REV. RICHIE SANCHEZ
INTERIM REGIONAL MINISTER & PRESIDENT
CHRISTIAN CHURCH (DISCIPLES OF CHRIST) IN ARIZONA
Christian Church in Arizona,
After a thorough process rooted in prayer and discernment and that included reviewing Ministerial Profiles from around the country, conducting video conference interviews with candidates, and checking references the AZ Region’s Search Committee unanimously selected Rev. Richie Sanchez as our Interim.
Rev. Sanchez has experience in the Local, Regional, and General expressions of the church. He has served as the Interim Pastor with two congregations in Indiana and is currently concluding his service with Danville Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). On the Regional level, Rev. Sanchez served on staff for nearly a decade with the Christian Church in Florida, concluding his time there with the title Associate Regional Minister. While serving the Christian Church in Florida his portfolio included supporting new church starts, serving as the liaison with Latino congregations, and providing chief staff oversight of the Commission on Ministry. In serving the General Church Rev. Sanchez has brought his leadership and administrative skills to use by serving as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Disciples Home Missions, as the Chair of the Search Committee for National Hispanic Pastor, and as a member of the Advisory Committee of Week of Compassion.
Rev. Sanchez brings the heart of a pastor, the experience of an administrator, and a love for the church to his work. The Search Team was particularly impressed with his references. We were told time and again that he has keen pastoral skills, broad administrative experience, the ability to bring unity across division and diversity, and that he is a great preacher too!
One particular reference (who worked as his seminary site supervisor while Rev. Sanchez served for two years at Light of the World Christian Church, a predominantly African-American congregation) described Rev. Sanchez this way: “I found him to be very compassionate. I found that he won the hearts of the people right away. I found him to be very engaged, and that people really respected him. I also found that he was particularly good with follow through. The key piece, though — he listened! He really listened to the people and developed a strong connection through his keen listening skills.”
In responding to one of the Search Team’s questions, Rev. Sanchez shared:
My colleagues have identified me as having an “ability to move in and out of cultural contexts and theological frames of reference with ease and sensitivity.” I readily seek to give what I have received by grace. All of these, I attribute to a fiery Spanish speaking New York City Disciples’ congregation where I was nurtured (early 1990s), helping me to fall in love with the reign of God that has no end. It was there that I began to speak and minister fluently in two languages, English and in Spanish. It is my hope to bring a language to the region that we could all understand, become empowered, and grow in our relationship with God and each other.
As a reminder, our Search Committee consists of leaders from across the depth and breadth of the Arizona Region. The Search Committee includes Rev. Brian Frederick-Gray (Regional Moderator and Pastor of First Christian Church in Scottsdale), Jim Barton (Regional Vice Moderator and member at Chalice Christian Church), Myriam Soto (Moderator of the Arizona Convencion and member at Templo Cristiano Central), Rev. Ailsa Guardiola Gonzalez (pastor at First Christian Church Tucson), Linda Immel (member of Foothills Christian Church), Rev. Pedro Ramos-Goycolea (pastor at Desert Dove Christian Church), and Michael Cleveland (Member at Saguaro Christian Church).
Rev. Richie Sanchez’s first day in the Regional Office will be on Monday July 24. Watch for more communication from the Regional Office and Rev. Richie between now and then. Please keep him and our Region in your prayers during this time of transition.
Rev. Brian Frederick-Gray
Moderator of the Christian Church in Arizona