John began serving as Conference Minister for the United Church of Christ in Florida on Jan. 1, 2015.
Rev. Vertigan was licensed for ministry in 1989 and ordained in 1995 in the New York Conference of the UCC. He served faith communities of many sizes and configurations, and his heart is with both the local congregations as they strive to be faithful and with those authorized ministers who serve in ministries other than the local church. The unsung chaplains, spiritual directors, community organizers, counselors and therapists, along with others who witness on our behalf, are an integral, if not always recognized, part of our community life and ministry.
John's values are those of a life-long member and lover of the United Church of Christ. In the Florida Conference, he wants to build on those values of extravagant welcome, continuing testimony, and changing lives. The United Church of Christ in Florida will strive toward multicultural and multiracial community building, advance the just cause of the ONA movement, and recognize the growing need for churches and buildings that are widening their welcome to the developmentally challenged while expanding their accessibility to persons who are physically able in ways other than the majority population.
Engaging the community beyond the church is vitally important, and John is building on our relationships with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Fair Food Program, Equality Florida, NextGen Climate Change, and other wider church and community partners with whom we can advocate a just peace for all people and for the earth.
"I also recognize that not everyone in the UCC clings to these particular values with the same tenacity as I do," John says. "My greatest hope is that the Florida Conference will embody a covenant of welcome, mutual respect and engagement across the spectrum of social and theological understandings. When we come to the table vulnerably and willing to greet each other with Christ’s peace, we build the beloved community and further the realm of God."
Rev. Vertigan serves as a member of the Cabinet of the Council of Conference Ministers. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the United Church of Christ Insurance Board.
God is still speaking