At the 11th assembly of the World Council of Churches meeting August 31–September 8 in Karlsruhe, Germany, Rev. Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith has been elected North American president. As one of six regional and two Orthodox newly-elected presidents, she will serve in this capacity until the next assembly in several years’ time. According to the WCC Constitution, in addition to serving as ex-officio members of the WCC central committee, the role of the WCC presidents is “to promote ecumenism and interpret the work of the WCC, especially in their respective regions.”
Rev. Dr. Walker-Smith brings many years of local, national, and international ecumenical experience to this role. Professionally she serves as the National Senior Associate for Pan African and Orthodox Church Engagement at Bread for the World, a non-profit organization that seeks to bring the collective Christian voice to the work of ending hunger in the US and around the world. For her church, the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., she is Ecumenical Representative, serving at both the WCC and the National Council of Churches USA, among other ecumenical settings. She is a graduate of Kent State University, Yale University Divinity School, and Princeton Theological Seminary.
“Rev. Dr. Walker-Smith is no stranger to the hard work of ecumenism,” stated Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Interim President and General Secretary of the NCC. “With a spirit of enthusiasm and joy, for many years she has offered her talents to the WCC and the NCC, as a member of our respective governing bodies, and as an ecumenical leader in other organizations and initiatives. We are so proud to have Rev. Dr. Walker-Smith represent the US and Canada at the WCC as North American president.”
The other presidents elected at the WCC assembly are:
- Rev. Dr. Susan Durber, United Reformed Church (United and Uniting), UK (Europe)
- Rev. Dr. Henriette Hutabarat-Lebang, Reformed Church of Gereja Tora, Indonesia (Asia)
- Rev. Dr. Rufus Okikiola Ositelu, Church of the Lord (Prayer Fellowship) Worldwide, Nigeria (Africa)
- Rev. Francois Phiaatae, Maohi Protestant Church, Maohi Nui (Pacific)
- Rev. Philip Silvin Wright, Anglican Church, Belize (Caribbean and Latin America)
- H.E. Met. Dr. Vasilios of Constantia–Ammochostos, Church of Cyprus, Cyprus (Eastern Orthodox)
- H.H. Catholicos Aram I, Armenian Apostolic Church of Cilicia, Lebanon (Oriental Orthodox).