Tribute to Geoffrey Black–Jazz lover, steadfast leader
For a man who loves his church and loves his jazz, the Rev. Geoffrey Black received a double helping of both.
The retiring general minister and president of the United Church of Christ was honored June 29 in a video tribute, a specially-written musical composition, and a standing ovation of love from the church he has led for six years.
“I am deeply touched and overwhelmed,” he said following the accolades during Monday evening’s plenary session.
Black was first elected general minister and president in 2009 at General Synod 27 in Grand Rapids, Mich. During these six years, UCC Board Chair Bernard Wilson says Black has “led the church through seismic and monumental changes.”
Black has made many decisions during his tenure, and not all were easy. But the decisions Black has made “will benefit the UCC for years to come.”
A long video tribute looking back on Black’s time as leader, delegates were treated to “A Bowtie and a Smile,” an original jazz composition for piano and violin written by John Dorhauer, the son of Black’s successor the Rev. John Dorhauer.
In his own reflections, Black recalled his first words to the church as president: “When we began this journey, I recall saying we were in this thing together, and we had a massive challenge ahead of us.”
Despite the challenges, perhaps because of the challenges, Black said he “never felt that I did not have the support and love of this caring church.”
“This call has been a blessed challenge,” he declared. “Nothing could have been accomplished without all of us working together and serving God.”
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