Written by Daniel Hazard
Chicago Theological Seminary has named the Rev. John H. Thomas as senior advisor to the President and visiting professor in church ministries. Thomas' appointment will take effect Jan. 1, 2010, after he concludes his term as UCC General Minister and President on Sept. 30.
In this newly created position, Thomas will play a strategic role in promoting and enhancing the national and global profile of CTS. Thomas will also cultivate relationships with key constituents and congregations; support strategic fund raising efforts; foster student and faculty recruitment; provide leadership development opportunities for students, alumni/ae, and national religious leaders; and teach courses.
"John's well-recognized accomplishments, his strong relationships throughout the religious community, and his wisdom will further CTS' efforts to provide a vibrant model for the rigorous education of religious leadership as we work toward greater justice and mercy," said Alice Hunt, president of Chicago Theological Seminary. "I look forward to working with John to meet the emerging challenges of theological education for our rapidly changing world."
Elected General Minister and President of the UCC in 1999, Thomas served for the next decade as the convener of the Collegium of Officers of the UCC as well as the church's principal spokesperson on theological and public issues and official representative in ecumenical and interfaith relations.
From 1992 to 1999 he served as assistant to the president of the UCC for Ecumenical Concerns. In that role, he represented the denomination in theological dialogues and in conciliar bodies including the World and National Councils of Churches.
"I am eager to begin working with the outstanding leadership at CTS to strengthen and expand its institutional relationships and to being part of the positive experience of its students," said Thomas. "CTS excels at educating men and women of faith by fostering questioning and critical dialogue that promote the understanding and skills necessary for future leadership and ministry."
Following his 1975 ordination, Thomas served as associate minister of the First Congregational UCC in Cheshire, Conn., through 1981 and as minister of the First UCC in Easton, Pa., until 1991.
Thomas graduated from Gettysburg (Penn.) College in 1972 and Yale University Divinity School in 1975. He studied at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland, in 1988 and has written numerous articles on ecumenical issues.