Rev. James Ross to Move to Justice Position

Rev. James Ross to Move to Justice Position

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The Rev. James Ross II, who began as the Associate Conference Minister for the Northeast Region on Feb. 1, will be moving to a new position: Minister for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.

The Rev. Holly Millershank, who served the historic Metropolitan Boston and Northeast regions as an interim in 2020, will return to serve as Interim Area Conference Minister for the Northeast Region. These transitions will be effective on March 15.

“The justice mandate lies at the very heart of the Jesus story and mission. This understanding of the Christ and Christianity has informed my discernment regarding the ways in which God is calling me in ministry since my very first days of wondering, throughout my seminary studies, and into my life in vocational ministry," the Rev. Ross said. 

“As the Southern New England Conference continues to form and live into its affirmations, the Minister for Justice, Equity, and Inclusion can play a critical role in partnering with, supporting, and providing leadership within the conference setting, our churches, and communities to identify, confront, address, and bring repair to the spaces in which interpersonal and systemic injustice take place," he said. "I am honored that I will have the opportunity to use my academic training, personal experiences, and vocational competencies to lead this work as we together ensure that a focus on justice is central to all of our programs, projects, and priorities – and, indeed, everything we do.”

 In a letter to the Association leadership in the Northeast Region, Executive Conference Minister the Rev. Darrell Goodwin acknowledged that this sudden shift may be a stretch for many.

In that letter, Rev. Goodwin explained that the search for the Minister for Diversity, Equity,a nd Inclusion only began after the Rev. Ross had accepted the position as Associate Conference Minister and was transitioning to New England from the Missouri Mid-South Conference.

"In the midst of the movement Rev. Ross did not have the ability to apply for this unanticipated opening, but his heart remained connected to the gifts he may have brought to that role," the Rev. Goodwin said. "After much prayer and with true discernment, he approached Rev. Dr. Audrey Price to inquire if there was an openness to be considered for this new opportunity. Alongside Rev. Dr. Price I also prayed, and reflected on my initial commitment to follow the wind of the Spirit and saw clearly that Rev. Ross would indeed have the gifts to lead the conference in our social justice ministry efforts. After a meeting with the search committee, it was unanimous that Rev. Ross would be invited to be the inaugural Minister for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ."

 
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