UCC Collegium aims for 'Big Holy Audacious Goals'
Written by Jeff Woodard
July 4, 2011
can do worse than aspire to a “B-HAG.”
“1” might not be the loneliest number after all.
was the gist of the encouragement and enlightenment delivered Monday
morning by the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, UCC general minister and
president, to General Synod 28 delegates and visitors at the
GMP/Collegium of Officers presentation in the plenary hall of the
Tampa Convention Center.
to the popular business acronym for "Big Hairy Audacious Goals
(B-HAGs)," Black said, "You know how we are at the United Church
of Christ – we got a hold of that, and said, 'Well, that isn’t
quite right for us. Let’s make it Big Holy
B-HAGs are only a part of what the church’s organization or vision
should include," said Black. "I like to remind myself that we
tend to do that which we intend
such intention is the Mission1
initiative for the first 11 days of this coming November. From
11-1-11 to 11-11-11, the UCC plans a coordinated mission campaign to
gather more than 1 million food and household items for local food
banks. In addition, its 5,300 congregations will advocate for
hunger-related causes worldwide.
also laid out a five-part series of goals – "still in draft form,
we're still working on them" – about what the UCC is and what
it will become. The goals are for the UCC to be:
growing church, a growing movement – to be conversant with all
faith traditions; to be spiritual and missional about our capacity
to serve God
recognized witness for peace, justice, equality and inclusivity; “we
will do this unashamedly, unapologetically and without fear.”
catalyst for excellent leadership in every setting of ministry
environmental steward central to our understanding and practice of
to and reflective of the age and racial/ethnic demographics of this
BHAGs will set the stage for the more practical world of strategic
planning," said Black. "We need to take our goals and turn them
into plans that are measurable and for which we can be held
accountable to you. This is the time to become completely engaged in
making this the church that God has called us to be."
Black to the podium were the three outgoing members of the Collegium,
each stressing the importance of part of the UCC's overarching
mission: "Continuing Testament. Extravagant Welcome. Changing
testament is evidenced in our StillSpeaking Daily Devotionals, it's
visible in our UCC seminaries and through our leaders," said the
Rev. Cally Rogers-Witte, whose term is ending as executive ministries
for Wider Church Ministries and co-executive of Global Ministries. "God's continuing testament is not etched in tablets forever, but
written on our hearts."
Guffey, leaving in her role as associate general minister of the
Office of General Ministries, said, "When I think of extravagant
welcome, I think of more than being nice to newcomers. I think of the
important work that our church has been engaged in the past century –
to welcome the stranger, to receive the lost, to heal the broken and
to include the marginalized. Being ecumenical and interfaith is
another way of expressing this extravagance."
his term as executive minister of Local Church Ministries, the Rev.
Stephen L. Sterner pointed to the more than 150 "Changing Lives"
videos on ucc.org.
are stories of the ‘I once was lost but now I'm found' genre,"
said Sterner. "Some are stories of global partnerships, how they
have crossed borders and offered healing and hope. Some are stories
about how UCC justice work has helped to make another world possible
– not just in places like Washington, D.C., but in places where
people find themselves struggling."
Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister for Justice and Witness
Ministries, acknowledged that talking about the UCC's
distinctiveness is not always easy for its members.
it's something we really need to get over and get to peace with,"
said Jaramillo, "because in evangelism, in outreach and in
fundraising, the distinctiveness of the United Church of Christ does