A Very Fond Farewell to Reverend Doug Mitchell

Westminster’s call in the summer of 2001 to the Rev. Doug Mitchell as Associate Pastor for Faith in Action involved two “firsts”: 1) Doug had never served as a pastor in a local church, having led church-related agencies in Birmingham and Boston; and, 2) Westminster had never had a pastoral position focused on mission and justice.

At the congregational meeting to approve his call, Doug said, “We will go places this church has not gone before.” We could have said the same to him! It has been a remarkably good match. With Doug’s leadership, Westminster has emerged as a national model for congregational mission and advocacy for justice.

As he retires at the end of May, the congregation and his colleagues give thanks to God for what he has helped this historic congregation do and become.

Doug has led Westminster to become a leading congregational voice for justice in the community by advocating for public policy that reflects the love and justice of God. He helped the church adopt a policy – unique in the PC (USA) – that allows the Session to take positions and act on matters of public policy.

Doug’s ministry has focused on addressing the needs of the most vulnerable in our society. He has helped us engage issues of racial and economic injustice by directly serving others and by pushing for systemic change. Working with a team of lay leaders, Doug guided the session to adopt Hope for the World, a statement that declares how Westminster sees God’s desire for the world.

Our congregation is known throughout the city as a faithful partner – especially in north Minneapolis, where Doug has built strong relationships. Liberty Community Church (formerly Kwanzaa) is a prime illustration. Doug helped our two congregations develop a close partnership. He has done the same globally, with churches in Palestine, Cameroon, and Cuba.

During Doug’s years at Westminster the church has funded, helped build, and committed itself to create 350 affordable homes; invested more than $15 million in mission in the city and around the world; and agreed to use 10,000 square feet of the new wing for an on-site, direct-service mission partner, St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development.

Doug Mitchell’s legacy at Westminster is deep and wide. He has helped this congregation find its place of usefulness in the world. We are grateful!