General Synod Nominating Committee calls for applicants to UCC Board and Synod leadership

Applications to serve the church as a member of the UCC Board are now open, and the Nominating Committee of the United Church of Christ General Synod is encouraging people across the denomination to apply.

The committee is seeking candidates for three types of positions: General Synod moderator and assistant moderator, as well as 12 UCC Board members.

Any UCC member is eligible for these positions, and candidates can be recommended by pastors, Conference leaders, historically underrepresented groups, or by self-nomination.

“To be in a position like Board leadership and leadership at General Synod gives one a completely different view of the work of the church in its wider settings,” said the Rev. June Boutwell, chair of the Nominating Committee. “And the relationships that are developed out of doing work in that setting can really inform one’s ministry no matter what kind of ministry they do. Serving in wider church capacities, in my experience, has always transformed people’s lives.”

Applications are open now through Nov. 30.

Service to the Board

The 12 open at-large board seats will join the 52-member UCC Board that meets twice per year, typically in-person at the Cleveland office, and works with the elected officers to steer the vision, goals, and actions of the UCC national setting.

“We need the assistance of the whole church to identify candidates who are willing to apply,” Boutwell said. She requests that people “keep your eyes and ears open for potential nominees for Board positions – especially laypersons, those under 30 years of age, and those who are part of historically underrepresented groups.”

The Nominating Committee also seeks people with unique skillsets, such as a background in diversity training, financial management, marketing, fundraising and development, and management.

The current position openings will run for a nine-year term from 2025 to 2034 – the first term of this longer length due to Bylaw changes passed at the 2023 General Synod.

“Hopefully there will be people who can envision this service for the next decade of their lives,” Boutwell said.

Leaders for Synod

The committee is also seeking two people who will serve as General Synod moderator and assistant moderator for General Synod 36 in 2028.

These two individuals preside over Synod, assist with planning it, and serve as appointed members of the UCC Board for three-year terms. They attend both board meetings and General Synod planning meetings.

One of either the moderator or assistant moderator must be a layperson, while the other must be clergy, according to UCC Bylaws. A person who has served as assistant moderator is eligible to be a future moderator, Boutwell notes. 

The Nominating Committee is particularly encouraging of laypeople to apply, given the challenges they have encountered identifying lay leaders and people under the age of 30 to serve.

“We are a congregational polity, so the church speaks to the national setting, and we really want people who sit in the pews of local church guiding the polity – they’re our best source of information for understanding what the local church needs,” Boutwell said, adding how specific diversity guidelines for board membership are laid out in the UCC Bylaws. “The Bylaws around board composition are so important because they reflect commitments of diverse representation that were part of the founding of our denomination – inclusion of women, lay leadership, diverse communities, and youth are all part of what the UCC is committed to.”

However, Boutwell noted that for the last two cycles, applicants have not fulfilled the diversity requirements.

“Last cycle, we had no applicants under the age of 30, we struggled to find lay applicants, and we didn’t receive a diverse representation of historically underrepresented groups,” she said.

Boutwell is hoping that making these challenges known, as well as extending outreach efforts, can encourage more people who meet these criteria to step forward. She has found encouragement in the past several synod cycles where increasing amounts of clergy have applied.

‘Gifts and graces to offer’

Applications for the positions are online and cover a comprehensive assessment around an applicant’s leadership experience, self-assessment, references, and some case-scenario questions related to topics like consensus. While it is thorough, Boutwell says, being a member of the UCC Board can be “a pretty rigorous commitment,” so the committee wants to prepare people for the responsibilities.

Once the Nominating Committee selects candidates, it’s up to delegates to General Synod 35 to vote on the entire slate of nominees when they meet in Kansas City, July 11-15, 2025.

We all have gifts and graces to offer, and sometimes we don’t recognize them in ourselves, but I think the Holy Spirit does her nudging,” Boutwell said.

The job descriptions and applications are available now for the UCC Board Members At Large and Moderator and Assistant Moderator to General Synod.


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Categories: United Church of Christ News

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