Leaders of the National Council of Churches have at various times over the past decade floated the idea of seeking a new, more inclusive kind of ecumenical organization. Last month the NCC made its most concrete move in that direction by appointing a team of top church leaders to explore the idea with Roman Catholics, evangelicals and Pentecostals.
One figure concentrates the attention of Robert Edgar, chief executive of the National Council of Churches: $650,000. That’s the amount of cash the ecumenical organization must come up with every two weeks to meet payroll.
In an issue of the magazine devoted to themes of spiritual renewal, we would underscore the significance of Pope John Paul II’s dramatic effort to renew and purify the Roman Catholic Church through repentance. In celebrating mass on March 12, the first Sunday of Lent, John Paul took the unprecedented step of publicly confessing the sins of the church.
The 20th century began in Sarajevo and it will end in Sarajevo.” That saying, current during the war in Bosnia, wasn’t too far wrong. A grim age that began with the 19th century’s bleeding to death in a war sparked in the Balkans is ending, in places like Sarajevo and Kosovo, with the aftershocks of communism’s collapse.
The (Anglican) Church of England’s main legislative body said February 10 in London that it recognizes and affirms the desire of the breakaway Anglican Church of North America to remain in the Anglican fold. But the General Synod simultaneously said that it was not ready yet to be in full communion with the conservative group.
The National Council of Churches has filled five new senior positions, one month after the New York–based ecumenical agency cut staff due to budget restrictions. Coping with a $1 million budget shortfall in its last fiscal year, the ecumenical agency reduced programming and cut 14 staff jobs down to five in November.
Church-unity advocate Michael Kinnamon, affirmed unanimously this month as the National Council of Churches’ next general secretary, does not expect that being the chief ecumenical voice for 35 communions will be a placid job over the next four years.
If ecumenical veteran Michael Kinnamon is ratified next month, as expected, to be the top executive of the National Council of Churches, look for a stylistic shift on social justice issues and appeals to member denominations to become mutually supportive.
When Bob Edgar announced that he was stepping down as head of the National Council of Churches, someone suggested that he might apply for the soon-to-be-vacant pulpit across the street at the historic Riverside Church. Or perhaps a better fit might be yet another nearby position on Manhattan’s Upper West Side—the soon-to-be-vacant presidency at Union Theological Seminary, where Joseph C.