The Rev. Gregg Brekke has been named editor of United Church News and the denomination's news director, succeeding the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, who was appointed the UCC's national director of communications last December.
Brekke will begin the position on Sept. 2.
Brekke, 39, currently pastor of Nexus UCC in Hamilton, Ohio, has been a freelance writer for United Church News for the past two years. He also has written extensively for DisciplesWorld, the monthly magazine of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Brekke's journalistic portfolio is broad and includes significant attention given to global understanding, justice issues, evangelism and church vitality, and faith-journey feature stories.
As editor, Brekke will oversee the day-to-day operations of United Church News, both online and in print. In his role as news director, he will work closely with secular journalists who are reporting on the UCC.
Guess, 41, will continue to provide administrative leadership for the newspaper as its publisher.
"I have every confidence in Gregg's journalistic abilities and his knowledge of and commitment to this church," says Guess. "I look forward to working with him, as we continue to improve the quality and delivery of the church's news in innovative ways. Gregg has many talents and the national church is fortunate that he has accepted this unique calling to be the denomination's principal journalist."
Brekke received a B.A. in history from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn., and a M.Div. degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
Brekke, an accomplished photographer, also brings experience and interest in emerging forms of media. He says one of the strengths of the UCC is its commitment to "staying relevant within a shifting culture."
It's a tradition Brekke says he wants to continue — and expand.
"Blogs, audio and video podcasts, and citizen journalism are rapidly becoming an integral part of the news-making landscape," Brekke says. "As we are challenged to meet the communications needs of the UCC and the wider church, we will utilize new technologies and distribution methods to reach an even broader network of subscribers."
Under Guess' five-year stint as editor, United Church News has received more than 60 awards for excellence in religion journalism. With 206,000 subscribers, United Church News is the largest religion newspaper in the country. In 2007, it was named the nation's best religion newspaper by the interfaith Religion Communicators Council.
“It is an honor to continue in the tradition of innovative religious journalism for which United Church News is known,” Brekke says.