Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Geoffrey Black ’72MAR

Geoffrey Black ’72MAR has been elected leader of the United Church of Christ—but don’t call him Your Holiness. “The phrase ‘servant leadership’ encapsulates his understanding and practice,” one UCC honcho says of the church’s new president and general minister. “He does not believe that leadership is the exclusive purview of a single person, but the shared responsibility of the many.” That sounds like an excellent trait in the highly decentralized UCC, described by one commenter on the Beliefnet blog as “this crazy wagon of a denomination with hundred[s] of horses pulling it.” The UCC was formed in 1957 from many Protestant denominations, including the Congregationalist tradition, begun by the New England Puritans. It now has 5,320 churches with more than 1.1 million members.

Black, who in his nomination speech called the struggle for justice and peace “part of our identity,” is the first African American elected to lead his denomination, which is more than 90 percent white. (The only previous black president completed the term of a general minister who died in office.) Black succeeds another Yalie, John Thomas ’75MDiv.

Filed under milestones, elected, religion, Divinity School
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