July 03, 2015
Written by Connie Larkman
The Rev. John C. Dorhauer was overwhelmingly elected to serve as the UCC’s ninth general minister and president. He takes over the reins from the Rev. Geoffey A. Black, who is retiring at month’s end.
During closing worship on Tuesday evening, June 30, Black presented his successor with a stole, a symbol of the new leadership role Dorhauer is stepping into, reflecting his calling to do new things.
“There is no one better to lead our denomination,” writes the Rev. Kristina “Tina” Campbell, of Phoenix, Arizona in an online comment, “John Dorhauer will lead us all. Let’s get on with the work of the church . . . I thank God for his presence in our lives.”
Dorhauer is already sharing his strategy for moving the church forward in a new time, articulating a plan that revolves around “connection and convergence.” Building closer ties, reconnecting local churches with the national setting. Broadening the UCC’s missional base through strengthened partnerships with like-minded people and groups–both interfaith and ecumenical partners and secular entities. Emphasizing spiritual practices that connect with the Holy Spirit and the divine. And, to step out on faith.
“I want you to prepare to fail,” Dorhauer said. I want you to give yourself permission to take risks and then be there to receive the risk-takers with grace when they fail, and to learn from those failures and pass on what we learn to others.”
The denomination’s next president hopes the people of the UCC use the power of the church, as a progressive faith community, to speak for those who have no voice.