At the 34th General Synod held in Indianapolis, the United Church of Christ elected its first female general minister and president. The Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson is not only the first female leader of UCC but also the first woman of African descent who has been chosen to lead the mainline denomination. With overwhelming support from the delegates, Karen Georgia Thompson’s nomination for a four-year term as general minister and president of the UCC was approved. As the vote results were announced—626 yes votes to 43 no votes—the room erupted in song and applause, celebrating the occasion.
Religion News Service reports:
(RNS) — The United Church of Christ elected its first female general minister and president on Monday (July 3) at its 34th General Synod in Indianapolis.
The Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson’s election also makes her the first woman of African descent to lead the mainline denomination.
“Today, United Church of Christ, we created a first together. It won’t be the last first,” Thompson, dressed in white, told delegates afterward.
Those delegates overwhelmingly approved Thompson’s nomination to a four-year term as general minister and president of the UCC on Monday morning, breaking into song and applause as the results of the vote — 626 yeses to 43 no’s — were announced.
Thompson is the third woman to be nominated to lead the UCC, which celebrated its 66th anniversary days before General Synod began.
While neither the Rev. Yvonne Delk (nominated in 1989) nor the Rev. Barbara Brown Zikmund (1999) ultimately were elected to lead the denomination, Thompson said Friday during her nomination speech, “Their ministries have individually and collectively shaped the UCC and paved the way for women to serve in ministry in the UCC, opening wide the doors of this denomination.”
That Thompson is the first woman to lead the denomination may be surprising to some given the denomination’s progressive stances on women’s rights and many other issues.
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