Our CEOs

Curtiss and Stacey

Curtiss Paul DeYoung is the Co-CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC). Since DeYoung arrived in 2017, MCC has centered racial justice and equity work. First, by transforming the governance structure of the 27-member denominational Council to leadership from heads of historic Black denominations and board of directors whose majority is from Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian Communities. Second, by launching a ten-year racial justice initiative of truth-telling education, and reparations. Already existing program in refugee services and interfaith relations have also expanded. 

DeYoung previously served as the Executive Director of the historic faith-based racial justice organization Community Renewal Society in Chicago with its unique programmatic combination of church-based community organizing, policy advocacy, and investigative journalism.

Dr. DeYoung was the inaugural Professor of Reconciliation Studies and Co-chair of the Department of Anthropology, Sociology, and Reconciliation Studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN. Rev. DeYoung served on staff at congregations in Minneapolis, New York City, and Washington, DC. He is an ordained minister in the Church of God (Anderson, IN). He consults and speaks nationally and internationally with extensive relationships among activists and peacemakers across the United States and in South Africa and the Holy Land.

DeYoung earned a Doctor of Education from the University of St. Thomas (MN) and a Master of Divinity from Howard University School of Theology (Washington, DC).

He is an author and editor of thirteen books on racial justice, reconciliation, social justice activism, and cultural competency. With South African anti-apartheid activist Allan Boesak, he co-authored Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism (Orbis). He was on the editorial team for The Peoples’ Bible (Fortress). His most newest book in 2023 is The Risk of Being Work: Sermonic Reflections for Activists (Judson Press).

Presiding Elder Stacey L. Smith of the 4th District African Methodist Episcopal Church, including the regions of Minnesota and Canada, joins the leadership of MCC as a Co-CEO. At the close of 2022 she was appointed by the MCC Board of Directors as the Co-CEO to work side-by-side with Curtiss DeYoung in a part-time position.


Rev. Stacey Smith is the former Board Chair of MCC and the current Presiding Elder of the AME Church. She has over 20 years of experience in the private sector working in Operations, Human Resources, and Communications. The Board is delighted that she is available to share her considerable talents and wisdom with MCC during this season. Presiding Elder Smith’s transition from the MCC Board to Co-CEO provides stability and institutional memory as well as consistent leadership to the organization’s rapidly-growing staff.


“It is a blessing for the Council of Churches to be led in its day-to-day operation by someone recognized in Minnesota’s broader Christian community for her strong leadership skills, administrative experience, commitment to racial justice, and passionate faith,” says Co-CEO DeYoung. “I am blessed by the opportunity to use so many aspects of my own life experience to manifest the unity of the body of Christ and build the common good in the world through MCC,” said Rev. Smith.