June 15, 2004

Nick Carter, an American Baptist minister and administrator, has been named president of Andover Newton Theological School, the nation’s oldest Protestant seminary, effective July 1. Carter succeeds Benjamin Griffin, who is retiring after nine years in the post at the Boston-area seminary. Carter was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Beverly, Massachusetts, for more than ten years and was the executive director in the late 1980s of SANE/FREEZE, the grassroots movement against nuclear weapon proliferation. Recently he founded and headed a consulting firm for senior executives in religious and other nonprofit organizations.

A former member of the Federal Communications Commission has accepted a new position as managing director of the United Church of Christ’s Office of Communication, an advocacy department long active in aiding underrepresented communities before lawmakers, courts and regulatory agencies. Gloria Tristani, who was an FCC commissioner 1997-2001, “elevates dramatically our ability to be heard and to have an impact at the FCC and on Capitol Hill,” said Robert Chase, executive director of the UCC department. While on the FCC, he said, Tristani sought to safeguard the FCC’s rules regarding equal opportunity for women and people of color, especially minority ownership of media properties and lower-power FM radio. She was active also on such issues as children’s exposure to television violence, broadcast indecency and competition in the cable industry.

With evangelist Billy Graham recovering from surgery to stabilize a pelvic fracture, organizers of a crusade scheduled for this month in Kansas City, Missouri, considered the possibility of postponing the event. “Reverend Graham is doing great,” said Dr. C. Michael LeCroy, orthopedic traumatologist, in a statement after the procedure on May 20. Graham underwent a “minimally invasive” surgery that took an hour under spinal anesthesia at Mission Hospitals in Asheville, North Carolina, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association announced. He was hospitalized May 14 after he fractured his pelvis in a fall at his home. Crusade organizers said the June 17-20 in Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium would be held, even if it had to be delayed. Graham also is currently scheduled to hold a crusade July 29-August 1 in Pasadena, California. Before his recent fall, the evangelist had been recovering well from partial hip replacement surgery he had in January.

Robert Williams, communications director of the Diocese of Los Angeles since 1993, has been named director of the national Episcopal News Service effective July 1, succeeding James Solheim, who retired early this year. Williams will oversee both news reporting and media relations for the Episcopal Church Center in New York as well as create a new bureau in Los Angeles. Williams, 42, has had national and international assignments in the Anglican Communion. In 1998 he edited the daily paper for the Lambeth Conference convened by the archbishop of Canterbury. Last summer he was editor of the newspaper serving the General Convention in Minneapolis.

A black Illinois pastor who serves a primarily white congregation has been named to lead the United Methodist Church’s Christian unity and ecumenical agency, starting July 1. Larry Pickens, 45, will lead the New York–based Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, succeeding Bruce Robbins, who retired last year. Pickens, currently pastor of First United Methodist Church in Elgin, Illinois, has also served for the past four years on the denomination’s highest court, the Judicial Council.

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