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June 26, 2001, NEW YORK CITY – National Council of Churches’ General Secretary Bob Edgar today offered his condolences at the sudden death of Father John F. Hotchkin, recalling his "winsome influence in the cause of a wider Christian fellowship."

Father Hotchkin, Executive Director of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, died June 24 at age 66. He had been ill the past 10 days with severe bronchitis.

Dr. Edgar had just been with Father Hotchkin at the Reformed Church in America’s June 8-13 General Assembly in Pella, Iowa. Just prior, on May 30, Father Hotchkin had addressed the National Council of Churches’ Executive Board, meeting in Washington, D.C., where he had confirmed the participation of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs in an exploration of a broader Christian unity in the United States.

At the NCC Executive Board meeting, Father Hotchkin had affirmed the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ "interest in meeting together to think together and share what we might be called on as church communities to do in the future."

Dr. Edgar’s statement follows:

"Father Hotchkin was beloved not only by Roman Catholics, but by those of us who came under his winsome influence in the cause of a wider Christian fellowship. His enthusiasm for Christian unity and cooperation built lasting bridges of trust and friendship across the wide gaps and perilous canyons within the religious landscape.

"He was a key figure in the current movement to create an entirely new ecumenical table, and we will miss his joyful, intelligent pursuit of that conversation among the many families of Christian communions, as well as his friends in other faith traditions."

- The Rev. Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary, National Council of Churches


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