Report to the church from the United Church of Christ Board, October 2021
The Rev. Cameron Barr, chairperson of the United Church of Christ Board, has issued the following report on the board’s October meeting, held online. He is senior pastor of United Church of Chapel Hill, N.C.
On Friday, Oct. 22, the United Church of Christ Board gathered over Zoom for our first business meeting of the 2021-2023 biennium. This meeting followed a September retreat of the board during which we discussed the UCCB’s role as a leading institution in the landscape of the wider church and the value of our covenantal relationships with other settings of the church, including local churches, conferences, and financial ministries. The wider church has blessed the UCCB with a cohort of exceptional leaders. In addition to our officers and staff, our fall business meeting was the first opportunity for us to hear from multiple new committee chairs. Lawrence Tanner Richardson was appointed chair of the Development Committee and Onyx Kuthuru to lead the Marketing Committee.
The UCCB has set a goal for all board members to participate in the church’s annual fund this year. I updated the board on our progress toward our $20,000 goal. UCCB members have given $18,750 to the mission of the National Setting so far this year and we are on track to meet our goal.
Major actions of the board at this meeting included receiving our audited financial statements, approving a budget of approximately $20 million for operations of the National Setting in 2022, and reviewing the 4.75-percent draw on our endowment. In addition to this routine business, the board followed up on items delegated to us by General Synod 33. A special committee of UCCB members was appointed to consider the “Resolution on Protecting Workers at Churches and Other Religious Institutions.” Action on this resolution is expected of the board at its next regular meeting in March 2022.
The board also received reports from the officers of the church:
- The Rev. John Dorhauer delivered remarks addressing the state of the church throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and attending to the grief that will accompany us in moving through the months ahead. He unveiled plans for a major church summit in 2022 to envision the post-pandemic church. He also spoke to the status of the expected sale of our property at 700 Prospect Avenue in Cleveland and a new lease agreement for office space. Rev. Dorhauer delivered official notice to the UCCB that he will not seek reelection to his office at General Synod 34.
- Returning from sabbatical, the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson also addressed the board on Wider Church Ministries. Her remarks placed special emphasis on the importance of our ministry of accompaniment to migrant peoples and she led us in prayerful remembrance of the people of Haiti.
- The Rev. Traci Blackmon delivered a report for Justice and Local Church Ministries. Rev. Blackmon has taken a leading role in the design of new space for the workforce of the National Setting and demonstrated her readiness to serve as Acting General Minister and President during Rev. Dorhauer’s upcoming sabbatical. She updated the board on our plans to take the “spirit of Amistad” from the chapel at 700 Prospect into our new home in the AECOM building.
Our meeting concluded with our annual review of the General Minister and President. The UCCB passed a resolution commending Rev. Dorhauer on his pastoral leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and blessing his sabbatical. Our prayer is that this will be a period of sustained rest and renewal for him so that when he returns to work in January 2022 he will energetically complete the race we have called him to run.
Cameron Barr Chair United Church of Christ Board
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