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1999 NCC News Archives

National Council of Churches Celebrates 50th Anniversary
1,000 Participants Coming to Cleveland, the NCC's Birthplace, for Nov. 9-12, Fete

Go to NCC 50th Anniversary Celebration Pages

September 23, 1999, CLEVELAND, Ohio – When the National Council of Churches (NCC) returns to its birthplace – Cleveland – in November to celebrate its 50th anniversary, it will bring together the best of local, national and global ecumenism – building church unity for witness and service.

The expected 1,000 participants will include church leaders from at least 17 countries, most U.S. states and from across the Greater Cleveland area. Together, under the overall theme "Unity in Christ: Gift and Calling," they will enjoy a special "Inspiration in Music" concert program by the Cleveland Orchestra, install Andrew Young as the NCC's President, probe domestic and international concerns in nearly 20 forums, and share visions for 21st century ecumenism.

"Keynoters" are to include South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Cleveland's Mayor Michael R. White will host the welcoming luncheon, and Ambassador Young will address his top priority – ending poverty.

Events will follow five "tracks" – Exploring Our Faith, Sustaining Our Environment, Transforming Our Society, Shaping Our Culture, and Celebrating Our Unity. Weaving themselves around and into the anniversary fete Nov. 7-13 will be "Equipping the Saints," a seminar for theological students and young pastors in the history, tradition and contemporary challenge of ecumenical thought and witness, coordinated by the Fund for Theological Education, based in Atlanta, Ga.

Also woven "in and around" from Nov. 5-14 will be meetings of the NCC's General Assembly (its legislative body) and NCC program committees in areas as diverse – yet interrelated! – as faith and order, Christian education, interfaith relations, Bible translation, environmental justice, and many more. An exhibits area with books and other resources will be open Nov. 9-11.

Forums and most plenaries will be held at the Cleveland Convention Center, 500 Lakeside Ave. Notable exceptions include Ambassador Young's installation, to be conducted in the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist and followed by the anniversary banquet at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel; the Cleveland Orchestra concert, set for the Allen Theatre, and the "Gospel, Culture, and Music" forum, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The NCC General Assembly and most program committee meetings will be held in the Sheraton Cleveland City Centre Hotel.

The National Council of Churches is the nation's leading ecumenical organization. Since its founding at meetings in November 1950 in Cleveland Ohio, it has grown to include 35 Protestant and Orthodox member communions (denominations) with 52 million members.

The NCC "shepherds" a diverse, $50 million-plus a year program that includes disaster response, human development and refugee assistance in 80- countries (the United States among them) through Church World Service; Christian education; interfaith relations; communications; justice and advocacy ministries; Bible translation, and work for Christian unity.

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