Gender justice minister is among new national staffers
A minister for gender justice is among staff members who have recently joined the national ministries of the United Church of Christ.
Communications, environmental and social advocacy, and child and elder sponsorship are other areas with new hands on deck.
Gender justice minister
Professor Sherry Warren began work July 1 as minister for gender justice on the Health and Wholeness Advocacy team of Justice and Local Church Ministries. She has served on the staffs of Plymouth Congregational UCC, Lawrence, Kansas, and the UCC’s Kansas-Oklahoma Conference. She has taught on the faculties of Clarke University, Dubuque, Iowa, and the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.
Warren holds a Ph.D. in social work and a graduate certificate in women, gender and sexuality studies from the University of Kansas, where she also earned B.A. and M.S.W. degrees. She is a facilitator and trainer in the Our Whole Lives curriculum. She recently moved to Akron, Ohio, where her fiancé serves as a Unitarian Universalist minister.
She will base her work on the long UCC history of concern for justice for people of all genders, as expressed by General Synods since the 1960s. Among recent examples were a 2022 call to action addressing “attacks on people of transgender or nonbinary experience” and a 2021 resolution on gender safety and equity.
“Human rights are essential to uphold, and I see the faith community as one of the deepest and most profound ways through which we can honor people at their core being,” Warren said. “If we fail to recognize people in their vision of themselves and uphold their dignity as God’s children, we fail to acknowledge the holistic nature of humanness.
“I love the diverse breadth of people I am honored to work with and on behalf of, yet I realize many people fear human diversity. By walking in the footsteps of Jesus, I believe that we can heal our hurting world.”
More new staffers
Other staff members who started work recently include:
- Jane Duncan, program associate, Child and Elder Sponsorship, Wider Church Ministries (July 1). She returned to the staff after serving in the past as an assistant in the same program.
- Maic D’Agostino, multimedia content specialist, Office of Philanthropy, Technology, Identity and Communication (July 18), Office of the General Minister and President. With a career background that ranges from newspaper reporting to community health work, he’ll contribute to the team’s news, social media, web and graphic-design work. His first name is pronounced “Mike.”
- Elizabeth “Brooke” Canada, social media specialist, also in OPTIC (part-time; May 16). She is the communication director of First Church of Christ, UCC, Longmeadow, Mass., and has served two other congregations in similar capacities.
Fellowship recipients who started work this year include:
- Thaddeaus Elliott, justice and peace policy fellow (January 2022). He works at the Office of Public Policy and Advocacy in Washington, D.C., part of JLCM. A past member of the national UCC Board and the Florida Conference Board of Directors, he has worked with the Disciples Center for Public Witness, affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), with the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, and with Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC, Miami.
- Andrew Wells-Bean, environmental justice fellow (July 2022). Working with Environmental Justice section of the Faithful Action Ministries team in JLCM, he’ll concentrate on encouraging, supporting and equipping local churches to take public action in their congressional districts toward climate legislation. His has worked on past campaigns with the Sierra Club, Public Interest Network, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, and Organizing for America, and has been a membership director at a Unitarian Universalist church in Massachusetts.
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