United Church of Christ may get its First Black Woman as General Minister
The UCC Board has Nominated Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson for the role.
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Over the past year, the United Church of Christ (UCC) has been searching for a suitable candidate to nominate for the General Synod 34, an election that will choose the church’s General Minister.
For the first time since the UCC’s founding in 1957, the church may have its first female and Black General Minister following their nomination of Associate General Manager Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson for the role.
Thompson has had over 14 years of experience working with the UCC, which hosts approximately 745,000 members attending its 4,724 congregations.
“We couldn’t have more faith in Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson,” said the Rev. Cameron Barr, UCC Board chair.
“She has articulated our shared values on a global stage as Ecumenical Officer and Associate General Minister, and now, provided that she is elected by General Synod, she will be our spiritual leader,” he continued.
Currently, Thompson leads Wider Church Ministries, serves as Co-Executive of Global Ministries, and in September, was elected to the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches.
As General Minister and President, Thompson would oversee numerous areas, including the finance office, human resources, legal counsel, strategy and planning, philanthropy, technology, marketing, and communications for the UCC.
Thompson's vision for the future of the UCC reflects the values she embodies in her work as she pushes for acceptance of religious multiplicity and diversity, her search for justice for marginalized communities worldwide, and a broader affirmation of spiritual practices beyond mainline Christianity.
“My hope is that we, the UCC, will begin to live more fully into what it means to be a church that proclaims to be God-centered and Spirit-filled,” Thompson said in a statement..
“It’s not just about the head, but also about the heart. How do we become mission-minded? How do we show up? How do we be present for communities that are on the margins — not just here, but globally?” she continued.
Thompson was born in Kingston, Jamaica before immigrating to New York City as a teenager, where she would attend Brooklyn College to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education.
She later earned a Master of Public Administration from North Carolina Central University and a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York.
Thompson would earn her Doctorate in Ministry from Seattle University, publishing a dissertation on the variety of religious traditions practiced by African Caribbean people.
The General Synod 34 will be held from June 30 to July 4, 2023. To become General Minister, Thompson requires 60% of the Synod’s vote to be affirmed.
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