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UMC's John L. McCullough Confirmed as New CWS Director

September 13, 2000, NEW YORK CITY - The Rev. John L. McCullough of Montclair, N.J., is the new Executive Director for Church World Service, Inc., approved by unanimous vote today (Sept. 13) of the CWS Board of Directors.

He has served since June 1 as Interim Director Church World Service, Inc., the ecumenical relief, development and mission agency of the 35 member communions of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Previously, he was Associate General Secretary of the United Methodist Church General Board of Global Ministries.

The Rev. McCullough succeeds the Rev. Dr. Rodney I. Page, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister who retired May 31 following just over four years of service as head of CWS, Inc., which has an international ministry of emergency response, development and refugee assistance.

"We're excited!," said Canon Patrick Mauney of The Episcopal Church, who chairs the CWS Board of Directors. "Many of us have known John for years, including his service to the Methodist Church in Kenya and his leadership in the largest and most complex overseas mission department of any NCC member communion. Before assuming the CWS interim position, he was First Vice-Chair of CWS and was a veteran member of the CWS Unit Committee.

"John is a 'people person,'" Canon Mauney continued, "so important given that so much of our work in CWS is relationships. Accordingly, consultation and covenanting with CWS denominational and overseas partners is high on his list of priorities. And he's a person with a profound vision for ecumenical global mission."

In a vision statement written for the search committee, the Rev. McCullough described Church World Service and its mission as "a global ecumenical organization of Christian persons committed to the transformation of human society and preservation of the environment as an expression of Christ's live. CWS is called no less to be a prophetic voice and an agitating presence: a sign of compassion, a bulwark for justice, human rights, dignity, and a source of knowledge contributing to the healing of nations and the building of lasting peace."

National Council of Churches' General Secretary, the Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, noted the Rev. McCullough's broad international experience, including pastorates in the United States and Kenya and leadership in the General Board of Global Ministries since 1991.

The Rev. McCullough's accomplishments include presenting more than 1,150 persons for commissioning into mission service; administering a program of scholarships that awarded assistance to more than 700 students around the world, managing the transition and merging of mission personnel work during the restructure of the General Board of Global Ministries, and introducing numerous new mission initiatives including Missioners of Hope, Volunteers for Africa, Conference Committees on Mission Personnel and Korean American Mission Pastors.

The Rev. McCullough was recommended unanimously by a search committee following an exhaustive 10-month process, conducted with the assistance of the Boston-based consultancy firm, Isaacson Miller.

"We believe that the Rev. McCullough has the vision, leadership skills and passion for God's mission to lead us 'for such a time as this,'" confirmed the Rev. Liberato C. Bautista of the General Board of Church and Society, The United Methodist Church, the search committee's chair. "He has the highest personal qualities - integrity, warmth, collaborative style, as well as managerial experiences and skills - which will enable him to lead the organization during the implementation of its strategic plan.

"Moreover, John is an effective communicator with the skills and ability to articulate the values and role of Church World Service and Witness. As an ordained pastor he has demonstrated strong biblical and theological grounding. He is a person of faith committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

"John understands organizational change and knows how to lead an organization through restructure," the Rev. Bautista continued. "He is a good listener and has a reputation of being a reconciler. John has extensive knowledge of the worldwide church and the many issues and concerns impacting the service and witness of these churches around the world. He understands relief and development, as well as the role of advocacy in 'the healing of nations and the building of lasting peace.'"

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