president of American Baptist Churches USA, said, “One of the most important components of the committee’s process is a survey which is being released to the denominational family today. It is very important that everyone involved take the time to complete the survey. Thank you for your cooperation, prayers, and support.”

The members of the Search Committee are:

Rev. Dr. James Wolfe (President/Chair)
Karen Podsiadly (Past President)
Dr. Louis Barbarin, representing American Baptist Home Mission Societies, International Ministries, and MMBB Financial Services
Rev. Abner Cotto-Bonilla, representing the ABCUSA Intercaucus
Judith Christiansen, Board of General Ministries (New York State)
Stephanie Commandest, Board of General Ministries (Evergreen Association)
Rev. Dr. Emmett Dunn, Board of General Ministries (District of Columbia)
Rev. Dr. Al Fletcher, Regional Executive Ministers Council (Maine)
Kurt Kaufman, Board of General Ministries (Wisconsin)
Rev. Dr. James Kelsey, Regional Executive Ministers Council (New York State)
Rev. Kathryn Ray, Board of General Ministries (Metro Chicago)
Rev. Jacquline Saxon, Regional Executive Ministers Council (Mid-American)
Rev. Dr. Daryl Ward, Board of General Ministries (Ohio)
Shawna Simmons, Board of General Ministries (Greater Indianapolis)