April 18, 2006

Patrice L. Rosner, an associate general secretary with the National Council of Churches for six years, has been elected as the new director for the nine-denomination Churches Uniting in Christ. She will start June 5. An ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Rosner headed the NCC’s education and leadership ministries commission. Churches Uniting in Christ, reconstituted from a predecessor group in 2002, includes three historic black Methodist churches, the Disciples of Christ and other ecumenically minded mainline bodies. “I hold a fervent hope that in this next year,” Rosner said in a statement, “the CUIC partners will come to consensus in their proposal for the mutual recognition and mutual reconciliation of ordained ministries.”

Kevin Eckstrom has been named editor of Religion News Service, effective May 1. He succeeds Mark O’Keefe, who will join the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life as an associate director. Eckstrom, who joined the news service in 2000, has been its associate editor for the past year. O’Keefe was editor for nearly two years of the Washington-based RNS, which is owned by Newhouse News Service. He was a reporter for the Newhouse-owned Portland Oregonian for 12 years. RNS is the only secular news service focused on religion, ethics, spirituality and moral issues.

A Seventh-day Adventist and World War II veteran who won a Congressional Medal of Honor for saving dozens of soldiers while unarmed has died at 87. Desmond T. Doss Sr. died March 23 at his residence in Piedmont, Alabama, reported the Adventist News Network. Doss served as a U.S. Army medic, and in keeping with his Adventist beliefs he refused to work on Saturday, his denomination’s Sabbath, or carry a gun. But he earned his medal by keeping one of those rules and forgoing the other. On May 5, 1945, a Saturday, the unarmed Doss rescued 75 wounded soldiers on the island of Okinawa. He is believed to be the only person to receive the medal for noncombat action in World War II. Doss’s wife, Frances, said he didn’t like being called a conscientious objector—he was the subject in 2004 of a feature-length documentary, The Conscientious Objector—and preferred to be described as a “noncombatant.”