Written by Anthony Moujaes
On her first day after beginning her call as conference minister of the Missouri Mid-South Conference, the Rev. Geneva "Ginny" Brown Daniel visited three churches in Memphis, Tenn. Brown Daniel wanted to "hit the ground running" by visiting different ministers and congregations in the conference, believing that was the best way to get to know the area.
Visiting local churches is also her inspiration for her new ministry.
"I believe I am called to the local church, which may seem odd since I have begun my call as conference minister," Brown Daniel said. "However, it is my love for the local church on its good day and not-so-good day that inspires all that I do as a conference minister. Everything I do must be to support, guide, inspire, nudge and love each local church to live into who God has created them to be!"
The Missouri Mid-South Conference Council unanimously voted to call Brown Daniel as conference minister on Oct. 31. She began serving in her new role on Dec. 1.
Brown Daniel brings 16 years of pastoral experience after ministering a pair of local churches in Maryland and Houston. She served as Moderator of the South Central Conference while pastoring the Houston congregation, and previously served on the board of the Central Atlantic Conference, and was moderator of their Annual Meeting.
"Ginny is highly sensitive to the needs of pastors, local congregations and conference settings," the Missouri Mid-South council said in its remarks to recommend her. "She embodies a wide array of skills that we believe will serve our conference's future. She is an excellent preacher and writer, a skilled conflict manager, a trained leader in stewardship, church development and growth."
Brown Daniel earned her bachelor’s degree from Auburn University, and attended Baptist Theological Seminary and Union Presbyterian Seminary, both in Richmond, Va., for her M.Div. and D.Div. degrees. She was the associate pastor at Christ’s reformed Church in Maryland from 1999 to 2003, then became pastor of Plymouth United Church in Texas from 2003 to 2014, taking a church of 30 members and turning it into one of Houston’s most welcoming congregations.
The conference Search Team and Conference Council were drawn to her clarity of vision, pastor's heart and enthusiasm for the creative energies present in the Missouri Mid-South Conference.
"I believe we are experiencing a 21st Century Pentecost moment, where our diverse languages of culture, theology, worship style, and the names we call God are brought together out of respect for our diversity," Brown Daniel said. "The United Church of Christ was formed out of this very Pentecost diversity, and thus knows how to diversify in the midst of changing times."
"I am excited about my ministry with the Missouri Mid-South Conference in this 21st Century Pentecost moment," she continued. "Their heritage is deeply rooted by the organizations they formed for theological education and social justice. But this conference doesn’t rest in its heritage. The Missouri Mid-South Conference has a fresh perspective on these changes times we all face in the church. They acknowledge the decline in church membership, financial giving, and denominational participation. And they sense God’s Pentecost spirit, moving them to creatively try new things while honoring their heritage. This excites me immensely."
Brown Daniels identified new technology as one of her priorities, using online meeting software, webinars, and conference calls to give local churches additional ways to gather. "Many people are too busy to drive to their church or conference locations in order to attend meetings," she said. "If we provide these technological resources in addition to the ways we meet in person, I believe more people will have the time and energy to serve their local church and the Missouri Mid-South Conference."
In its remarks announcing the call to Brown Daniel, the conference council wrote in closing, "We are extremely excited and hopeful about this new chapter in the life of our Conference and are very confident in the "match" we believe that God is bringing forth in the ministry of Reverend Doctor Ginny Brown Daniel."