The Rev. Robert Chase, the UCC's communication director, is leaving to become director of a New York-based justice organization.
The consistory of Collegiate Church of New York has called Chase to be founding director of Intersections, a major global initiative that hopes to build a culture of justice and peace by creating opportunities for people and organizations to come together to share diverse viewpoints.
"Bob's gifts to the UCC have been enormous," said the Rev. John H. Thomas, general minister and president. "His creativity, professionalism, and passion have helped to create a communication ministry here and within the ecumenical community that has set a new standard of excellence."
As founding director of the new $40-million-endowed Intersections, Chase will coordinate a process for launching the organization, as well as its priority areas and program possibilities.
"This new initiative will innovatively bring people together who have fundamental ideological differences," said Chase, a UCC minister. "We want to forge practical strategies that will promote both justice and reconciliation, within a context of mutual respect."
Since 1999, Chase has served as team leader for the UCC's Proclamation, Identity and Communication Ministry Team, where he was one of the architects of the denomination's highly successful "God is still speaking" advertising and identity campaign. He also served as publisher of United Church News, with a circulation of more than 200,000, and directed the UCC's web ministry and award-winning video production department.
Chase also served simultaneously as executive director of the UCC's Office of Communication, Inc. (OC, Inc.), the denomination's historic media advocacy organization, based in Washington, D.C., that seeks media access for all sectors of society, especially those who have been historically marginalized.
Edith A. Guffey, associate general minister, has worked closely with Chase as administrator of the Office of General Ministries, which includes the church's communications ministry.
"The United Church of Christ has been a grateful recipient of Bob's leadership," Guffey said. "His vision for the communications ministry, his creativity and commitment to excellence has been evident in all that he has accomplished in his work here. Even as he prepares to move to new challenges, he leaves his imprint on the important work of telling the UCC story. We will miss him as a leader and a friend."