May 10, 2022, Washington, DC – Today, the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) welcomed Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie to her first business meeting of the NCC Governing Board as Interim President and General Secretary. Bishop McKenzie started in the position on April 1, 2022, and has immersed herself in the work of the organization. This initial period of exploration culminated in a Board retreat held last week in Montgomery, Alabama with programming that built upon NCC’s current priority, the “A.C.T. NOW to End Racism” initiative that was started in 2018.
“The National Council of Churches is blessed to have Bishop McKenzie in this key leadership role. She brings the necessary insight, expertise, and ecumenical commitment to the Council” said Board Chair, Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, who is also the Presiding Bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
“The entire Board is excited to have Bishop McKenzie,” added Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, NCC Governing Board Vice Chair.
“I am honored to have been invited to serve the National Council of Churches. I look forward to the opportunity to enhance the great work that the NCC has already done and look for strategic ways to amplify its voice. It is critical in this season of divisiveness in our country that we remain vigilant and visible advocates and bridge builders.” Bishop McKenzie.
Prior to this assignment Bishop McKenzie served as the 117th elected and consecrated bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She was the first female elected to episcopal office in the more than two-century-old AME Church and is the first female to serve as President of the Council of Bishops and President of the General Board. She has served as presiding bishop in Southern Africa – Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique and Lesotho and in the United States in Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas.
She no stranger to ecumenical ministry. She has been a delegate, preacher and/or presenter to ecumenical bodies including the World Methodist Council and the World Council of Churches.
Bishop McKenzie is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, Howard University, School of Religion and has an earned doctorate from United Theological Seminary.
Bishop McKenzie has been active in social justice issues for more than three decades. She was appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama to be on the inaugural White House Commission of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnership. This group worked on behalf of Americans committed to improving their communities, no matter their religious or political beliefs. She was named by Huffington Post in 2014 as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women Around the World.
She is the author of six books including Not Without a Struggle and Journey to the Well. Her newest book is The Big Deal of Taking Small Steps to Move Closer to God. The book shows how to develop a stronger relationship with God with a more effective Christian lifestyle by taking small steps that lead to big changes.