UCC leader widely recognized for long-standing civil, women's and human rights work
The executive minister of the UCC's Justice and Witness Ministries, Bernice Powell Jackson, has been elected as the World Council of Churches' (WCC) president for North America, joining seven co-presidents from other regions of the world. Jackson replaces the Rev. Kathryn Bannister of the United Methodist Church, who last February announced her decision to step down from the co-presidency for personal reasons.
"WCC presidents are chosen for their widely-recognized ecumenical experience and standing," said Juan Michel, spokesperson for the WCC. "Their role is to promote ecumenism and interpret the work of the Council especially in their respective regions."
An activist on behalf of civil, women's and human rights for more than 25 years, Jackson is a member of the UCC's five-person Collegium of Officers. She formerly headed the UCC's Commission for Racial Justice and, prior to that, was executive associate to the UCC's then-president, the Rev. Paul H. Sherry. Jackson has also served as the director of the Bishop Tutu Southern African Refugee Scholarship Fund, was on the staff of New York Governor Hugh Carey and on the communications staff of the National Urban League.
"Especially in 2004, as the WCC focuses the Decade to Overcome Violence on the U.S., I look forward to finding new ways of connecting justice advocacy with ecumenical partners in my work as the World Council's president for North America," Jackson said. "This is a wonderful honor, an exciting challenge and an opportunity to share the ecumenical vision of the WCC in our world today."