NCC Announces Interim President and General Secretary
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.
Friendship Press Seeks Interim CEO
With the retirement of its CEO Rev. Dr. Joseph Crockett, NCC’s publishing subsidiary Friendship Press is seeking an interim CEO.
Interim Chief Executive Officer (Half-time)
• Work is done from home using Zoom and other platforms for online meetings.
• Travel to the annual Christian Unity Gathering and Governing Board meeting of National Council of Churches (NCC) is required
• Travel to annual meeting of Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) may be required for promotional purposes
The mission of Friendship Press (FP) is to become “a good news publisher to provide resources that nurture sacred wisdom, cultivate community, foster justice and promote peace for the welfare of humanity and the unity of creation.”
The CEO is responsible to the Board of Directors for leadership to achieve the mission of FP.
• Provide strategic and managerial leadership that includes near-term planning and execution of the continuing rollout of the NRSV Updated Edition (NRSVue)
• Maintain high standards of financial management of annual budget, operations and reporting
• Maintain strong relationship with the NCC as FP’s chief partner including regular reporting
• Manage key contractors including licensing management agency, software systems, publishing services), accounting firm, etc.
• Oversee processes related to website, [email protected] Bible app, and Kindle sales
• Collaborate with SBL on textual issues related to NRSVue
• Manage and Support the Bible Translation and Utilization Committee (BTU) in its work related to the NRSVue and other NCC Bible properties
• Implement policies and practices related to publishers/licensees of NCC Bible properties
• Continue processes with the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox communions related to imprimaturs and acceptance of NRSVue
• Interface with FP legal counsel as required
• Membership in a member communion of the NCC highly desired
• Advanced degree in Bible, theology, English, journalism or a field of study
related to the mission of Friendship Press
• At least 5 years experience in management in Bible or religious publishing
• Demonstrated strong business acumen
• At least 5 years experience as an editor of publications, books, websites
• Familiarity and appreciation for heritage of RSV, NRSV, NRSVue translations
• Demonstrated record of success in strategic planning, decision making and
problem solving in publishing field
• Demonstrated knowledge of financial statements and business operations
• Digital competency with broad range of apps and systems
• Writing and communication skills
• Capacity to interact with Biblical scholars/scholarship re: Bible translation
• Marketing and digital marketplace experience
• Sensitivity to ecumenical and interreligious audiences
Preferred Starting Date: June 27, 2022
Compensation package to be negotiated with President of Friendship Press
Resumes with two current references should be emailed by May 26 to:
Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley, Chair Search Committee, Friendship Press
click here to email
New NCC Resource: A Christian Approach to Suicide Prevention
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on average there are 130 suicides per day in the United States. Churches can offer support and care for community members impacted by suicide.
The NCC’s new resource sheet, A Christian Approach to Suicide Prevention, provides several trainings and resources that have been specifically created for people of faith. These resources can help clergy and lay leaders provide care, assistance, and hope for those who may be considering suicide.
Trainings can help ministers recognize signs of suicide risk, comfort those who experience suicide loss, and integrate strategies for suicide prevention into the life and ministry of local congregations and faith communities.
Additionally, AFSP has recently announced a new Soul Shop for Black Churches program. You can learn more about this new program on AFSP’s website at https://afsp.org/soul-shop#soul-shop-for-black-churches
Gun Violence Increases as the Thread of Society Unravels
by Cynthia Griffiths
The shootings across America, including several mass shootings on Easter Sunday in Pittsburgh, PA; Furman, SC; Baldwin, LA; Miami, FL; Portland, OR; Philadelphia, PA; and Sacramento, CA are part of a worsening plague of gun violence in the United States. According to the Gun Violence Archive, the number of shootings that killed or injured at least four people is much higher than it was at this point just a few years ago.
Because of the plethora of guns, small incidents, insults, and grievances that in the past would end in a scuffle or fist fight now end in a shooting death. Simple disputes among people gathered together in public lead to several people injured or killed. After the COVID-19 pandemic began, gun sales surged in 2020 and 2021 while a perception that the government could not protect people also grew. Stressors have grown between people during a time of isolation from their support systems.
We cannot allow ourselves to accept daily shootings as routine. In addition to enacting laws to stop the public health crisis of gun violence, our nation must also make funding for mental health resources a priority in order to expand mediation services, mentoring programs, counseling centers, and access to therapists and case managers in our communities.
Below are the policies and statements adopted by the NCC Governing Board regarding gun control.
Ending Gun Violence: A Resolution and Call to Action by the National Council of Churches of Christ, U.S.A. 2010 https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/ncc-reaffirms-its-2010-resolution-on-gun-violence/ Reaffirmed 2018
Firearms Control Adopted by the General Board 1967 https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/common-witness-ncc/firearms-control/
NCC Press Statements
Statement on Senseless Deaths Due to the Lack of Gun Laws 2021 https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/statement-on-senseless-deaths-due-to-the-lack-of-gun-laws/
Statement on the Shooting Deaths in Atlanta 2021 https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/statement-on-the-shooting-deaths-in-atlanta/
Gun Violence Must End Now 2019 https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/gun-violence-must-end-now/
NCC Laments Virginia Beach Shooting, Renews Call to End Gun Violence 2019 https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/ncc-laments-virginia-beach-shooting-renews-call-to-end-gun-violence/
Statement on Parkland, Florida Mass Shooting 2018 https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/1482-2/
We Mourn This Terrible Act: a joint statement by the NCC and the World Council of Churches 2017 https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/we-mourn-this-terrible-act/
We Grieve With Sutherland Springs, Call for Sensible Gun Measures 2017 https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/more-guns-is-a-recipe-for-further-deaths/
Statement on Orlando Shooting 2016 https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/609-2/
NCC Applauds New Gun Rules 2016 https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/ncc-applauds-new-gun-rules/
NCC Laments Umpqua Shooting, Asks NRA to Join in Gun Violence Reduction Effort 2015 https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/ncc-laments-umpqua-shooting-asks-nra-to-join-in-gun-violence-reduction-efforts/
NCC Grieves With Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina 2015 https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/ncc-grieves-with-emanuel-ame-church-in-charleston-south-carolina/
Daily Bible Reading
Spread the word with us each day!
Since 1872 – for 150 years – the International Sunday School Lessons were developed for persons to study the scriptures by selecting, organizing, designing, and developing a plan for study of the whole Bible over a period of several years.
Today, the work of the Committee on the Uniform Series (CUS) operates under the governance and stewardship of the National Council of Churches (NCC). CUS continues to collaborate with educators and editors of denominational and independent publishing houses to produce and distribute resources for teachers and learners to use. The central objective remains the production of an ongoing course of study that assists editors, writers, and publishers in preparing Bible lessons for use across a diverse expanse of Protestant faith traditions so that participants may embody an enduring faith in Jesus Christ.
The CUS welcomes all NCC members and independent publishers to be full partners in the work of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and making disciples of all nations through the development and use of the Guide for Lesson Development, the premier Bible study curriculum outlines for all ages, and the Home Daily Bible Reading materials.
NCC will share the Home Daily Bible Reading through our social network accounts and we invite you to spread the word with us each day!
NCC Receives Founders Award from ICCR
On March 31, 2022, the NCC was honored as an original founder by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) at a virtual gala, “ICCR at 50: Keeping the Faith.”
In a letter to the NCC, Josh Zinner, ICCR Chief Executive Officer, wrote, “When faith groups first filed shareholder proposals in 1971 asking companies to sever business ties with South Africa until its government abolished apartheid, little did they know they were birthing an organization and igniting a movement that would endure for 50 years. Fast forward to today, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility’s faith-and values-based members continue to be at both the forefront and center of global investor efforts to promote corporate accountability for deleterious impacts on people and planet.“
On behalf of ICCR’s board, members and staff, Mr. Zinner relayed, “we are deeply grateful for the original vision and your abiding faith in the work of the ICCR community.”
Attending the event on behalf of NCC were Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, NCC Governing Board Chair and Presiding Bishop of the Fifth Episcopal District, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church; and Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, Past Chair of the NCC Governing Board, and General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.
The opening worship service was led by The Most Reverend Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate, Chief Pastor, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Episcopal Church.
Reverend Traci Blackmon, Associate General Minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries of the United Church of Christ, gave the Keynote Address, “Keeping the Faith During these Turbulent Times.”
NCC has been awarded a plaque to commemorate its role in ICCR’s founding.
There is “Room for All” at Annual CUS Meeting
As director of this ecumenical project, Rev. Dr. Tammy Wiens, NCC Director of Christian Education and Faith Formation, writes about the annual CUS meeting:
Memphis Theological Seminary (MTS) hosted the 150th annual meeting of the Committee on the Uniform Lessons Series, March 8-10, 2022. Their state-of-the-art hybrid classroom was perfectly suited for the committee’s two- and half-day meeting, drawing more than 30 participants representing a diverse range of denominational partners and publishing houses. About half of those in attendance traveled to the MTS campus with the other half joining via Zoom.
In addition to the business of electing officers and getting Committee approval of each stage of curriculum development, the primary task of the CUS annual meeting is its collaborative writing project. We were enriched for the task by the teaching of Dr. Dennis Edwards, New Testament professor at North Park University and the preaching of Dr. Jody Hill, president of Memphis Theological Seminary. This year age-level teams were responsible for writing the Knowing, Loving, and Serving elements of the Learning Objective for 2026-2027. Though our committee numbers are small, the task of developing the Guide to Lessons and the Home Daily Bible Readings reaches thousands of congregations across the United States and throughout the world.
During the closing worship service, several committee members shared stories of how CUS has played a role in the history of Christian education as a tribute to our sesquicentennial anniversary. Further acknowledgement of the 150-years long contribution to the Christian education is planned for this year’s Christian Unity Gathering in October.
Dr. Wiens shares what she most values about CUS, “it is the space we create for one another. There is room for those who traveled to Memphis and room for those who joined us through Zoom. There is room for the Nigerian Baptist Convention and the for the Disciples of Christ in Puerto Rico. There is room for women and men, for the old King James and the new NRSV, for the big box publisher and small church editor. CUS is the embodiment of the space Jesus makes available to us now and will make perfect in the age to come.”
If you are interested in learning more about the various lines of curriculum that use the CUS outlines, please email [email protected]220.127.116.11