The Rev. Dr. Michael Ciba, who has served at the Conference setting for 17 years, has announced his plan to retire at the end of 2022.
Currently, Rev. Dr. Ciba serves as the Area Conference Minister Team leader, and as the ACM for the Southwest Region, which includes much of western and southern Connecticut. He joined the staff of the historic Connecticut Conference in 2005, initially serving as Valley Northwest Regional Minister.
"I have been blessed beyond measure by the opportunity I’ve had to serve the Conference, its churches, and associations," he said.
"Even though we face unprecedented challenges, I’m hopeful for our future. I wholeheartedly embrace and affirm the vision of the Southern New England Conference to ‘live the love and justice of Jesus.' We are richly blessed with amazing and committed leadership, a strong sense of mission, and a desire to be the body of Christ in and for the communities we serve. The Apostles’ Creed reminds us that we all belong to the ‘communion of saints.’ We remain united in community even when we are separated by time and distance."
"As I conclude my ministry with you in December, I will carry with me all the memories of ministry we have done together. May God continue to bless us, now and always," he said.
Rev. Dr. Ciba is the longest serving member of the Area Conference Minister team, and has been leading what has largely been a team of colleagues new to ministering at the Conference setting.
"Rev. Dr. Michael Ciba has been an amazing colleague with whom to work. His leadership of the ACM team is a kairos moment solidifying the foundation upon which the ACM ministry in the SNEUCC is built," said Rev. Dr. Audrey Price, Executive Minister for Strategic Operations.
"Michael’s wisdom, confidence and humility were the blessed traits needed to lead a brand new ACM team in a brand new conference. Michael’s retirement is bittersweet — only selfishly because it’s been joy working with him — but he has truly earned this moment in ministry," she said.
"Adapting from Matthew 25:23: Well done good and faithful servant. You have been faithful and stewarded a few decades of Conference ministry…now enter into the joy of retirement," she said.
Rev. Kent Siladi, former Conference Minister of the historic Connecticut Conference, worked with Rev. Ciba for many years.
"Michael’s many gifts align perfectly with his work with clergy and local churches. He has a great love for the United Church of Christ, understands the changing and evolving nature of congregational life and provides a solid sounding board for pastors wanting to consult with him for advice and counsel," Rev. Siladi said. "He is respected by his peers across the country as a wise and discerning leader. He has a heart for the message of the Gospel, is a student of history, has a great sense of humor and a sneaker collection that makes people smile!"
Diana Beecher, chair of the Fairfield West Association Committee on Ministry, also said Rev. Dr. Ciba would be missed.
"I don't even know how to express what a wonderful, wise, gentle partner Michael is. It is an incredibly special gift to be an ACM, and Michael exhibits that gift in every way," she said.
Rev. Dr. Price said there will be opportunities between now and the end of the year for the Associations and the Conference to celebrate Rev. Dr. Ciba's ministry.
In the meantime, she added: "Michael looks forward to spending more time with family, especially his grandchildren, and I celebrate with him that this season of life has come."
Rev. Dr. Ciba grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and worked in business for ten years before attending seminary. During his more than 30 years of ordained ministry, he has pastored churches in Gustavus, Ohio and Waterbury, Connecticut. He and his wife, Diane Ciba, live in Watertown, CT. Their son, Daniel Ciba, is the Educational Programs Manager for Quintessence Theatre in Philadelphia.
Tiffany Vail is the Director of Media & Communications for the Southern New England Conference.