Written by Anthony Moujaes
The General Minister and President Search Committee has identified a candidate to become the ninth leader of the United Church of Christ. The Rev. John C. Dorhauer, conference minister of the Southwest Conference of the UCC, is the search committee’s candidate, named Friday, Feb.13, chosen to lead the nearly 1-million-member denomination into the future.
"John is an articulate visionary who has a deep love for the United Church of Christ and will help us shape the future of the church for years to come," said the Rev. Kent Siladi, who co-chairs the search committee.
"I am deeply humbled and honored by the trust and confidence placed in me by the search committee," Dorhauer said. "I am grateful for the work they have given over the last four-and-a-half months. Taking nothing for granted, I look forward to meeting with the full board in March."
"I believe the Holy Spirit envisions a future in which the United Church of Christ matters," he said.
Dorhauer served as associate conference minister in the Missouri Mid-South Conference for five years prior to being called to the Southwest Conference and has served churches in rural Missouri. Dorhauer has a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary, where he studied white privilege and its effects on the church.
Dorhauer’s candidacy must be confirmed first by the United Church of Christ Board of Directors by a two-thirds vote at its upcoming meeting March 19, then by the delegates of the 30th General Synod, meeting in Cleveland June 26-30, with a 60-percent majority.
The 18-member search committee spent four-and-a-half months on the process to identify a candidate for the next general minister and president. They were seeking a leader who is "a person of faith, an articulate and theologically-grounded preacher and speaker, and an innovator who leads with clarity and purpose" to act as CEO and chief spokesperson of the UCC. Dorhauer would be charged with preparing the denomination for the future by planning, coordinating and implementing the mission of the church.
"The committee made its decision after careful prayer and intentional deliberation over the past months," said the Rev. Bernard R. Wilson, co-chair of the search committee and chair of the UCC Board of Directors. "We are enthusiastic about his recommendation."
Friday's announcement concludes a search process set in motion in mid-August, when current General Minister and President the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black announced his plans to retire at the conclusion of General Synod.
The committee has spent the last several months combing through a list of potential candidates, discerning and dissecting the skills and qualifications of each applicant. In mid-January, the committee interviewed its top applicants by web conference and met with the final candidates for face-to-face interviews on Feb. 12-13.
"We are grateful to the search committee for their diligence, for their commitment to the process and for the ways in which the Holy Spirit moved among us," Siladi said. "And we are grateful for the pool of applicants representing the broad diversity of the UCC."
Past presidents and general minister and presidents of the UCC:
- Fred Hoskins & James E. Wagner, co-presidents (1957-1961)
- Ben M. Herbster, president (1961-1969)
- Robert V. Moss, president (1969-1976)
- Joseph H. Evans, president (1976-1977)
- Avery D. Post, president (1977-1989)
- Paul H. Sherry, president (1989-1999)
- John H. Thomas, general minister and president (1999-2010)
- Geoffrey A. Black, general minister and president (2010-present)