Robert Edgar, whose four-year term as general secretary of the National Council of Churches begins January 1, will commute between New York and Southern California for two months while he wraps up his responsibilities at the School of Theology at Claremont. He is expected to be virtually full time at the council by March.
Introduced to the NCC's executive board, Edgar described himself as "a salvager, an optimist, a futurist, and committed to collaboration." (More blunt observers have called him a "fixer"—not necessarily in a pejorative sense, but as a sort of ecumenical mechanic who could get the NCC's stalled engine going again.)
The search committee had a choice to make between an "insider" and an "outsider," and they clearly chose the latter. Edgar said the fact that he has not been part of the workings of the NCC "could be both a blessing and a problem."