Otis Young 1957 B.D.

2007 Distinction in Congregational Ministry

Otis Young grew up on a small farm near Union, MO, the second oldest of seven children. He attended Westminster College in Fulton, MO, where he received an A.B. Degree with a major in philosophy.

After earning his B.D. from Yale Divinity School, he was ordained into the Christian ministry and set about organizing a new, racially integrated congregation for the United Church of Christ in Markham, IL on Chicago 's South Side. In 1962, he was called to be senior minister of the Evangelical United Church of Christ in Webster Groves, MO. Seven years later he was elected general secretary of the Division of Church Extension of the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries in New York City.

In 1972, he was called to be senior minister of First-Plymouth Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Lincoln, NE, serving in that capacity for 35 years until his retirement in 2006. During his tenure, the congregation grew from about 1,200 members to over 3,000. Under Young's leadership, the First-Plymouth church was at the forefront of the fight for equality for women and became one of the early congregations to welcome gay and lesbian people into its fellowship.

Following his retirement from First-Plymouth Church in 2006, Young began work with Sampson Construction Company, a large commercial building contractor in Lincoln, as its Community Relations Director.

Young has served on the Board of Trustees of Doane College for 35 years and also served for many years on the University of Nebraska President's Advisory Board.

In 1969, Westminster College awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree for his distinguished work in parish ministry.

He and his wife, Rowena, have three children and nine grandchildren.


Lincoln, Nebraska