‘Deep gratitude’: Dorhauer anticipates final events as UCC General Minister and President

The Rev. John Dorhauer will complete his term as United Church of Christ General Minister and President on July 31. But before that, he will participate in a variety of events that offer opportunities to connect with people across the denomination.

Dorhauer’s “long goodbye,” as he’s referred to it, began to sink in for him in January when he started to notice each experience in his position that he was likely doing for the final time — the last board meeting, the last local church visit, the last overseas trip. He recently shared his final Into the Mystic podcast, having recorded more than 325 episodes, where he reflected on this.

This is a time of reflection and appreciation for Dorhauer.

“I am grateful beyond imagination for what the last eight years have provided me in terms of relationships, experiences and events that have moved me, inspired me and affirmed my belief that the UCC is a powerful force for good in the world,” he said.

Virtual engagements

Significant events are yet to come on Dorhauer’s list of “lasts.”

Finding Freedom- World Refugee Day 2023.
Dorhauer will offer the benediction at the worship service for World Refugee Day June 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET.

On World Refugee Day, Tuesday, June 20, the UCC is hosting a virtual ecumenical worship service in partnership with Week of Compassion’s Immigrant and Refugee Response. It will include music, prayers and messages from UCC and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregations involved in immigration ministries.

Dorhauer will close the event by offering a “blessing for the journey.” Registration is available here.

Dorhauer then will reflect on his tenure as GMP during a Nurture the Soul webinar June 22. The webinar will highlight some of the key and important moments along his journey and offer space for him to encourage the church with wisdom and insight he’s gained, according to the Rev. Tracy Howe, team leader and minister for FaithINFO (Faith Education, Innovation and Formation). Registration is here.

Since March, UCC social media has been featuring Dorhauer’s “100 Days of Gratitude” with a daily image and description of gratitude for specific UCC people, places and experiences from his time as GMP. Dorhauer said that with the final post planned for July 4, it will end “what has been a season of deep gratitude at the close of my tenure as GMP.”

Dorhauer will reflect on his time serving as GMP in a special Nurture the Soul webinar June 22 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Dorhauer also wrapped up his months-long “Create Playspace with the President” series at the end of May, a virtual opportunity he created to invite interactivity and play in response to impactful topics for the church. Recordings of the gatherings are available for view here.

Synod send-off

Dorhauer will offer his final in-person messages at significant Conference and denominational events.

He will give a keynote speech at the Southern Conference annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C., during an evening gathering July 23. He was also a speaker, alongside Associate General Minister the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, at the Indiana-Kentucky Conference gathering in early June.  

Dorhauer shares fond memories as GMP in his 100 Days of Gratitude series on UCC social media.

And he of course will be involved in a host of events at General Synod in Indianapolis from June 30-July 4.

This will be the setting for his final address to delegates, where he intends to offer “deep gratitude for the gift of this amazing experience.” He will host an event honoring the 60-year anniversary of Jackie Robinson receiving the Just Peace award at Synod in 1963. Dorhauer will also be celebrated and honored at a reception during Synod.

‘A new beginning’

Following his role with the UCC National Setting, Dorhauer plans to move into a new position as pastor of First Congregational UCC in DeKalb, Ill.

“I find it has been harder to leave this office than it ever was to enter it,” Dorhauer reflected in his final podcast episode. “And still, I leave with a sense of joy and even excitement knowing that God has already spoken to me and called me down another pathway. As has always been the case, when we open ourselves fully to the calling of the Holy Spirit, every goodbye — even long ones — transforms an ending into a new beginning.”

As he nears one end, Dorhauer reflects back to his GMP beginnings.

“I said on the day of my election, I believe the Holy Spirit envisions a future in which we matter — and everything I have born witness to over these last eight years only confirms that belief for me,” Dorhauer said. “I have repeated almost every day of this amazing experience that I love my job. My goodness, I am going to miss this very much. I leave with deep sadness that it must end, but that sadness is overwhelmed by a spirit of deep and profound gratitude.

“I love the UCC, and it has been my singular honor to be trusted with the office of General Minister and President. I will carry the memories of these experiences with me for the rest of my life.”

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Categories: United Church of Christ News

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