The Rev. Dr. Ginny Brown Daniel Elected!
Photos from CAPE - Columbia UCC, November 14, 2015 - courtesy of Rev. Mark Robinson
The Missouri Mid-South Conference of the United Church of Christ (MMSCUCC) unanimously elected The Reverend Doctor Geneva “Ginny” Brown Daniel to the office of Conference Minister on Saturday, November 14, 2015 during a special called meeting of delegates to the conference in Columbia, MO at Columbia United Church of Christ.
This vote is the culmination of twenty-two months of work by a nine-person Search Team appointed from all three of the Associations that represent the MMSC and cover the state of Missouri, Memphis, TN and Little Rock, AR areas.
The Search Team was tasked with finding a Conference Minister who would help to restore trust, infuse vitality and bring visionary leadership to the position of Conference Minister while also helping to lead the MMSCUCC into the 21st century’s ever-changing landscape of church decline.
We believe that the Rev. Dr. Brown Daniel comes with all these gifts and more. As the founder of Divine Sparks Consulting, a Ministry Consulting company, that provides workshops on Marriage Equality and Stewardship, she developed a model for implementing information to a diverse group of people while also appreciating their theological framework.
Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson, organizer of New Church in Dallas, TX and Board of Trustees member of Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, MO, believes Brown Daniel is an excellent fit for the MMSC.
“There are probably not a lot of people who feel called to Conference Ministry and maybe not a lot of people who have great gifts for that kind of leadership. But I have watched Ginny thrive in parish ministry and I have seen her leadership at the conference level on our Board of Directors. I have watched her as she has lead conferences and given presentations - she is thoughtful and deliberative and also as I have said, highly creative. I don’t know if I could recommend another candidate for you...” said Rev. Hudson.
As the Pastor of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Spring, TX, Rev. Brown Daniel served for twelve years and lead the church through the Open and Affirming process in a very conservative climate of Southeast Texas. After completing the ONA process the church underwent an additional visioning process which Rev. Dr. Brown Daniel described in her profile as “4 Voices of Plymouth”.
She says, “We went through another 9-month study of our identity and developed 4 Voices of Plymouth: Progressive Theology, Contemplative Spirituality, LGBT Acceptance, and Social Justice. These 4 Voices allow people with differing passions to stay in community with one another in respect and love.” This framework for working with diverse expressions of theology in a congregational setting were inspiring to the Search Team who understood the diverse theological background and settings of the churches in the MMSC.
We felt that someone who could discern and articulate the deep longing of a congregation’s 4 Voices into a harmonious longing such as “4 Voices of Plymouth” was also capable of listening to our collective voices and then helping to guide the MMSC as we undertook a new visioning process.
Former Minister for Conference Relations on the National Staff; Eden Theological Seminary’s Director of Advancement for United Church of Christ Church Giving and Search Team Member, Lorin Cope was impressed with Ginny’s diverse theological experience.
“She comes from a Baptist background and so she has the ability to speak with people of a more conservative theological point of view, but she is also able to lead us in progressive and new ways that will bring about growth and revitalization in our churches. And she is interested especially in growing new churches and welcoming existing new congregations into the United Church of Christ and strengthening our faith family.” says Cope.
In addition, Brown Daniel comes with experience working with two different conferences as moderator - The Moderator of the Annual Meeting, Board of Directors of the Central Atlantic Conference (2002-2003) and President of the South Central Conference Board of Directors (2011-2013). In each conference she served with distinction.
Rev. Dr. David Foy Crabtree, former Acting Conference Minister of the Missouri Mid-South Conference, reflected upon the leadership qualities of Ginny.
“I was impressed by her leadership qualities. I was in a meeting where she was the leader and she led with focus and with clarity and with flexibility and responsiveness to the group. That’s a hard set of things to put together in one person - but she was terrific! I found Ginny to be personable; a delight to be with; deeply pastoral; she loves people; she works for justice. She will be great for the Missouri Mid-South!”, said Foy Crabtree.
A graduate of Auburn University in her hometown of Auburn, Alabama, Brown Daniel speaks of her Southern roots and how they have helped to frame her prophetic call to social justice in her preaching and ministry. Ginny shared this sometime painful, but authentically truthful story in her introductory sermon to the Conference on Saturday as she preached “A Vision of Dusty Rubble” about the change that must come as we rise from that which was into that which we must become to be what God has called us to be!
Called to ministry while a student at Auburn University, Brown Daniel went to Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond in Richmond, VA. As a progressive Southern Baptist looking to leading the church as a female pastor she found that although her home church had openly ordained women since the 1960’s and integrated since the 1950’s that she had difficulty doing so elsewhere in the Southern Baptist connection. She was soon lead to Christ’s Reformed Church in Hagerstown, MD were she became part of the United Church of Christ as Associate Pastor in 1999. Ginny found a home where she was able to serve and express a progressive theology that honored the liturgy and theological thought of conservative members as well.
In 2003 she was called to Plymouth United Church of Christ in Spring, TX, she served there until May, 2015 when she left to pursue a consulting business called Divine Sparks Consulting. Brown Daniel also received a Doctor of Ministry from Union Presbyterian Seminary. Her Doctor of Ministry Project was “Splish Splash: Empowering a Local Congregation to Deepen Its Belief and Practices of Baptism”.
Rev. Dr. Ginny Brown Daniel will begin in her new role as Conference Minister on December 1st, by visiting the churches in Memphis, TN. She plans to maintain a home in Houston, TX with her husband David and commute to St. Louis where she will also maintain a residence as well. As the Conference looks to decentralize and moves to using more technology to address the rising cost of travel, this is seen as a way of helping underscore the importance of today’s changing society and the churches desire to minister to all.