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February 27, 2001, NEW YORK—The National Council of Churches has elected a veteran Southern Baptist communicator from Birmingham, Ala., to its senior staff in New York City.

Wesley M. "Pat" Pattillo, currently North American representative for Hong Kong Baptist University, previously served as vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s flagship institution, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., for 14 years and of  Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., for eight years.

Wesley M. "Pat" PattilloPattillo will become Associate General Secretary for Communications of the NCC on April 16. He will oversee the communications program of the NCC and its international humanitarian ministry, Church World Service.

The National Council of Churches, founded in 1950, is the leading ecumenical organization in the United States, comprising 50 million Christians in 140,000 congregations nationwide. Its 36 member denominations include United Methodist, Presbyterian (U.S.A.), Evangelical Lutheran, Disciples, American Baptist, Episcopal, United Church of Christ and most of the black Baptist and Methodist church groups, along with the major Orthodox communions in America.

At Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1972-86), Pattillo was vice president for development and public relations and executive director of Southern Seminary Foundation; at Samford (1986-94), he was vice president for university relations.

Since 1996, he has been the North American representative for Hong Kong Baptist University, a major multi-campus institution that is the sole surviving Christian university in the People’s Republic of China. He also served a two-year term (1994-1996) as president of the National Foundation for Youth in Clearwater, Fla., working with founders Jack and Ruth Eckerd to underwrite programs of rehabilitation for troubled teenagers and children.

Commenting on his new assignment, Pattillo said, "It will be a privilege to join with this unique cooperative organization as it pursues a broad range of Christian ministries, rooted in Biblical faith and focused on the most challenging of human needs. The NCC’s pioneering work in Christian education, relief and refugee resettlement, Bible translation, and issues of moral and spiritual witness emerges from a passionate commitment to be faithful to the Spirit of Christ in our time," Pattillo said.

Said the NCC’s General Secretary, Dr. Bob Edgar, "We welcome Pat Pattillo and the experience and expertise he brings to the important task of ‘getting the word out’ on the work of the National Council of Churches and its global service and witness ministry, Church World Service. We look forward to Pat’s contributions and leadership in communications, especially as the Council embarks upon its mobilization against poverty and its exploration of a broader ecumenical vision."

Pattillo, a native of Mobile, Ala., earned degrees in journalism and mass communications from the University of Georgia and Ohio State University.  He also studied in the Warren Deem Institute for Educational Management at Columbia University under a grant from the Lilly Endowment..

He holds professional accreditation (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America and was elected to the national PRSA College of Fellows in 1993. He earned CFRE certification from the National Society of Fund-Raising Executives, and was recognized by NSFRE in 1990 as fund-raising executive of the year in Alabama. In addition, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) honored him with the national U.S. Steel Award for sustained achievement in institutional advancement.

His wife, Zelma Mullins Pattillo, is an ordained Southern Baptist minister and a board certified chaplain. She serves as coordinator of spiritual care for Unity Hospice, a joint program of the Baptist and Catholic health systems of the Birmingham area. They are parents of two adult children, and are members of  Birmingham’s Baptist Church of the Covenant, an inner-city congregation affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Alliance of Baptists, an NCC member communion.

Pattillo’s election came by unanimous action of the NCC’s Executive Board, meeting in New York City Feb. 26-27.


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