Rev. Sheila Spencer named Interim President of Disciples Home Missions
June 17, 2020
The Board of Disciples Home Missions (DHM) is thrilled to announce the call of Rev. Sheila Spencer as DHM’s Interim President. Employed by DHM since 2008, Rev. Spencer has been serving as Acting President of DHM since the departure of Rev. Sotello V. Long. Rev. Spencer’s qualities as a connector and advocate for all brought her to the top of the list for consideration: she is passionate about how the life changing love of god has infused her life and how she has seen it during her time at DHM.
Spencer’s guide for her life has been Micah 6:8. “I can’t stay connected to God without loving my neighbor and doing justice. It is important to continue Disciples Home Missions’ commitment to be a Pro-Reconciling/Anti-Racist Ministry. Having deepened our understanding of systemic racism, Christ compels us to advocate for justice, fairness and equality within Disciples Home Missions and our world.”
“This is an important moment in our history,” Spencer says. “DHM can continue to expand and be a support. We can continue to live into showing people the life-changing love of Jesus.”
Spencer began her calling in ministry as an educator, with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education. While honing her gifts as an educator and leader, she also recognized her call to ministry through the examples of her family as well as the opportunities provided to her in the Pacific Southwest Region. Her formation also came through the leadership opportunities and impact of the National Convocation and Disciples Women’s Ministry. These ministries had major impact on her life and ministry.
Spencer relocated to Indianapolis in 2008 to work with DHM as the Merger Staff Position -Program Director in Disciples Women. The Merger Staff Position called her to be a resource to African congregations/ community in addition to the Church. She then continued with DHM as the Director of Christian Education/Merger Staff and Assistant to the President – her role before becoming Acting President. In assuming the Interim President Role, one of the first priorities will be ensuring that the Christian Education Merger Staff position is filled. This work will be done in conjunction with the leadership of National Convocation Board.
Spencer has prioritized cross-racial, generational, and geographic relationships. Fluent in Spanish and passionate about travel and preaching, Spencer is grateful for a life in ministry that has given the opportunity to travel with Woman-to-Woman Worldwide trips to Colombia and Venezuela, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Morocco. She has preached and led workshops at several Convenciones across the US.
Rev. Spencer’s experience with DHM as well as the focus of her ministry are needed qualities for DHM at this time of transition.
Ability to approach leadership from an educator’s point of view, which she describes as the ability to facilitate the learning that can happen for both the student and the teacher. “As a teacher, you’re always learning,” Spencer says. She brings that mindset to the team of DHM, in which everyone should have the opportunity to share their ideas and lead. “Everyone’s thoughts and ideas are very important to this season, this completely new season for how we see church and do church. This pandemic season, especially, has reinforced the fact that the church is not confined, and we are able to be the Church in a new and innovative way. God is leading us into this challenge and opportunity.”
DHM – because of its DNA as a support or the many communities of the church – is poised to listen and to connect. Our Christian Vocations office has had the ability to provide a map of churches doing virtual worship. Our General Youth Council has shifted from planning General Assembly events to talking about what’s happening in the world, addressing inequalities they have new awareness of. Disciples Women, Refugee and Immigration Ministries, Immigration Legal Counsel, Green Chalice, Ministry Across Generations, Disciples Men, Chaplains – all of these ministries and more held within DHM are about relationship, connection, and support. Most importantly, DHM is committed to being a Pro-Reconciling/Anti-Racist Ministry.
Help Welcome Sheila – DHM will host a Welcome and Q&A Webinar with Rev. Spencer on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, at 1:00 pm ET. Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6988001533615663631.
Katherine Raley Alexander
Board Chair, Disciples Home Missions