M. Linda Jaramillo, a seasoned lay leader in the UCC and a longtime justice advocate, has been recommended to succeed the Rev. Bernice Powell Jackson as executive minister of the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries and as a member of the UCC's five-person Collegium of Officers.
Jaramillo, 57, was chosen by a search committee and her name was forwarded to JWM's Executive Committee, which affirmed the recommendation.
"Linda Jaramillo is a distinguished member of the [UCC], serving in a number of leadership capacities," said Rose Lee in an April 13 letter to the full board. ". In her professional life, she has extensive management experience over 30 years in state- and county-funded programs in Oregon, including Head Start, migrant services, Hispanic services, violence prevention, HIV/ AIDS treatment and prevention, and adult community-based education."
Jaramillo must receive a two-thirds vote of JWM's board, which will meet just prior to General Synod 25 in Atlanta. If affirmed, she will then need approval of General Synod delegates before beginning a four-year term on Oct. 1.
Although eligible, Jackson - JWM's first and only executive since 1999 - announced last fall that she would not seek an additional term in office.
Jaramillo has served in numerous capacities in every setting of the UCC - as a member and moderator of Ainsworth UCC in Portland, Ore.; as moderator, vice-moderator, treasurer and search committee chair in the Central Pacific Conference; as a member and committee chair of the Executive Council; and as assistant moderator of General Synod. In 2002, she was a UCC delegate to the World Council of Churches Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe.
She received a B.S. in Business Administration from Portland (Ore.) State University in 1990 and graduated in May with a Master of Divinity degree from UCC-related Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif.
Jaramillo, a Chicana who is fluent in both English and Spanish, would become the first Hispanic to serve as a member of the Collegium. She is a former president and vice-president of the Council for Hispanic Ministries and former co-convener of the Council of Racial and Ethnic Ministries.
"I believe discernment is not a personal experience, but a communal experience" Jaramillo said. "I had this sense of call, and people around me have been saying, 'This is what you've been preparing for.' Now I think I know what God is telling me - and telling the church."
With offices in Cleveland, Washington, D.C., and the historic Franklinton Center in Whitakers, N.C., JWM is the successor organization of several justice- related church agencies, of which Jaramillo had extensive involvement. She is a former board member and committee chair of both the Commission for Racial Justice and the Coordinating Center for Women.