By Bishop Lynn Thrush
Great Lakes Conference of the Brethren in Christ Church
It is my privilege to serve as bishop over the Western Hills Brethren in Christ Church on Roberts Avenue in Cincinnati. The senior pastor there is Tracie Hunter, indeed Judge Tracie Hunter.
It is my responsibility to assess the character of the pastors under my care. Here are five character traits of Pastor/Judge Tracie Hunter. You will see by this description why I am delighted that she is pastoring a Brethren in Christ Church in Cincinnati, and why she is precisely the kind of person we want to have serve as judge in our courts, especially the Hamilton County Juvenile Court in Cincinnati.
One, she is committed to integrity, not only right behavior, but right attitudes. I am so pleased to see her external and internal integrity. In the spring of 2017 our regional conference meeting selected Pastor Tracie Hunter to be the assistant moderator of our conference for the following two years, recognizing her model of integrity amidst substantial pressures. That’s precisely the character we want to see in our judges.
Two, Pastor/Judge Hunter is principled. That is, doing the right thing drives her, even if the right thing is difficult. She demonstrates commitment to the right over long and extended times when things have not gone her way. Doing the right thing, no matter the cost, is such a valued and honored life pattern. I am so pleased to entrust congregational life to her care because she is principled, and that’s precisely the character we want to see in our judges.
Three, Pastor/Judge Hunter loves Cincinnati and her people. I am delighted with her love for the church and community. There’s a fascinating story in the Bible of Mordecai, who had thwarted an attempt on the king’s life. His deed was written down, but he had not been publicly recognized. Pastor Tracie has a similar kind of story; some years ago she led a Prayer Walk in Cincinnati that literally swallowed up a crowd ready to riot. She prays for Cincinnati because she loves this city. That love of Cincinnati’s people is such a wonderful motivation for serving Cincinnati as judge.
Four, Pastor/Judge Hunter cares for children. Her decision to unshackle youth in her courtroom, a practice now copied in other courts in the state, demonstrates her commitment to recognizing the dignity of personhood for all individuals. I have full confidence in Pastor Tracie’s wise investment in children, and that’s the kind of judge we want to serve Cincinnati’s children.
Five, Pastor/Judge Hunter is thoroughly hopeful, because the great message of Jesus Christ is that He overcame evil through His incredible love demonstrated in His death and resurrection. It makes a huge difference that at one’s core one believes that the God of love has won and that we are called to make life choices in that light. I delight that Pastor Tracie preaches this good news in our Brethren in Christ Church. What a gift to have this hopeful judge making decisions on behalf of our children and their futures.
I look forward to the day when this woman of integrity, principle, love, care and hope is reinstated as judge in Hamilton County Juvenile Court. Her character is precisely qualifying to be Judge.
Dr. Lynn Thrush, of Huber Heights, Ohio, is the Bishop of the Great Lakes Conference of the Brethren in Christ Church with oversight of churches in the seven states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. Tracie Hunter has been pastor of the Western Hills Brethren in Christ Church for 10 years.
Tracie Hunter is serving a three-month jail sentence following her conviction of a felony committed while she served as judge in Hamilton County Juvenile Court. Supporters are appealing the sentence on the grounds that it was unfair.