The Rev. Donald B. Wahlig
Associate Pastor for Outreach and Evangelism
A second career pastor, Don’s call to ordained ministry is rooted in his church mission and outreach experiences which began when he was a lay person at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church (MAPC) in the early 1990s. At MAPC, he served as an Elder and met his wife, Beth, in the 20s/30s group. Together, they led the senior high youth group for several years and co-chaired two stewardship campaigns.
His first taste of the life-changing power of outreach came as a participant in MAPC’s Christmas Angel ministry. Touched and inspired by this experience, he became a regular volunteer in the homeless hosting ministry at Central Presbyterian Church (CPC) in Summit, NJ, where the Wahligs relocated in the mid- 1990s.
At CPC, Don co-led mission teams to Bolivia, Peru and Malawi. These experiences opened his eyes to the tragedies of third-world poverty and disease, and to the vibrant faith of Christians in the global South.
“In South America and Africa, I experienced first-hand the power of true mutuality in mission,” Don said. “We went wanting to make a difference in the lives of people who have so little of the material blessings we enjoy. We returned surprised by how the encounter changed and blessed us.”
These experiences deepened Don’s faith as he watched God work in the lives of mission team members. Through prayer and scriptural reflection came a new appreciation of the Biblical call (Micah 6:8) to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God, who nudged Don to use his gifts to lead a congregation in spiritual transformation, especially through mission.
“The Holy Spirit works through mission in an especially powerful way to transform our faith, our lives and our world,” Don said. “As we live out Christ’s call to love God and neighbor by sharing God’s gracious love with all – especially those whom Jesus called ‘the least’ – we offer the most compelling possible invitation to engage others in our life-changing walk with Christ: the witness of our own lives.”
Having heard the call to ministry, Don earned the Master of Divinity degree (Summa Cum Laude) in 2009 from Drew Theological School in Madison, New Jersey. At Drew, he was awarded the American Bible Society prize for excellence in Biblical studies, the Robert J. Bull prize for the student with the best record in church history and the John McClintock scholarship for theological students of outstanding promise. In November of 2009 Don was called to be the Associate Pastor for Outreach and Evangelism at MAPC. Ordained a Minister of Word and Sacrament he was installed at MAPC December 13, 2009.
Prior to attending seminary, Don worked for 20 years as a marketing and sales professional. He earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Delaware and an MBA from Columbia Business School in marketing and the management of organizations. Along with daughters Emma and Jane, Don & Beth live in New Providence, New Jersey. The Wahligs enjoy skiing, tennis and spending time at their lake house in Leicester, VT.