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News from the Hill September 15, 2012 | back to index

UCC official Jim Antal joins Board of Trustees


At their meeting on Sept. 12, the Andover Newton Board of Trustees unanimously elected the Rev. Dr. Jim Antal to their membership.

Rev. Antal serves the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ as the Conference Minister and President, a position he has held since 2006. Antal’s leadership in the areas of the environment and climate change is noteworthy. Having been an active environmentalist since the first Earth Day in 1970, in 2007 Antal helped lead the Interfaith Climate Rescue Walk across Massachusetts. Working with Bill McKibben and, in 2008 he challenged 350 of Massachusetts’ UCC congregations to ring their church bells 350 times to raise awareness about global warming.

Prior to his current calling,  Rev. Antal served as the Senior Minister of Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights,  Ohio, a multi-staff UCC congregation with about 750 members. Plymouth is located in a culturally and racially diverse first-ring suburb of Cleveland.  Between 1996 and 2006, Antal led Plymouth through a transformative process which included dramatic commitments in mission and stewardship, a vote to become Open and Affirming, a thorough rewrite of the constitution, and the formation of an effective small group ministry program.

In 1998, Rev. Antal received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Andover Newton Theological School and was also the recipient of the Rabbi Murray Rothman Prize for his contributions to interfaith community relations. In June 2000, the Alban Institute published his book, Considering a New Call:  Ethical and Spiritual Challenges for Clergy.

Before moving to Cleveland, Antal served in Massachusetts for nine years as the Senior Pastor of the Newton Highlands Congregational Church. Previously Antal worked as Executive Secretary of The Fellowship of Reconciliation, the oldest and one of the largest national religious interfaith peace organizations in the United States.

Antal grew up in New Jersey and California. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Princeton University in 1972 and Cum Laude from Yale Divinity School in 1978. He is married to Cindy Shannon,  who is chair of the Theology Department of Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Mass. They have two sons in their 20s.