Kinnamon leaving NCC for health reasons

Michael Kinnamon, a longtime ecumenical leader who has headed the
National Council of Churches since 2007, an­nounced that he will leave
his post as general secretary of the New York–based NCC, following the
advice of his cardiologist.

Kinnamon, 63, said that his physician
insisted that the stress of his work, including its travel demands, must
be reduced immediately and significantly, according to a November 9
statement by the NCC.

The announcement from Kinnamon "comes at a
challenging time for the life of the council," said NCC president Peg
Chemberlin, "but we're encouraged that Michael is willing to work with
us on this important transition and be a resource to us going forward."

National Council, founded in 1950, has 37 member communions including
Protestant, Anglican, Eastern Ortho­dox, historical African-American,
evangelical and "peace church" denominations.

A clergyman in the
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Kinnamon has held an endowed
chair at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis since 2000. He
previously taught at Lexington Theolog­ical Seminary and Christian
Theolog­ical Seminary.

Kinnamon brought his theological expertise
to the Consultation on Church Union after playing major roles for the
World Council of Churches in 1980s.

The National Council of
Churches, despite financial difficulties and sometimes criticism over
its progressive stances on social justice and peace issues, was reminded
by Kinnamon that "unity is not synonymous with agreement." To applause
at his last election as the NCC's top executive, he said, "We can fight
like cats and dogs and still sit at the same table."

An NCC task
force will draft a separation agreement for the council's executive
committee, which meets in Decem­ber. Chemberlin and president-elect
Kathryn Lohre said that they will develop a proposal for NCC leadership
during the time of transition.

John Dart

John Dart is news editor at the Century.

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