Conference Minister Search
Executive Conference Minister Search
After much discernment, the Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota conferences of the United Church of Christ agreed to create one staff to serve all three conferences. The newly-formed Tri-Conference -- a first of its kind covenant in the nation for the UCC -- agreed upon an open search to be conducted by one search committee comprised of individuals from all three conferences.
On December 13, 2016, representatives from the Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota conferences came together to begin the search and call process for a new Executive Conference Minister. Guided by Rev. Lee Albertson from the National UCC, the Tri-Conference ECM Search Committee tentatively set a timeline for the process, began discerning qualifications for a candidate and shared their hopes not only for this new endeavour but for the UCC, as well.
At their next meeting on January 27, 2017, the ECM Search Committee had deeper conversations about the ideal Executive Conference Minister candidate. They talked about the unique geographic and cultural makeup of the three states comprising the Tri-Conference and how best to include those characteristics and more into the position profile.
The ECM Search Committee asks for your prayers during this exciting time for our conferences and for the United Church of Christ. They are committed to finding a faithful leader and will share their progress with each conference, association and congregation.
The members of the ECM Search Committee are:
Louie Blue Coat is from the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota, Dakota Association UCC member, and currently an MID. He represents the Council for American Indian Ministry on local, state and national boards and is currently a Youth Advisor/Tech support person in his association.
Michael Cich-Jones is a member of First Central Congregational UCC in Omaha, Nebraska and has served on Justice and Witness Ministries, one of the former national governing boards of the United Church of Christ. His husband, Scott, serves as senior pastor at First Central, and in April 2015 they welcomed their son who is a constant delight.
Jenny Folmar is the pastor of Shenandoah Congregational UCC in Shenandoah, Iowa. Folmar is originally from Texas and this is her fourth year serving in Shenandoah.
Rev. Alexander Haines is the former pastor of Congregational UCC in Huron, South Dakota, newly moved to McLaughlin, Standing Rock Reservation. In addition to his local ministry, he has been deeply involved in the South Dakota Conference, especially Placerville Camp. *Rev. Haines was elected by the committee to serve as chair.
Barb Knepper has been a lifelong member of First Congregational/UCC in Sioux City, Iowa and currently serves as President of the Church Council. She is married to husband, Kevinand has 2 grown daughters. Barb recently retired from 18 years as Executive Director of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Siouxland.
Matt Mardis-LeCroy is Senior Minister at Plymouth Church in Des Moines, Iowa. He has been a minister in the United Church of Christ for 15 years.
Rev. Jean Morrow is senior pastor at Spirit of Peace UCC in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She was born in Spirit Lake, Iowa and married to the late Dr. Rick Davis. She has one daughter, Elizabeth.
Barb Smisek is currently serving as an Associate Pastor at First-Plymouth Congregational Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. She has been a life-time member of the United Church of Christ. Barb is married, has 3 daughters and 5 grandchildren.
Laura Williams has been a member of Vine Congregational UCC in Lincoln, Nebraska for 39 years and served two terms on the Nebraska Conference Board. She is married, has nine grandchildren and is retired from careers in Human Resources and Health Education.