Twenty-one resolutions going forward to General Synod, the nomination of a candidate for Associate General Minister of Global Engagement and a multimillion-dollar sale of the United Church of Christ’s (UCC) Radisson Hotel topped the list of business addressed by the United Church of Christ Board of Directors (UCCB). Meeting March 7-9 in Cleveland, the UCCB also reviewed five strategic priorities on which the leadership of the denomination is focusing.
After the Board's Thursday session, March 7, the Rev. John C. Dorhauer, UCC general minister and president (GMP), announced the completed transfer of ownership of the Radisson Hotel Cleveland-Gateway. The hotel sale price was $7.5 million. The UCCB expects to use the net proceeds for general operating purposes of the National Setting, focusing on the mission of the Church.
"The UCC constructed the 142-room Radisson Hotel soon after relocating its headquarters to Cleveland in 1990," Dorhauer noted. "The construction of the hotel helped catalyze redevelopment in Cleveland's Gateway District," a district that is now home to Progressive Field, Quicken Loans Arena, and several of the city's best restaurants.
On Friday, March 8, the Board unanimously affirmed the nomination of the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson for the position of Associate General Minister of Global Engagement and Co-Executive of Global Ministries, the common overseas ministry of the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Thompson, currently the UCC Minister for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, was chosen from a field of 11 candidates and faces an election by General Synod delegates in Milwaukee in June.
Of the almost two dozen resolutions on which delegates will be focusing at General Synod, the majority will go to a committee for review. A few, assigned directly to plenary, address immigrant children, the opioid crisis, congressional hearings on violence, and the union of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Conferences. All resolutions will be posted to the General Synod 2019 website April 5.
In his GMP Report to the UCCB, Dorhauer addressed the five strategic priorities that have been identified by the Board for the UCC going forward: inclusive excellence; robust information technology infrastructure; curriculum, training and development towards A Just World for All; strategic organizational alignment; and innovation incubation.
Those priorities, named by the Board as important values, are seen as key to the UCC's long-term vision plan.
"In 2017, the denomination was surveyed to ask the question, ‘What would a transformative, vibrant UCC look like in ten years?’ The response was captured in the report, 'A Vision: The Transformative UCC in Ten Years'," said Cheryl Williams, UCC chief strategy officer. "This report indicates that a transformative UCC will need to be anchored in Christ-driven connection, Spirit-led leadership, and God-centered action. The strategic priorities have been identified as the values we need to focus on to attain this 10-year vision."
The UCC General Minister and President provided a snapshot on work in progress in each area, and shared the results of a January 29 leadership gathering in Cleveland. The group reviewed innovation at work presently in the Church, identified existing innovation resources, and explored innovative ideas submitted by participants.
Before the board meeting began, a joint session of the Council of Conference Ministers and the UCCB reviewed the recently released report, 'Equipping the Journey: Resources for Mission and Ministry in the Local Church and Beyond.' This catalogue, a compilation of current resources provided by the National Setting to support ministry in the Local Church and Conference settings, is expected to transition to a searchable, digital resource platform with broad public access. To gain additional insight on the issue, a survey will be released to targeted audiences in Spring 2019.