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Luce Foundation grant will support NCC institute
to shape a new generation of ecumenical leaders

New York, November 30, 2012 A grant from the Henry Luce Foundation will support a National Council of Churches initiative to sponsor a North American Institute to prepare 25 students and younger pastors for an intensive ecumenical experience in conjunction with the World Council of Churches Assembly in Busan, South Korea, in October and November 2013.

NCC President Kathryn Lohre and Transitional General Secretary Peg Birk said the Luce Foundation grant of $210,000 will provide a unique opportunity for ecumenical and interfaith formation for a new generation of Christian leaders.

The programs will be carried out through courses in North American seminaries before and after the WCCs Busan assembly, as well as through a global institute in conjunction with the assembly.

The institute will provide students "with a unique opportunity to encounter the world church at Busan, to gain insights from Christian thought and experience in Asia for ministry in a multi-religious context, and to join in dialogue with leaders of other world religions who will be very much part of this event., said Lohre and Birk in a joint statement today.

Clifton Kirkpatrick, professor of Ecumenical Studies at Louisville Seminary and chair of the projects council of seminary faculty, which is developing and coordinating the institute, added, I am thrilled that the Luce Foundation has made this grant to the NCC and am excited about the positive impact this effort will have on shaping and forming a new generation of ecumenical leaders.

Students at the institute will have an opportunity to study basic texts in ecumenism and international relations during the early part of their fall semester prior to traveling to Korea in late October. In Korea they will join a global ecumenical institute of 150 theological students and younger pastors from around the world under the leadership of a global faculty of leading ecumenists and leaders in international relations drawn from a wide variety of Christian and other faith traditions.

This will include a week long intensive course in Seoul focused on themes such as Christianity and other religions in Asia; ecumenism in the twenty-first century; interfaith relations for peace; and justice in the context of globalization. The institute will then travel as a group to share in the tenth Assembly of the WCC in Busan where they will participate in the various activities and sessions of the Assembly along with leaders from all Christian families around the globe and a major representation from other world religions.

Students will also engage in special study sessions as an institute around various issues growing out of the Assembly theme, "God of Life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace."

After returning to the USA students will prepare a final paper on a particular aspect of the ecumenical movement in relation to ministry in a multi-faith world. These papers will be shared broadly by publication on the NCCC webpage. Students will also do a presentation to a group in their seminary, church, or other organization on their experience and learning through this institute. The goal of their participation in these events will be to encounter and learn from the ecumenical Christian community and our partners of other religions.

Information about applying for the institute will be released in early 2013, said Lohre and Birk in their statement today.

The institute will stand in constructive relationship with the effort at enhancing theological education at the Parliament of World's Religions in 2009, supported by Luce, which was so successful in meetings its goals, their statement said.

We are delighted for this opportunity to move ahead with a program that will provide so many practical and spiritual dividends for younger ecumenical leaders, both today and in the future, the leaders said.

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The Foundation builds upon the vision and values of four generations of the Luce family: broadening knowledge and encouraging the highest standards of service and leadership.


Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 40 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 646-853-4212 (cell),


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