Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens was elected as the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada in July 2017. She is the first person of color and second woman to lead the denomination. She is the first African-American woman to lead a mainline Christian 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. She earned a BA in Government and Afro-American Studies at Harvard University, and the MDiv at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
Terri’s resume includes more than 20 years in corporate America as a technology management consultant and executive, 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. As Dean of Students, she was responsible for academic policy, recruiting, admissions, financial aid, academic advising, and monitoring of students’ academic progress and placement, serving master’s and doctoral students. Terri was a leader in campus-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives. She also represented the Divinity School in several programs and boards in theological education, including the Hispanic Theological Initiative, the Hispanic Summer Program, and the Fund for Theological Exploration. She served on the Board of Trustees of Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN, and was a founding member of the Advisory Board for the Center for the Study of Black Faith and Life at Chicago Theological Seminary.
Terri 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 multicultural congregations, and the mentoring of young adults. She has been married to Walter Owens, Jr., for over 30 years. They are the proud parents of an adult son, W. Mitchell Owens, III.