a young man, Bishop J. Clinton Hoggard participated both in the 1948
Organizing Convention of the World Council of Churches and the 1950 Constituting
Convention of the NCC-and was a force in lifting up the importance of the historic Black
churches to the ecumenical movement and to the life of the nation. Among many ecumenical
commitments, he served on the AME Zion delegation to the NCCs board for a remarkable
42 years, from the NCCs founding until 1992.
At its 50th anniversary celebration in 1999, the NCC
honored Bishop Hoggard for a lifetime of contributions. Hoggard, whose career began when
the Civil Rights Movement was developing, was especially remembered for his work with Andy
Young and the late Al Cox in involving the NCC Youth Department in efforts for civil
At the 1999 event, he said, "I have hope in
the life of the NCC. Ive stayed with it in the face of many frustrations, and
surely, in return, I have found a refuge for association with the larger community of
believers in Christ. Out of it has come good fellowship and also an opportunity for
enunciating the concerns about our larger society."
Consecrated as a bishop in 1972, Hoggard actively
served in that office until 1992, and was a former president of the AME Zions board
of bishops. From 1952-1972, he served as secretary-treasurer of the denominations
Department of Foreign Missions (now the Department of Overseas Mission). He also held
pastorates in New York, Washington, DC, and North Carolina.
In retirement, he edited The African Methodist
Episcopal Zion Church: A Bicentennial Commemorative History 1972-1996, which updated
the communions history to the time of its 1996 bicentennial celebration.
Rev. Will L. Herzfeld "has touched and inspired lives all over the
world," said the Rev. John L. McCullough, executive director of Church World Service,
speaking of Herzfelds role both ecumenically and in his communion. At the time of
his death, Herzfeld was associate executive director, ELCA Division for Global Mission,
and he was a member of the Church World Service Board of Directors, a body that he chaired
He also served on the NCC
Executive Board and was a former vice president of the General Assembly. Both NCC
President Elenie Huszagh and General Secretary Bob Edgar have hailed Herzfeld for the
spiritual quality of his leadership. "We nicknamed him the Chaplain,
" said Edgar, "and appreciated the insights and wisdom born of deep faith that
he shared with us." Elenie Huszagh recalled especially "his sense of Christian
compassion, love and humor."
In his communion, Herzfeld was best known for his
role as presiding bishop of the former Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches.
Holding that position from 1984-1987, he was the first African American to serve as the
national leader of a Lutheran church body. He also played a leading role in the process
that led to the merger of his and two other Lutheran denominations to form the ELCA in
The leadership positions that he held in
communities and in churches from Alabama to California and Illinois were numerous and
varied. His work included achievements in urban ministry, human relations and civil
rights. While serving his first pastorate, in Tuscaloosa, Ala., he organized the local
chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and became a close associate of
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Photo images of the Rev. Herzfeld are available at www.elca.org/co/news/herzfeld.html.
From that page, click the "Releases" link and then "May 2002"
to read more about the Rev. Herzfeld.