The Rev. J. Bennett Guess was named executive director of the United Church of Christ's office of communications.
He has been acting director since August and succeeds the Rev. Robert Chase, who announced his resignation last July to head a global justice initiative at the Collegiate Church of New York.
The office has long been active in opposing media consolidation and advocating for children's TV, recently seeking to block the Federal Communications Commission's grant of cross-ownership waivers to Tribune and to get it to rescind its waiver to News Corp. for owning WWOR-TV New York (Secaucus, N.J.).
The hire comes as the UCC is doing some belt-tightening. Office of communications managing director Cheryl Leanza continues in that post, but on a part-time basis as a consultant. In addition, a full-time position for the office’s media-empowerment project was axed.
Guess chairs the news and media-relations committee of the National Council of Churches Communications Commission and is a member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.