Building a platform to support UCC future mission

Building a platform to support UCC future mission

The UCC's ninth general minister and president has been in office for a little more than 100 days, laying the groundwork for what the Rev. John C. Dorhauer sees as the support platform for the future mission of the denomination.

"The Holy Spirit envisions a future in which the United Church of Christ matters and I've been challenging the leaders of this denomination, from the full width and breadth of our geography, to change our outlook and stop worrying about our diminishment and start celebrating what the Holy Spirit has in store for us. Our better days, our best days, are still ahead of us."

One of the things he's been doing is assembling the foundation for the UCC's future growth.

Four strategic hires, and the progression of five national initiatives — a Still Speaking 2.0 marketing campaign which will soon be available to all the churches, daily phone calls from the Cleveland office to local churches to deepen the connection between the national setting and the local congregation, a survey seeking the insights of those under 40 to plot the future, a white privilege curriculum that is being written for release later this year, and 12 monthly multimedia campaigns around issues central to the UCC mission –– initiatives that kick off next week, the first with the Rev. Traci Blackmon, new executive minister of Justice and Witness Ministries.  

Dorhauer, who is still "thrilled at having been called as general minister and president," says the relentless pace of the position is his greatest challenge.

"I can remember a conversation with John Thomas, prior to being elected — him saying 'John, you think at some point you're going to adjust to the pace. You won't.' And he's right," Dorhauer said. "It's exhausting, and I move from one big thing to another."

That pace doesn't look to be letting up. In fact Dorhauer is currently involved in his next big thing, working with his new strategic officer, Cheryl  Joseph Williams, to plan his April installation as general minister and president.

The plan calls for a three-day series of services in different cities, so people across the UCC feel invited to celebrate as one, a model of a new way of being church together. While details are still being confirmed, Dorhauer’s installation services will be held on April 15 at a soon-to-be announced location, April 16 at Trinity Church in Chicago, and April 17 at Plymouth Church in Seattle.

More information on the services from the installation planning team will be shared at a later date.

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