On the loss of Susan Dickerman, Associate Conference Minister for 26 years

On the loss of Susan Dickerman, Associate Conference Minister for 26 years


Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I write with a heavy heart.  Our friend, colleague, teacher, mentor and beloved sister in Christ, Susan Dickerman, passed away peacefully on Feb. 14. Sue was surrounded by God’s love, her family and closest friends.  A service of celebration of Susan’s life, for her church community, family and friends, was held at Edwards Church, Framingham on Monday, February 18th
There will be a public worship service in celebration of Susan’s ministry at Plymouth Church Framingham on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 11am. Click here for details:  http://macucc.org/events/detail/1124
Words fail us at times such as these but God does not.  So we turn to God to give thanks for Susan’s life and ministry and to seek the comfort of the Holy Spirit for our hearts and souls.
The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal
Minister and President, Massachusetts Conference
(If you'd like to leave a note in remembrance of Sue, you may do so at the bottom of this page.)

Letter of Condolence from Bishop Ulises Muñoz, leader of the Pentecostal Church of Chile, a long-time Mission Partner of the MACUCC

Curicó, 16 febrero de 2013.
Para : Rev. Christopher Ney
De : Obispo Ulises Muñoz

Ante la dolorosa circunstancia que pasa la hermana Iglesia de Cristo, por el sensible fallecimiento de nuestra querida y respetada Hna Sue Dickerman; a nombre propio, de mi familia e Iglesia Pentecostal de Chile, cumplo con el penoso deber de hacer llegar por su intermedio a la familia, la Iglesia y los amigos, las más sensibles condolencias, en estos momentos de congoja rogamos al Todopoderoso, les llene de paz y reciban nuestra adhesión y solidaridad, sabiendo que Dios nos guiara aun mas allá de la muerte… (Salmo 48:14b)

Fraternalmente en Cristo.

Translation by The Rev. Christopher Ney:

In the face of the painful circumstance that has occurred in our sister church in Christ because of the regrettable death of our beloved and respected Sister Sue Dickerman, I comply with the sad duty to convey to you, in my own name, in the name of my family and in the name of Pentecostal Church of Chile, the most sensitive condolences in this time of grief. We pray that Almighty fill you with peace and receive our support and solidarity, knowing that God will be our guide even unto death ... (Psalm 48: 14b)

Letter from United Church of Christ General Minister and President Geoffrey Black

Dear family and friends,

It is with great sadness that I heard of the death of Susan Dickerman and deeply appreciate the opportunity to both reflect on and celebrate her life.

Her support and involvement were clearly represented in her service to the Massachusetts Conference for 26 years and across the country and denomination as she poured her passion Into a new project, the PastoralExcellence Network. This program encouraged youth participation and worked to strengthen pastors in becoming vital parts of their congregations and communities. She opened up a wide range of opportunities for ministry and mission.

Susan gave of herself to the Massachusetts Conference and her wider church family, especially the Association of United Church Educators and Partners in Education,exuding her glow of good will with an effusive spirit of caring and warmth. Many of her colleagues could point to her as a mentor and encourager.

The United Church of Christ has been enriched and blessed by her presence and ministry. For that we thank God as we celebrate her life. On behalf of the whole church I share our deepest sympathies to her family and close friends.

May God's peace and comforting presence be with all who gather in worship today to honor and remember Susan,daughter of God,disciple of Jesus,and friend to all.

Faithfully yours,

Geoffrey A. Black
General Minister and President

About Susan

Susan Dickerman served on the staff of the Massachusetts Conference for 26 years, most recently spearheading the Pastoral Excellence Program. She had resigned at the end of the year to work with a new Lilly Grant to expand that program to other Conferences and denominations, but then resigned from that position due to a recurrance of the cancer she had overcome several years ago.

Susan joined the Conference staff in 1986, serving as staff to the Annual Meeting worship planning committee. She organized the worship and program components of Annual Meeting for much of her tenure, including for the 200th Anniversary Celebration that brought 11,500 people to the DCU Center in Worcester in 1999 and the Amistad Celebration that brought 8.000 people to Boston in 2003.

Dickerman was also well known in the Conference for her work in leading hundreds of churches to adopt safe church policies, her work with Christian Educators, and her role in coordinating countless gatherings and colloquies for clergy and lay leaders. She coordinated the strategic planning process that led the Conference to adopt the Vision for Growth and Renewal in 1999, and followed that by successfully co-writing the grant application to the Lilly Endowment that led to the formation of the Pastoral Excellence Program.

Dickerman also served as Christian Education Director at the Edwards Church in Framingham.

“It is impossible to summarize the impact Sue Dickerman has had on the churches, the leaders, the teachers and the staff of the Mass Conference over her 26 years of service,” Antal said of Susan when she left the Conference staff.  “Sue’s life and ministry testify to how God’s presence becomes visible in relationships. Her personal vitality and courage have inspired countless ones of us to take on enormous challenges and dream unlikely visions of how God’s kingdom might show up." 

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