Outgoing and incoming United Church News editors W. Evan Golder (l.) and J. Bennett Guess in the UCC Church House. Randy Varcho photo.
The Rev. J. Bennett Guess, 36, has been named editor of United Church News, to succeed founding editor the Rev. W. Evan Golder, 65, who retires in July.
Guess currently is minister for communication and mission education for the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries. In that position, he is Justice and Witness' principle writer, editor, designer and web coordinator.
Prior to working in the national setting of the UCC, Guess served as pastor of Zion UCC in Henderson, Ky., where he also was managing editor of the peace and justice literary journal, "Out of Line."
Guess has been a general assignment reporter for The Daily News in Bowling Green, Ky., and a regular contributing columnist for The Gleaner in Henderson, Ky.
A veteran journalist and religious communicator, Guess earned a B.A. degree in journalism from the University of Kentucky School of Journalism (1988). He earned an M.Div. degree from Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville (1991) and a D.Min. degree from UCC-related Chicago Theological Seminary (2000).
"I'm excited that Ben Guess will be the next editor," says Golder. "He has talent, commitment, grace and a broad range of experience in the UCC that will serve him well in this calling."
Under Golder, United Church News has grown to publish 30 different editions each issue, including 28 regional and one local church edition. Since its inception in 1985, the paper has won more than three dozen awards from Associated Church Press and the Religion Communicators Council. In 2001, United Church News received a "Best of Class" award from both organizations and Golder's monthly column, "Current Comment," received an "Award of Excellence" for the best column in a newspaper or news service.
United Church Press will publish "The Best of Current Comment 1985- 2003" this summer.
Golder received a B.A. in social psychology from Boston University (1960) and an M.Div. degree from UCC-related Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif. (1964). In the 1960s, he helped found the West Oakland Christian Parish, an inner-city ministry in Oakland, Calif. He also served as editor of The Pacific, the publication of the UCC's Northern California Nevada Conference.
"I believe the church owes a debt of gratitude to Evan Golder for helping to shape a denominational newspaper that reports the news that matters most to UCC people," says Guess. "That's why I see this newspaper as an integral part of every setting of the church."
"Unless we are able to know what one another is doing, we cannot celebrate it, pray for it, support it or learn from it," Guess adds. "United Church News is perhaps the most visible ongoing expression of the oneness of our life together as the United Church of Christ."