General Secretary Search Committee

ABCUSA > General Secretary Search Committee


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

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)