Executive Conference minister candidate announced in Southern New England

The Rev. Darrell Goodwin – a pastor with experience in higher education and in varied ministry settings of the United Church of Christ – will be presented to Annual Meeting voters as the candidate to serve as the Southern New England Conference’s first executive Conference minister.

The Rev. Darrell GoodwinGoodwin currently serves the Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota conferences as an associate Conference minister, offering care and support to the pastors and churches in the Nebraska Conference and supporting the work of search and call across the Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota conferences.

He is also the program director of The Pension Boards’ Faith and Personal Finance Initiative, a project funded by a $1 million grant from the Lilly Endowment’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. In this role, he administers a five-year program of financial education and wellness for UCC authorized ministers from historically underrepresented groups.

Goodwin has served as pastor and founder of Liberation UCC in Seattle, senior pastor of Everett (Wash.) UCC, and chaplain intern at VA Puget Sound Health Systems. Before full-time ministry, he served in several positions in Jesuit higher education, including assistant director of student life for judicial affairs, associate director of multicultural affairs, acting director of multicultural affairs, assistant dean of students, associate dean of students, and dean of students.

“My desire to serve the people of the Southern New England Conference is inspired by your boldness to form a new conference with a mission and vision toward the marginalized,” he said. “I hope to bring my commitment to justice which has been curated by the Holy Spirit, my love of God’s people, and administrative gifts to propel this vision forward. This role is not a job, but rather a call to fulfill my purpose and honor my ancestors who could never have realized a role of this magnitude in a uniting and united church.”

On Aug. 29, Goodwin met via Zoom with the Board of Directors, who unanimously voted to bring his candidacy before the Sept. 26 online Annual Meeting. His selection by a search committee came as the result of an unconventional search process that went on during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The search committee relied on the guidance of the Holy Spirit in making this selection. We worked long and tirelessly past our bedtimes and during our vacations to commit to ensuring that we were asking the necessary questions and the hard questions,” said the Rev. Chontell Nelson Washington, chair of the search committee. “We even checked in on his fun factor to make sure that he could fit in with the sense of joy that exists within the SNEUCC.

“With every interaction we sought for integrity, capability, preparedness and yes… the presence of the Holy Spirit. We knew that the SNEUCC has a mission and we dug deep for the indicators of our candidate to be able to do the traditional thing as well as a new thing. At the end of our time, we agreed that Rev. Darrell Goodwin is the person to lead us into the future as a conference. He has experience, passion and knowledge about the importance of relationships, partnerships, the UCC, and the Creator.”

The role of executive Conference minister is different from a traditional Conference minister in the denomination – it is seen as being more akin to a university president, with the responsibility for running day-to-day operations lying elsewhere.

The job description calls for the new executive Conference minister to be “the standard bearer for our core vision, mission and identity” and to serve as chief vision keeper, communicator and strategist, as well as the chief philanthropy officer and the public face of the Conference in the media and public square. The executive will also serve as liaison to national settings of the denomination and in ecumenical and interfaith circles.

If affirmed by Annual Meeting, Goodwin would start in his role Jan. 1, 2021.

Click here to see a version of this article that details Goodwin’s professional experience, education and UCC committee involvement.

Tiffany Vail is the associate Conference minister for communications of the Southern New England Conference. This article originally appeared Sept. 1, 2020, at the Conference website.

Categories: United Church of Christ News

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