Disciples News Service

Rev. Teresa Hord Owens elected

General Assembly elects Teresa Hord Owens as first African-American woman to head mainline denomination

INDIANAPOLIS – Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens was elected Sunday night to serve as the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. She is the first African-American to hold this post and the second woman to lead the denomination.

Hord Owens comes to the position in a time of renewed emphasis on the issues of race, particularly in the United States. Her election comes on the 50th anniversary of the Merger Agreement uniting the African-American and largely white branches of the American-born denomination. She is currently pastor of a predominately white congregation in the Chicago area.

“We need to stop demonizing differences as deficiencies,” Hord Owens says. “We should seek to understand, to work through our differences in priorities, opinions, methods, and goals. This will not be easy, but imagine what an example this will be for the world if we can bridge the gaps in politics, identity, geography and theology.”

Hord Owens’ resume includes more than 20 years in corporate America leading diverse teams in data management before she entered seminary. For the last 15 years, she has been the dean of students at the University of Chicago Divinity School, shepherding a varied student body in both background and theology.

The election of Hord Owens follows the 12-year tenure of the Rev. Sharon E. Watkins, who was the first female to lead a mainline denomination in the United States upon her election in 2005. Hord Owens’ term is six years with an option for re-election in 2023 for an additional six-year term.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) was born out of the Stone-Campbell Movement, part of the Great Awakening on the American frontier in the early 1800s. The denomination is congregationally governed, meaning each congregation appoints its own leadership and determines its own mission and support. There are 32 regional bodies that support congregations as well as relate to the general ministries of the denomination. (More information on structure: http://disciples.org/our-identity/our-structure/)

11 Responses to “Rev. Teresa Hord Owens elected”

  1. Dr. G D Mabry, Jr.:

    Congratulations, Rev. Owens.

  2. John Hanley:

    Wonderful news. Congratulations Rev. Hord Owens! I am a practicing Roman Catholic but have the greatest respect for the Disciples of Christ and it’s inclusive and understanding faith!

    John Hanley
    Washington, DC

  3. Rebecca Smith:

    So very proud to be a Disciple and part of this movement to bring wholeness to a fragmented world.

    • Bonnie Greene:

      It is indeed am exciting time to see and witness the movement, which can empower and ignite unity throughout the world. Congratulations, Rev. Owens for accepting this profound stance and thank you for doing so.
      Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church- Memphis, TN

  4. To God be the Glory

  5. Keith Osterberg:

    Congratulations to Rev. Hord Owens. One minor point of accuracy: The Presbyterian Church USA was lead by moderator Joan Salmon-Campbell, elected in 1989, prior to Rev. Sharon E. Watkins call as General Minister of CC(DOC). Both Salmon-Campbell and one of the present PCUSA co-moderators (Rev. Denise Anderson) are women of color.

  6. Bsp.George Magolo,Nairobi,Kenya,E.Africa:

    As founder of Disciples of Christ mission Church, l wish to take this opportunity on behalf of everybody here to convey hearfelt message of congratulations to Rev.Owens in her new position. We are looking forward to gain immensely under your leadership especially in Africa.We invite you to come and visit Nairobi,Kenya and hold a conference/seminar for church leaders.God bless you and more grace to you!

  7. Tongratulations to the Disciples of Christ for having elected such a great leader. We know her well as Dean of Students at the Divinity School and as a minister in the Western Suburbs, where I used to hang out. She is universally respected by those with whom she has worked. A class act, and we wish her God’s benisons.

  8. Tryh again: it should say ‘congratulations’ and not ‘tongratulations,’ but we can think of it as a ton of congratulations. Marty

  9. I read here that I flunked my trial by the moderators. Let me try again by saying that I have immoderately high regard for the Disciples of Christ choice, whom we know as a Dean and a local pastor. God’s bensions,

  10. Cecelia Watkins:

    Praise the Lord! Congrats from Fellowship Christian Church DOC in Philadelphia, PA Pastor Jerome Goodson Sr.