(Indianapolis, Ind. – DNS – Oct. 9, 2008) – Ron Degges, the new president of Disciples Home Missions, believes in listening and developing relationships before taking action.
"I have an open-door philosophy in terms of sharing the wisdom and experiences I have gained over the years," says Degges. "But I also know it’s important to have good strong relationships with staff, board and congregations in carrying out this call."
Degges is currently serving the Little White Chapel Christian Church in Burbank, Calif. He intends to put his sharing and listening skills to good use next year as he works to develop partnerships through the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) that will lead to stronger congregations. He will start as DHM president on January 2.
"Seeing this great American church from the vantage point of 30 years of parish ministry – serving congregations in the East, Midwest and West – I have an abiding appreciation for our congregations and their leaders, especially for the diversity that is at the center of our churches’ life and ministry," he noted in explaining his interest in serving at the general church level.
Degges was called to the position by the DHM board during a meeting in Indianapolis on Saturday, Oct. 4. He will follow Don Shelton, who has served as the DHM interim president since January. Shelton described Degges as a person who has always been involved in ecumenical and interfaith communities.
"He brings a rich diversity of ministry to Disciples Home Missions," said Shelton. "Please join us in praying for the well-being of Disciples Home Missions, the staff, and Ron Degges as he comes to share in ministry at the Disciples Center, the regional church and local congregations."
Degges, 54, served as pastor at Little White Chapel for 12 years. He also has served churches in Alexandria, Va., Wilmington, Del., Mitchellville, Iowa and Chevy Chase, Md. He graduated from Carson-Newman College and received his master’s degree from Yale Divinity School. He was ordained in the Capital Area region in 1973. He has studied at Oxford and pursued studies in Ecumenical and Interfaith Cooperation and speaks and writes Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and French.
He intends to become closely involved with the work of the Mission Alignment Coordinating Council (MACC), a group of 12 people who will present a plan to the General Board about ways to better and more effectively accomplish mission.
"The whole process of Church life is to become a transforming organization that is able to move with the changing times," said Degges. "This look at our mission through the MACC process opens us up to the big, beautiful world that God has established. The more we’re involved in mission, the more we get to know who our brothers and sisters are in the world."
While in Southern California Degges was Vice-President of Operations, Grant and Contract Services and Fund Development of the Valley Interfaith Council of San Fernando Valley, where he had oversight of a $6 million annual budget. Additionally, he served as President of the Valley Interfaith Council Foundation through a successful fund raising campaign to provide endowed funds for that interfaith ministry.
Degges will move to Indianapolis in January. His wife, Deniese, a librarian for the city of Burbank, will follow with their youngest child at the close of the school year in California. The Degges have four other children, one of whom recently graduated from college , two are currently in college, and a third will enroll in college next June.
Disciples Home Missions is a general ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) whose priorities include leader development, congregational transformation, faith formation and Christian vocations.
Written by: Wanda Bryant Wills