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  • Hawai‘i Conference

Talk Story with John Dorhauer, UCC General Minister and President

On the evening of Sunday, July 2, the HCUCC delegation was graced with a visit by outgoing General Minister and President John Dorhauer. He began by expressing an overriding emotion of deep gratitude for all that he has experienced in the last eight years. Acknowledging that conferences and local churches all have their own unique cultures, serving in the national setting he was able to see the United Church of Christ (UCC) in its breadth, functioning as a one.

Rev. Dr. Dorhauer shared that he loves the UCC and General Synod, to be a part of a body that “agrees that the only way we can effectively discern the movement of the Holy Spirit is in covenant and community with one another and inviting every voice to the table.”

When he was first elected as General Minister and President, the expectation was that he would lead the UCC through change. He began by surveying people across the entire denomination, focused on the question, “Where is the Holy Spirit calling us and leading us?” His first year was spent in deep listening; a mission statement would be created based on what he was hearing in survey results, then it would be tested across the denomination and rewritten, as needed. The resulting mission statement was something like, “United in Christ’s love, we will build a just world for all.”

Then he asked the UCC Board to form a task force to consider, “If the UCC is to be relevant in 10 years, what do we need to look like?” The only caveat was that the task force would be made up entirely of those under 40 years of age. The task force created strategic priorities and Rev. Dr. Dorhauer promised to rebuild the national setting to reach the goals set forth by the task force.

Out of the task force came the following three priorities: The UCC must be committed to God-centered actions, form Christ-driven connections, and Spirit-led leadership.

When asked, “Where do you see the Holy Spirit leading us now, he had three points:

  • Hold fast in loving kindness to our traditions, while embracing the movement of the Holy Spirit and being open to new creations.

  • The UCC must outlive its colonial past and possessive investment in whites.

  • The UCC was the culmination of what was begun in 1909, the birth of the ecumenical movement. The future is not just ecumenical in focus but an interfaith articulation of the body of Christ in the world.

Following the conclusion of his tenure as General Minister and President, Rev. Dr. Dorhauer has accepted a call to serve a local church in DeKalb, Illinois.

We closed our gathering by HCUCC people expressing thanks to Rev. Dr. Dorhauer for his Spirit-led service in the UCC.

Kahu Wendell Davis leads a prayer of blessing for John.

Conference Minister David Popham, UCC GMP John Dorhauer, Papa Makua Wendell Davis


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