February - March 2008

Guess to oversee UCC's communications work

The Rev. J. Bennett Guess, 41, was named the UCC's director of communications in December. He succeeds the Rev. Robert Chase, who left to become founding director of Intersections in New York City.

Guess now oversees the UCC's Proclamation, Identity and Communication Ministry, which includes the Stillspeaking Ministry; United Church News; video production; web and emerging media; print design, production and marketing; special events; and the denomination's historic advocacy work in media justice and reform.

After 12 years in parish ministry in Kentucky, Guess served as communications minister for the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries. In 2003, he was named editor of United Church News and, in 2005, as the UCC's news director. He served as acting communications director since August.

"Ben is a gifted and trusted colleague who will bring energy and creativity to his new role," said General Minister and President John. H. Thomas. "Ben's knowledge and love of the church, his experience as a pastor of a vibrant, renewing church, his commitment to justice, and his editorial work with United Church News equip him for this key position."

Guess is chair of the news and media relations committee of the National Council of Churches Communications Commission; a member of the board of governors of the Religion Communicators Council; and a member of Associated Church Press and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

He received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Kentucky, an M.Div. from Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and a D.Min. in preaching from UCC-related Chicago Theological Seminary.

Guess and his partner, Jim Therrien, are members of Pilgrim Congregational UCC in Cleveland.


The Rev. Charles L. Burns, Jr., 84, Florida Conference Minister from 1973 to 1995, died Dec. 12. During his tenure in Florida, Burns oversaw substantial UCC expansion, increasing the number of churches from nearly 70 to more than 100.

"His legacy and impact on the life of the members and congregations in our Conference is enormous," said the Rev. Kent J. Siladi, current Florida Conference Minister. "He served this Conference well and his leadership during his time of service as the Conference Minister is legendary."

During his ministry, Burns also headed the Ohio and Rocky Mountain Conferences and served pastorates in Illinois and California.

A memorial service was held Jan. 24 at First Congregational UCC in Winter Park, Fla.


The Rev. Barbara Warren McCall, 93, a pioneering clergywoman, died Oct. 26 at UCC-related Pilgrim Place in Claremont, Calif.

A special assistant to former UCC President Robert V. Moss, she served as executive for the Task Force on Women in Church and Society. McCall later served as editor of the UCC's former A.D. magazine and as staff for the former UCC Council for Lay Life and Work. She also served pastorates in Montana and Illinois.

McCall and her late husband, the Rev. Clarence Field McCall Jr. — who was Southern California Conference Minister and died in 1967 — were ordained together in 1938 at the Congregational Church of Roundup, Mont., a church they served as co-pastors.

Conference Changes

The Rev. Daniel F. Romero and the Rev. Jane E. Heckles, Southern California — Nevada Conference Co-Ministers, are stepping down at the end of February. Romero is retiring after 37 years in ministry, including 27 years in the SCNV as a local church pastor, Associate Conference Minister and Conference Minister. Heckles, who has served 15 years in the SCNV, including seven years as Conference Minister, says she is leaving to seek other ministry opportunities.

The Rev. Jane Fisler Hoffman, Illinois Conference Minister since 2000, is leaving her position to become Interim Conference Minister in Southern California – Nevada Conference. "Jane will bring a wealth of gifts, skills and experience to our Conference," says David Cavanaugh, board chair.

Pastoral Changes

Alfeld-Johnson, David W. Swampscott, MA to St. John's UCC, Mokena, IL
Allman-Morton, Tadd E. Newtonville, MA to Cong. UCC, Westhampton, MA
Avise-Rouse, Kristofer K. Darlington, WI to St. Paul UCC, Columbia, IL
Bandy, Connie T. Champaign, IL to Trinity UCC, Westerville, IL
Bardon, Bruce to United Parish, Carver, MA
Barnum, Elizabeth D. to Cong. UCC, Barrington, RI
Castillo-Roman, Ileana to Faith UCC, Tamarac, FL
Collins, Linzy Garner, IA to St. John UCC, Trenton, IL
Dawson, Gregory E. to Cong. UCC, Seymour, CT
Dawson, Jennifer Sheboygan Falls, WI to Bethel UCC & Church of Peace UCC, Fond du Lac, WI
Dech, John H. to St. John's UCC (Fullerton), Whitefall, PA
Deckert, James A. to Zion UCC, Dale, WI
Eastwood, Gail to First UCC, Springfield, OH
Goldenbogen, Kevin E. to United, Underhill, VT
Gregory, David S. Rochester, NY to North, Cong. UCC, Middletown, NY
Hackenberg, Rachel New Berlin, PA to Grace UCC, Lancaster, PA
Howland, Deborah J. Brookfield, WI to interim, First Cong. UCC, Watertown, WI
Irwin, M. Bruce to Emmanuel UCC, Allentown, PA
Keirn, Norris A. Terre Haute, IN to First Cong. UCC, Marshall, IL
Kemper, Vicki R. Washington, DC to First Cong. UCC, Amherst, MA
Lindsey, David B. to Lynnhurst Cong. UCC, Minneapolis, MN
Martin, James Sheboygan Falls, WI to Bethel UCC & Church of Peace UCC, Fond du Lac, WI
Matheny, Michael to Our Saviour's UCC, Germantown, WI
Martowska, Judith E. Norwood, MA to Cong. UCC, East Weymouth, MA
Maxey, Rosemary M. to interim, Community of Hope UCC, Tulsa, OK
Mendes, Mark A. Indian Rocks Beach, FL to First Cong. UCC, Essex Junction, VT
Noffke, Matthew W. St. Paul, MN to First Cong. UCC, Waukesha, WI
Poole, Mary S. Bellingham, MA to Pilgrim UCC, Southborough, MA
Pratt-Peckham, Debra to First Cong. UCC, Farmington, NH
Proctor, Judy Topsfield, MA to First UCC, Danvers, MA
Pych, Virginia Fond du Lac, WI to interim, St. John's UCC, Slinger, WI
Stier, Sharon R. Fond du Lac, WI to interim, Faith UCC, Slinger, WI
Shoup, Rob to St. Paul's UCC, New Oxford, PA
Snow, Victoria M. Oakham, MA to First Cong. UCC, Sutton, MA
Wadhams, Kimberly to Cong. UCC, Morris, CT
Ward-Diorio, John J. Freeport, ME to St. Paul's UCC, Mechanicsburg, PA
Whiteman, Karl K. to St. John's UCC, Elmore, OH
Wildman, William R. Norway, ME to First Cong. UCC, Spencer, MA
Zedan, Margaret to interim, Trinity UCC, Brookfield, WI

Pastoral changes are provided by the UCC's Parish Life and Leadership Ministry.

Clergy Deaths

Allard, Virgil D., 88, 8/29/2007
Billups, Joseph D., 81, 8/27/2007
Bonebrake, Boyd, 88, 11/28/2007
Chapman, George D., 73, 10/29/2007
Colbourn, Arthur P., 96, 10/29/2007
Cooper, Harold C., 66, 12/23/2007
Deditius, Vermillion, 89, 9/16/2007
Ehrhart, Elden E., 95, 12/23/2007
Fleming, William J., 59, 11/9/2007
Foster, Donald L., 82, 11/29/2007
Henderson, Sallirae, 66, 11/21/2007
Higgins, Arthur E., 85, 11/18/2007
Kratz, Daniel G., 75, 12/16/2007
Laib, Milton O., 85, 12/18/2007
Leisher, Quentin R., 89, 11/29/2007
Pollard, Lidabell L., 69, 12/18/2007
Parsley, Charles J., 82, 9/7/2007
Sando, John H., 98, 11/23/2007
Schwarz, Homer A., 98, 9/4/2007
Smart, William E., 75, 12/13/2007
Smith, Andrew W., 68, 9/13/2007
Stanton, Lawrence L., 89, 9/7/2007
Summers, Lloyd E., 77, 12/14/2007
Van Hoek, Walter R., 89, 9/9/2007
Waber, Marlea J., 65, 9/10/2007
Yeager, Brenda K., 64, 9/24/2007

Information for clergy deaths provided by the UCC's Pension Boards. 


Rev. J. Bennett Guess
Executive Minister, Local Church Ministries
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115