The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Edwin Baker is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries serving as the coordinator of the Peter D. Weaver Congo Partnership, based in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He was commissioned in June 2015. His wife Donna is also a missionary.
The Peter D. Weaver Congo Partnership, named for a retired bishop, is a mission collaboration of the Central Congo Episcopal Area and a network of annual conferences in the United States. It was initiated around 2002 in covenant between the Central Congo Episcopal Area and the Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference, and has grown to include the Eastern Pennsylvania and Western North Carolina conferences. Its inception took place during the episcopacy of Bishop Weaver in the Philadelphia Area, which included Peninsula-Delaware.
As partnership coordinator, Jonathan works closely with the area episcopal leader, Bishop David Yemba, in planning the mission outreach and service in a region where The United Methodist Church is growing rapidly. The partnership puts strong emphasis on the physical, emotional, and spiritual welfare of the people.
Jonathan Baker is a clergy member of the Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference, where his charge conference is Epworth United Methodist Church, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. His and Donna’s US home has most recently been in The Villages, Florida.
A native of Delaware and the son of a parsonage family, Jonathan studied at Wesley College in Dover, Delaware and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania. He earned both Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry degrees from Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC. He pastored the Cecilton United Methodist Parish and was senior pastor of Epworth Church twice, from 1982 to 1996 and from 2008 to 2013. Between those appointments, he was the council director for the Peninsula-Delaware Conference and senior pastor of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Wilmington.
His father and grandfather were both Methodist pastors, and Jonathan recalls that in the early part of his life he “resisted and even rejected the church largely due to the pressures I felt from peers to be ‘perfect.’ That was before I knew and experienced the grace of God that came through a man who was a police officer and scout leader at a crossroad in my life. Tom modeled God’s unconditional love and acceptance that encouraged my faith journey.” Jonathan set out to become a social worker, but in college experienced a call to become a pastor. He says that Donna became an important part of his faith journey as they shared “our faith and lives outside the church as well as through the church.” Regarding his ministry in the Congo, he says:
I had the privilege of chairing the Peter D. Weaver Congo Partnership for several years, allowing me the opportunity to be in mission in the Central Congo Episcopal Area for the past 10 years. In 2012, I responded to God’s call to become more involved by retiring from pastoral ministry in order to give priority to my family and the Congo Partnership…I spent five months in the DRC at my own expense coordinating various projects, assisting VIM teams, and working directly with Bishop Yemba. This experience awakened and confirmed for me the call to be in full-time service as a missionary.
Jonathan says that a major part of his work is in sharing with the churches in the US the stories of what God is doing in the Congo.
Jonathan and Donna Baker have two adult children with spouses and three granddaughters.
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