The Compassionate Widow

I am currently an active member of Oak Creek Assembly of God, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, where I enjoy serving within the SHIFT Student Ministries and participating in multiple Women’s Ministries and outreach and missions’ projects.    I am the mother of four children, two daughters, Sabree Cotton, and Sanaiah Hibbler; two sons, the late Justin Hibbler and Jehryl Hibbler and a loving son-in-law Donovan Cotton.  I am also a devoted grandmother to Jayda Bartee and Jordyn Cotton. 

Over the past 20 years in ministry leadership, I have held many titles and served in churches with the states of Wisconsin and Mississippi, alongside my late husband Pastor Steve Hibbler.   On January 10, 2021, my ministry title changed from Administrative Pastor and First Lady, to Senior Pastor and Widow.

My new ministry title is “The Compassionate Widow.”   I claim it a Badge of Honor.  It carries with it a spiritual meaning; acting to alleviate the suffering of others.

Compassion for others is the legacy that the late Pastor Steve Hibbler left behind.  He carried a “quivering in his heart,” which called him to move on behalf of anyone who was suffering.  He was never afraid to open up his heart and allow it to feel the suffering in the world, despite his own emotional wounds and personal pain.

I am forever Grateful for the Great Works, the Lord orchestrated through our union, which helped prepare me for his transition.  Preserving his legacy is the inspiration behind my first book; “Navigating a Hurricane of Hurts: Strategies to Prepare for, Respond to and Recover from Loss.”  While writing, the Lord birthed a new ministry, “Heart 2 Heart Compassionate Widow’s Circles, Inc.” It is a non-profit 501(c)(3) which seeks to embrace the model of Jesus Christ to mentor and encourage the oppressed, fatherless and widows. – Isaiah 1:17 (NKJV).  This ministry bridges the gap between church and community while empowering participants towards independence and self-sufficiency, via their participation in the Compassionate Widow’s Circles.

I have over 25 years of public service experience during which I have been instrumental in developing and implementing emergency operations plans, serving as a 9-1-1 dispatcher, patrolling high crime ridden areas as a law enforcement officer, and teaching literacy skills while performing the duties of a branch librarian.  Over the past two years, I have served as a Fire and Police Commissioner within the City of Oak Creek, Wisconsin.   My vast experience has enabled me to draw upon leadership skills from both a Christian and a secular setting.

I desire to meet the diverse needs of the individuals and organizations I serve by   equipping leaders with simple, insightful ways to interact more positively with others and to drive their personal achievements off the charts.

”Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

–Romans 12:2 (NIV)

Break The Stigma:
In Memory of Justin Hibbler

On March 12, 2020, I lost my oldest son, Justin Hibbler, to suicide.  Although suicide was and continues to be a leading cause of death among young adults, churches, schools and hospitals had no uniform model for preventing suicide. Communities continue to struggle to overcome the shame and secrecy that prevents honest discussion of mental health.

In 2000, the Jed Foundation (JED) was formed to surmount these hurdles and launch a blueprint for prevention. Today, JED is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to young adult mental health. With your support, together we can help students navigate the emotional challenges of high school and college, prepare for adulthood, and thrive.

Help me raise funds for the Jed Foundation. It is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults, giving them the skills and support they need to thrive today…and tomorrow.  

Thanks in advance for your support!

-Genene Onaye, The Compassionate Widow 

“Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.”
— Isaiah 1:17 (NKJV)