Bishop of Alabama elected president of National Council of Churches
Christian Methodist Episcopal Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, presiding bishop of the CME denomination in Alabama and Florida since 2011, has been elected chair of the board of directors of the National Council of Churches.
“We are truly at a crossroads in the life of the church, given how the pandemic has affected the regular or routine life of the church,” Jefferson-Snorton said today in an interview with AL.com. She was elected on Wednesday October 13 at a virtual board meeting. The council elected for the first time all female officers.
The first order of business is helping the church bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down in-person worship across most of the country for nine months in 2020. Many churches remained closed in 2021 and most shut down turned to virtual worship using video to live broadcast services.
“My hope is that the NCC, as a diverse group of Christians, will be able to dialogue together on how to navigate this new normal, whether we would consider ways to collaborate and share resources and at the community level. that we would look for ways to work more closely together to address community specific issues like hunger, the needs of the elderly, children and their needs, mental health, ”she said. “These are things that a church might not be able to do on its own, but if a group of churches got together we could really make a difference in addressing food insecurity or providing other means for families.” to take care of themselves in the midst of it all. changing economic environment.
The National Council of Churches has 38 member denominations, including The United Methodist Church, The Presbyterian Church (United States), and The Episcopal Church.
“My feeling is that most of the member denominations are as strong as they have been,” said Jefferson-Snorton. “Although the pandemic has caused some churches nationally to change their operations, such as reducing staff or reducing hours of work, at the local church level I think churches have really risen up and continue to do so. ‘be strong.’
She mentioned that some Protestant denominations such as the United Methodist Church and the Reformed Church in America that are members of the NCC are experiencing controversy, primarily over same-sex marriage and LGBTQ inclusion. These potential divisions have been suspended to some extent during the pandemic.
“We have a few denominations that are grappling with internal doctrinal issues,” she said. “Over the next year or so, the outcome will become evident as the jurisdictions can come together for meetings and hold votes. There are several issues of this nature which will affect the functioning of national bodies. “
As bishop, Jefferson-Snorton oversees 178 CME churches in Alabama with approximately 20,000 total members and 39 churches in Florida with approximately 6,000 combined members.
“At the local level, the majority of churches have been able to find a way to bounce back” after the pandemic, said Jefferson-Snorton.