To equip, empower, encourage and connect the churches of the Michigan Conference

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Introducing the new Michigan Conference Associate Conference Minister of

Church Vitality and Transitions

Relying on the Holy Spirit, the Michigan Conference began the search for a full-time Associate Conference Minister of Church Vitality and Transition in July. We are excited to share that Rev. Lawrence T. Richardson will join our Conference Staff starting January 1, 2024. He looks forward to being introduced in person at the Michigan Conference Annual Meeting on October 28, and he will also be a panelist at our Vitality Day Part Time is Plenty event on September 30.

"Our national search effort drew so many strong applications for this position, I was grateful to have the input and insights of our Search Advisory Team, as we discerned which way to go. In the end, we felt that Pastor Lawrence Richardson would bring specific skills we were looking for to compliment our excellent team in these challenging times for the institutional church. As an experienced coach for new church pastors, who has started and grown his own, Lawrence’s extensive training in church growth and vitality, his technological savvy, experience with the national UCC, and his training in development all stood out. But first and foremost, he is a pastor, who has a heart for pastoring and a deep love for the church. As we sorted through impressive profiles from across the country, we came to see that the person God was calling had already moved to Michigan two years ago!”

~ Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel, Conference Minister

Working with Conference Minister Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel, the Search Advisory Team consisted of Board Members Judith Booker, Abbie Goerg, Rev. Liz Larrivee, and Rev. Sal Sapienza. The team was seeking a unique individual to facilitate the Michigan Conference search and call process between congregations and pastors, provide spiritual care and practical guidance to congregations at key points of transition, including legacy, revitalization, new church starts and opportunities for shared and cooperative ministries. Full-time Associate Conference Minister Rev. Cheryl Burke will now be able to work throughout the Michigan Conference, focusing her ministry on encouraging and equipping our excellent clergy, along with working with all our committees on ministry and members in discernment.

Rev. Lawrence T. Richardson

Rev. Richardson (he/him) has a deep love for God and the church. For the last 19 years, he has served new church starts and has revitalized churches and congregations with rich histories. Raised Baptist, he discovered the UCC as a young pastor in Minnesota, and was granted privilege of call in the UCC in 2013. He is currently the senior pastor at Salem United Church of Christ in Farmington, Michigan and a member of the Detroit Metro Association Committee on Ministry.

Before that, Pastor Lawrence served at Linden Hills UCC, Grace UCC, Parkway UCC, and Lyndale UCC in Minnesota. He also founded Shift UCC, an innovative online church community ahead of its time.

For the last 10 years, Rev. Richardson has worked with Convergence US—first as the director of social media and then as a clergy coach and senior consultant. 

Rev. Richardson was adjunct faculty at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and Luther Seminary, and a media trainer for Auburn Seminary. He is the author of I Know What Heaven Looks Like: A Modern Day Coming of Age Story. He has been featured in many publications for his faith work and public leadership, and serves on the Executive Committee of the National United Church of Christ Board.

Rev. Richardson is a Doctoral Candidate at Berkeley School of Theology, has Master’s Degrees in Christian Ministry from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, Digital Marketing from Escils, and Professional Coaching from Transformation Academy, and completed his Undergraduate work at St. Catherine University, where he was an English and Sociology double-major. He is also is a member of the International Sociology Honors Society and completed the Executive Certificate for Religious Fundraising with the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. 

Rev. Richardson is most excited about getting to know the churches and leaders in the Michigan Conference UCC as he serves as Associate Conference Minister for Church Vitality and Transition. Rev. Richardson enjoys spending his free time with his spouse and companion, JM, surrounded by nature, learning German, practicing the guitar, and traveling.

"Lawrence demonstrates a great joy and passion for ministry. He also brings a good deal of education and experience working in various aspects of church life, from church planting to fundraising to serving on national boards. He will do amazing things! I was so honored to be part of the Search Advisory Team and to assist with the discernment process."

~ Rev. Sal Sapienza, Search Advisory Team member

"His spirit and beautiful light will bring Michigan UCC churches a sense of love and meaning in the times they may need it.  This process was not easy, but it was rooted deeply in love, compassion and overall Spirit led."

~ Abbie Goerg, Search Advisory Team member

Register for September 30
Register for October 28

2023 Annual Meeting Documents

Per the Michigan Conference UCC Bylaws - the Draft Agenda, Financial Report and any Resolutions, are hereby being emailed to our delegates 30 days prior to Annual Meeting in the link below.

Annual Meeting Documents

Please note: Twenty-five (25) people registered for the meeting will be randomly selected to attend each hearing. The Budget Hearing and Resolution Hearing will take place Saturday morning, October 28 beginning at 9:00am. Individuals selected to attend a hearing will receive email notification no later than Friday, October 27, 2023.

The Annual Reports of the Conference and the 2023 Annual Meeting Handbook will be available on the Michigan Conference website ( no later than Saturday, October 21, 2023.

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