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Veteran ecumenist Michael Kinnamon is installed
as National Council of Churches General Secretary

New York, November 9, 2007  The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) clergyman and a long-time educator and ecumenical leader, was installed Thursday (Nov. 8) as the ninth General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA.

Kinnamon was unanimously elected to the office by paper ballot Thursday morning by the NCC General Assembly that met November 6-8 in Woodbridge, N.J.

He was installed in a moving and colorful ceremony attended by hierarchs, clergy and laity in St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in New York.

Also installed was the newly elected NCC President, Archbishop Vicken Aykazian of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), and other NCC Officers. (See related story)

Kinnamon succeeds the Rev. Bob Edgar who resigned August 31 to become president and CEO of Common Cause. The new general secretary will move into his office in New York after January 1, 2008.

Addressing the General Assembly prior to his election, Kinnamon said the church of Jesus Christ is "already one."

"Unity is not synonymous with agreement," he said. "We understand that we have deep disagreements and try to address them. This is a consequence of being in Christ."

The assembly interrupted him with applause when he added, "We can fight like cats and dogs and still sit at the same table."

Kinnamon said, "The church is where the Spirit is. Look for that when we sit around these tables. Trust that the Spirit has claimed these others. Getting to know one another builds that trust. This i8s how we deal with ongoing conflicts -- not as a political caucus, but as sisters and brothers.

He stressed that a council of churches isn't just an agency in New York or Washington. "It's a community of the churches themselves."

Kinnamon brings a long record of ecumenical activity to his new office. He was General Secretary of the Consultation on Church Union, which became Churches Uniting in Christ, from 1999 to 2002. He was executive secretary of the WCC's Commission on Faith and Order from 1980 to 1983 and had a major role in drafting the World Council of Churches' major planning document, "Toward a Common Understanding and Vision of the WCC."

He has been the Allen and Dottie Miller Professor of Mission, Peace and Ecumenical Studies at Eden Theological Seminary since 2000. He was professor of Theology and Ecumenical Studies at Lexington, Ky., Theological Seminary from 1988 to 2000 and was dean of the seminary from 1988 to 1998.

Kinnamon was Assistant Professor of Theology at Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, from 1983 to 1988 and Acting Dean from 1986 to 1988. He was a visiting professor at United Theological College and South Asian Theological Institute, Bangalore, India, in 1987 and 1997.

Michael Kinnamon is a member of the National Council of Churches Governing Board and chair of the Council's Justice and Advocacy Commission. He has overseen the commission's development of resolutions and statements on a wide range of justice and peace issues and was the primary drafter of  the NCC's Strategic Plan drafting committee over the past three years.

Kinnamon earned a Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1980, in the field of religion and literature. He studied at Tel Aviv University from 1969 to 1970. His A.B. degree is from Brown University in 1971.

Michael Kinnamon has written extensively on the ecumenical movement, most recently, The Vision of the Ecumenical Movement and How it has Been Impoverished by its Friends.

He wrote the official report of the Seventh Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC), and he is the co-editor of The Ecumenical Movement: An Anthology of Key Texts and Voices, a volume widely regarded as an essential tool for students of ecumenism.

Kinnamon has made important contributions to two other staples of ecumenical literature, The History of the Ecumenical Movement and the Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement.

Eden Theological School President David Greenhaw said Kinnamon's nomination for general secretary brings "the sadness of saying goodbye to a wonderful scholar and teacher on the Eden faculty," but it also "affirms his gifts for ecumenical leadership and his calling as a servant of the church as it participates in the mission of God in the world."

Kinnamon was ordained in 1976 and he has ministerial standing in the Disciples of Christ and the International Council of Community Churches.

He chaired the NCC's Ecclesiology Study Task Force from 1993 to 1997. He has been a featured speaker at such ecumenical gatherings as the National Workshops on Christian Unity and Ecumenical Advocacy Days in DC.

Michael Kinnamon has been active in the mission and ministries of his denomination and has been a frequent speaker at Disciples and United Church of Christ national and regional assemblies, ministers gatherings and special conferences including the Disciples Peace Fellowship and the North American Pacific Asian Disciples.

He is married to the Rev. Katherine Kinnamon, associate minister of Webster Groves Christian Church in St. Louis. The couple has two daughters, Anna and Leah.


A high resolution picture of Kinnamon can be downloaded here.

Contact Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228, or Daniel Webster, 212-870-2252


 

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