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General Assembly convenes in NJ and NY

Iselin, N.J., November 5, 2007
More than 200 delegates from 35 Christian communions meet this week near and in New York City.  The annual General Assembly of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) and Church World Service has chosen its theme, "Journeys: for we walk by faith..." taken from the New Testament book of 2nd Corinthians 5:7.

Delegates begin their work at a New Jersey hotel outside New York City.  On Thursday they move to Manhattan's St. Vartan's Armenian Orthodox Cathedral for the installation of elected officers and the new general secretary.

The new NCC president, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, diocesan legate and ecumenical officer, Diocese of the Armenian Orthodox Church of America, will begin his two year term.  He succeeds the Rev. Michael Livingston, executive director, International Council of Community Churches.

The delegates are expected to affirm the nomination of the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon to be the next general secretary of the NCC.   No General Assembly in NCC's history has refused approval of a general secretary nomination.  If affirmed, Kinnamon will also be installed at the Thursday service.  Kinnamon is a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and has worked on ecumenical matters nationally and internationally for decades.  His four year term will begin January 1, 2008.

The delegates are expected to hear reports from each of the NCC's five program commissions.  There will also be a report on the church's post-Katrina work from the NCC's Special Commission for the Just Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast.  A presentation on the NCC women's delegation to Lebanon, Israel/Palestine will also be made.  The latest agenda for the assembly may be found online at

The plenary sessions all begin with worship and Bible study.  This year's study leaders of the sacred Scriptures are: the Rev. Elizabeth S. Tapia, Ph.D., a Filipina theologian, educator and pastor trained both in the Philippines and the United States; and the Rev. Dr. Randall C. Bailey is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Hebrew Bible at Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta and an ordained Baptist minister.

Wednesday's Women's Caucus luncheon speaker is Harriett Jane Olson, the newly elected chief executive of the Women's Division, United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Olson is a board member of the Protestant Church Owned Publishers Association and NCC's Bible Translation and Utilization Committee.  The luncheon will honor the life and work of Claire Randall, former NCC general secretary, who died in September.

Award presentations to individuals who best exemplify the work of Christian ecumenists will be made Wednesday evening.

The National Council of Churches USA is the ecumenical voice of 35 of America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and traditional peace churches.  These NCC member communions have 45 million faithful members in 100,000 congregations in all 50 states.
On site media contacts:  Ann Walle, Church World Service; Mr. Pat Pattillo, NCC.
Church World Service contact:  Ms. Lesley Crosson, 212.870.2676
NCC News contact:  Philip Jenks, 212.870.2228, or Dan Webster, 212.870.2252,


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