Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches

Gary B. Reierson

Gary B. Reierson

The Reverend Dr. Gary B. Reierson (Ry'-er-son)
President and CEO
Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches
1001 East Lake Street, P.O. Box 7509
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407-0509
Fax: 612-722-8669


Bachelor of Arts (magna cum laude), College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, 1977.

Master of Divinity (with honors on Integrative Examinations), United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, 1978.

Doctor of Ministry (with distinction), United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, 1986.


University of Oxford (Reader in the Bodleian Library: Spring 2011, Fall 2007, Fall 2006, Summer 2000), (North American Summer Session: July 1992).

Bossey Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland, Fall 2006.

Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome, Fall 2001.

Centro Pro Unione, Rome, Fall 2001, December 1997, and July 1995.

Mini MBA for Nonprofit Organizations, University of St. Thomas, 1991.


1989 to present, President and CEO, Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches (GMCC)

Expanded GMCC to be the largest council of churches in North America and the largest volunteer organization in the State of Minnesota, with $8 million annual expenditures, 25,000 volunteers, 700 member congregations, 32 programs, and 100 employees impacting 350,000 people each year.

Positioned the Council as a major player in the national emphasis on faith-based initiatives. Three grants over 7 years from the Compassion Capital Fund—the centerpiece of the federal government’s focus on faith-based initiatives—resulted in $5.6 million invested in the community to increase the capacity of grassroots groups in addressing human needs.

Focused the Council's efforts on mobilizing the faith community to be a leader in welfare reform, addressing child care, informal support networks for those making the transition from welfare to work, and affordable housing.

Guided three successful capital campaigns raising over $16 million.

Increased GMCC's net assets 18 times from $530,000 to $9,636.200.

Strengthened the organization so that it has received unqualified financial audits and balanced budgets for twenty-two consecutive years.

Grew programs to serve the neediest among us 2 1/2 times from 13 to 32, and people impacted increased 10 times from approximately 35,000 to 350,000.

Led the design, management, and evaluation of results-oriented programs that moved from a focus on service statistics to outcome-based management.

Built effective bridges with communities of color:

  • Ecumenical Partners Program overcame racial isolation in the community by joining together predominantly African-American and predominantly European-American congregations in partnership. This program received the 1992 Ecumenical Recognition Award from the National Council of Churches for its work in "mending torn places in the human community." The program, which was featured in the New York Times and on CBS Sunday Morning, has been replicated in five U.S. cities.
  • Transformed a paternalistic relationship with the Division of Indian Work into a strategic alliance that emphasizes American Indian empowerment; cost-effective efforts to share back-office functions in finance, administration, and fund-raising; and exemplary program outcomes.  

Ensured the raising annually of nearly $8 million plus more than 4 million pounds of food for the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign.

Developed the Board of Directors to include representatives from a cross section of the community, including key community leaders. Persons of color make up 33% of the Board of Directors and 61% of the staff.

2007 to present, Recurring Visiting Faculty Member, School of Theology•Seminary, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota

1987 to 1989, Vice President for Community Relations, Greater Minneapolis Girl Scout Council

1986, Adjunct Professor of Theology, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

1977 to 1987, Associate Minister, Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota

1975 to 1977, Associate Minister, United Church of Christ, New Brighton, Minnesota

1973 to 1975, Teaching Specialist, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota


The published author of two books and thirty-one journal articles. For a complete listing, click here.

Biography included in Contemporary Authors, a bio-bibliographical guide to current writers published by Gale.


Recipient personally of seven awards, including the David W. Preus Leadership Award and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.

 Under his leadership, the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches received twenty-two awards, including:

  • Award of Excellence of the National Council of Churches (for long and distinguished history in furthering ecumenical life and ministry)
  • U.S. President’s Volunteer Service Award of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation
  • Recognition by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for three best practices developed as a Compassion Capital Fund awardee
  • Recognition by the U.S. Department of Justice of the Division of Indian Work’s Family Violence Program for work on behalf of crime victims

Recipient of two national preaching awards

For a complete listing of awards click here.


Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches

Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Division of Indian Work

Council of Sponsors, Minnesota FoodShare

Sunrise Community Banks Advisory Board and New Markets Tax Credit Advisory Board

Board of Directors (Chair), Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research

 Board of Trustees, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

 Board of Directors, Saint Paul Area Council of Churches

 National Association of Ecumenical and Inter-religious Staff

Iris Murdoch Society

 The Minneapolis Club


Married to Pamela ("Pam") Matson Reierson

Two adult daughters: Katharine ("Katy") and Elizabeth ("Beth")

One grandchild: Levi Christopher Coffin

Ordained minister of the United Church of Christ (1978)

Oblate, Saint John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota (1999)

See "Pride and Personal Transformation”
 President’s Letter, October 2010

See An Innovative Response to the Challenges of Dramatic Increases in Immigration from Africa to the Twin Cites of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.” In Proceedings of the 18th International Conference of the Global Awareness Society International (2009).

See "Ecumenism from 'The Bottom Up,'" March 2002 (reprinted with permission of Ecumenical Trends)

See "Art and Ethics in the Novels of Iris Murdoch" Summer 2001 (reprinted with permission of ARTS: The Arts in Religious and Theological Studies)


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A program of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches