Thompson is the third woman nominated for the post, after the Revs. Yvonne Delk (in 1989) and Barbara Brown Zikmund (in 1999), but the first to be elected. A Jamaican immigrant, Thompson is the third person of African descent to serve as leader of the denomination.
“Today, United Church of Christ, we created a first together,” she said after the vote. “It won’t be the last first.”
Her election took place at the United Church of Christ's 34th General Synod in Indianapolis (USA). She will start her new role on 1 August, taking over from Rev. John Dorhauer, who has served for the past eight years.
Thompson has been serving as associate general minister for Wider Church Ministries and co-executive for Global Ministries since 2019. She has served in the national setting of the United Church of Christ (UCC) since 2009, previously as minister for racial justice and minister for ecumenical and interfaith relations.
Thompson holds a doctorate in ministry, with a dissertation in religious multiplicity among African Caribbean people, from Seattle University; a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary; and a master of public administration degree from North Carolina Central University.
She also serves as a member of both the WCC executive committee and central committee. “I am looking forward to holding as a priority the UCC’s ecumenical commitment,” she said. “Collaboration is important for all of us as we continue to live into being church in the 21st century. I will continue to serve as a member of the central committee and executive committee, as well as in other places within the WCC where I hold leadership responsibilities. Our participation within the WCC is important for our ecumenical witness and for the opportunities it presents to learn and grow together in the fellowship.”