Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens was elected as the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in July 2017. She is the first person of color and second woman to lead the denomination. A descendant of one of the oldest African-American free settlements in Indiana and a Disciple since young adulthood, Hord Owens was dean of students at the University of Chicago Divinity School and pastor of First Christian Church of Downers Grove, IL prior to her election.
Hord Owens’ resume includes more than 20 years in corporate America leading diverse teams in data management in health care and other industries before she entered seminary. After ordination, she served 15 years at the University of Chicago Divinity School, shepherding a varied student body in both background and theology.
Hord Owens is widely sought after as a preacher, speaker and workshop facilitator. Her ministry and intellectual interests include a theology of reconciliation, cultural intelligence, developing inclusive and multi-cultural congregations, and the mentoring of young adults. She marked three decades of marriage with Walter Owens, Jr., prior to her election. They are the proud parents of an adult son, W. Mitchell Owens, III.
Rev. Rebecca L. Hale serves as the Executive Vice President for the National Benevolent Association. As part of the NBA executive leadership team, Rebecca has shared responsibility for implementing and evaluating the NBA’s vision, mission, values and strategic plan. Working with the programmatic initiatives of the NBA, Rebecca works with program staff to catalyze a forward-leaning programmatic vision including ensuring missional consistency and integrity across program areas and developing a program infrastructure to ensure both innovation and sustainability.
Prior to this work, Rebecca served in regional ministry across the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) serving as the Transitional Regional Minister with the Christian Church in Florida and also the Northwest Regional Christian Church. In both regions a core aspect of the work was to collaborate with regional leaders to move regions forward during periods of transition and refocusing. She also served for five years as the Associate Regional Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Tennessee.
Previous to her work in regional ministry, Rebecca was the Pennsylvania Associate Regional Director for Church World Service with responsibilities for community organizing, fundraising, education and advocacy around hunger and justice issues.
Rebecca was ordained June 1992 at Trinity United Christian Church (formally First Christian Church) in New Kensington, Pennsylvania.
She is a graduate of Johnson University in Knoxville, Tennessee and earned her Master of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary where she received the Paul T. Gerrard Prize in Preaching and Pastoral Care. Rebecca also has a Masters in Sacred Theology from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with a graduate thesis titled, “Women, Children and Welfare Reform – A Christian Perspective.” Rebecca earned a Certificate in Leadership Excellence from Owen School of Management, Vanderbilt University in 2017.
Rebecca lives in east Tennessee near her adult children, Jeremiah, Melissa, and Hayley and her two grandchildren, Ida Rose and Auburn Benjamin. In every minute she can find, Rebecca loves to cook, read, and travel.
Minister John Ray, Jr. is a native of Louisville, Ky. now residing in Indianapolis, IN. John began studying piano at the age of five and has been involved in music ministry since the age of eleven; when he directed and played the piano for his first choir. Early on, John demonstrated a wide array of interests in various instruments. He eventually settled on the trumpet and piano as his primary interest.
He is a highly experienced and talented musician earning accolades throughout his career. Notably he has served as Music Director for the Black Church Leadership Conference (Lifeway Corp.), Music Director for Gospel Meets the Classics Swiss Tour (2000-2006), Music Director West Louisville Boys’ Choir European Tour, Music Director Disciples of Christ General Assembly (2017), and Music Director DOC Regional Assembly (2018).
He currently serves as the Minister of Worship Arts at Light of The World Christian Church in Indianapolis. In his role as Minister of Worship Arts, Minister John Ray, Jr. oversees ministries with over 200 active volunteer participants. He created “Worship That Transforms,” a worship conference that yielded the live recording, “Redeemed,” featuring the Voices of the Light.
He graduated from the prestigious Northwestern University School of Music in Evanston, Illinois with honors earning his Bachelor of Arts in Music. While there, he was a pioneering artist and founding member of the Niteskool Project, a nationally acclaimed student-run music production company. He recently completed his Master of Divinity Degree (Magna Cum Laude) at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis and continues his music ministry throughout the country. John is married to Elizabeth (Clark) and they have two sons, John III and Matthew.
Elizabeth (Libby) Clark-Ray, is a native of Lexington, KY. She matriculated through the Fayette County Public School System and holds a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Social Work from the University of Kentucky.
Libby has always had a passion for music and demonstrated her love for gospel music at a very early age. Her mother, Loretta J. Clark, served as church pianist for more than 40 years. Her father, Earl Clark, Sr., sang bass in the church Choir. Both her sister and brother are singers as well. Libby was also a proud member of the WTLA Gospel Ensemble in Lexington, KY for numerous years.
Libby is a co-founder of Sweet Spirit, a female gospel group, that has had the pleasure of working with a variety of nationally acclaimed gospel artists such as Rodnie Bryant, Yolanda Adams, and Kim Burrell to name a few.
It was her love & passion for music that united her with her husband, John Ray, Jr. They have been married for 19 years and are the proud parents of two wonderful boys, John (18) and Matthew (16). Currently, she balances her calling for Music ministry, family and her career at PepsiCo. In her spare time, she enjoys playing basketball with her two sons.