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National Council of Churches Governing Board Round-Up 

Washington, June 4, 2007 – The Governing Board of the National Council of Churches U.S.A. concluded its semi-annual meeting here May 22 after receiving a report on the preliminary findings of the NCC’s Congregational Health Ministries survey, and following its approval of a $6.9 million budget for fiscal year 2007-8. 

In addition, the task of the NCC’s General Secretary Search Committee intensified this week as the outgoing General Secretary, the Rev. Bob Edgar, announced that he will soon become President and CEO of the national advocacy group Common Cause. 

Health Care 

The Rev. Dr. Eileen W. Lindner, the NCC’s deputy general secretary for Research and Planning, announced the preliminary findings of the Congregational Health Ministries survey that has been under way for the past year. The first-of-its-kind survey has been sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  

The responses of more than 6,000 congregations will be examined carefully, but the preliminary findings show that churches are significantly involved in health care programs. 

Seven out of ten responding congregations provide one or more direct health care services to their members and the public. The services include 12-step groups, screenings, emergency funding, exercise groups, health counseling and clinics. 

Some 87 percent of responding congregations report one or more volunteer activities, such as visitation, meals, transportation, diabetes counseling, and assistance with health insurance paper work. 

Over half the churches surveyed make direct emergency contributions to help members and the public pay for their medical treatment. 

The Governing Board also took an action to create an “NCCCUSA Health Taskforce” to address four areas: networking with congregational health providers; mapping and research of the faith community’s role in health ministries; emergency preparedness for congregations; and health policy reform with emphasis on state initiatives. The taskforce was asked to report top the Governing Board in September. 

Budget 

The Governing Board had extensive discussion on the proposed budget in the context of plans for an orderly transition in the Office of the General Secretary.   

They released the following statement: 

“Looking forward to sustained fiscal health as a new quadrennium approaches, the Governing Board of the NCCCUSA … approved a $6.9 million budget for the Council’s fiscal year 2007-2008. Recognizing that this amount necessitates reductions  the Governing Board directed staff to finalize the expense portion of the budget, including one-time items of the search for a new General Secretary and the 50th anniversary celebration of the NCC’s Faith and Order Commission to take place in July at Oberlin College.” 

General Secretary Search 

The NCC General Secretary, the Rev. Bob Edgar, told the board he has been named president of the national advocacy group Common Cause. 

The first formal meeting of the General Secretary search committee was held this week. 

The Rev. Dr. Randall R. Lee, co-chair, said the committee hoped to have a candidate to present to the Governing Board in September 2007 or, if further work was required, by November 2007.


For more information contact Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228


 

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