Dawn Hammond Announces Plans to Retire

Dawn Hammond Announces Plans to Retire

Dawn Hammond, who has served in Conference ministry for more than 34 years, has announced her plans to retire.

Hammond, who began serving the historic Massachusetts Conference as a part-time accounting manager in 1988, currently serves as the Southern New England Conference Executive Minister for Policy and Finance, meaning she acts as the chief financial officer concerned with budgeting, finances and policy development.

“It is with heartfelt appreciation and sadness that I inform you that our wonderful Executive Minister for Finance and Policy, Dawn Hammond, will retire April 30, 2023,” said Executive Conference Minister the Rev. Darrell Goodwin. “We are so grateful for the heavy lifting Dawn has offered in the formation of the SNEUCC and her leadership will continue to be invaluable.”

A search committee is being formed, with the intention of having at least a month overlap between Hammond and her successor. Hammond will also stay on as a contract employee to serve as Special Assistant to the Executive Conference Minister over the following year.

“It has been an extraordinary blessing to spend most of my adult life supporting the work of colleagues who are doing their best every day to bring God’s realm into being,” Hammond said. “Reporting to the Conference Minister, I have had one incredible boss after another, learning so much from each one’s leadership.”

The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal was one of those Conference Ministers.

“When I arrived as the new Conference Minister of the historic Mass Conference in 2006, again and again I was told that without a key colleague, my job would be impossible. Dawn Hammond was that key colleague,” he said.

“Not only was she an incredible team player, she was also a clear, precise, firm and joyful guide in navigating her countless arenas of expertise,” Rev. Antal said. “I can't count the number of times I sought out her perspective and benefited from her insight. For decades, the Mass Conference -- and now the SNE Conference -- has provided leadership within and beyond the UCC. Behind the scenes - making it all possible - has been God's humble, faithful and supremely competent disciple, Dawn Hammond.“

Hammond has long served as staff to the Board of Directors.

“Our Officers and Boards of Directors, year after year, comprise brilliant and dedicated church leaders who form a special kind of faith community as they consider how best to support the ministries of local congregations. I’ve spent 34 years seeking the love and justice of Jesus in this excellent company – how lucky is that?” Hammond said.

Rev. Jocelyn Gardner Spencer served as the first board chair of the new Southern New England Conference.

“Working with Dawn was one of the great blessings of my time in Conference leadership. As the board and staff worked together through the process of becoming a unified Southern New England Conference, Dawn could always be counted on to know all the details we could possibly need, to come up with creative new ideas and solutions, and to ensure that our operational logistics were deeply aligned with the values we share. (And she always made time to wave and say hi in the chat when my son visited our Zoom meetings!),” Rev. Gardner Spencer said.

“She managed to keep our feet grounded in the world as it is, and our eyes and hearts fixed on the world as it can be -- and to help us build a bridge to move from here to there. Dawn's brilliant and faithful leadership has done so much to help us as a Conference more fully live the love and justice of Jesus. While I will miss having her at the helm of our operations, I celebrate the new possibilities her retirement will hold for continued joyful discipleship. Thanks be to God for Dawn Hammond,” she said.

Hammond had been working as a full-time Business Manager for a nonprofit in 1988, but as a new mom, wanted part-time work. As the daughter of two UCC clergy, when she saw a newspaper ad for a position with the “MACUCC,” she wondered if the position might be church-related.

“When I arrived at my interview with this mix of resume and family background, Sue Baker (Associate Conference Minister for Policy & Administration at the time) was sure it was Providence,” Hammond said.

Hammond’s role in the historic Massachusetts Conference grew from there, moving from accounting manager to business manager. When Baker retired in 2001, Hammond became the ACM For Policy and Finance, a role she held until the formation of the new Conference.

“I functioned as CFO, staffed the Board and its standing committees, oversaw camps and conference centers, communications, databases, and in later years, Annual Meeting – a great job for a generalist who never could decide what she wanted to be when she grew up,” Hammond recalls. “The scope of the job was workable only because the Conference was blessed with amazing managers in all the areas I supervised.”

Hammond worked closely with many Conference treasurers over the years.

“Dawn Hammond’s dedication to the SNEUCC is unrivaled. She is leaving a legacy of commendable work ethic and excellent service,” said Conference Treasurer Calvin Price. “I have personally benefitted from her tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience. The SNEUCC is financially stronger because of her dedication, commitment and financial knowledge.”

“I will miss our conversations and her kind disposition but I pray she will continue to impact society with her great zeal,” he said.

With the formation of the SNEUCC, Hammond took on the more focused job as Executive Minister for Policy and Finance.

“This has been both stressful and exciting, as we’ve worked for several years to build all the legal, governance and financial infrastructure required of a new nonprofit,” she said. “It’s also been an honor to work on the senior leadership team with Rev. Darrell Goodwin and other key leaders.”

“I’m pleased to have helped build a bridge between our historic Conferences and our new SNEUCC, and thrilled to be leaving the organization in the skilled, creative and loving hands of the senior leadership team - Rev. Goodwin, Rev. Liz Garrigan-Byerly and Rev. Chris Davies - and all our staff and Board leaders. I’m also glad I don’t have to leave entirely, ever – I look forward to continuing to assist the SNEUCC transition as a consultant in the coming months, and to ongoing membership in my wonderful local UCC in Holliston,” Hammond said.


tiffany vail cropped.jpg
Tiffany Vail

Tiffany Vail is the Director of Media & Communications for the Southern New England Conference.

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