In a new role as the UCC's Executive Associate to the General Minister and President for Leadership Development and Diversity Initiatives, the Rev. Lois M. (Loey) Powell will help guide the denomination's work in identifying the next generation of leadership in the UCC.
"Primarily it gives me the opportunity to use a lifetime of experience in the UCC, and various settings, to make connections that will lead to innovative opportunities around leadership development," Powell said.
Powell accepted the offer to assist the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, the UCC's general minister and president, fulfill his commitment "to strengthening leadership development opportunities in the UCC," she said. Powell will seek to create opportunities for women and other emerging multicultural leaders in the UCC as pastors of larger congregations and as conference ministers.
"I look forward to working closely with Rev. Geoffrey Black," Powell said. "One of these initiatives will be to shape the Stillspeaking Leadership Institute. Reaching out to the many diverse communities in the UCC to mentor future leaders and support their training and development will also be key." One of Powell's first tasks will be to create and develop the Stillspeaking Leadership Institute, which started as an idea from the UCC's collegium of officers. The program, which Powell hopes to get off the ground in the next year, will offer a competitive, multi-year training and resourcing program for leaders.
Powell will also try to identify people in seminary education who are in their second or third careers, and have developed leadership skills that can be beneficial to the church in various ways. To accomplish this, she will reach out to seminary presidents, and work with national and conference staff members who relate to the seminaries regularly. In her day-to-day role, Powell said she will help Black respond to the several requests he receives to speak for, or on behalf of, the UCC.
"Loey is known throughout the United Church of Christ, and certainly here in the national setting, for her many years of servant leadership in the UCC as a pastor, as Executive of the UCC Coordinating Center for Women in Church and Society and as the Executive for Administration and Women's Justice with Justice and Witness Ministries (JWM) of the United Church of Christ," Black said.
While with JWM, Powell supervised staff and programs around justice issues for women – for racism, sexism, and reproductive issues – and recently became publisher of Common Lot magazine, which the church rebranded as a publication for women in the UCC. Powell is expected to begin her work as executive associate by mid-November.