Members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) coming to Hannibal on April 20 and 21 for their Mid America Regional Assembly will have a special guest.

Members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) coming to Hannibal on April 20 and 21 for their Mid America Regional Assembly will have a special guest.

She is the Rev. “Terri” Hord Owens, who has begun serving as General Minister and President of this nation-wide denomination, which is based in Indianapolis, Ind.

Hord Owens will be the featured speaker at the Friday, April 20, dinner at 6 p.m. at the Quality Inn and Suites. This will be the headquarters for the assembly, which will begin at 9 a.m. Friday and conclude at approximately 4 p.m. Saturday after the closing worship service.

The Mid America Region includes hundreds of Christian (Disciples of Christ) churches, according to the Rev. Minnie Smith, pastor of Willow Street Christian Church in Hannibal. All these churches are invited to attend, and hundreds of people had registered by early in April, Smith said.

Local member churches include First Christian and Oakwood Christian in Hannibal, along with churches in New London and Palmyra.

“We are delighted” to be hosting the assembly and having it led by Rev. Hord Owens, Smith said. “It was years ago since the Regional Assembly was held here.”

Smith added that Hord Owens, in addition to being the second female (following the Rev. Sharon Watkins) to be elected to her new position of leadership, “she is the first African-American to head the denomination.” She will serve a six-year term with an option for re-election in 2013 for six more years.

Hord Owens’ previous experience includes more than 20 years in corporate America, leading diverse teams in data management before she entered a seminary. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Government with a minor in Afro-American Studies from Harvard University.

She was an active lay leader throughout her youth and adult life. Despite professional success, she felt God had another assignment, and she accepted her call to ministry at Light of the World Christian Church in Indianapolis.

For the past 15 years, she served as the dean of students at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where she earned her Master of Divinity degree. Prior to being elected, she also was senior minister of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Downers Grove, Ill.

She and her husband, Walter Owens Jr., have one adult son, W. Mitchell Owens III.

Hord Owens' ministry and intellectual interests include a theology of reconciliation, cultural intelligence, developing inclusive and multi-cultural congregations, and the mentoring of youth and young adults.

Smith is looking forward to meeting Hord Owens at the assembly in Hannibal and encourages members of the regional churches to attend, adding, “We are expecting a good crowd.”

Reach reporter Bev Darr at bev.darr@courierpost.com.