Our Mission Statement:
Extravagantly welcoming and affirming followers of Christ called to embody God’s unconditional justice and love.
No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here. Our local congregations offer a friendly welcome to visitors and newcomers. Many of our church buildings offer beautiful settings for weddings and a caring ministry to young couples. Babies are baptized as infants (we’re happy to baptize young people and adults who affirm their faith and who have not previously been baptized). Children are warmly included in the life of our churches, many of which offer a children’s story time during worship as well as educational programs for all ages.
Children and Youth Programs
The Southwest Conference has an active summer camping program for children and youth, as well as annual retreats for junior high and senior high. There is also an annual “Thanksgiving Alive!” service project held in different cities every year, where 150 youth from around the conference will gather to do such helping ministries as repairing low income houses, cleaning or painting a shelter for abused families, and sort food in a food bank.
Conference and Church Leadership
We welcome the leadership of both men and women – we’ve been ordaining women to be pastors since 1853, the first US denomination to do so. The United Church of Christ has voted at its national meeting, the General Synod, to try to become a more truly multi-cultural and multi-racial church.
Open and Affirming
The United Church of Christ welcomes all people without regard to racial or ethnic background or sexual orientation. Being in the Southwest, many of our congregations have a large number of active, interesting retired persons as well as singles and families.
Southwest Conference Staff
Conference Minister: Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer
John serves on staff as Conference Minister. Coming to the Southwest from the Midwest, he has fallen in love with the mountains and the desert. He served on staff of the Missouri Mid-South Conference for five years after having served two churches in Missouri, each for almost 8 years.
He celebrated his 20th anniversary of ordination in June 2008, the same month he celebrated his 24th wedding anniversary. His wife Mimi and he have three children: John, Adam, and Molly. John loves baseball (a die-hard Cardinal fan), long bike rides, golf, hiking, kayaking, poetry, and good art and literature. He has his M. Div. from Eden Theological Seminary (class of ’88), and a D. Min. from United Theological Seminary, having studied White Privilege and its effects on the church. He considers it an honor and a blessing to serve on staff of the Southwest Conference.
Assistant to the Conference Minister: Barbara Decker
In January 2008, Barbara was named to the position of Assistant to the Conference minister. Besides support to the Conference Minister, her position includes support work for Search and Call, Committee on Church and Ministry and the Personnel Committee. Since joining the Southwest Conference staff in 2001, Barbara has had responsibilities in almost every area of conference support work: receptionist, financial matters, support to committees and the youth program, planning the Annual Meeting–to name a few.
Barbara is a graduate of Northwest Christian College in Eugene, Oregon. Her career has been ecumenical. She has served Disciples of Christ, the Lutherans (ELCA), and an order of Catholic nuns. She is married to the Rev. David Decker, a Disciples of Christ pastor who serves the East Mesa Christian Church in Mesa. They have two grown children and one granddaughter. The Deckers are natives of the Pacific Northwest and served a Disciples congregation in Spokane, Washington, for 15 years before moving to Arizona. They have enjoyed exploring the Southwest, learning the history and appreciating the natural beauty of this area.
Office Manager: Holly Herman
Holly Herman is currently the Office Manager for the Conference office. Her duties include financial matters, office support for the Board of Directors and several Committees, planning for Annual Meeting, office supplies and equipment, and other event planning and support.
She is retired from Citibank where she was a Vice President in charge of Commercial Foreclosed properties and Commercial Workout Loan Operations. Her previous association with the conference included membership on the Board of Directors and Stewardship Committee, six years service as Treasurer, and several years as chair of the Open and Affirming Task Force. She is also a member of the Church Building and Loan Fund board at the national UCC office. Holly is married to John Herman, pastor of Desert Palm UCC, and has two grown children and two grandsons.
Southwest Conference United Church of Christ
917 E. Sheridan, Phoenix, AZ 85006
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
602-468-3830 • firstname.lastname@example.org