The Longview Area Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance has a new president for the first time in a decade.
The Rev. Richard Tennison assumed presidency of the organization in January. He succeeds the Rev. Lewis Thompson Jr., a 2018 Unity Honors recipient who held the post for 10 years.
While Tennison says he has large shoes to fill, he has set out a goal of developing more visibility for the group of more than three dozen East Texas pastors and ministers.
"I hate to say it but there are times that I ask, 'Do you even know the ministerial alliance?' and people don't know it," said Tennison, pastor of Mount Pleasant Christian Methodist Episcopal Church near Kilgore for the past three years.
"I want us to be visible, I want us to be known and I want them to come to us when there are issues and ask for our help in solving issues, and I want us to be that organization that can answer some questions or go to a place or situation to try to bring some solace to whatever the issue might be."
Tennison has been a member of the ministerial alliance about as long as Thompson served as president, he said. Tennison has served as third- and second-vice president, and he's coordinated several activities, such as Good Friday events and officer installations. He said he's participated annually in the Martin Luther King Jr. marches and served as toastmaster for the Ruby Canida Banquet, which the Community Outreach Missions uses to raise money to assist community members in need with utilities and rent, for instance.
Now he's ready to take the torch from Thompson and move the alliance forward, he said.
"We're community-based," Tennison said. "We talk about the issues of our community – South Longview and Longview as a whole – and if there is a place or position that we need to step in and try to help those issues move forward that's what we try to do."
Tennison has the backing of longtime alliance members such as the Rev. Lamar Jones, who is also president of the NAACP-Longview Chapter.
"He's been faithful. I think he will make (for) a great president," Jones said of Tennison.
"I think we do a lot in the community by trying to look out for each other. We do the prayer walks which I think are important," Jones said. "We're praying for our community and things that go on in our community."
For information about the ministerial alliance, call Tennison at (903) 635-0878.