Written by Anthony Moujaes
What is God's vision for you? It's a question that will be addressed often, as the theme of General Synod 2013, and the United Church of Christ has lined up four preachers from across the country for the June 28-July 2 gathering in Long Beach, Calif. to share their thoughts about "God’s Vision."
"We’re certainly excited at the opportunity to be blessed with a great group of preachers," said W. Mark Clark, UCC Associate General Minister and General Synod Administrator. "These four reflect the great diversity of the church, and I’m sure they’ll share very inspiring and challenging messages throughout General Synod."
Each General Synod worship service will explore "God’s Vision," building from Friday’s opening worship calling the congregation to a "prophetic edge," to Saturday’s contemplative service offering a place to step back and listen, to Sunday’s community worship celebrating the diversity of God’s creation in the work for justice and peace, to Monday’s service of challenge and possibility, and closing with Tuesday’s worship discovering God’s vision in new life.
Two of the preachers, the Rev. Neichelle Guidry Jones and the Rev. Jo Hudson, come from two of the largest UCC congregations, Trinity UCC in Chicago and Cathedral of Hope in Dallas. The two other ministers, the Rev. Martin B. Copenhaver of Massachusetts and the Rev. Julian DeShazier of Chicago, are accomplished authors and award-winning musicians.
The Rev. Neichelle Guidry Jones (Friday evening worship, June 28)
Jones is the Associate Pastor to Young Adults at Trinity UCC on the south side of Chicago. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and Yale Divinity School. Jones is a doctoral fellow at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill.
The Rev. Martin Copenhaver (Sunday worship, June 30)
Copenhaver, senior pastor at Wellesley Congregational Village Church UCC (Wellesley, Mass.) since 1994, is nationally recognized for his rich and engaging sermons. Copenhaver has authored or co-authored five books, writes for a number of periodicals and for the Daily Devotionals on ucc.org that are short scripture-based reflections.
The Rev. Julian DeShazier (Monday evening worship,
DeShazier is the Senior Minister of University Church in Chicago. A native of the city, he graduated from Morehouse College and the University of Chicago Divinity School. Prior to his current position, DeShazier served as teen pastor at Covenant UCC, and has worked with the Coca-Cola Leadership Program and Fund for Theological Education. He is also an award-winning musician and songwriter, known to many as "J.Kwest."
The Rev. Jo Hudson (Tuesday evening worship,
Hudson is the spiritual leader and pastor of Cathedral of Hope UCC, the world's largest liberal Christian church with a primary outreach to LGBT people, their friends, families and allies. Hudson came to Cathedral of Hope in 2004 after seven years as pastor of Friends Congregational Church UCC in College Station, Texas. She also mentors two new parish churches, Cathedral of Hope – Houston and Cathedral of Hope MidCities. Hudson is sought after locally, regionally and nationally as an inspirational teacher, speaker and workshop leader.