With a unanimous vote, the congregation of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Findlay, OH recently voted to extend a call to Cleveland native, the Reverend Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., for service as its senior pastor. Dr. Sullivan began his tenure with the congregation on February 1. He preached his first sermon while in office, “Stand and Deliver,” (Habakkuk 2:1-4) on February 5.
Dr. Sullivan, who is also adjunct professor with Lexington Theological Seminary, Lexington (LTS), KY, a graduate institution affiliated with his denomination, recently completed service as Executive Director of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation (MVFR), a national anti-death penalty organization. Prior his work with MVFR, Dr. Sullivan gave leadership as Regional Minister and President (bishop) of two distinct Disciples of Christ regional church bodies, Northwest and Pennsylvania, respectively. In addition, he has served as Senior Pastor of Fifth Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Cleveland, OH; Pastor for the Interim of Mercer Island United Methodist Church, Mercer, Island, WA; Senior Pastor of United Christian Church, Detroit, MI; Associate for African American Educational Ministries for the Disciples’ Indianapolis-based Disciples Home Missions; Pastor of Second Christian Church, Jefferson City, MO; Associate Regional Minister of the Disciples’ Mid-America Region, Jefferson City, MO; and Pastor of Hill Street Christian Church, Louisville, KY.
A long-time advocate for evangelism, congregational transformation, non-violence and social justice, Dr. Sullivan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from Ohio University; a Master of Divinity degree from Lexington Theological Seminary; and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Economic and Social Justice from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH. In 2013, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa, from Bethany College, Bethany WV. Dr. Sullivan is also a noted ecumenist, having attended the Eighth Assembly of the World Council of Churches, Zimbabwe and serving as chair of the justice and advocacy commission of the Ohio Council of Churches. In 2016, he spoke before the Ohio Legislature’s Joint Commission on Victims’ Services where he asked the state to bolster its support for families of murder victims. Dr. Sullivan is a life member of the NAACP and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and is a past recipient of the Melvin Jones Award for Humanitarian Service by the Capitol Hill Lions, Seattle, WA.
Dr. Sullivan is married to the Reverend Sèkinah Hamlin, Director of Faith Affairs of the Center for Responsible Lending, Durham, NC. The Hamlin-Sullivan family includes daughters Nia, 23, Imani, 21, Jacquelyn, 18 and Kelly, 4, and one son, Jackson, 3.
In 2016, First Christian Church, founded in 1884, sold its sanctuary on South Main and began leasing space at 1624 Suite B, Tiffin Avenue. With its new geographic location and a new pastor, the church is in a good position to boldly live out its mission of being “an open, just and loving Christian community that welcomes, includes and serves all children of God.”