The congregation of Union Avenue Christian Church on Sunday, October 15, 2017, called the Reverend Michael Riggs to be its eleventh Senior Minister to pastor the historic Central West End church. He will begin his shared ministry with the congregation on November 27, 2017.
"I am deeply grateful, humbled, and excited to lead this historic and vibrant congregation and to share in the ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Mid-America," Rev. Riggs said. Rev. Riggs has served as the Senior Minister of First Christian Church of Tulsa since 2013. "I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the people of FCC Tulsa for having embraced me as your minister these last four years and to share with you as Oklahoma Disciples. It has been an honor to serve in Christ's name alongside you, and I will keep you in my prayers as you seek the faithful path forward."
Holding a deep passion for biblical scholarship and praxis, Rev. Riggs strives to connect people's personal faith development with acts of compassion and social justice in their various communities and in the world around them. Recognizing the Church as much larger than just the local congregation, he strives to build relationships of radical empathy that are life-giving and effect real change. He is especially committed to racial reconciliation and building a just and loving solidarity between peoples.
A preacher's kid, Rev. Riggs is a graduate of Texas Christian University, holding a Bachelor of Music (Magna Cum Laude, 2000) in theory and composition and a Master of Music (2003) in composition. He was graduated from Brite Divinity School with a Master of Divinity in 2009, and, while at Brite, was twice named a Walker Scholar by the Granville and Erline Walker Ministerial Scholarship Foundation for demonstrating outstanding preaching potential.
He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry, with emphasis in "Pastoral Leadership in Church and Society: Collaborating for Change," from Phillips Theological Seminary.
In 2008 – 2009 he completed a 15-semester-hour program with concentration in "Black Church Studies," exploring themes of freedom, justice, and equality, while further developing his commitment to racial reconciliation and solidarity, and a refined lens of diversity when approaching Biblical text and theological discussions.
In 2014 – 2015 he consulted with Hope Partnership and engaged in intensive training regarding congregational life cycles, visioning processes, values assessment, leadership development, and missional transformation for the renewal of churches.
Rev. Riggs is an accomplished jazz bassist and pianist. When available, he enjoys performing at jazz gigs. His wife, Cassie Sexton-Riggs, has recently accepted a call to serve as Senior Minister of Union Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Litchfield, Illinois