Even though she "retired" as a conference minister in 2010, the Rev. Davida Foy Crabtree has no problems sharing her gifts and expertise with the wider church. In the post-retirement portion of her ministry, Crabtree is getting ready to step into her second short term role as a conference leader in the United Church of Christ. The Florida Conference of the UCC recently called Crabtree to serve as the interim conference minister, beginning on Oct. 24, to succeed the Rev. Kent Siladi — who ironically succeeded Crabtree when he became the Connecticut Conference Minister in the spring.
"I do love conference ministry because I know what a difference it makes for churches, pastors and mission partners, so it is life-giving to be back in these short-term roles," Crabtree said of her new role in Florida. She recently concluded a 14 week assignment as the Acting Conference Minister of the Missouri-Mid South Conference of the UCC.
Crabtree was ordained in the UCC in 1972. She received her doctorate from Hartford Seminary in 1989, and has served the denomination in a variety of settings, with a majority of her work at the conference level. Crabtree has been the Missouri Mid-South Acting Conference Minister (2013), the Connecticut Conference Minister (1996-2010), and the Southern California Conference Minister (1991-1996). She has served as a consultant to the UCC National Officers (2011-present) on various projects, and was the senior minister at Federated Church (1980-1991) in Colchester, Conn.
"I know Florida a little from having vacationed and had a sabbatical there, plus I've visited many pastors there over the years," she added. "I know it's a great conference and that they have a clear vision of their ministry and mission, so it is appealing."
As for getting back into conference ministry after her retirement from Connecticut, Crabtree said she accepted the leadership role at Missouri-Mid South because she was told by UCC General Minister and President the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black she was needed there, though she wondered how she would handle the challenge after three years of retirement.
"I know how important having someone say 'Yes' is when one is a leader, so I went," Crabtree said. "The beautiful thing is that the people were so warm, welcoming and affirming that I realized how much I missed ministry and how much I still have to offer. You could not have convinced me of that any other way. But there it is.
"So when the Florida Interim Conference Minister Search Committee looked my way, I was inclined to say 'Yes,'" Crabtree said.