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“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.” —Isa. 6:3

Mission Connections
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Anne Blair
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Doug and Liz Searles

February 1, 2013, Liz  began a new ministry partnered with NOROC Foundation (New Opportunities for Romanian Orphaned Children) . She is helping develop capacity-building programs for institutionalized children and youth in Tulcea County, Romania, as well as with adults and ethnic Roma at risk.

Doug and Liz Searles were commissioned by the 218th General Assembly in San Jose, California, in June 2008.

The Searles are assigned to Lodz, Poland, where they work with the Evangelical-Reformed Church in Poland.  They serve as consultants and evangelists, working in church growth, small-group development, music ministry, and teacher training in English as a second language, all in order to assist church renewal and growth in the post-communist environment.

The Evangelical-Reformed Church in Poland is a minority Protestant church of about 4,000 members in a country of 39 million people. It has a rich history dating to the year 1551, but at present it has only 10 ordained pastors, 10 churches and four preaching points.

Mission work is not new to the Searles. Liz is the child of missionaries and was raised in Ramallah, Palestine, and Cairo and Alexandra, Egypt. Together, the Searles served in China (Chengdu, Sichuan) from 2001 to 2007 with Global Ministries, a combined witness of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church/Disciples of Christ. In China the Searles trained English teachers from minority schools in western Sichuan Province, particularly Tibetan, Yi and Qiang minority teachers.

Doug was interim pastor at Schleswig United Church of Christ in Schleswig, Iowa, from 2000 to 2001. From 1999 to 2000 the Searles served in Changchun, Jilin Province, China, where they taught English as a foreign language to students age 5 to adults.

The Searles served at Woodstock School in Uttar Pradesh, India, from 1997 to 1999. Liz was a music teacher and an English teacher, while Doug was houseparent, chaplain and teacher of ethics.

Prior to serving at Woodstock, Doug was pastor of First Baptist Church in Mount Carroll, Illinois. He was ordained as a minister in June 1997 by the American Baptist Church. He also holds ministerial standing with the United Church of Christ.

From 1995 to 1997 and prior to leaving for Woodstock, Liz was assistant professor of English and American literature at Franciscan University (1991 to 1996). Prior to that, she served as a reporter and editorial writer for The Mirror Democrat, a newspaper in Mount Carroll, Illinois.

From 1985 to 1988 Liz was founder, artistic director and administrator of American Medieval Players, Chicago, Illinois, a labor of love. During the same time she was also an account representative for WFMT Classical Radio in Chicago. From 1980 to 1985 she taught in the English Department at Loyola University of Chicago.

Prior to his ordination and service as a minister and mission worker, Doug was chief fiscal officer of the state of Illinois' Department of Employment Security.

Douglas holds a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University and an M.Div. from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. Liz’s bachelor’s degree is from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her master’s (in English literature) is from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, and her doctorate in English literature is from Loyola University of Chicago.

Elizabeth is a member of Schleswig United Church of Christ in Schleswig, Iowa.

The Searles have two children, McCleary and Mackenzie. McCleary (Mick) is a 2011 freshman at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and Mackenzie is teaching and completing an advanced degree in anthropology at Oregon State University.

Liz - May 9
Doug - April 16