United Church of Christ General Minister and President announces retirement

United Church of Christ General Minister and President announces retirement

Written by staff reports
August 15, 2014

The Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, has announced his decision to retire early, at the conclusion of the 30th General Synod in June 2015.

In a letter to colleagues and co-workers, Black described his experience as GMP for the past five years as one of “challenge and privilege.”

“Over the years that I have served, the United Church of Christ has experienced significant changes in its national setting,” Black wrote. “It has been a challenge and a privilege to lead and guide through this time of transition. However, I believe that we will soon arrive at a juncture where the transition in governance, ministry alignment, and missional direction will be complete.”

“I want to express my gratitude to Geoffrey for his leadership during his time in office — through the challenging and difficult discussions over the governance of the United Church of Christ to the successful transition to a new and unified governance structure,” said the Rev. Bernard Wilson, chair of the United Church of Christ Board. “Geoffrey has been a kind, gentle and thoughtful manager of our affairs in the national setting of the Church. We cannot begin to thank him enough for his service as General Minister and President, as New York Conference Minister, as a national staff member and as a local church pastor.”

Black was re-elected by the General Synod of the UCC to a second term in June 2013 during the denomination’s biennial gathering in Long Beach, Calif. He was called to the leadership of the church five years ago by the former Executive Council of the UCC, and confirmed by delegates during General Synod 2009 in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Before arriving in Cleveland for his first term in 2009, Black was the conference minister for the New York Conference of the UCC from 2000 to 2009, and a pastor at the Congregational Church of South Hempstead (N.Y.) for almost 15 years (1980-1994). He also worked for the national setting from 1994 to 2000 in the UCC’s Office for Church Life and Leadership.

Wilson is in the process of assembling a search committee to select Black’s successor, with details to follow early next week.

“My prayer is that God will continue to bless and inspire the ministry that we do in Jesus’ name,” Black concluded.

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