Magazine article The Christian Century

UCC Suspends Ex-President Who Admitted to Affair

Magazine article The Christian Century

UCC Suspends Ex-President Who Admitted to Affair

Article excerpt

The former president of the United Church of Christ has been suspended for one year and ordered to undergo a "program of growth" after he admitted last year to an affair with a former coworker.

The UCC announced January 21 that an association within the denomination's Ohio Conference would oversee a ministerial fitness review of John H. Thomas, former general minister and president.

Thomas expressed dismay that within 12 hours of a call alerting him to the decision, preparations were under way to make the action public. He said word was being circulated before he had time to talk with his family or consult with colleagues about the suspension.

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David T. Hill, an official with the association and a pastor in Oberlin, said Thomas's ministerial standing had been suspended for at least a year, "with reinstatement of standing contingent upon completion of a prescribed program of growth."

Due to term limits, Thomas left office in 2009 after serving as president for a decade. In August 2010, the church announced that he was divorcing his wife and said "he has formed a relationship with another woman with whom he worked" within the Cleveland-based denomination. …

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