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Disciple of Christ head announces departure

INDIANAPOLIS — The Rev. Richard L. Hamm, plans to leave the top post in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in October, two years before his present term is up.

Hamm, president and general minister since 1993, will step down after the denomination's assembly Oct. 17-21.

Hamm said he was under no pressure to leave, but felt that after a decade the church should "take a fundamentally new look at how we mobilize for our mission.

"The Rev. Roy Stauffer, pastor of Lindenwood Christian Church in Memphis, credited Hamm with strong leadership, but said the president had grown exhausted by the position.

Denominational membership, currently 805,000, declined 16 percent during Hamm's presidency. However, the denomination credits his leadership with helping launch more than 100 new congregations in two years, up from a previous average of five churches started annually.

An advisory group of church leaders would meet this month to discuss the leadership of the denomination, moderator Alvin Jackson of Washington, D.C., said. Hamm not did not announce his plans.