The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, author and theologian, currently serves as ninth General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.
John began his ministry serving Zion United Church of Christ and First Congregational United Church of Christ in rural Missouri. He then served as Associate Conference Minister in the Missouri Mid-South Conference, followed by Conference Minister of the Southwest Conference.
Dorhauer received a B.A. in Philosophy from Cardinal Glennon College and has a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary. John received a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary, studying White Privilege and Its Effect on the Church.
With a personal theology shaped in the passionate conviction that God is love and God is just, John has embodied the United Church of Christ’s vision of “A Just World for All” throughout his ministry. On October 17, 2014, Dorhauer conducted the first legal same sex wedding in the state of Arizona when he performed the wedding service of David Laurence and Kevin Patterson. He is a recipient of Eden Seminary’s Shalom award, given by vote of the student body for a lifetime commitment to peace and justice. He has been identified by the Center for American Progress as one of the religious leaders to watch.
John initiated the collaborative creation of a curriculum, “White Privilege: Let’s Talk – A Resource for Transformational Dialogue”. Designed to invite UCC members and others to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive, and bold conversations on race, the curriculum and accompanying facilitator’s guide have been used by both UCC and non-UCC audiences. It has since been translated into German for use by our partners in Germany as they struggle with a rising tide of racism and seek to learn more about the manifestations of white privilege in their cultural context.
In addition, John has partnered with the UCC Board of Directors in providing oversight for the articulation of the denomination’s statements of Purpose, Vision and Mission – critical elements for the UCC’s evolving organizational strategy. In partnership with the UCC Board of Directors – and informed with responses from across the church to the question “what does a transformative UCC need to be in ten years?”– John has called the church to accomplish essential strategic priorities over the next 10 years to position the church for a transformative future.
More recently, recognizing a need for thought leadership to consider, inform and shape our responsibility for lifelong, cradle-to-the-grave theological formation, John called for a summit on theological formation, From the Ground Up. John recently oversaw the launch of a Research and Development office in the National Setting. Its purpose is to coach innovation, identify places where creative leaders are architecting and birthing new pathways for evangelism, and providing critical data on what is working and why.
John just completed his term as Chair of the National Council of Churches (NCC), and co-chaired the NCC’s United to End Racism campaign.
John insists that the Holy Spirit envisions a future in which the United Church of Christ matters. He is calling on the denomination to rethink itself and to consider new ways of being church in light of institutional religion’s changing landscape, emerging shifts in the generational populations, and life after COVID. John’s book Beyond Resistance: the Institutional Church Meets the Postmodern World is a call to the body of Christ to accept what the Spirit of the Risen Christ is doing to birth something new, vital, and relevant – all towards nurturing the Beloved Community.
John married Mimi in 1984 and remains madly in love with her. He has co-parented three amazing children with Mimi, and they now both enjoy time with two beautiful grandchildren.
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