April 16, 2012

Athabascan woman leads council of churches

Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches appoints first woman, American Indian to lead group

By Rose FrenchThe Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches will be led by a woman and American Indian for the first time in its 107-year history, the group announced Monday.

Noya Woodrich, the council’s senior vice president and executive director of the Division of Indian Work, has been appointed president and CEO to succeed the Rev. Gary Reierson, who’s held the position nearly 23 years.

Woodrich is scheduled to take over on July 3, leading the influential Minnesota faith group which has 700 member congregations, 25,000 volunteers and is considered the largest council of churches in North America.

“I am very excited and honored to be selected to continue to grow with the organization that I have spent my career at, one with a strong foundation and history of accomplishments,” Woodrich said in a released statement. “I am looking forward to the challenge of continuing to build on our legacy of service to this community.”

Woodrich, an Athabascan Indian, started out as a volunteer at the Division of Indian Work in 1991 and took over as leader of the division in 2001. Since then, the division’s budget has grown from $1 million to almost $4 million, the council reports.
A historic first for Council of Churches

Comment:  For more on Natives in Christian churches, see Potawatomi Archbishop in Philadelphia and Catholics to Ban Indian Practices?

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