Officers of the Church

Learn more about the Officers of the Church

The Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, author and theologian, currently serves as ninth General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.

John began his ministry serving Zion United Church of Christ and First Congregational United Church of Christ in rural Missouri. He then served as Associate Conference Minister in the Missouri Mid-South Conference, followed by Conference Minister of the Southwest Conference.

Dorhauer received a B.A. in Philosophy from Cardinal Glennon College and has a Master of Divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary. John received a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary, studying White Privilege and Its Effect on the Church.

With a personal theology shaped in the passionate conviction that God is love and God is just, John has embodied the United Church of Christ’s vision of “A Just World for All” throughout his ministry. On October 17, 2014, Dorhauer conducted the first legal same sex wedding in the state of Arizona when he performed the wedding service of David Laurence and Kevin Patterson. He is a recipient of Eden Seminary’s Shalom award, given by vote of the student body for a lifetime commitment to peace and justice. He has been identified by the Center for American Progress as one of the religious leaders to watch.

John initiated the collaborative creation of a curriculum, “White Privilege: Let’s Talk – A Resource for Transformational Dialogue”. Designed to invite UCC members and others to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive, and bold conversations on race, the curriculum and accompanying facilitator’s guide have been used by both UCC and non-UCC audiences. It has since been translated into German for use by our partners in Germany as they struggle with a rising tide of racism and seek to learn more about the manifestations of white privilege in their cultural context.

In addition, John has partnered with the UCC Board of Directors in providing oversight for the articulation of the denomination’s statements of Purpose, Vision and Mission – critical elements for the UCC’s evolving organizational strategy. In partnership with the UCC Board of Directors – and informed with responses from across the church to the question “what does a transformative UCC need to be in ten years?”– John has called the church to accomplish essential strategic priorities over the next 10 years to position the church for a transformative future.

More recently, recognizing a need for thought leadership to consider, inform and shape our responsibility for lifelong, cradle-to-the-grave theological formation, John called for a summit on theological formation, From the Ground Up. John recently oversaw the launch of a Research and Development office in the National Setting. Its purpose is to coach innovation, identify places where creative leaders are architecting and birthing new pathways for evangelism, and providing critical data on what is working and why.

John just completed his term as Chair of the National Council of Churches (NCC), and co-chaired the NCC’s United to End Racism campaign.

John insists that the Holy Spirit envisions a future in which the United Church of Christ matters. He is calling on the denomination to rethink itself and to consider new ways of being church in light of institutional religion’s changing landscape, emerging shifts in the generational populations, and life after COVID. John’s book Beyond Resistance: the Institutional Church Meets the Postmodern World is a call to the body of Christ to accept what the Spirit of the Risen Christ is doing to birth something new, vital, and relevant – all towards nurturing the Beloved Community.

John married Mimi in 1984 and remains madly in love with her. He has co-parented three amazing children with Mimi, and they now both enjoy time with two beautiful grandchildren.

Rev. Traci Blackmon is Associate General Minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries for the United Church of Christ, a denomination inspired by God’s grace to welcome all, love all, and seek justice for all through God-centered action, Christ -driven connection, and Spirit- led leadership. As a public theologian, Rev. Blackmon’s voice is featured on many local, national, and international platforms spanning the breadth of the White House to the Carter Center to the Vatican, as well as several documentaries and print publications. She currently serves as pastor in residence for Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, MO.

From 2009 through 2020, Rev. Blackmon served as pastor of Christ the King United Church of Christ in St. Louis, MO, a position she retired from to serve the wider church fully. The ministries of the church expanded under her leadership as well, serving as a sacred launchpad for communal engagement. After the police killing of Michael Brown, Jr., Christ The King hosted the first community-led town hall meeting and dialogue with law enforcement and elected officials. The church led several other mobilization efforts and healing spaces during the Ferguson uprising.

From 2000 through 2014, she also worked as a registered nurse in the city. Under her healthcare leadership, a community based mobile health unit was established engaging thousands of residents annually and providing a culturally attuned access point to heath care in underserved and uninsured communities.

President Barack Obama appointed Rev. Blackmon to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships for the White House and awarded her special recognition as a presidential volunteer for her community service. She was also appointed to the Ferguson Commission by Governor Jay Nixon and led the criminal justice reform task force featured in the ‘Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity ’Report, calling for sweeping changes in policing, the courts, child well-being and economic mobility in 2015.

Rev. Blackmon is the co-author of The White Privilege Curriculum for the United Church of Christ , and is a prominent voice in the PBS Special; The Black Church, and is featured in several print publications. She currently serves on the board of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference. She is a recipient of the NAACP Rosa Parks Award; the Hannah G. Solomon Founder’s Award from the National Council of Jewish Women, the National Planned Parenthood Faith Leader Award, and The Urban League of St. Louis Woman in Leadership Award, to name a few. She is listed as one of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100, the St. Louis American’s Citizen of the Year, and one of the 15 Faith Leaders to watch in 2020 by The Center for American Progress.

Speaking engagements include the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, the Pontifical Council, the United Nations, Global Women’s Forum at the Carter Center, the Festival of Homiletics, the United Reformed Church, SURRENDER Conferences of Australia.

Rev. Blackmon earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Birmingham-Southern College where she is listed among Distinguished Alumni, a Master of Divinity degree and honorary Doctor of Ministry from Eden Theological Seminary. She is a graduate of Leadership St. Louis and is listed as one of St. Louis’ 100 most influential voices. Rev. Blackmon was inducted into the 33rd Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers of Morehouse College. Rev. Blackmon currently resides in St. Louis, MO.

The Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia A. Thompson is the Associate General Minister and Vice President, Wider Church Ministries and Operations and Co-Executive for Global Ministries. She is an inspiring preacher and theologian, who shares her skills and gifts in a variety of settings nationally and internationally, often using her poetry as a part of her ministry.

As AGM for Wider Church Ministries and Operations, Rev. Dr. Thompson provides strategic visioning and leadership for the programmatic ministries of Global Ministries, Global H.O.P.E (formerly Humanitarian Aid and Development), Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, Events and Scholarships Management and Archives. In collaboration with the other two elected officers, they work together to fulfill the mandates of the General Synod and the United Church of Christ Board.

Former roles in the National setting include two years as Minister for Racial Justice and 8 years as Minister for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations. She has effectively facilitated Sacred Conversations on Race workshops with congregations and Conferences. Her passion for racial justice moved her work into a global context to participate in efforts to reduce the marginalization experienced by African descendant communities.

As the Ecumenical Officer for the UCC she nurtured relationship with critical partners like the World Council of Churches and coordinated theological dialogues and ecumenical initiatives. She is a strong proponent of human rights and was instrumental in guiding the six-year process for the United Church of Christ/United Church of Canada full communion relationship. She is currently a member of the National Council of Churches Committee that planned and implemented A.C.T. Now to End Racism initiative and continues to lead the on-going efforts to dismantle racism.

Rev. Dr. Thompson provides leadership for the joint United Church of Canada and United Church of Christ committee working on the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) and was invited to address the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent about the challenges of racial injustice in North America.

Her ecumenical expertise is evident in her leadership roles within the World Council of Churches (WCC) on the Central Committee and as a Thursdays In Black Ambassador , the Joint Working Group with the Roman Catholic Church (JWG), and the Commission for Education and Ecumenical Formation as the Rapporteur for the work of the commission.

Other ecumenical elected leadership positions include: Secretary of the National Council of Churches, Secretary/Treasurer for the Caribbean and North American Area Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and Treasurer for Churches Uniting in Christ.

Her ecumenical and interreligious commitments have overlapped with her interest and implementation of global consultations on multiple religious belonging. Her leadership in this area has created opportunities for dialogue in the church and created safe space for engaging the variety of expressions of religious multiplicity. Her doctoral dissertation was focused on research in this area, looking specifically at the ways in which African Caribbean people continue to practice African derived religious and spiritual expressions along with other religions and often times with Christianity.

Before joining the National staff, Karen Georgia served in the Florida Conference United Church of Christ as a Pastor and on the Conference staff as the Minister for Disaster Response and Recovery. She also worked in the nonprofit sector for over 10 years in senior leadership positions.

She is a gifted writer and poet whose writings have been published in books, journals and on-line publications. Her book of poetry Drums in Our Veins will be published soon and is a compilation of poems that focus on the injustices facing people of African Descent and the fight and desire for racial justice globally. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, her poetry and writings reflect her Jamaican heritage and culture as well as the traditions and lore of her Ancestors.

Rev. Dr. Thompson earned a BA from Brooklyn College in New York; a Master of Public Administration from North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC; and a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York. She also studied Public Policy at Duke University and earned her Doctorate in Ministry at Seattle University.

She is the mother of two sons – Everette and Patrick and has three grandchildren – Giovan, Elijah and Sara who are affectionately named by her as Peanut, Pumpkin and Pepper.

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