The Damascus Project Welcomes New Director

The Minnesota and Wisconsin Conferences (UCC) welcome a new director to the helm of our shared ministry, The Damascus Project.

The Reverend Stephanie Perdew, Ph.D. is a life-long member of the United Church of Christ. She received her bachelor’s degree in Religion and Native American Studies from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and her M.Div. from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, where she also obtained her Ph.D.

She served in parish ministry for 25 years, has served on the adjunct faculties of McCormick Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago Divinity School, & is an Affiliate Professor of Christian History at Garrett. She holds certificates in Online Education and in Spiritual Guidance Training. For the last year she has served on the Illinois Conference UCC staff as an Interim Associate Conference Minister. She is an enrolled tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, and co-chairs Garrett’s Indigenous Study Committee.

“I am honored to be called to lead the Damascus Project further into its future and to build on its historic legacies,” Stephanie says. “I look forward to using my skills and experience in pastoral ministry, theological education, spiritual formation, and conference staff ministry toward its growth and flourishing. I am impressed with the health and vitality of the Minnesota and Wisconsin Conferences and eager to collaborate with conference staff, clergy, and laity in creative, collaborative, and innovative theological education for our churches and people.”

The Damascus Project is a joint venture of the Minnesota and Wisconsin Conferences begun five years ago to address emerging leadership needs of both Conferences and the wider United Church of Christ. It provides educational courses in faith foundations, ministry studies, and leadership skills for lay members, continuing education to authorized ministers, and may serve as a multiple learning path toward ministerial authorization for individuals seeking to serve local congregations in pastoral roles. It has developed an early reputation in the United Church of Christ for its innovation, collaborative model, and quality of programing.

“I continue to believe that the Damascus Project is a critical tool in our shared church life as we re-imagine what equipping leadership looks like in this moment of profound change in the church,” says Conference Minister Shari Prestemon. “I’m delighted to be in partnership with the Wisconsin Conference in this important work, and am very excited to welcome Stephanie as our new Director. Her unique set of skills and experiences, alongside her deep love for the Church and infectious enthusiasm, signal an exciting future for the Damascus Project!”

Learn more about the Damascus Project & register for amazing upcoming courses by checking out The Damascus Project website.

© Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ | 2023