Rev. F. Lydell Brown '97 Appointed President and CEO of The Conference of Churches

February 9, 2023
Alum Lydell Brown

Black Ministries Program (BMP) alum Rev. F. Lydell Brown '97 once heard from a mentor, "God didn't call you to be successful; he called you to be faithful."

Lydell's faithfulness resulted in 30 years of pastoring, a 20-year successful performance as Chief Operating Officer of The Conference of Churches (TCC), Interim CEO, and his recent appointment as permanent President & CEO, succeeding Rev. Dr. Shelley Best, also an HIU alum. The Conference of Churches works to eliminate poverty by providing direct services to address social injustice and poverty. 

Lydell joined the Black Ministries Program to learn from Senior Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt Jr., the program's founder, whom he refers to as "the man in African American ministries." The most valuable teaching Lydell learned in the BMP was to build relationships.

"Relationships are the most important things," he said, adding with a smile. "You cannot even get into heaven if you don't know Jesus."

In building relationships, Lydell became a leader in community organizing and clergy engagement. His skills are reflected in his work at TCC, where he helped update and expand the organization's mission toward becoming a more inclusive, community-driven organization. "As community organizers … we want to organize people around something they all believe in," he says. "And that whatever we are looking to organize is going to be holistic and be able to bless everyone who is involved in it."

Lydell also assisted in developing The 224 EcoSpace in Hartford, a social enterprise that is a recent acquisition of The Conference of Churches. The 224 EcoSpace has been nationally recognized as a model of creative social enterprise.

"So as a pastor, one of the things that I always wanted to make sure that we did was to have ministry, but have it be different," Lydell said. The 224 EcoSpace looks at everything they do as a ministry. That's why they use their 30,000 square feet as more than a traditional gallery, co-working space & technical assistance for start-up businesses, yoga, dance studio, and performance sanctuary.

"We are experts at holding space," Lydell said.


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