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NCC's Edgar to head Common Cause

Washington, D.C., May 22, 2007 The outgoing General Secretary of the National Council of Churches USA (NCC), the Rev. Bob Edgar, has been picked to lead the national advocacy group Common Cause.

Edgar, who announced last October he would not seek a third term as general secretary, broke the news to the NCC's Governing Board meeting in Washington. Common Cause made the announcement today in a news release [].

Edgar, "a former congressman who represented eastern Pennsylvania from 1975 to 1987, was elected president and chief executive officer of Common Cause by the organization's National Governing Board," said the Common Cause announcement. "Edgar succeeds Chellie Pingree, who stepped down in February."

"With devastating consequences, powerful special interests distort and disrupt the democratic process in ways that shift political power away from the American people," Edgar said in the news release. "I look forward to carrying on (Common Cause founder) John Gardner's vision of Common Cause as a people's lobby both in Washington, D.C. and in the states."

Last October Edgar announced to the NCC's Governing Board he would not seek a third four-year term as General Secretary of the national ecumenical body.

Edgar was president for ten years of the Claremont School of Theology in Southern California when he came to the NCC in 2000.

He found a critical financial crisis at the NCC and is credited with making the necessary changes to put the NCC on sound financial footing. He will leave the NCC with several million dollars in reserves.

"It would be hard to imagine a person whose experience, background and commitment offer better qualifications for this position," said the Rev. Michael Livingston, NCC President. "Bob Edgar has always demonstrated a zeal for justice, peace, fairness and all that Common Cause stands for.  There is no question that the National Council of Churches has benefited from his leadership in many ways and I'm sure that Common Cause will also benefit and the nation will, as well."

Edgar will work with the governing entities of both groups to map out a transition. The NCC's Governing Board has appointed a search committee that is currently examining potential candidates for the next NCC General Secretary.

The NCC is the ecumenical voice of America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and traditional peace churches. These 35 communions have 45 million faithful members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.

NCC News contact:  Dan Webster, 212.870.2252,


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