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Outgoing NCC President Andrew Young Honored

November 14, 2001, OAKLAND, Calif. -- Members of the National Council of Churches’ General Assembly participated in a reception the evening of Nov. 14 that honored Ambassador Andrew Young, who is completing a 2000-2001 term of office as the Council’s president.

NCC General Secretary Bob Edgar thanked the Rev. Young for his contributions to the "continuing task of bringing people together," not only as the Council’s president, but also as a young NCC staffperson in the 1950s, as a civil rights leader at Martin Luther King, Jr.’s side, as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations during the Carter Administration, as mayor of Atlanta and in many other capacities.

The Rev. Young, a United Church of Christ minister who has been a part of the Council at points throughout its 52-year history, said that the organization originally "grew out of the unanimity of the call to social justice."

But in recent decades, he reflected, its member churches have divided between and among themselves, particularly on issues of gender and sexuality. Yet, "we are still challenged to speak to the world," he said, and "slowly but surely we find that voice by coming together as churches."

September 11 set a context for the churches and the nation that "is more evil than I have ever known in my lifetime," he said. "We struggle as a nation to contain that evil." What may be getting lost in that struggle, he indicated, is the impact of all the events in the wake of September 11 on the poorest and most vulnerable people. The Rev. Young said he lives with "fear and trembling that we are under the judgment of God … because we are not considering the poor enough. It is the element of justice that we have to face."

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