Week Seven August 5 - 12, 2017

The Rev. Dr. William M. Lyons

Bill Lyons brought thirty years of congregational experience to the Southwest Conference of the United Church of Christ (SWC) as the Designated Conference Minister.  Last year the Southwest Conference brought churches and conferences from around the UCC to Nogales, AZ/Nogales, Sonora, Mexico in a powerful witness for migrant justice, immigration reform, border demilitarization, and inclusion. Clergy serving SWC ministry settings in 2017 will complete antiracism training as a condition of ministerial standing. The conference office experienced a digital revolution through a series of blogs and rss-fed email and social media tools. And a group of 16-25 year-olds is resurrecting Youth and Outdoor Ministry by visiting congregations, hosting relationship-building events and staffing summer camp. "What a joy it is to serve with people who choose to follow their vision rather than their fears," says Lyons.

Chaplaincy is near to Dr. Lyons's heart. After four units of Clinical Pastoral Education as a chaplain resident for Hartford Hospital in Hartford, CT, Lyons served as a prison chaplain. Beginning with one group of five volunteers and less than ten percent of the inmate population enrolled in religious programs, Lyons ended his ministry at Trumbull Correctional Institution supervising an interfaith staff with fifty outside groups and over five hundred volunteers serving more than two-thirds of the fifteen hundred inmates. Lyons initiated the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's first inmate-taught Vacation Bible School for the children of inmates who had completed a successful fathering program. 

Lyons completed his B.A. at Kentucky Christian University. He earned graduate degrees from The University of St. Joseph (MA/Pastoral Ministry) and the Cincinnati Bible Seminary (MDiv), before completing his Doctor of Ministry (parish revitalization) from McCormick Theological Seminary.  He is as fluent in conservative Biblical interpretation as he is committed to the liberal theology of the United Church of Christ. Dr. Lyons has authored a six session Bible study titled What the Bible Really Says About Gay Christians (May Surprise You), maintains an active consulting and speaking schedule with congregations around themes of adaptive challenges and sustainable change, and regularly appears at social actions and press events.  

Bill is most proud of his three children and their spouses, all of whom are in helping professions and two of whom serve in the U.S. military. At the slightest hint of interest Bill will show you the hundreds of pictures of his grandchildren he keeps on his iPhone. He and his partner, Ron, enjoy biking, hiking, gardening (Ron), cooking & wine-making (Bill), reading, and camping.