Wider Church Ministries endorses Moos as executive minister candidate
Written by Gregg Brekke
April 7, 2011

The Rev. Jim Moos listens to the proceedings at the spring 2011 WCM board meeting April 7, 2011, in Indianapolis. (Gregg Brekke/United Church News)

The board of the UCC's Wider Church Ministries, meeting in Indianapolis April 6-7, has affirmed the nomination of the Rev. Jim Moos for the position of executive minister and co-executive of Global Ministries. With his nomination confirmed, General Synod delegates will vote to elect Moos in Tampa this summer.

The Rev. Barbara Kershner Daniel, chair of Wider Church Ministries search committee that began its search in May 2010, commented on the selection process in which 14 complete applications were received. She noted that four "very diverse" candidates were called for interviews.

"He intrigued me," said search committee member William Clarke of Moos' unanimous selection by the committee. "I sat there wanting to hear more and more of his vision, and where he was going to take us. He spoke with passion and sincerity."

"Wider Church Ministries is church," said Moos of the "deep and wide" nature of WCM's work and global partnerships. "We're not just one more non-governmental organization, we are an integral part of the church of Jesus Christ – firmly and deeply rooted in the community of faith."

While noting the reasons he feels prepared to assume the position of Wider Church Ministry executive, Moos quipped, "I do not bring a blueprint of what happens next – [a plan] that will be dropped down like tablets of stone."

"I believe that an old word is coming to us with a fresh urgency," Moos said his nomination speech. "[The Apostle] Paul called for a mutual sharing of abundance, and that I believe this is the message of the still speaking God to us … we need mutual sharing of abundance that there might be true equality among us."

"We need to move beyond the shallow shoals of self sufficiency and into the deep waters of mutual sharing with our global partners," he concluded.

Moos has served as senior pastor of Bismarck (N.D.) UCC since 1996. He is a former U.S. Air Force Reserve chaplain and UCC Executive Council member, where he served as chair of that body. He is also a past member of the Wider Church Ministries board and has worked closely to establish a partnership with the Protestant Church of East Timor.

Moos earned his bachelors degree from Seattle Pacific University and an M.Div and a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Princeton Seminary. He has been married to wife Sharon for 19 years. She is currently director of home health and hospice care for a hospital in Bismarck.

Moos is one of three nominated Collegium members who is expected to receive a vote by General Synod 28. The candidacy of W, Mark Clark, nominee for Associate General Minister, was affirmed by the Office of General Ministries board and the Executive Council in late March. The Local Church Ministries board will take up the nomination of the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, its candidate for executive minister, on April 8.

The Wider Church Ministries board also approved an emergency resolution, "On Actions of Hostility against Islam and the Muslim Community." Synod rules allow for the submission of resolutions after the established deadline when circumstances of the resolution could not have been anticipated by the deadline. The Committee of Reference will consider the inclusion of this resolution in the General Synod docket.

Citing U.S. House of Representatives hearings on radicalization in the Muslim community, the burning of a Quran in Florida and other perceived discriminatory actions against Muslim Americans, the resolution's proponents believe it fits the circumstances clause established by Synod rules.

"Muslims are our neighbors," said Peter Makari, Global Ministries area executive for the Middle East and Europe, and vice-chair of the NCC's Interfaith Relations Commission. "They are the fastest growing religious group in the United States. It's our Christian calling to be in relationship with people of other faith communities."

A final board action approved constitution and bylaw changes that allow WCM's board composition to comply with anticipated UCC constitution and bylaw changes leading to a Unified Governing Board. Provisions of the approved changes allow for the WCM board to change their composition regardless of General Synod's adoption of the unified governance proposal.

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