Like many denominations, The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is working to communicate to its congregations and with its ecumenical partners using new tools. The Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens, the general minister and president of the denomination, uses podcasts to speak with members of the church.
Hord Owens will be the chaplain at Chautauqua Institution for Week Seven, and will preach at the service of worship and sermon at 10:45 a.m. Sunday in the Amphitheater. Her sermon title is “I Thought You Knew.”
She will also preach at the 9:15 a.m. ecumenical worship services Monday through Friday in the Amp. Her sermon titles include: “Start with Love,” “Learning to Abide,” “Inside God’s Imagination, “The Kindom of God: Within You, Among You,” and “I Want a Church…”
In her July 8 “Dear Disciples” podcast, Hord Owens reflected on the fifth anniversary of her election to her post as general minister and president. She told her listeners she was inviting them to imagine with her a new way for a new church to be in a new world.
“This new world continues to evolve, and we must be increasingly nimble to be able to serve this world more effectively,” she said.
Hord Owens identified the church as a “movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. It’s top priorities include becoming an anti-racist church, to ensure that all voices, all communities, all identities and perspectives are heard to create a future together which everyone shaped.”
Elected to her position in 2017, she is the first person of color and the second woman to lead the denomination.
“Let’s be the church we say we are,” she said in her July 8 podcast. “It is in being who we say we are that we actively bear witness to God’s limitless love for all.”
Hord Owens is active in the Poor People’s Campaign, led by the Rev. William J. Barber II and the Rev. Liz Theoharis. Her ecumenical and interfaith collaborations also include the Faith Table, an interfaith social justice coalition. Most recently, she has worked with the Faiths4Vaccines initiative to ensure there is equitable distribution of vaccines around the world.
In keeping with the Disciples’ historic commitment to Christian unity, she serves in leadership in both the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.
Hord Owens earned her bachelor’s in government with a minor in Afro-American Studies from Harvard University. A graduate of University of Chicago Divinity School, she served 15 years as the dean of students there. She served as the pastor of First Christian Church of Downers Grove, Illinois, where, under her leadership, the church became an open and affirming, anti-racist, pro-reconciliation congregation, and nested an independent Hispanic congregation, Fe Y Esperanza, with whom they share in a variety of ministries throughout the year.