By Paul Black
SPRINGFIELD -- Bishop Frank J. Beard has announced the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Curtis Brown as the new Director of Connectional Ministries, effective Oct. 1. Brown will succeed the Rev. Dr. Thomas Logsdon who went on medical leave June 30.
Brown emerged from a field of more than 20 candidates in a nationwide search in which six finalists were selected. A pastor, church planter, consultant and coach who has worked with hundreds of churches and leaders across the United States, Brown currently serves as strategist for the Western Jurisdiction for Path One, the church planting office for Discipleship Ministries (formerly the General Board of Discipleship).
"Rev. Dr. Curtis Brown is one of the outstanding leaders within our denomination," Beard said. "His wealth of experience and knowledge across the global church, especially in the field of revitalization and church growth, will help us successfully connect our vision and mission. I believe he will also assist us as we seek new ways to transform existing congregations, develop new conference-wide strategies and expand our ministries of mission and outreach."
For Brown, it is a homecoming. A native of Belleville, he began his ministry while a member of Belleville Union UMC, where he served in various youth and young adult leadership capacities in the former Southern Illinois Conference. He was a counselor at Little Grassy Camp and also served as a youth minister in Carmi and Metropolis.
Retired pastor Robert R. Smith, who was the pastor of Belleville Union from 1988 to 1995, remembers Brown. "He was exceptionally bright and was a hard worker," Smith said. "He also showed a great concern for ministry beyond the local church."
"Because of his experience in Illinois during his formative years, Dr. Brown has a familiar knowledge and respect of the unique culture that is ours in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference,” Beard said.
Brown is the son of Rev. Daniel Brown, who answered his own call to ministry and served churches in both conferences as an associate pastor of Alton Main Street; St. Elmo First and Mason City UMC's; and Patricia Brown, a licensed clinical professional counselor at Decatur Psychological Associates.
“He will serve well as our Director of Connectional Ministries, Beard said. “I believe he is the right person to help us move forward and to build upon the groundwork that has already been laid."
An ordained elder in the New England Conference, Brown's local church ministry includes helping to start three new churches and serving larger and smaller congregations in urban, suburban and rural areas. His previous appointments have included Director of Faith Community and Congregational Development in both the Pacific Northwest and New England conferences.
Brown is a graduate of the University of Evansville (Ind.); Boston University School of Theology and a doctorate in community organizing from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Curtis is married to the Rev. Meredith Manning Brown, who has been planting the new Evergreen UMC in the Pacific Northwest Conference. They are the parents of two daughters. He is an avid backpacker, Girl Scout leader, Elvis fan and a self-proclaimed connoisseur of all things bacon.