United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ form joint ministry
Written by Staff Report
March 1, 2013

In an ecumenical effort, the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ are partnering to share more staff. The three-member team will offer a collaborative approach to ministry as directors of Family and Children’s Ministries with Disciples Home Missions.

"This year, the Disciples of Christ and UCC’s Local Church Ministries are partnering in sharing staff for the first time in our history," said the Rev. David Schoen, the UCC’s minister and team leader for congregational vitality and discipleship ministries. "I think this is a story to celebrate about ecumenical relationship."

The UCC and Disciples of Christ already share staff for their combined Global Ministries, and other LCM programs (National Youth Event and Student Ecumenical Partnership) have been shared UCC-DOC projects as well.

Two of the positions have already been filled by the Disciples of Christ, and the UCC will fill the third position this spring.

Olivia Stewart Robertson began her position with the Disciples of Christ Feb. 1. She came from First Presbyterian Church in Pottstown, Pa., where she served for four and a half years as the director for Children, Youth and Family Ministries. She attended Princeton Theological Seminary and expects her ordination in the Presbyterian Church this spring. Robertson has extensive knowledge and experience with the Children Worship and Wonder program and has been a leader in the program since 2000.

The Rev. Dr. Olivia Bryan Updegrove will begin her position March 15. She previously served for five years as the associate pastor at First Christian Church in Orange, Calif. She attended Lexington Theological Seminary and recently completed her doctoral work at Claremont School of Theology. Her ministry has included work with the General Youth Council, the Women’s Action Web for young adult women in Chicago, and the 2010 Quadrennial Assembly. 

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