Hammond shared some of her UCC roots in the conversation. She was born to a congregational minister and grew up as part of the East Harlem Protestant Parish in New York. Several other members of the family were involved in the Evangelical and Reformed Church, which eventually merged to form the United Church of Christ. Hammond's mother eventually become a minister as well and her parents co-pastored a church.
Hammond, who had earned her MBA at Cornell University with an emphasis on public administration, began working for the historic Massachusetts Conference in 1988 when she saw a job listing in a newspaper for an accounting manager position.
"I walked into my interview with my resume in one hand and my family history in the other, and I think Susannah Baker, who first interviewed me, kind of couldn't believe it," said Hammond. "She was convinced that was providence."
Later in the conversation, Rev. Goodwin asked Hammond to share some of the significant changes she has witnessed in conference work.
Hammond referred to several conference ministers with whom she has worked, as well as many other creative, hard-working people. She also mentioned all the Boards of Directors members she has worked with and how amazing people who " are giving all this volunteer time to try to help God, to try to make God's love and justice real, to try to figure out how we help congregations live the love and justice of Jesus."
She mentioned how the resources have changed over the years and the challenge or carrying out the work of the church in times when those resources change. One of the most significant changes Hammond sees in how we communicate and connect. She recalls how the conference had recently obtained a desktop computer when she first started working, while an old punch card computer was sitting in the middle of the business office. Most recently, that change in connection has become a challenge of connecting virtually rather than in person. She has also seen a change in the role of the conference. She sees the role now having more focus on helping local churches.
"I think the conference still has a role in curating and pulling together good resources," said Hammond. "But really a conference of churches is a web. It's a collection of churches and people and individuals and our, the role of conference staff, is much more to kind of nurture and sustain and equip and support and help forge those connections and help people and churches and congregations be less isolated."
Watch the full interview with Dawn Hammond here:
Drew Page is the Media and Data Manager for the Southern New England Conference, and a member of the Conference's Communications Team. He writes and edits news, blogs, and devotionals, produces video, and spends a week each summer as a Dean at Silver...