Rev. Traci Blackmon serves as the Associate General Minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries for the United Church of Christ. She is the former senior pastor of Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Missouri and was a leading organizer in response to the 2014 police murder of Michael Brown. She was appointed to the Ferguson Commission and to President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships for the White House. She co-authored the White Privilege curriculum for the United Church of Christ.
Rev. Blackmon’s signature initiatives have included Healthy Mind, Body, and Spirit, a mobile faith-based outreach program to impact health outcomes in impoverished areas, Sacred Conversations on Solomon’s Porch, quarterly clergy in-services designed to equip local clergy to assess physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health concerns within congregational life, Sista SOS Summit, an intergenerational health symposium for women and girls, and Souls to the Polls STL, an ecumenical, multi-faith collaborative that was successful in providing over 2,800 additional rides to the polls during local and national elections.
As a child, Paul was heavily influenced by his Cuban, immigrant abuelita (grandmother) who was a Pentecostal church planter and ordained minister. However, like many people, he left the church due to the exclusion of LGBTQIA+ persons. He returned to the faith and to his call to pastoral ministry after experiencing radically inclusive, new expressions of United Methodist churches. After attending Garrett-Evangelical Theological seminary, where he completed a Master of Divinity and Master of Theological Studies, he served in church planting for several years in Chicago before joining University Gathering United Methodist Church as pastor.