Baptist group marks leadership transition
First Latina chair and first Jewish vice chair elected to lead BJC
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WASHINGTON – BJC (Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty) is proud to announce a historic transition of its board leadership today. For the first time, the BJC Board of Directors elected a Latina person to serve as chair and the first Jewish person (as well as the first non-Baptist leader) to serve as vice chair.
The Rev. Anyra Cano, the newly-elected chair of the BJC Board, is a Baptist minister who serves as programs and outreach director for Fellowship Southwest. Serving within the faith community, she has a long history of advocating for vulnerable children, immigrant families, and global communities. She resides in Fort Worth, Texas.
“As the daughter of immigrants who care about democracy, I’m deeply honored and humbled to be elected to lead BJC,” said the Rev. Cano. “This is a significant moment for both this organization and the broader Baptist community to expand our lens on religious liberty. I’ve witnessed BJC’s vital work safeguarding the institutional separation of church and state in my home state of Texas, which has become a hotbed of Christian nationalism. The BJC staff and board members work tirelessly to make our mission of faith freedom for all real in diverse communities across the country.”
Sofi Hersher Andorsky, the newly-elected vice chair of the BJC Board, is an accomplished social change leader who currently serves as vice president for strategy and communications at A More Perfect Union: The Jewish Partnership for Democracy. Andorsky, a member of the 2017 class of BJC Fellows, brings experience working at the intersection of religion, technology and civic life to help shape BJC’s work. She is currently relocating from Washington, D.C., to Denver.
“Religious liberty is a fundamental value that impacts people of all faiths and the nonreligious,” said Andorsky. “I have personally experienced the destructive and destabilizing impact of Christian nationalism, and I feel profound gratitude for the opportunity to support the Rev. Cano and the full BJC team as a Jewish woman and an organizer. You may be surprised to see a Jewish woman leading a Baptist organization, but I’ve found a home advocating for religious freedom in this unlikely place.”
“Leading BJC as board chair at such a critical time for our country has reminded me how proud I am of this organization,” said the Rev. Dr. Lynn Brinkley, immediate past chair. “I’m glad to pass the baton to the new board leadership, and I know the organization is in great hands.”
The Rev. Dr. Christopher The and the Rev. Emily Hull McGee were elected to serve as the other two board officers, as secretary and treasurer, respectively.
Amanda Tyler, executive director at BJC, expressed her enthusiasm for this historic transition:
“This marks a significant milestone in BJC’s history,” she said. “Our board leadership reflects the diversity of Baptist life and the reality that BJC’s work extends well beyond Baptist life. I welcome Anyra, Sofi, Christopher and Emily to their new roles and am glad that Lynn will continue to serve on the BJC Board.”
Photos of Andorsky, Brinkley, Cano, The, McGee and Tyler are available here, along with a photo of the entire BJC Board of Directors with Tyler and officers of the Religious Liberty Council.
BJC (Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty) is an 87-year-old religiously based organization working to defend faith freedom for all and protect the institutional separation of church and state in the historic Baptist tradition. BJC is the home of the Christians Against Christian Nationalism campaign.