Gender Justice Minister among new national staff

A gender justice minister is among the staff who recently joined the national staff of the United Church of Christ.

Communications, environmental and social advocacy, and child and elder sponsorship are other areas with new hands on deck.

Minister of Gender Justice

Teacher Sherry Warren began working on July 1 as a gender justice minister on the health and integrity promotion team of justice ministries and local churches. She was on the staff of Plymouth Congregation UCCLawrence, Kansas and UCC Kansas–Oklahoma Conference. She has taught on the faculties of Clarke University, Dubuque, Iowa, and the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.

Sherry Warren

Warren holds a Ph.D. in Social Work and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Kansas, where she also earned BA and MSW degrees. She is a facilitator and trainer with the Our Whole Lives program. She recently moved to Akron, Ohio, where her fiancé serves as a Unitarian Universalist minister.

She will base her work on UCC’s long history of caring about justice for people of all genders, as expressed by general synods since the 1960s. Recent examples include a 2022 call to action regarding “attacks on transgender or non-binary people” and a 2021 resolution on gender safety and equity.

“Human rights are essential to uphold, and I see faith community as one of the deepest, most profound ways we can honor people at the core of their being,” Warren said. “If we fail to recognize people in their view of themselves and uphold their dignity as children of God, we fail to recognize the holistic nature of humanity.

“I love the diversity of people I am honored to work with and on whose behalf, but I realize that many people fear human diversity. By walking in the footsteps of Jesus, I believe we can heal our suffering world.

More new staff members

Other staff who have started work recently include:

  • Jane Duncan, Program Associate, Child and Elder Sponsorship, Wider Church Ministries (July 1). She returned to the staff after serving in the past as an assistant in the same program.
  • Maïc D’Agostino, Multimedia Content Specialist, Office of Philanthropy, Technology, Identity and Communications (July 18), Office of the Minister General and President. With a career ranging from newspaper reporting to community health work, he will contribute to the team’s work in news, social media, web and graphic design. His first name is pronounced “Mike”.
  • Elizabeth “Brooke” Canada, social media specialist, also in OPTIC (part-time; May 16). She is the communications director of First Church of Christ, UCCLongmeadow, Massachusetts, and served two other congregations in similar capacities.
Staff members and fellows include (left to right) Brooke Canada, Maic D’Agostino, Andy Wells-Bean, Jane Duncan and Thaddaeus Elliott.

Justice Fellows

Fellows who started work this year include:

  • Thaddeau Elliott, researcher in justice and peace policies (January 2022). He works in the Office of Public Policy and Advocacy in Washington, DC, which is part of the JLCM. A former member of the UCC National Board of Directors and the Florida Conference Board of Directors, he has worked with the Christian Church-affiliated Disciples Center for Public Witness (Disciples of Christ), with the National Low-Income Housing Coalition and with Plymouth Congregational Church, UCCMiami.
  • Andrew Wells Bean, environmental justice researcher (July 2022). Working with the Environmental Justice Section of the JLCM Faithful Action Ministries Team, he will focus on encouraging, supporting, and equipping local churches to take public action in their congressional districts by support for climate legislation. He has worked on past campaigns with the Sierra Club, Public Interest Network, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, and Organizing for America, and served as membership director at a Unitarian Universalist church in Massachusetts.

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