Written by Anthony Moujaes
The General Synod Nominating Committee is encouraging the best minds and creative souls throughout the wider United Church of Christ to bring their gifts to serve the denomination on the UCC Board of Directors.
The 16 members of the Nominating Committee will identify 12 leaders, beginning the process in January, to serve on the UCC Board of Directors for a six-year term from 2017 through 2023. Nominations for board members are open through Nov. 1 to anyone in the denomination, and can be submitted by conferences of the UCC, ministers, members of historically underrepresented groups, and even self-nominations.
The Rev. Dan De Leon chairs the Nominating Committee, and said the group hopes to review as many nominations as possible.
"It may seem like it saves time and makes our job easier to have fewer nominees so as to have less paperwork to sort through. But the fewer nominees we receive, the fewer of God's diverse gifts are shared that represent the fullness of our denomination," he explained. "I am convinced that we have a wealth of creative attributes throughout the United Church of Christ, vocational and spiritual, that could propel us into being a solidly recognized and sought after church throughout the country, including my beloved state of Texas. We simply need to encourage one another to recognize our unique gifts and then put our name in the hat to be considered for leadership, as well as look inward to boldly pinpoint our own abilities that we might share in service to the UCC."
The UCC Board of Directors, which meets twice a year as a group in Cleveland in March and October, is responsible for steering the vision, goals and actions of the national setting of the denomination.
"Our cherished congregations belong to one another through a united and uniting bond called the UCC," De Leon said. "It's when we appreciate that empowering tie that binds us together that it becomes clearer how our own experience, perspective and expertise can benefit not only the local church we pour our heart and soul into, but also the greater UCC and all the people we as a denomination hope to love and serve in the name of Christ. The board isn't some distant governing body composed of people outside the fold of our local flocks. How well the board leads is entirely determined by how seriously and purposefully we view the nominating process and our essential role in it, 'no matter who we are or where we come from,' as we say."
The Nominating Committee must adhere to the diversity guidelines, spelled out in the UCC bylaws, in the composition of the board membership. Of the 52 members on the board, 36 are at-large positions, 12 of which are filled every two years. The remaining 16 spots are ex-officio positions — such as officers of the church, conference ministers and executives of UCC-related ministries.
Once the Nominating Committee makes its selections for board members this May, it's up to the delegates of the 2017 General Synod to accept the entire slate of nominees. The committee will also recommend the next General Synod moderator and vice-moderator — the individuals who help move the agenda of the Synod along — for the 32nd General Synod in 2019.
Nominations can be submitted online between now and Nov. 1 on a secure page on the UCC website, and information will be treated with the highest confidentiality.
Said De Leon, "Often times, I see the volunteers on these governing boards as Peter, that curious soul on the boat who responded to Jesus' invitation to jump into the chaotic waters in spite of his own timidity, acting on faith to show everyone in the boat, 'Look, it's Jesus, and this is where He is calling us!'"
Nominations may be submitted online between now and Nov. 1 on a secure page on the UCC website, and information will be treated with the highest confidentiality.