The President of the United States is turning to a United Church of Christ leader and national officer to fill a post in his administration to advise him on serving persons living on the margins of society.
The Rev. Traci Blackmon, acting executive minister of the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries, will be appointed to President Barack Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. She is one of three expected appointees the White House announced on Friday, Jan. 29.
"I am pleased to announce that these experienced and committed individuals have decided to serve our country," Obama said in a statement about his intended appointments. "I look forward to working with them."
Blackmon has been a UCC national officer for one month, beginning her role as leader of Justice and Witness Ministries on Jan. 1. She also has served as pastor of Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Mo., since 2009. Blackmon was previously the coordinator of health, mind, body, and spirit for BJC HealthCare, and pastor of Simpson Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Columbia, Mo.
Blackmon is known nationally as part of the pastoral presence in Ferguson, Mo., working to quell months of civil unrest after the fatal police shooting of black teenager Michael Brown in August 2014. She was appointed to the Ferguson Commission by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, and has 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry.
The presidential council, made up of about 15 individuals from across the faith community and charitable organizations, brings together leaders and experts in fields related to the work of faith-based and neighborhood organizations. Its role is to make recommendations to the administration on how to improve the partnerships it forms to serve people in need. Previous councils have advised on human trafficking.
There are two other appointees who will join Blackmon on the advisory council — Rachel Held Evans, a Christian blogger and author, and the Rev. Adam Hamilton, founding pastor of United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan.