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Edgar will not seek third term as NCC general secretary

New York City, October 3, 2006 The Rev. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA, told the governing board and staff of the Council Monday that he will not seek a third four-year term as chief administrative officer of the nation's leading ecumenical body. 

He will conclude eight years of service when his present term ends December 31, 2007.  A third term would have been unprecedented in length of service in the general secretary position.  Edgar's action clears the way for a seamless transition process to begin. 

"I care deeply about the Council and have invested my best self in the work. The Council has been returned to financial stability and has reclaimed its place as a prophetic ecumenical voice heeding Christ's call to serve the least among us," Edgar said. 

The Rev. Michael Livingston, current president of the NCC, expressed appreciation for Edgar's leadership, which brought the Council out of prolonged financial deficits to a dramatic turnaround, with four consecutive years of positive cash flows and the addition of more than $8 million in reserve funds. 

"During Bob Edgar's watch, we have worked to build unity among our diverse families of faith and a strong witness within the wider society. All of the Council's programs have undergone renewal and expansion, and important concerns such as poverty, the environment, human rights and peacemaking have been addressed. We will have much to thank Bob Edgar for when his time of service becomes part of the Council's honored history," Livingston added. 

A search committee for a new General Secretary will be named this fall and will begin its work in early 2007, Livingston said. 

Edgar, an ordained United Methodist elder, served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975 to 1987 as a Democrat elected to six consecutive terms from a predominantly Republican district of suburban Philadelphia. 

He later served ten years as President of Claremont School of Theology, a United Methodist graduate school in Southern California.   He has also been a pastor, a campus minister, and head of a public-policy think tank, and is a frequent guest on national TV and radio discussion programs. 

His recent book, "Middle Church: Reclaiming the Moral Values of the Faithful Majority from the Religious Right," was published last month by Simon and Schuster. 

NCC News contact:  Dan Webster, 212.870.2252,
Photo by Kathleen Cameron


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