Reverend Aundreia Alexander’s job description at the National Council of Churches USA (NCC) is robust. It spans everything from lobbying politicians to proposing legislation, meeting with civil and human rights organizations, and shaping and communicating the Council’s opinion on various legal and political issues. But if you ask Alexander, MDiv ’00, it all comes down to one thing: “How can we, as the collective faith community, make our voice known in the public square from a prophetic stance?”
It’s a tall order, but one she’s been preparing for her whole life. Growing up, Alexander’s family was a melting pot of religions, including African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Baptist, and Pentecostal traditions. “I didn’t know about the term ecumenism at the time,” she says, “but I understood that despite any differences, faith was the common thread and God was always a part of our lives.”
When a career in accounting left her unfulfilled, Alexander pursued a career in law. Though, it wasn’t long after she arrived at the Missouri state attorney general’s office that she realized maybe she was called for something else. One example, of many, stands out to her. Like all first year staffers, she was assigned to read and respond to letters from constituents. “I became the point person for responding to the most difficult letters, because my colleagues felt I had a way of being pastoral to the people,” she says. “As time went on, even though I was a part of the legal system, I came to feel I wasn’t necessarily promoting justice.”
At the NCC, the story is quite different. She represents 38 diverse Protestant denominations on the national and global stage, and puts everything that came before in her life to work: her understanding of what unites various faith communities, her drive to help others, and her extensive knowledge of the legal world. “We are called to speak truth in power, because the power of God is within us to transform unjust systems and structures,” she says.
Stateside, the Council’s legislative focus is currently centered around mass incarceration, the death penalty, sentencing reform, and systemic racism. Alexander is also closely involved with ACT Now to End Racism initiative, the NCC’s racial equity campaign which stands for awaken, confront, transform, calling on churches, communities, and the nation at large to awaken to the realities of systemic racism, confront it by calling it out where it is and, with God’s help, transform the hearts and minds of people, systems, and structures. “Our goal is to determine what it looks like to have God’s kingdom and kinship on Earth as it is in heaven,” she says. “And then we negotiate down from there.”