National Council of Churches elects all-female officers, approves NRSV update

November 1, 2021

The National Council of Churches has elected an all-female slate of officers for the first time in the ecumenical organization’s 71-year history.

Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, leader of the Fifth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, on October 13 became chair of the organization, starting a two-year term along with the other officers.

She is joined by vice chair Elizabeth Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evan­gelical Lutheran Church in America; secretary Kimberly Gordon Brooks, first vice president of the Third District Lay Organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; and treasurer Teresa Hord Owens, general minister and president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

All but Eaton are women of color.

“At this pivotal time in the life of the church in the United States, it is noteworthy that the NCC is modeling inclusiveness in selecting its leaders,” Jefferson-Snorton said in a statement. “The denominations that make up the NCC demonstrate a commitment to embody the diversity of God’s creation in so many ways. This commitment is a call for all of us to show the love of God to all, promote unity in Christ Jesus and to resist the current cultural trends of divisiveness.”

The governing board of the NCC also voted to approve the New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition Bible after a four-year effort to bring the widely used translation in line with new biblical scholarship since it was published more than 30 years ago.

The changes in the updated text were made “on the basis of accuracy, clarity, euphony, and current English usage,” the NCC said in an announcement about the project.

In a statement, NCC president and general secretary Jim Winkler called the new version—the work of dozens of scholars, editors, and reviewers—“a monumental achievement.”

The NRS update is expected to be available starting in November, when the NCC-affiliated Friendship Press plans to release an e-Bible of the new version available on its Word@Hand app. —Religion News Service