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Methodist bishops honor Clare J. Chapman
Fort Worth, Texas, April 30, 2008 – Clare J. Chapman, Chief Operating Officer of the National Council of Churches (NCC) and a veteran United Methodist ecumenist, has been honored by her denomination for "her exceptional leadership."
Chapman, who is attending the United Methodist General Conference here, was presented the 2008 Council of Bishops' ecumenical award April 29 for her work in the National Council of Churches and in the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious concerns.
The award came on a historic day for United Methodists as the General Conference approved a full communion agreement with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Both communions are members of the National Council of Churches.
Chapman has been serving as the NCC's COO since January 1. She was NCC Acting General Secretary from September 1 to December 31, 2007, when former General Secretary, Bob Edgar became President and CEO of Common Cause. The Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon became general secretary on January 1.
"Clare's commitment to the visible unity of the church brings great energy to the Council," Kinnamon said. "Looking back on our recent history, it's obvious she has played pivotal roles in keeping the Council viable and relevant. We knew her Methodist family appreciates her as much as we do, and this award is a concrete expression of that regard."
Chapman, an attorney, has extensive ecumenical and interfaith experience. She has twice been an advisor to the United Methodist delegation to the World Methodist Council. Currently she serves the World Council of Churches' board of the U.S. conference. This year Chapman was a member of the first official United Methodist delegation to the Vatican for discussions on Christian unity.
"My work has always been ecumenical, even though on behalf of the United Methodist Church and with significant denominational involvement," said Chapman. "I have been enriched by the many colleagues and friends I have in the UMC at many levels and look forward to deeper relationships within the NCC family of churches also. I am an ecumenist, [and] a United Methodist Christian," she said.
Before joining the NCC staff, Chapman served on several committees, commissions and task forces for the past six years. Most recently, she was on the staff of the United Methodist Church's General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns as its associate general secretary for program and administration. She has held several administrative positions for the Methodist agency for 19 years.
Chapman was chair of the drafting committee of "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made," the NCC policy statement on human biotechnology that was adopted by the 2006 General Assembly of the NCC and Church World Service.
Chapman holds four academic degrees. She received her Juris Doctor from New York Law School, a Master of Music from the University of Arizona, and two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Central Florida, one in music and one in English.
"The most effective organizations have strong collaboration between program and administration," said Chapman. "It is a fact that every budget is a mission statement! It is my hope that working with my colleagues at the council we can be more fully integrated as we work together in the future."
NCC News contact: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228, NCCnews@ncccusa.org
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