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Faith and Order marks 50 years cultivating new leaders

Washington, D.C., May 21, 2007 The Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches USA (NCC) is preparing for its fiftieth anniversary this summer with a clear eye on the next generation of theological leaders in the ecumenical movement.

This month the Faith and Order Commission launched a new online electronic journal written and edited by younger theologians and judged by senior scholars. The journal was developed by Dr. R. Keelan Downton, the NCC's postdoctoral fellow with Faith and Order, in conjunction with staff, members of the NCC Faith and Order Commission, and colleagues from the World Council of Churches.

Dr. Downton described the journal as "not only a unique publishing venue for academicians from across the ecumenical spectrum to share ideas in the early stages of their careers but also a place for others to sense the pulse of creative ecumenical thought beyond the institutions with which these cutting-edge ecumenists are involved."

An editorial board from a broad range of Christian traditions has been instrumental in reviewing submissions and constructing a comprehensive evaluation process. The journal has received support from within the NCC and also the wider ecumenical movement.

"The essays in this issue show a remarkably creative engagement across the major fault lines of the ecclesial landscape," writes the Rev. Dr. Thomas Best, director of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches. "If this is the future, then there is much to hope for."

"We've already gotten some responses from seminary professors who were given preliminary access," said Downton. "They described the website as accessible, informative and a great resource for students."

Access to the full-text articles is free and available in both HTML and PDF formats at

NCC's Faith and Order Commission will celebrate its 50th anniversary at Oberlin, Ohio this summer (July 19 to 23 Among other delegations now being brought together, a group of 100 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Catholic students is expected to attend.

NCC News contact:  Dan Webster, 212.870.2252,


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