First Black female leader elected by Disciples of Christ

by Margaret Wessel Walker

The Disciples of  Christ have elected Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, an African American, to be their president. Although other mainline protestant denominations, including the Episcopal Church, have elected African American men, Hord Owens will be the first African American woman to lead a mainline protestant denomination on the national level.

She was elected by an overwhelming vote  and then consecrated at the biennial General Assembly, held this year in Indianapolis. Cherilyn Williams, spokeswoman for the Disciples of Christ’s Office of General Minister and President, said “there was no opposition stated in the business session where she was elected and the social media has been overwhelmingly positive.”. The DoC are predominantly white, but have a history of inclusiveness and diversity, with African Americans being active in the denomination since the 19th century.

Hord Owens wants to heal the divisiveness in our country as president of the DoC. “We need to stop demonizing differences as deficiencies. We should seek to understand, to work through our differences in priorities, opinions, methods, and goals,” she said.

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