Bishop Vashti McKenzie on leading National Council of Churches as it nears 75 years

by | May 31, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — Bishop Vashti McKenzie retired two years ago as the first woman bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. But she didn’t stay still for long.Last year, she was named interim president of the National Council of Churches, an ecumenical organization with 37 communions, or member denominations, including Protestant, Orthodox, evangelical, Anglican, historic African American and peace church traditions.
McKenzie was originally appointed for a two-year stint, and the NCC general board decided at its spring meeting in early May to elect her as the organization’s president and general secretary as it prepares to mark its 75th year in 2025. 
“She has been a blessing to the council and a blessing to the ecumenical world,” said Christian Methodist Episcopal Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, NCC chair, announcing the development at the May 15 worship service in Washington, D.C., that launched the upcoming anniversary.
McKenzie, 76, talked with Religion News Service about why she’s continuing with the ecumenical group, how she responds to its critics and what lies ahead for its future.
Why did you say yes to this more permanent role?
The more I delved into it, took a deeper dive into advocacy and activism work and, of course, unity and ecumenism, the more I saw needed to be done and wanted to do. I’ve always …

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